IT: Chapter Two is coming to theatres on 6 September and we’re preparing our bodies to be petrified all over again. The horror sequel is almost three hours long and will see the Losers Club return to defeat Pennywise once and for all.
If you’re already familiar with Stephen King’s novel IT, you’ll know all about the brutal opening scene that is included in the movie. A gay couple is viciously attacked by a group of teens on their way home from a carnival in Derry, Maine. The gang then throw one of the men from a bridge into a river. The hate crime is traumatising enough but then Pennywise shows up and pulls the man out of the water, before biting into his lifeless body whilst his horrified boyfriend looks on.
The crime is never addressed in the movie and didn’t feature in the miniseries in 1990, but the event is actually based on the tragic story of Charlie Howard, a gay man who was killed by a group of teens in King’s hometown of Bangor, Maine, in 1984. IT: Chapter Two director Andy Muschietti said it was “important” that the graphic scene was included in the movie during an interview with Variety.
“It was very important to me because of its relevance” he explained. “I probably wouldn’t have included it if it wasn’t in the book, but it was very important for Stephen King. When he wrote it, he was talking about the evil in the human community. He was talking about how dark humans can get in a small American town”.
“For me, it was important to include it because it’s something that we’re still suffering. Hate crimes are still happening. No matter how evolved we think society is going, there seems to be a winding back, especially in this day and age where these old values seem to be emerging from the darkness.”
Both of the men in the movie were actually played by gay actors. Adrian Mellon (the man who is killed) is played by filmmaker Xavier Dolan, while his boyfriend is played by Taylor Frey. Jessica Chastain, who plays the grown up Beverly Marsh in IT: Chapter Two, said it was hard to talk about the scene “without crying”.