By now, you’ve probably seen the trailer for the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It, and if you are anything like me, you still haven’t quite recovered. Coming out Sept. 8, the 1980s horror classic will get a modern reboot with a whole new gang of Loser’s Club kids and a new terrifying Pennywise. What should we do during the wait until fall? Let’s look at some It trivia from the book, the 1990 cult classic miniseries and the upcoming feature film.
Stephen King originally abandoned It and literally had to move to start writing it
King wrote a first draft of the book in 1980 right after finishing another classic of his, Firestarter. The story completely drained him, and he didn’t pick the draft up again until almost a year later. Not only that, but he felt like he had to move in order to even start the book, so he relocated his family to Bangor, Maine, which inspired him to really conceptualize the novel.
King was also struggling with a drug and alcohol addiction during this period, and has said in interviews that he doesn’t remember much of what he wrote in the mid ’80s because he was often high while writing and drunk while revising. It was finally published in 1986 shortly before the writer got sober for good after a family intervention.
Both the book and the 1990 miniseries were runaway hits
It was the 10th best-selling novel of the 1980s, selling 1,115,000 copies by 1990. One million hardcover copies were printed for its original release in 1986, at the height of King’s popularity.
When ABC ran the two-part four-hour miniseries in September of 1990, 30 million people tuned in to watch the premiere, making it a major success.
Every person in the Losers’ Club is an outsider
Each of the seven members of the Losers’ Club have something about them that separates them from all the other kids and makes them an outsider: Bill stutters, Ben is overweight, Bev is a tomboy, Richie has thick glasses, Eddie has asthma, Mike is black and Stan is Jewish.
Bill, the protagonist of the book and the leader of the Losers’ Club, seems to be based loosely on King, as the character grows up to be a famous horror writer.
The book was an omnibus for King
King has called It “the summation of everything I have learned and done in my whole life to this point.” His longest book, the story hits on many of King’s favorite themes, including coming-of-age stories, lurking evil, evil as place and 1950s classic monster tales. The book, like King’s earlier novella The Body (which was adapted into the movie, Stand by Me), is also heavily influenced by King’s own childhood experiences (minus the horrifying clown).
Tim Curry was not excited to take the role of Pennywise
Tim Curry was so terrifying as Pennywise the evil clown that everyone avoided him on set — and he was praised by critics for his work in the role. But originally, the actor didn’t want the part at all. Curry had just finished playing Darkness in the movie Legend, and he was reluctant to do a film that involved hours of makeup work. However, director Tommy Lee Wallace let Curry wear less makeup for the role since his portrayal was so terrifying to begin with.
It is King’s longest (and heaviest) book
It clocks in at 1,138 pages and a hefty four pounds. Maybe put it on your Kindle.
The town of Derry is based on Bangor, Maine
King based the creepy fictional town of Derry, Maine, on Bangor, Maine, where he moved to complete the novel in 1979 and where he still owns property today. King said, “I thought that the story, the big story that I wanted to write, was here. I had something fixed in my mind about bringing together all my thoughts on monsters and the children’s tale ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ and I didn’t want it to be in Portland because Portland is a kind of yuppie town.”
Once in town, he started collecting local histories and tall tales, which would end up in It: “I asked everybody for stories about places that caught my attention. I knew that a lot of the stories weren’t true but I didn’t care. The ones that really sparked my imagination were the myths. Somebody told me… apparently you can put a canoe down into the sewers just over across from here at the Westgate Mall and you can come out by the Mount Hope cemetery at the other end of town… This same guy told me that the Bangor sewer system was built during the WPA and they lost track of what they were building under there. They had money from the federal government for sewers, so they built like crazy. A lot of the blueprints have now been lost and it’s easy to get lost down there.”
The book has a very controversial sex scene
Even the biggest fans of the book and its adaptations are torn about what to think of the, um, climactic sex scene in the book in which the male members of the Losers’ Club take turns having sex with the female member, Beverly, while lost down in Derry’s sewers after going after Pennywise. It’s her idea, and it’s not quite as weird in the writing as it is in describing it, but it’s still pretty weird since they are 11 and 12 years old at the time and have just defeated evil. The scene is not in the miniseries, and we’re going to take a safe bet that they’ll skip it in the theatrical release this fall too.
In the book, Pennywise isn’t even mentioned for 500 pages
Yep, it takes a lot of time for King to get around to naming the monster of his own book. The kids don’t discover Pennywise until almost halfway through the tome. Of course, before that, they just call it “It.”
The 2017 adaptation has been in the making for years
The new 2017 remake was first announced in 2009 and originally set to be directed by Cary Fukunaga with Will Poulter as Pennywise the clown. However, by the time the film went to production in 2015, Andy Muschietti had taken over as director and Bill Skarsgård had taken the role of the evil clown. The new movie was originally going to be a two-part film, though it’s now unclear if that is still the case.
Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike Wheeler on Stranger Things (which many see as a Stephen King tribute), will play Richie Tozier.