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IT 2017

IT Director Talks the Advantages of an R Rating

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Chances are, just about everyone reading this has seen Tommy Lee Wallace’s 1990 TV miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel IT. Starring Tim Curry in arguably his most iconic role as Pennywise, IT terrified audiences, drew huge ratings, and made an entire generation afraid of clowns.

As enjoyable as the IT miniseries is though, it’s not without flaws. The budget was quite low, leading to some really dodgy looking special effects, such as the awful stop-motion spider at the end. Broadcast TV content standards got in the way too, preventing some of the greatest scenes from the book from getting adapted.

Both those problems shouldn’t exist for director Andy Muschetti’s upcoming theatrical re-adaptation of IT, set to hit theaters on September 8th.

The film is a wide-release Warner Bros. production, so money likely wasn’t an issue. Also, the film has received an R-rating, meaning that blood, gory violence, and bad language should all be fair game.

During a recent interview with the French magazine Mad Movies, Muschetti discussed the advantages offered by an R-rating. Here’s what he had to say.

This is an R rated movie. I’m very happy about that, because it allows us to go into very adult themes. Each ‘loser’ knows a situation of despair, on top of the terror of It and the fear of heights. Beverly’s case is of course the worst, because it’s about sexual abuse on a minor. But each kid is neglected one way or the other. Bill is like a ghost in his own home: nobody sees him because his parents can’t get over Georgie’s death. Of course, Ben is bullied at school. We don’t know much about Richie’s personality, because he’s the big mouth of the group. But we suppose he’s also neglected at home, and he’s the clown of the band because he needs attention. Long story short, there’s all sorts of difficult situations, and we had the chance to tell them in a movie that faces directly those conflicts. In particular, the families of the young actors were very open-minded, so we could tell the about subjects that are normally very touchy.”

From our very first discussion with the people from New Line, it was understood that the movie was gonna be rated R. Of course it was already crazy that they started a story revolving around the death of children. But if you aimed for a PG-13 movie, you had nothing at the end. So we were very lucky that the producers didn’t try to stop us. In fact it’s more our own moral compass that sometimes showed us that some things lead us in places where we didn’t want to go.”

IT2017 stephen king adaptation

Expanding on the idea of their own moral compass sometimes telling them when they’d gone too far, Andy’s sister – and producer – Barbara Muschetti said the following:

To tell everything, you won’t find the scene where a kid has his back broken and is thrown in the toilets. We thought that the visual translation of that scene had something that was really too much. But for the rest, we removed nothing from our original vision, and we didn’t water down the violence of any event. We believe the fans will be thankful to us for keeping that aspect of the novel in the movie. Well, for now, none of the people who saw the screenings left the theater! I got to say we escape a lot of objections thanks to the context of the story, since it’s the kids’ fear that feed the monster.”

So rest easy IT fans, it doesn’t seem like the Muschettis plan to hold anything back with their new adaptation. Well, okay, we all know one infamous scene they probably won’t include, but really, who on Earth would want to see that? I know I wouldn’t. Ewww.

Thanks to Facebook user Auguste Pagliaccio of The Losers’ Club group for translating the quotes.

Stephen King's IT (2017) trailer - Pennywise Submerged