Fantasy Casting: It Chapter 2 Edition
Total transparency: this week was supposed to feature an entry concerning À l’intérieur (Inside), a French film from 2007 about a pregnant woman (Alysson Paradis) fending off a home invasion staged by a woman (Beatrice Dalle) who wants to cut out her baby on Christmas Eve. That was supposed to be my big movie this holiday season, but… I can’t. I’ve tried. Multiple times. Really, I wanted to talk about this film, but I can’t. This year has seen the possibility of more children die for me, and I fucking can’t. It’s something I can’t do right now. So, I’m moving on to happier things and focusing on something that gives me joy: in 2019, we’re getting It: Chapter 2. As you can tell, we went a little bonkers over this film and its source material, which is excellent.
In the name of holiday spirit, we’re going to treat this as the geeky office holiday party and do a little bit of fantasy football, movie-style. We’re going to give you our dream cast for the sequel, in the form of who we want to play the adult Losers Club, as well as some supporting players.
Erin: Chris Pine. In the book, adult Bill is a bald, intense-looking writer. Pine, I think, has the perfect eyes and acting abilities for this. I think if you shave his head and slap on some glasses and a turtleneck, he could nail the part of Stuttering Bill as an adult. Could you picture Jackson Robert Scott, who played Georgie, arriving to torment Bill this time around? Just to watch Pine crumble, then gain resolve. The man’s played Captain Kirk. I have faith.
Dan: Patrick Wilson. Having found himself as the every man lead in a lot of films recently, Wilson brings a ground reality to Bill. Bill is pretty milquetoast for much of the story until he rises as a leader, and I feel Wilson could handle the scared side, his mental scar from Georgie, and him eventually rising to, in the words of young Richie, “kill this fuckin’ clown”. The movie needs a lead who’s anchored a horror movie before ,and Wilson has The Conjuring and Insidious franchises behind him. I didn’t particularly like these films but feel Wilson has been good in them.
Talicia: I sort of cheated and looked at other suggestions from around the web. I’m a little behind in who’s “hot” right now, and would like to see relative unknowns get the leads for the adults, as was the case with the kids. When I saw this suggestion for Jimmi Simpson (Westworld) as Bill, I stopped looking. Having seen him believably portray a similar character in Westworld, I honestly can’t think of anyone better. He even looks a bit like Richard Thomas, who brought the character of Bill Denbrough to life for the 1990 TV miniseries.
Erin: Jessica Chastain. She’s the front runner for everyone. Hell, I’d be willing to bet that her comments about Bryan Singer were a baiting tactic to get out of one huge movie to do another, but that’s just little ol’ conspiracy nut me. Seriously, though, could you picture her in the moment where she beats the living shit out of her abusive husband?! I want to see Jessica Chastain kick the living snot out of a man that tries it on her. There, I said it. Let her be the badass we all know she is. She’s perfect, Sophia Lillis wants her to do it, and damned if that wouldn’t be good cinema.
Dan: Jessica Chastain. Literally everyone walked out the first one saying Chastain would make the perfect Bev. Nuff said, true believers.
Talicia: I would be fine with Jessica Chastain, but I’d like to throw in another contender just to make it interesting: Alexandra Breckinridge. She’s played roles that would definitely suggest her ability to be vulnerable, sensual, and badass, per Bev’s character. In the book, Bev continues her cycle by marrying an abusive man and is working up the nerve to leave when she gets the call from Mike. Breckinridge played a similar character in The Walking Dead. Bev is also described as being naturally sexy. It’s not something she’s deliberate with, but she’s aware that men are drawn to her. Breckinridge played a similar character in the first season of American Horror Story. Granted, Bev has to toughen up by the end of the film, but I think Breckinridge could do it, and it would keep with my theme of actors not well-known for their big screen roles.
Erin: Chris Pratt. Pratt’s proven two things: that he can shed weight, and that he has the dance moves in spades. Now given, I like Parks and Recreation Pratt (there is nothing sexier than a belly), but I think he could pull off some of the wounded baggage of the formerly heavy kid that the role would require. Ben grows up and transforms himself, but he’s still goober Ben underneath it all. I’d cry watching Pratt, as a successful adult that’s come so far from being the chubby kid who got picked on, seeing his dream girl Bev for the first time in years. Pratt’s effective when he gets misty. And you know that they’re going to do something with boy bands. Could you picture that man busting a move to 5 Seconds of Summer? I think Pratt would be up for it.
Dan: Chris Pine. While he’s known for more blockbuster action roles, Pine has an excellent sense of humour and drama. Having most recently seen him in Wonder Woman, he plays the sort of awkward hero very well. While Ben isn’t the hero, I can see Pine bringing the emotional gravity of a guy who, to paraphrase the book, never lost the weight in his mind. I can see him playing off the strong Bev very well. Plus Pine is firmly in the Warner family after being the male lead in their only critically successful DC film. I can see him having the adult revelation with Bev about his poem being played perfectly with the right amount of heart and humour.
Talicia: Yeah, you know what? Chris Pratt would be an awesome choice. Ok, then. Moving on.
Erin: John Francis Daley. Daley is one serious looking dude. There’s good reason why he was so good as Sweets on Bones – he can pull off mature beyond his years. Daley is the right age range, and he’s also a bit skittish. He’s not a buff action hero, which is fantastic for adult Eddie. This is a man who’s spent years dealing with a beyond clingy mother. Eddie’s got some great moments of fear and bravery in this section of the story, and I think Daley would translate those emotions and reactions well.
Dan: Zak Wood. After seeing him play Jared/Donald in Silicon Valley, and a few other roles, he has the look that reflects who Eddie becomes. While he’s one of the shorter Losers as a kid, him being a very tall, thin adult would play into the fact that while he’s phyically changed, he’s internally the exact same terrified kid. Plus, if they keep his imposing wife from the book that would play off the two different body types very well.
Talicia: I admittedly didn’t finish the book and have a vague notion of the guy who played Eddie in the miniseries. The actor was always “that guy” that I noticed popping up in roles here and there playing the “dweeb” (Fade to Black). I’m sure there are a number of character actors who could assume the role, but the kid Eddie in the new version isn’t really a weakling. Sure, he’s paranoid and jittery, but it was played off more as a kid trying to maintain some sense of control in his own life despite his smothering mess of a mother. In the book, Eddie managed to own a successful limousine business and put some of his painful past behind him. That makes more sense for a kid desperate to control his own destiny. To me, Henry Thomas conveys that mixture of intensify and self-doubt. Plus, he’s already appeared in another Stephen King adaptation earlier this year (Gerald’s Game) which would tie in the whole Stephen King universe together with familiar faces.
Erin: Justin Long. Hear me out on this one: Long has the voice and the comedic chops to pick up where Finn Wolfhard left off. It makes sense that Richie grows up to be a sarcastic comedian with a knack for impressions. I hold a candle for Long’s comedic abilities, but there’s something else here: it’s the voice, and the ability to display fear. Long’s voice has a gravel-like quality that sounds like someone who is running away from something and throws up impressions to hide behind. There’s a lurking fear that someone is going to figure out that there’s a scared boy behind all of the wisecracks. I can’t picture anyone else doing this role justice.
Dan: Chris Pratt. While others may pick him as Ben because of his own transformation, I feel he’d make a great Richie. He has the comedic styling for it, plus it’s fun to think that’s who Finn Wolfhard grows up to be. Pratt has the chops to pull off the thin layer of sleeze that Richie has as an adult, and seeing him do the voices could have great potential. It’ll be interesting to see what they make his future career, as radio DJ and whatever the fuck he was doing in the 1990 miniseries don’t have the same prestige. I could see him as maybe being a sitcom star or a rising stand up comedian. Maybe an SNL-type actor.
Talicia: Justin Long is not a bad idea! He’s got some horror cred already with his turn in Tusk. To be honest, Richie is a bit of a blur for me. Yeah, he’s supposed to be a smart-ass comedian, who uses his humor as a mask for his vulnerability (sort of the definition of a comedian). Just for giggles, I wonder what would happen if they cast an actor like Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny…) or James Roday (Psych) just to see what they can do with a dramatic role? My money would be more on James Roday, but you never know.
Erin: David Oyelowo. My biggest reason for this casting choice stems from how the man can manage to anchor a scene just by standing there. He doesn’t need to bust into theatrics – he just needs to be in the room. That’s Mike. Mike is that glue. Mike has spent his life observing and gaining knowledge and making connections. Mike is smart. And if we’re going to have a smart, steadfast man running Derry’s library, it’s going to be Oyelowo holding that set of keys.
Dan: Chadwick Boseman, riding high on great roles in Get Up On This and 42, along with his current Marvel role. Boseman would make a great Mike: he has a strong history of playing the outsider they make Mike in part 1. With him being the librarian in part 2, I can see him getting the thirst for knowledge part of Mike down to a tee. His performance as Jackie Robinson in 42 showed he can play a character who has overcome the abuse levelled at him to show his abusers that he’s better.
Talicia: Mike was a character seriously shortchanged in the updated It adaptation. It’s his character in the book that relates to the other Losers and the read the nature of the evil that lurks in Derry, and it’s his family’s history that provides the clearest illustration of the mythos of It. Adult Mike needs to have that gravity of an old soul who knows the truth. David Oyelowo can do that. Good pick, Erin!
Erin: Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Oh this one would break my damn heart, because Gordon-Levitt is skilled. This is not a huge role by any means – it’s a two-day shoot, unless if there’s a prolonged section of “what have they been up to” factored in. Still, Stan is an effective role, and I’d love to see how Gordon-Levitt would tackle it. Bonus casting: I want to pair him with Mayim Biyalik or Sarah Silverman as Stan’s wife, Patty. If you’re familiar with the source material… Patty makes me cry every time. I want to hug Patty and tell her it’s going to be okay. Part of me still hopes that after the whole business with It, Patty found someone and had the baby she so desperately wanted. I think Stan would have wanted that for her.
Dan: Bradley Cooper. It’s a Warner Brothers film and he’s their boy. Plus I feel he’d do a one-scene cameo, if for no other reason than people saying, “Was that fuckin’ Bradley Cooper slitting his wrists at the start?”
Talicia: Going with another long shot mainly because I want to see what unlikely actors can do. Plus, I have this theory that comic actors have the best dramatic chops. They are usually the ones that surprise you because they make their bones playing the clown. But comedy is born from pain, and comic actors can often cross that bridge to gut-wrenching heartache. Enter Glen Howerton, another It’s Always Sunny… alum. He may or may not be able to make that crossover, but he does look like the grownup version of the child Stan in the It remake.
Erin: Tom Hardy. Tom is an abusive piece of work, and I think Hardy would nail the part. Start him off as the handsome, charming husband of Bev, then have him quickly show his dark side when he thinks no one else is looking. Plus, he and Chastain work well together. Simply put, I will pay double to watch Chastain beat the ever-loving crap out of Hardy. Nothing against Hardy, but between watching that AND knowing that they genuinely get along… the outtakes alone would be fabulous.
Dan: Josh Brolin. While Tom in the book isn’t played as older, Brolin can bring a menace to a role that can really terrify an audience. The brooding anger he has brought to several roles shows that can be a truly scary villain. While he is playing Thanos in the Marvel movies, this is a different kind of bad guy. I hope if they include Tom they bring some resolution for Bev to that story because the book has that plot line just stop dead with no real ending.
Talicia: Going to pull another one from Westworld, which gives away what I’ve been watching lately. For Tom, I can see Ben Barnes slipping into that role. In Westworld, he plays opposite Jimmie Simpson’s character as his soon-to-be asshole brother-in-law. Barnes also portrays a chief antagonist in Netflix’s iteration of The Punisher. He’s a more overt psycho in Westworld, but in both shows, depicts that charismatic, yet abusive guy that I can someone like Bev marrying.
Erin: Bryce Dallas Howard. Yes, she’s another Hollywood redhead, how original. Audra is basically Hollywood Bev. There’s a great gag about how people always mistake Howard for Chastain, but that’s not the sole basis of my decision. It’s Howard’s performance in Black Mirror. One episode, yes, but Audra’s always struck me as that movie star that’s just slightly out of touch with reality, that’s married to her work, with no kids and a martini in one hand, looking fly as fuck in a tailored outfit. Howard can pull off fantabulous and scared in the same breath. I’d like to see what she can do.
Dan: Bryce Dallas Howard, aka I Am Not Jessica Chastain.
Talicia: I’m going to have to pass on this one. I don’t know anything about this character (see: didn’t finish the book), and I know Olivia Hussey played her in the TV miniseries. I can’t say if that was ideal casting or not, as in the series, she seemed as if she could have been interchangeable with anyone.
Erin: Lin-Manuel Miranda. Adrian’s murder is what really draws the Losers back to Derry. The scene in which he’s killed in the book is a rich portrait of a man I’d like to know. He’s someone who pushes buttons and isn’t afraid to be himself. He displays sass and fear and humanity in the short time we get with him. I’d love to see Miranda as Adrian because I think he could pack all of that emotion and background information into the short time we get with the character. He’s that good. Yes, both Miranda and Adrian.
Dan: Wyatt Russell. After having seen him in a fair few roles over the last couple of years, I firmly believe Russell can play anything. From the dumb jock in 22 Jump Street to the thrill-seeking gamer in Play Test, to the villain in Goon 2 (side note: Goon 2 is fucking awesome). He can bring the guy in and with love in the town of Derry. It’s a small but key role and Russell would nail it.
Talicia:I barely remember this part. This was a character that had a very brief appearance in the beginning of the book and seemed to exist mainly to personify the violence against gay people in the 80s. This character would definitely need to be better drawn out and I wonder what they would do with a homosexual character that would have gone through puberty in the 80s and 90s, but lived most of his adult life as a gay man in present-day. It’s still a perilous time for LGBTQ… in fact, more so due to the backlash from the hard-right conservatives who resent society’s embracing of those they deemed “undesirables”. That could make for a timely portrayal of a man who was beginning to enjoy his freedom to live openly as himself only to come up against a violent push-back from the close-minded denizens of Derry. That’s actually an effective metaphor for a virulent evil that comes out to feed every 30-odd years. I don’t have an actor in mind for the role. But I, too, would like to see something more with this character.
Erin: Jason Statham. Yes, it’s goofy, but if Bowers makes it to this round after what happened in Chapter 1, I want Oyelowo facing off against someone who is bald, who has done time in a poorly-run mental institution, and who looks like a killing machine. I don’t need someone to recite Shakespeare. I need a good fight sequence with someone who looks like he’s out for blood. Statham doesn’t even need to talk. In fact, it’s better if he doesn’t.
Dan: Danny McBride. After taking some more serious roles in the last few years, I think McBride could bring a lot to this role. He could easily slip into the bluster and insanity of an older Henry Bowers, as he often plays characters who are disconnected from their physical reality. I see Henry as an older guy who’s not in shape and is existing in this world within his own head were he’s still that kid trying to best the Losers. McBride in his roles in Vice Principles and Eastbound and Down has shown he can play characters who are giants in their own heads but very ineffective physically.
Talicia: Henry was a psychopath who’s now done time in a psych ward for the criminally insane. It made me think of the Netflix series Mindhunter and the actors they chose to portray the real-life serial killers being interviewed by the FBI profilers. While I don’t see a “Henry Bowers” from that cast, they effectively portrayed the disturbed, sadistic creatures that would also have to be evident in Henry. There are probably a number of actors who could do “psychopath” effectively, but I’m curious as to who will portray the serial killer at the heart of the upcoming series, The Alienist. The character in that story is also vicious, disturbed, and has no problem preying on children. And while the characters of It will not be children anymore, Henry was the stuff of their childhood nightmares. In my mind, whoever plays that role in The Alienist, may also make for a terrifying Henry Bowers. I realize this is cheating, but at this point, I’m thinking of similar characters and am more concerned with an actor that be effectively scary…whoever that might be.