How the new IT movie cleaves closer to the classic horror story
Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard opens up on why the adaptation of the Stephen King novel floats above its former screen incarnations – even if it does leave one crucial thing out…
The new movie adaptation of IT comes to the screen facing a hefty weight of expectation, with the Bill Skarsgard-starring horror film having to live up to both Stephen King’s classic novel AND the Tim Curry-starring small-screen adaptation from 1990 that left a generation of children nervous around clowns.
However, the new film’s star Finn Wolfhard (best known for playing Mike in Netflix’s similarly-themed 80s horror Stranger Things) isn’t too worried about all the comparisons – because he thinks the new production actually cleaves much closer to King’s novel than the miniseries ever managed.
“I think the differences from the miniseries are that it didn’t focus... it sort of jumps back a lot, it jumps back and forth,” Wolfhard – who plays Richie – told RadioTimes.com.
“So you don't really get enough time to really feel bad for these kids, or really get into it. I think it just jumps back and forth too much.
“And this movie, you just have a set story – you're on the same characters the whole time. And you've got a better understanding of the story.”
However, Wolfhard did admit that he hadn’t actually managed to read the novel, which does have some parts (including the more graphic and sexual content) cut from the finished film.
Wolfhard as Richie in the new movie version of IT
“We all sort of tried reading the book, but then we realised it was way too long at the time,” he explained.
“We didn't really want to copy off the book, off our characters. It was really more of an organic thing.”
And of course, another major change in the new movie from King’s novel (and the miniseries) comes when about half the book is excised entirely. The latter half of the tale sees the “Losers Club” of children including Richie returning to their hometown of Derry as adults to finish off the demonic clown they first clashed with in their youth. While this portion is absent from the film, there are plans for this portion of the story to be told in an upcoming sequel.
And sadly, this will necessitate casting new actors to portray the children as adults – unless the filmmakers are willing to wait the book-accurate 27 years until Wolfhard et al are old enough to pick up the story once more…
“I mean if they were to do it, you'd do the adults – but it'd be great if they asked us back!” Wolfhard said when we put this idea to him.
“We don't know really anything yet, but yes, that'd be incredible. To have another summer like we did.”
Still, if there was someone else taking over the role of motormouth Richie, Wolfhard says there’d be no hard feelings.
“I'm so excited to see – if they do this, I'm so excited to see who they cast. It's my dream,” he said.
“IT's a horror movie, but if you don't like horror movies you'll like it because it's not just a horror movie.
“It has a lot of comedy, a lot of drama, and a lot of romance. I think it all – there's different layers to the movie, and I think that's why it's important for people to see it.”
Sounds like plenty more people will be running away from the circus hereon out.
IT is released in UK cinemas today