Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I apologize for all the IT coverage you've been bombarded with today, but I can't help myself. This set visit was just full of gold for a big Stephen King nerd like me, so I pretty much dumped everything from that day on the set in your laps.
Finally we're at the last of the cast interviews, a threefer with Jaeden Lieberher (Bill Denbrough), Sophia Lillis (Beverly Marsh) and Finn Wolfhard (Richie Tozier). That gives us chats with all the members of the Losers Club. Not bad, eh?
Now, there's a callback to another interview in this one. My first interjection is a crazy left field joke question jumping off of something Wyatt Oleff said in his chat about Jaeden not having a soul. It becomes a bit of a running gag throughout the interview. Here's proof Wyatt said it so you don't think I'm just being a dick!
Since this was a group interview I made sure to mark my questions (they begin with “Quint”, the rest begin with “Question”) so you know full well which ones I embarrassed myself with. Enjoy!
Question: So, how's everything been going?
Finn Wolfhard: It's been amazing. It's definitely the most intense shoot I've ever been on, but it's definitely been the most fun.
Question: Now that it's kind of coming to an end, what are your thoughts about wrapping it up and what are the main things you're going to be taking away from the entire experience?
Sophia Lillis: This has been the biggest shoot I've ever been on and I just have to say this has been the most fun and I'm definitely going to miss these guys.
Finn Wolfhard: Yeah, I think as far as taking away from this, we all learned a lot from the director.
Jaeden Lieberher: I'm definitely going to miss everyone, all of us being together, but we'll definitely see each other after this somewhere, somehow. It's just been a really great movie to shoot and I'm happy that we were all a part of it.
Question: This movie has a lot of intense scenes and lots of gory stuff going on. What's it like on days when you're shooting that, like having Pennywise right in your face and something terrible happening in front of you or to you? Is it interesting on set those days?
Sophia Lillis: Yeah. (laughs) I think that's actually the most fun. I love doing that part.
Finn Wolfhard: It's super fun. It's very surreal to think “Okay, I'm going into work today and there's going to be four dead bodies in the water.” It's like, oh cool... this is my job and this is my life. Those are probably the most fun scenes to film, in terms of trying not to crack up even though this is the most serious thing you can imagine.
Question: What's the difference between doing this movie and something like Stranger Things?
Finn Wolfhard: Um, well this is a fun set, obviously, because the whole cast is made up of all kids, so I think there's definitely a takeaway from that. I mean, there are some scenes that are very intense and testing. I showed up to work one day and we were doing that scene with Wyatt (Oleff) and I had to cry and physically I could not stop crying. Everybody just got really quiet and were like (whispering) “Let's just roll.” They rolled and it was one of the most uncomfortable thing I've ever had to do in my life, but it was amazing.
Question: Weren't you cast in the original incarnation (when Cary Fukanaga was directing)?
Finn Wolfhard: Yeah.
Question: What was the transition like between the two directors?
Finn Wolfhard: They're obviously different, but they're similar in the sense that they knew exactly what they wanted to do.
Question: Did your character change from one to the other?
Finn Wolfhard: No, Richie's always been the same, ever since the book. There's some similarities to the book and there's other stuff they added because some of the stuff that we said in this movie you can't say in the '50s.
Quint: So, Jaeden. Wyatt said that you have no soul. Do you care to comment?
Jaeden Lieberher: No comment. I don't have a soul. That's why I'm an actor. (totally dry delivery)
Finn Wolfhard: Wait! Is there any context to this?!? What's the context?
Question: Wyatt said Jaeden was the only one who didn't cry in that big scene.
Finn Wolfhard: That's true! Everyone was balling and Jaeden was just like (stone-faced). I think for that scene he definitely looked like he didn't have a soul, but it's meant to be like that because he's in so much shock and he's letting everything wash over him.
Jaeden Lieberher: He's trying to be the strongest one there.
Finn Wolfhard: But to answer your question, no, he doesn't have a soul.
Sophia Lillis: I didn't know about this. I wasn't there.
Finn Wolfhard: Sophia doesn't, either. None of us have souls!
Quint: One of Bill's defining characteristics is his stutter. I assume that continues on in this adaptation.
Jaeden Lieberher: It does.
Quint: How tough is that for to do it and not sound like a caricature of someone who stutters?
Jaeden Lieberher: It's very interesting. It's different from anything I've ever done. I'm actually enjoying it a lot because, as I said, it's very different. It's a little tough. Sometimes my stutter can go out of control. Now sometimes I find I'm stuttering not on purpose, but on accident.
Question: For each of you, are there similarities between you and your characters?
Sophia Lillis: Yeah. The first thing I do when I audition is I get into the character and try to find something similar to me. (Bev) tries to be strong. I actually really like this about her; she doesn't care what anybody else thinks about her. She's an outsider and I can see myself in her there. In reality she's a kind person who just wants to be with a group of friends.
Question: What about Richie? He's the wise guy of the group and always finds something funny to say, even in the most dire situation.
Finn Wolfhard: I'm very similar to him in the sense that when I'm nervous I do tend to crack jokes that don't make any sense whatsoever. I think Richie's a more heightened version of myself.
Question: What about Bill?
Jaeden Lieberher: I'd say I'm like Bill in that I'm less of a jokester, but The Losers Club has definitely taken...
Finn Wolfhard: A toll on you.
Jaeden Lieberher: I'm definitely more... I wouldn't say funny, but I'm more loud than I was before, but I'm more quiet, like Bill. But I can yell at everyone and be bossy, I guess.
Finn Wolfhard: I think we've rubbed off on him, which is really terrible. (laughs)
Question: Did you guys read the book or watch the mini-series ahead of time or did you want to base your performances only on the script?
Finn Wolfhard: I guess I'll answer first. I wanted to give as natural a performance as possible. I knew the characteristics of Richie and I've read passages about Richie, but I'm just starting to read the book now, towards the end of the shoot, because I wanted to give as natural a take on the character as possible. I mean, from the script it's a very good representation, but I'm starting to read the book now.
Quint: So, you're going to be reading it and go “Damn, if I had known this I would have played that scene differently!”
Finn Wolfhard: Yeah, that'd resonate with me, like, 20 years from now. Like, I'll be reading it again and be like “Gaaaaaah!”
Question: Is it surreal, though, reading the book and...
Finn Wolfhard: “Hey, that's my character!” Yeah, it's weird.
Question: What about Sophia and Jaeden?
Sophia Lillis: I've read most of the book. I read parts of the book before my audition with the boys where we'd see the (chemistry) we'd have together.
Jaeden Lieberher: I watched the TV series.
Finn Wolfhard: Oh, I did, too. I'm sorry, I forgot to say that.
Jaeden Lieberher: I think it's important to focus on the character and not try to be their character. You have to make it more natural and more human.
Finn Wolfhard: Yeah, you're not trying to copy their character. You have to have your own spin.
Question: We got to walk around Pennywise's lair and saw you shoot the scene where you're walking around the lair. Can you talk a little about shooting that scene and working in that space?
Jaeden Lieberher: It's a crazy set. That's basically Pennywise's lair and that's where we fight him, try to defeat him.
Finn Wolfhard: That's where we find Bev.
Jaeden Lieberher: Yeah, that's where we rescue Beverly. It's kind of amazing being in there with all the toys. You kind of feel there is a monster living in there and he has killed a bunch of children, which is a really good thing.
[Everybody cracks up]
Quint: That's exactly what someone without a soul would say!
Jaeden Lieberher: (laughs) Yes, exactly!
Finn Wolfhard: I think it's a great atmosphere to be in. There's also something I gotta point out. Have you guys been through the Barrens yet? The tunnels? We left a tunnel out. In the book there's one more. I'll just answer this now in case any of you were going to ask it, but one, we couldn't put that one in the movie because it would probably be illegal and two, it would be, like, a four hour long movie. It could work, but I don't think the studio would let us. It's a pipe full of sewage and I get pushed in there, so there's a full chapter of me in that pipe, but we just couldn't make it.
Question: In the original material Bev was one of the strongest members of the group. Is that dynamic similar in the movie?
Sophia Lillis: It is, in fact. It is. There are moments where I go ahead and take the action.
Finn Wolfhard: Bill and Bev are definitely the ringleaders of the group, but everybody gets a moment.
Question: What's it like being around these 6 boys all day?
Sophia Lillis: Oh, it's fine.
Finn Wolfhard: It's all good. She got used to it in the first week.
Sophia Lillis: I got numb.
Finn Wolfhard: That makes me feel really great about myself!
Question: Are you an honorary bro now?
Sophia Lillis: Hopefully not!
Finn Wolfhard: Bro! (Throws out a shaka)
Question: Wyatt did that, too. What is that? (attempts a shaka)
Finn Wolfhard: This? (Hook 'em horns/metal hand gesture). This? (Shaka). It's a Shaka.
Quint: Yeah, “Shaka, bra!”
Finn Wolfhard: Shaka, bra! Yeah, it's like a Hawaiian thing.
Jaeden Lieberher: We're all the same human being now.
Question: What was it like getting in the mindset of acting like you're in the '80s?
Jaeden Lieberher: It's not too tough. I don't think Andy wanted us to focus too much on being '80s. That wouldn't have been great in the film because when you look back on it it seems so unnatural. All '80s movies are terrible...
[All the reporters in the room go “Oooooo” at that statement.]
Jaeden Lieberher: But they're amazing, too. No, I love '80s movies!
Quint: (laughs) Read the room, kid! Read the room!
Finn Wolfhard: That was a very bold statement!
Question: Note to self: IT – one star.
Jaeden Lieberher: (laughs) No, I mean if they were made today they'd be bad. But we didn't want to focus on this being an '80s movie, but we did do some research and looked up some sayings and watched some movies.
Question: What are some examples?
Finn Wolfhard: There's one that we saw in a book that Barbara, the producer, gave us... it was a book of '80s sayings and one of them was “Schweet.” I've never heard of that in my entire life. Did people say “Schweet?”
[Most of us old people looked confused, but some said they remembered that. We agreed it must have been a regional thing.]
Finn Wolfhard: Yeah, but what Jaeden said. We didn't focus on being '80s kids, but a lot of me and Jack's scenes were improv'd and there would be jokes that would have been great, but they weren't period accurate. The best one was we were in Eddie's kitchen and I went over to his giant pill collection. There were just pills and pills and pills and I said, “What are you, Scarface?” People loved it, but they said we can't use it. It's not right for the time.
Quint: Scarface was mid-'80s. This is set in '89, right? That would have worked.
Finn Wolfhard: That's what I said!
Question: Did you get into the music of the '80s?
Sophia Lillis: I actually liked '80s music before.
Finn Wolfhard: Me too. We bonded over the B-52s. I think we all have a thing for '80s music.
Jaeden Lieberher: Cyndi Lauper's my thing.
Finn Wolfhard: Oh my God, there's a video that I hope we'll release in the next couple of years. It's a sketch where it's guys crying to happy '80s music. It's like a montage of fun Cyndi Lauper songs, but it's us just freaking out and going insane. I really hope we can release that.
Quint: Like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun?
Finn Wolfhard: Yeah, that's one of them! That was the first one and Jack (Grazer, who plays Eddie) is crying in the mirror, just going insane.
Question: Have you guys pulled any pranks on each other?
Finn Wolfhard: They took my phone one day and posted on my Instagram, which has a lot of followers now, saying that I love this person, but I really, really don't. I'm not going to name names, but they were like “I loooooooove him. Go follow him, please! He's my idol!” It was up for 5 minutes and had, like, a thousand likes. I deleted it. It was Jack and Jaeden.
Sophia Lillis: Tell them about Gustavo.
Finn Wolfhard: Oh, yeah! So, Jaeden came up with the idea that we'd write a crazy fan letter for Jeremy (Ray Taylor, who plays Ben) and put it in his trailer. We did... what did we say again? “Is it cool if I came to set? I'm already here in a hotel room, waiting.” It was really detailed. We put in a (phone) number and everything. It was super intimate.
So, we put it in his trailer, his mom played along with it for a little while, but then Jaeden gave it away. Jeremy was super freaked out and me and Jack were like “Oh, man. We heard. That's really creepy” and Jaeden was like (barely containing a huge smile) “Yeah, sooooo creepy.” He's so bad at it!
Jaeden Lieberher: I didn't want to ruin his day.
Finn Wolfhard: Oh, yeah. He was doing a big scene and Jaeden didn't want to ruin his day. It was nice.
Question: Aw, you have emotions afterall!
Finn Wolfhard: Yeah, he does have a soul!
Question: Has Bill (Skarsgard) played any pranks on you while in make up?
Finn Wolfhard: Yes! He played a prank on Jack on his birthday. Jack walked in and there were a bunch of red balloons and his mom was like “I think there's something in the closet for you,” and he opened it and it was Bill in his full make up and was all “HI!” He gave him a big hug.
It was super cool because honestly, I haven't seen Bill as Bill since June when we did the table read. I saw a picture of him on the producer's Instagram of him choreographing a fight and I was like “Oh wow, he is real.”
Question: What's it like interacting with him on set when he's in the full outfit?
Sophia Lillis: He's a really nice guy.
Finn Wolfhard: He's a total pro.
Sophia Lillis: It's kind of scary because you see him in his full make up and then he's like “Hey, how you doin'?” I was really confused!
Finn Wolfhard: He's such a pro and such an amazing guy. He's very cool. He's always making sure we're okay. He was never like “me me me.” He was always if we were okay and what we could do to help the scene more.
One day he was in make up from the head up, but he was wearing regular clothes. I was like, “Oh, hey! What's up?” He was like “What's up, dude?” “Cool, see ya' at work!” He had a coffee in his hand was like this (crosses legs) and was like, “What's up, dude?”
Question: Have you learned anything as actors watching Bill perform? Have you noticed any techniques he uses?
Jaeden Lieberher: He's so brilliant because he can be normal and be talking to you, but right before the take he'll go around the room, laughing like crazy and getting into character. It's very interesting to watch.
Finn Wolfhard: What's cool is he's super in tune with his body, so he knows what his body can and can't do. In this movie he does so much with his body. He's always flailing around. I'm not going to give away too much, but in the final showdown he has a little performance for us.
Question: We've asked this to some of your other pals, but if a sequel is made who would you want to see play adult versions of you?
Sophia Lillis: Ugh, I forget her name now...
Finn Wolfhard: For you? Jessica Chastain.
Sophia Lillis: Yes! Jessica Chastain.
Finn Wolfhard: Then for me, Bill Hader. I think it's a great choice, in my opinion. We don't know about Jaeden yet. We have no idea.
Question: Alexander Skarsgard?
Finn Wolfhard: (laughs) That'd be so amazing! That would just be the biggest F you to Bill in the world!
Thanks for putting up with the glut of IT stuff. I'm a bit obsessed with the book and channeled that into my coverage of this visit. I hope other Constant Readers out there enjoyed following along with all this nerdery!