As It continues to rake in money at the box office, Andrew and Jun can’t help but wonder what the sequel will be like. They know it takes place 27 years later, so that means when the beloved Losers return, they’ll be well into adulthood. That said, the two of them decided to have some fun with this High-Low Report by fan casting actors to play the adult Losers. After significant debate, they came to consensus picks for each Loser. Read on for an in-depth look at their recommendations. These recommendations are based on their takes on the film and Stephen King’s novel, both of which will be openly discussed. There will be no spoiler tags this time around, so reader discretion is advised.
It the novel opens on the adult Stan, so it feels appropriate to cast him first. He actually commits suicide to kick off the proceedings, so the humor in casting either Sean Bean or Jeffrey Dean Morgan was appealing due to their history of often playing characters who meet early demises. However, it all boiled down to casting someone with significant inner demons. The adult Stan differs immensely from young Stan. He has a self-assuredness that makes him immediately likable. The moment when he learns that It has returned, that all unravels and we are left with quite the gory final image: Stan in a bathtub, wrists slit, having written “It” on the wall in his own blood.
For adult Stan, we pick Eli Roth. He has a strong screen presence and – based on his scene-stealing role from Inglourious Basterds – has the ability to flip an emotional and psychological switch. This would play well with not only a potential suicide scene, but also the infamous head in the refrigerator scene from the miniseries should it appear in the sequel. While he probably won’t get a lot of screen time, Stan needs to leave an impact on the psyches of both the audience and the other Losers. Roth’s history of gore-horror brings additional subtext to potentially gruesome scenes.
Let’s turn our attention to a character that will hopefully have a major role in Chapter Two: Mike. The young Mike (Chosen Jacobs) felt short-handed in terms of character depth due to a number of creative liberties the movie took, and while this probably means the sequel has a lot of legwork to do to flesh out the adult character, casting an actor with gravitas would definitely help. Mike, being the only Loser to stay in Derry, is the one who interviews the town’s citizens and researches its history, offering an in-depth look into It’s distressing, centuries-long activities. That said, in looking at actors such as Lennie James and Jeffrey Wright, we sought someone who can not only seem wizened, but older and more tired compared to the other Losers.
Our pick for adult Mike is none other than Sterling K. Brown, best known for his roles in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and This Is Us. The actor exudes a quiet authority that his co-stars naturally respond to, and there’s also a subtle integrity and warmth to his performances that would be incredibly effective as Mike not only brings his fellow Losers up to speed, but also interacts with Derry’s townfolk to gather information helps the Losers in their final standoff with It. What’s more, playing adult Mike would present a wonderful opportunity for Brown to really make his mark on the big screen since he’s mostly known for his performances in television.
Next up for the Losers is Richie, everyone’s favorite motormouth. With Finn Wolfhard wonderfully doling out humor like candy in the film, it’s necessary to cast someone who would showcase that same kind of energetic and magnetic personality, especially since adult Richie is a radio DJ in the novel (whether this is retained in Chapter Two remains to be seen, though it’s safe to assume that he will have some kind of role in show business). Andrew’s choices included the likes of Woody Harrelson, Matthew Perry, and Vince Vaughn, while Jun suggested Bill Hader, whom Andrew vehemently shot down; he thinks the actor is unlikable and goes out of his way to avoid almost anything he’s in.
After a long time of throwing actors’ names at each other, we finally found someone who would naturally fit the role: Bradley Cooper. The actor is no stranger when it comes to providing comedic relief, but we believe that he can make the character more than just that based on his dramatic roles. Cooper can also highlight the way Richie’s humor works: sometimes it’s meant to be authentically funny, and other times it deflects attention away from his discomfort – a dichotomy that Cooper should be able to impart. Plus, he’s capable of bringing out the best from his fellow co-stars by building upon their chemistry, and that was key in choosing our pick for one particular Loser…
Let’s have a look at Eddie. In the book, he comes off as very timid with the occasional outlier scene where she shows his strength. However, the way he was portrayed by the excellent Jack Dylan Grazer showed us a more energetic portrayal that made him a great foil to Richie. It’s vital that whoever plays Eddie as an adult compliments our Cooper and creates a similar back-and-forth rapport that we experienced and loved in the first film. Additionally, an OCD tendency would play well with adult Eddie given the character’s burgeoning hypochondria enabled by his mother. We initially thought that Charlie Day would be an appropriate pick given his mannerisms, but after further consideration, the two of us decided that his acting chops lack a necessary subtlety, and that would potentially create a conflicting mood with a more serious storyline in the second chapter.
Adam Brody is our pick for adult Eddie. While he may not be the ideal Eddie given the source material, he would step in nicely as a bit of a worrywart and snarky naysayer to Richie’s larger and more vocal personality. He also has a controlled enough presence on screen such that we wouldn’t have to worry about his potential banter with Cooper pulling away from the overall tone. And say what you will about The O.C., he had plenty of moments showing a spine when it was necessary for his character. Brody is a great choice to represent the idea of wary courage and has proven to be a great “butt” of jokes in most of his roles without succumbing to endless needling. Richie and Eddie together should provide some youthful comic relief to a group in grave circumstances without taking away from the serious nature of the film.
It’s time to cast adult Ben! The lovable Jeremy Ray Taylor made a terrific young Ben; not only did he fulfill the character’s physical description in the novel, he also effortlessly brought out the goodness and sweetness that It fans love about Ben. The adult Ben still bears those personality traits, though since childhood, he has changed physically, shedding weight and becoming quite good-looking. Though Chris Pratt has come up in many a fan casting, there’s a sardonic or snarky streak to him that could get in the way of the character’s genuine purity. In addition, it’s imperative to cast someone who can give off an almost-boring, “aw shucks” everyman vibe. Matt Damon was a suggestion that came up, but he fell by the wayside when one particular actor was name-dropped and become our grand slam.
That actor is none other than the reliable Patrick Wilson. Ben’s physical transformation would be easy to buy by just looking at him, and he would have no problem imparting the loneliness that surrounds adult Ben when the novel introduces him. If you’re not convinced, check out his performance as Dan Dreiberg / Nite Owl in Watchmen, and you’ll find shades of what adult Ben could be like. While Ben finds many successes in adulthood, he treats it all with grace and humility, not letting them get in the way of him looking up to Bill when the Losers reunite; these are traits that Wilson can definitely pull off.
We’re really at the meat and potatoes of the Losers Club at this point and it’s now time for us to discuss Big Bill. One of Andrew’s biggest gripes about the film’s Bill is his singular focus on finding Georgie – even at the expense of the Losers Club. In the book, he ties this group together and while he is forced into leadership, he leads in such a way that the Losers gladly follow. Whether it was driven by director Andy Muschietti or Jaeden Lieberher’s performance, the movie did not portray Bill’s quiet strength, and finding someone who can was important for us. Additionally, a contrast between Ben and Bill was vital for our casting. As they age, it is Ben of the Losers Club who becomes the looker of the group. While Bill’s leadership and charisma continue to be apparent, he has since balded, and the visual contrast between the two characters and their roles make for an interesting dynamic. We wanted someone who would come off as a bit haunted given the history of Bill and who can play a reluctant but effective leader. We tossed around Adrien Brody and Corey Stoll, but both of them lacked a certain “goodness to the core” feel that we thought would do the Bill we know justice.
At the end of the day, Mark Ruffalo is the man we envision as adult Bill. There are few out there who can play the complexities that come with Bill’s backstory – the guilt, the pain, the burden – while also maintaining his kind heart. Ruffalo has shown a range in his career with emotionally stirring, nuanced performances. If Stephen King is in the details, then these details will be brought to life by a man who has made a career off of subtleties in his performances. There are no doubts that when Bill needs to make tough decisions, he can do them while displaying the type of empathy and purity that we see emanating off the pages of the novel. He will also do an excellent job juggling the emotional conflict that his love for Beverly will create with both Ben and Audra (Bill’s wife in the novel) – which leads us to our final and most important casting based off of our interpretation of the first film.
Last, but certainly not least, is none other than Bev. Brought to life by a magnetic performance from Sophia Lillis, she was easily the most compelling Loser in the film. Due to a few creative liberties the film takes in adapting her for the big screen, this Bev is a bit of a wildcard for the sequel. The filmmakers make a wonderful decision to elevate and empower young Bev, allowing her to resist and rise from the violence and sexual abuse she endures from her father. The novel’s Bev doesn’t really do that until later in her adulthood, as her husband Tom often beats and forces her into having sex with him. Considering where the film leaves her, it’s difficult to imagine the sequel following the novel in this regard, so as far as we know, Bev’s adulthood is up in the air. That said, we wanted to cast an actress who can not only embody the spirit of young Bev, but also deliver a confident and well rounded performance regardless of the material. Andrew liked Christina Hendricks, but admitted that she fit the novel’s Bev more and was his second choice. Both he and Jun really had only one actress in mind.
Really, who can say no to Jessica Chastain, and what needs to be said about her abilities? She’s hands down one of the best working actors right now, and any filmmaker can count on her to go above and beyond in order to turn in a compelling performance. She’s no stranger to Muschietti, having starred in his 2013 horror film Mama, and it’s been reported that the director – along with his sister and producer Barbara – wants her in for the sequel as Bev. No matter what adult Bev is doing or where she is when Chapter Two begins, Chastain is definitely capable of taking the material, elevating it with her intelligence and screen presence, and building a great chemistry with her co-stars.
That may be it for the Losers, but the fun doesn’t end there! See, when casting for adult Bev, we had ideas for who can play Audra. Now, whether or not she will show up in the sequel is unknown, but we’d like to believe she will. The reason why we’re casting for Audra along with adult Bev is because in the novel, it’s mentioned multiple times that Audra looks strikingly similar to Bev, with Bev being slightly taller and voluptuous. Had we gone with Christina Hendricks for Bev, Andrew would have liked to see Heather Graham in the role, and he also weighed the possibility of Evan Rachel Wood. In the end, we settled on Bryce Dallas Howard, who should be great as Audra. Plus, there’s the subtext of people mistaking Chastain and Howard for each other, which has amused the two friends.
That concludes the High-Low Report’s first foray into fan casting! Originally, this was going to be a section in the It High-Low Report, but Andrew and Jun agreed that it should be its own thing, and they had plenty of fun with it. If it turns out that all of their recommendations are cast in their respective roles for the sequel, MediaBrewPub would like to assure you that they’re not psychics; the results of Jun’s last batch of Oscar predictions say as much.