Recently, I had the chance to attend the 4th annual Scarediego event taking place at San Diego Comic-Con. Located at the historic Spreckels Theater, this year’s event was the talk of the town as the cast of IT: CHAPTER 2 would be on hand to talk about the upcoming film. It was quite apparent, from the three-block line that formed to get in, that the anticipation for the movie, being released in theaters September 6 from New Line and Warner Bros., was reaching a fever pitch of excitement. 

As we all packed into the theater, rumors quickly abound, with some saying that the movie would premiere there and others discussing who would show up for the event. The moderator for the evening was the one and only Conan O’Brien, an announcement that took me completely by surprise and made even better when Conan himself jokingly said, “I don’t even know why they asked me to moderate this panel.” Though we didn’t get to see the movie, fans were in for a real treat as the entire [adult] Losers Club were in attendance along with director Andy Muschietti. This included Jessica Chastain (Beverly Marsh), James McAvoy (Bill Denbrough), Bill Hader (Richie Tozier), Jay Ryan (Ben Hanscom), James Ransone (Eddie Kaspbrak), Isaiah Mustafa (Mike Hanlon) and Andy Bean (Stanley Uris). 

Kicking things off, Conan asked the cast what it was like working with Andy on IT: CHAPTER 2. Bill Hader remarked that is was great especially since he himself doesn’t do scared well. Hader went on to explain that he has a tendency to smile when he’s scared but that Andy made sure to keep him in line. Jessica Chastain, who worked with Andy on the 2013 horror film Mama, was quick to explain that she would happily come back to any project of his as she believes he is an amazing artist before jokingly saying that [Andy’s] kind of like an idiot savant. It was also revealed that there were close to 4,500 gallons of blood used in IT: CHAPTER 2, most of it which were used on Chastain. She went on to explain that the blood was only supposed to go to her collarbone but that she wanted it everywhere. As she put it, she wanted it to be “Carrie on steroids.” 

Though we don’t know how much interaction the adult Losers will have with their younger counterparts, the actors were encouraged to form a connection with one another. Andy Bean, who is a spitting image of Wyatt Oleff joked that his meeting with Wyatt Oleff was “contentious” and that it was like “looking at [his own] reflection.” He further went on to explain that upon meeting Andy, Wyatt stated that he had wanted Joseph Gordon Levitt to portray him as an older adult. As for Bill Hader, when he met Finn Wolfhard, the young actor gave him a framed photo of himself which Hader was quick to explain that there was no way he was going to put up a picture of a young boy anywhere. 

As animated and funny as our panel guests were, there was one noticeable absence. Sure, we had all the Losers together, but what about the demonic clown responsible for causing and instilling abject terror within our actors? Bill Skarsgard, who portrays Pennywise, wasn’t at the panel but that didn’t stop the cast from discussing the impact that he had on set. When discussing working with Skarsgard, James McAvoy stated that Skarsgard put so much into the performance that McAvoy was worried about him. Jessica Chastain had the most memorable introduction to Skarsgard as Pennywise when during the table read, Skarsgard yelled BOO in Jessica’s face, resulting in her jumping in front of everyone. One of my favorite stories is that from Bill Hader who mentioned that working with Bill Skarsgard was one of the best acting experiences he had and that Skarsgard freaked out Hader’s kids during a Facetime call, sneaking up behind Hader so that only the kids would see him. 

What I found to be the most important aspect of the panel was how genuine all the actors were with one another and how much of a fan they were of not only horror but of Stephen King. Isaiah Mustafa discussed that on set they would all talk about their favorite horror movies, which ranged from Evil Dead to John Carpenter films to The Exorcist. James Ransone also explained that he first read IT after watching the 1990 mini-series (also based on the book) and when he met King for the first time in Toronto he was taken aback by how he’s able to think and speak like he writes. As the panel came to a close, it was apparent that these actors weren’t just fulfilling a job requirement, instead, they had a real passion for what Andy was creating and a real love for the genre as a whole.

As for any exclusives, the audience was the first to see the brand-new official trailer (which ended up dropping the following day) as well as extended clips from the movie. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but there was one clip, in particular, that was a clear throwback to John Carpenter’s The Thing and as a massive fan of that film, I couldn’t help but feel giddiness and terror sweet through my body. I loved Andy’s take on IT (you can read our review here), but if these clips proved anything it’s that we aren’t ready for the absolute horror that IT: CHAPTER 2 is going to bring our way. IT: CHAPTER 2 arrives in theaters September 6.

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