Pennywise in IT movie

The 1990 IT miniseries was a relatively straightforward adaptation of Stephen King's upcoming novel, but the upcoming theatrical R-rated adaptation is taking a few more creative liberties with the narrative. For one thing, the Losers' Club's confrontation with Pennywise the Clown (played by Bill Skarsgard) as kids has been moved from the 1950s to the 1980s. And with that time jump also comes different perceptions, as IT director Andres Muschietti recently talked about how the fear these kids experience during the movie stems not from what they know about pop culture monsters, but the horrible things they've experienced while growing up. As Muschietti put it:

The story is the same, but there are changes in the things the kids are scared of. In the book they're children in the '50s, so the incarnations of the monsters are mainly from movies, so it's Wolf Man, the Mummy, Frankenstein, Dracula. I had a different approach. I wanted to bring out deeper fears, based not only on movie monsters but on childhood traumas.

The IT movie certainly looks likea more horrific affair than the previous TV adaptation, so it's fitting that the root of the fear comes from a more realistic source. Pennywise is still incredibly frightening, but as Andres Muschietti explained to Variety, the main things these children are freaked out by aren't the monsters they've seen in Hollywood pictures. The IT movie will place more emphasis on the traumas they've faced in real life and the mental scars left behind. In a way, that's an improved approach considering that the It entity can manipulate a person's deepest fears while preying on them with his shapeshifting abilities. So even though his demonic clown guise is scary enough on its own, it's how Pennywise can use those traumas to his advantage that makes him an indescribable terror.

Since the original IT novel is a hefty read, September's IT movie will only adapt for the first portion of the tale. A second movie is already in development that will adapt the second portion and reunite with the protagonists when they're grown up. Because Part 1 was moved to the 1980s, that means Part 2 will take place in the present day. Other than the shifted time period, it remains to be seen in what ways the second IT movie will differ from the latter half of Stephen King's book. But like its predecessor, presumably we can expect IT Part 2 to remain faithful to the source material, and we can also count on these characters being just as afraid of Pennywise as adults as they were as children.

IT scares its way into theaters on September 8. Be sure to also check out our comprehensive guide to see what other movies you have to look forward to during the remainder of 2017.

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