Casting Call: The Adult Losers Club in the ‘IT’ Sequel
*WARNING BOOK AND MINI-SERIES SPOILERS AHEAD*
Man I can’t seem to get off (that’s what she said!) the topic of the IT film lately. Or should I say the first IT film because after 197 trailer views in only twenty-four hours, we are undoubtedly going to get a second film. While September’s release is the kids portion and is set in 1989, the second movie will be set in the present day and follow the Losers Club as adults. (Aside: I think IT: Return to Derry would be a good title name for the followup movie.) It got me thinking about who would be the ideal candidates to play the adult versions of Mike, Ben, Bev, Stan, Bill, Richie, and Eddie. The following is my dream list of who should play these beloved characters. I say “dream” because no way in Hell do I think all of these people would be interested, available, or affordable. But a fanboy can dream right?
Michael Shannon as Henry Bowers
Okay I know that Henry isn’t a member of the Losers Club. However, his fate and the fate of the Losers Club are intimately intertwined. After the Losers Club defeat IT for the first time, and Henry is driven mad by the creature, he admits to killing all the children and is promptly thrown in Juniper Hills Asylum. However, Pennywise’s reach knows no bounds and with assistance, Pennywise helps Henry escape as an adult to seek revenge. Michael Shannon could absolutely fit the bill of a demented sociopath bent on vengeance. He brings a boiling intensity to every role. And well…he’s Michael Fucking Shannon. If I’m director Andres Muschetti I’d just call and offer him the part now out of fear.
Amy Adams as Beverly Marsh
Of all the actors on this list, Adams is the one I would want the most. While Annette O’Toole was good in the original mini-series, she didn’t possess the stunning movie-star good looks that describes Bev in the novel. Well Adams is a movie-star, she possesses Bev’s lustrous red hair, and she’s stunningly beautiful. And best of all the five-time Oscar nominee is gifted as Hell. She could bring the vulnerability, strength, and fierceness that Beverly’s character embodies.
Jeremy Renner as Ben Hanscom
Of all the Losers, Ben undergoes maybe the most drastic changes emotionally, mentally, and physically from childhood to adulthood. The fat kid of the Losers Club eventually drops the weight and goes on to become a famous architect. Of all the Losers he’s also the most handsome, so it makes sense to cast a ruggedly handsome actor like Renner. The Oscar nominee could bring the warmth and quiet confidence that Ben possesses. Ben and Beverly’s romantic relationship is a central part of the novel too. Thankfully both Renner and Adams have already shown they have on-screen romantic chemistry in last year’s Arrival.
Jay Baruchel* as Stan Uris
Baruchel is known mostly for playing awkward, nerdy types in such films as Knocked Up and How to Train Your Dragon, however I think he’d be a great choice for the fastidious member of the Losers Club. Stan’s only qualification for Losers Club status was that he was born Jewish. There’s a guilt that permeates the adult Stanley and a desire to remain clean both literally and figuratively. In fact the Losers suspect it’s the reason he commits suicide after he’s informed by Mike Hanlon that IT has returned. As the novel states, when presented with a choice of dying clean or possibly dying dirty, he chooses clean.
Sterling K. Brown as Mike Hanlon
Mark my words: Sterling K. Brown is going to win an Oscar someday. In the last year he’s become a hot commodity, crushing it as Charles Darden in The People Vs. O.J. Simpson and on the hit television show This Is Us. Hanlon is the lone person in the Losers Club who stays in Derry and consequently he never forgets about the events of the summer of 1989 as the rest do. He’s the one that keeps the lighthouse burning, writing his own secret history of Derry as the town’s head librarian and patiently waiting for the return of IT. I’d love to see Brown in this role.
T.J. Miller as Richie “Trashmouth” Tozier
The star of Silicon Valley and Deadpool playing the resident smartass of the Losers Club? Man that’s like the day chocolate met peanut butter. Adult Tozier becomes a radio shock jock out in sunny California. I think Miller’s particular brand of humor would dovetail nicely with the character. But I also think he could bring the dramatic chops necessary for the role. Richie is one of those guys who hides behind humor but deep down is scared shitless. Miller could pull it off.
Simon Helberg as Eddie Kaspbrak
Known mostly for his role as engineer Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory, Helberg makes an ideal choice if for no other reason than he physically fits the bill. Eddie is a short, weak, asthmatic boy. Unlike Ben Hanscom, Eddie grows up to be…a short, weak, asthmatic man. Eddie also has Mommie issues, something Helberg’s character of Howard is well familiar with. Helberg could do this role in his sleep.
Ewan McGregor as William “Big Bill” Denbrough
The titular leader of the Losers Club, Bill is the only one that has a real personal stake in the matter, insomuch as Pennywise killed his brother. He grows up to be a horror writer (remind you of anyone?) and possesses a quiet and easy manner. Bill’s stutter is also a key component of his identity. McGregor has a proven track record for great performances (Trainspotting, The Impossible) and was hands down the best part of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. His height might be an issue as McGregor is only 5′ 10″ and the character is close to six and a half feet tall. Then again Richard Thomas played Bill in the mini-series and he’s only 5′ 9″. Either way I’d take talent over height any day. I mean after all Ashton Kutcher is 6′ 2″ so…
As I stated previously, in no way do I expect any of these actors to be cast for these roles. It’s just a wish list. And in all honesty I don’t think a bankable star necessarily needs to be attached to this film. After all, the most notable actor in the upcoming film*** is Finn Wolfhard** of Stranger Things. The rest are a bunch of no-names and based solely on the chemistry I see in the trailer, they look like they are going to crush it. Regardless, all I’m hoping for is a quality movie, solid performances from the actors, an appropriate tone, and for it to be scary. As long as the second part of IT accomplishes that I’m golden.
*Incidentally I highly recommend this interview that the Joblo movie podcast conducted recently. Baruchel is one of the funniest, most down to Earth, humble actors I’ve ever had the fortune to listen to. It’s refreshing to hear from someone who’s clearly not a Hollywood douchebag.
**Fun fact: Finn Wolfhard (who plays Richie Tozier in the film) was the only casting choice director Andres Muschietti kept when Cary Fukunaga left the project.
***Just occurred to me that if they wanted to do a stinger scene post-credits, it could go something like this: It’s night, Mike Hanlon is alone in the library looking at a list of the Losers Club names and their phone numbers. A balloon suddenly appears right next to his desk and pops. Mike pauses, looks at the list and reaches for the phone to dial the first name. I think I just gave myself chills.