Chastain explains why her character is the strongest member of the Losers’ Club, and why it was so much fun shooting the terrifying pic in Toronto.
Jessica Chastain, Bill Skarsgård, Bill Hader, James McAvoy
September 6, 2019
There were nods of approval when it was announced that Jessica Chastain would play the grown-up Beverly Marsh in It Chapter Two, the sequel to 2017’s horror blockbuster It.
The strong resemblance between Chastain and Sophia Lillis, who played the teenage Bev in the first film, made it an obvious choice. Bev was the lone female in the Losers’ Club, a bunch of kids who are terrorized by Pennywise, an evil entity that takes the form of a really creepy clown.
“I think after he cast Soph, he sent me a picture of Soph and I together,” says Chastain on the line from an L.A. office on the Warner Bros. lot. “She looks a lot like I did when I was a kid, it’s really kind of uncanny. I don’t remember what he wrote, but it was like, ‘What do you think?’”
A not-so hard negotiator
Chastain had fun feigning her disinterest in the project, which is based on one of Stephen King’s most popular novels.
“I tried to play hard to get a little bit,” she says with a laugh. “I mean, I always knew I was gonna do it, but Andy had a screening of the first movie, and I came in and [Andy’s sister and producing partner] Barbara handed me a glass of red wine. I mean, it’s nice because they’re your friends and you’re playing hard to get. Like, they spoil you.
“And we sat and watched the movie. And within the first five minutes I jumped, and I spilled the red wine. I thought, ‘Oh, I’m in the power seat,’ and then I realized I wasn’t at all because Andy, with this terrifying film, had me scared out of my mind.”
Pennywise creeps back into Derry
It Chapter Two picks up 27 years after the events of the first film, in which the members of the Losers’ Club faced their fears and seemingly defeated Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård). But, just in case, they made a blood oath to reunite if Pennywise ever returned.
When the evil entity resurfaces and kills a local man (Xavier Dolan), Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), now the town of Derry’s librarian, calls his friends back. Bill (James McAvoy), Richie (Bill Hader), Ben (Jay Ryan), Eddie (James Ransone), and Bev, a survivor of abuse at the hands of her lecherous father, must fight through their terrifying childhood memories and once again battle Pennywise.
“The adult Bev’s been working in fashion, and I guess the demons of her past haven’t quite left her,” notes Chastain. “I mean, she’s still continuing an abusive relationship, and it isn’t until she’s reminded of her past that a flood of memories come back.”
But the thing about Bev is that she is, ultimately, the strongest member of the Losers’ Club.
“Why I loved the first movie so much is that out of all the Losers, Pennywise captures Beverly because she’s the one who isn’t afraid,” says the actor. “Her biggest nightmare is waiting for her at home. So, for her, she has this sense of fearlessness that the other characters don’t have. Of course, she’s still fearful because Pennywise is a really, really dark force. But it isn’t so much that the guys have to protect her because, in some sense, she’s in a situation where she has to protect them.”
The joys of filming in Canada
Like the first film, It Chapter Two was filmed in Toronto and the surrounding area, including the city of Oshawa and the town of Port Hope, Ontario. Chastain says she can’t get enough of shooting movies in Hollywood North.
“I think I’ve made seven movies in Canada,” she says. “I’ve made more movies in Toronto than anywhere else in my career. I love Toronto…. I find the city so incredible and it really feels like a home to me.”
What appeals to her?
“I love the food, I love the people,” she raves. “Canadians are super-nice. It’s not a stereotype, they are nice people, they’re raised right. I love the crews. The crews in Toronto are probably some of the best I’ve ever worked with in my career, and I've worked with many of them multiple, multiple times. And I love the drives outside of Toronto. I love Niagara. I love the butterflies at the Butterfly Conservatory.”
Why you should see it, according to Chastain
But enough of the feel-good vibes. We are going to see It Chapter Two because we want to be frightened. What does Chastain want audiences to feel after seeing the film?
“First, I want them to probably change their pants because they were so scared. They’re going to need to,” she says, laughing.
“Second, you know what would be nice? If the film helps you reconnect with your childhood self. You know, like the freedom of what it is to be a child and the joy of what that is. And maybe the friendships that you’ve had. That would be really wonderful.”
Share the terror! It Chapter Two is best seen in the dark with your screaming friends
You don’t want to watch this one alone. There’s strength in numbers, so grab your bravest group of friends and make the terrifying return trip to Derry together!