It Chapter Two director explains how the film lives up to its frightening predecessor
The nightmare continues for the Losers’ Club when It Chapter Two hits theaters today. EW chatted with director Andy Muschietti ahead of the film’s release to find out what fans can expect from the sequel to 2017’s It.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Do you feel like you have more resources this time around, after the success of It Chapter One? How did that change things?
ANDY MUSCHIETTI: There’s two groups of Losers. [The movie is] bigger in terms of scope and size. I could get more things. I was pretty limited on the first one, so I had to basically bite my tongue and just do the best with what I could. This is a bigger movie; I still have limitations, because of course it doesn’t matter the budget that you have, it’s always less than you want. But in general I feel more comfortable than the first one. I have more toys. Tools.
What would you tell people to expect from this film? You’re taking the rest of the book, but you’re adding to it as well.
I think people who love the first one will love the second one. The emotional journey is probably doubled. The stakes, they are doubled. It’s a movie that plays in two timelines, and so it plays with nostalgia a lot, even more so than the first one. My aspiration is that you engage emotionally with the Losers as 40-year-old people, and you remember them as they were, with all the feelings of loss and love and nostalgia that happens in the story. Unlike the first one, this [movie] deals with the fear that people have in their adult life, so I think people will relate a lot with what the Losers are going through.
What scares an adult that’s different from what scares a kid?
I think Stephen King said it, but being a child is learning how to live, and being an adult is learning how to die.
Learning how to let go.
It’s about change; it’s about fear of accepting the things that you don’t like in life. Fear of death, fear of depression, fear of exposure, of accepting your identity, fear of going crazy, fear of mental illness. Fear of death is at the bottom of it. This is basically the fear that these people carried through 27 years. That’s why they didn’t change. That’s why I think It is a deeper story, because basically it talks about trauma, the traumatic experiences that are engraved in our souls. If you don’t face them, then they consume your spirit and your soul. That’s what’s at the bottom of It. In this second [film], you see some relapsing. Fears that you think the Losers overcame in Chapter One actually got worse.
It’s a very grown-up thing to want to solve a mystery or understand a tragedy. Is that part of being a grown-up Loser, figuring out what actually It is?
The journey is about understanding yourself. That’s what’s great about the story, because you might think that it’s about understanding It to overcome your fears, and it’s ultimately about understanding yourself and overcoming and facing your own fears. So it really doesn’t matter what It is, because It only preys on your insecurities. And It is of course a metaphor for fear itself. That entity doesn’t exist in real life, except for what you give it.
Does Pennywise change because of the fall at the end of It Chapter One? That’s the first time It feels fear.
That makes [the creature] have an insight, but it doesn’t make him a better person! [Laughs] It just makes him worse. He basically wants revenge. It makes him angry. He’s not a learning creature.
It Chapter Two