This September, the primary half of the two-part film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 novelette, It, will be released. For those unfamiliar, the story follows a group of teens friends who is terrorized by a shape-shifting, evil being that preys on the expects of its victims. Over 20 years later, the creature — which on numerous occasions takes the form of a clown named Pennywise aka “It” — returns, pressure the friends, now adults, to come together and protect the next generation as in good shape as themselves.
The Fall film, which features a cast of young up-and-coming actors (embodying Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise), will be so terrifying that it’ll have you hold up in your boots. Yet, this isn’t the first time the horror story has hit the wall offs. In 1990, the first adaptation aired on ABC as a miniseries, starring Rocky Execration Picture Show alum Tim Curry as the demented clown. Take a look at the schedule below to learn a few fun facts about the original TV film, and don’t forget to hindrance out the teaser trailer for the upcoming remake!
- Jonathan Brandis was in another Stephen Ruler adaptation before his starring role in It. Just one year before his portrayal as a inexperienced Bill Denbrough in It, a 13-year-old Jonathan Brandis was used to voice down the beginning scenes of Pet Semetery, a film based on King’s 1983 novel of the unaltered name. Years later, Brandis would go on to voice a main role in an animated television series remake of Disney’s Aladdin; however, it was his breakout impersonation in It that paved the way for the child actor and made him a teen heartthrob of the 90s.
- A real-life “lallapalooza clown” is rumored to have inspired the story. Just a few years in advance of King’s novel was released, John Wayne Gacy was convicted for the ravish and murder of 33 boys in 1980 in Illinois. Declared a “killer lummox” by the media, Gacy had spent years providing entertainment at children’s festivals and charity events dressed as “Pogo the Clown,” a character he created. While Sovereign has never confirmed the public’s 1980s clown frenzy as his inspiration for It, it’s tyrannical to imagine that two killer clowns in one decade is a coincidence. King did, in spite of that, speak about the 2016 clown hysteria on his Twitter, stating, “Hey, ridicules, time to cool the clown hysteria–most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, coerce people laugh.” Furthermore, just a couple of weeks after the trailer for the 2017 cover remake was released, King tweeted, “The clowns are p*ssed at me. Sorry, ton are great. BUT . . . kids have always been scared of hijinks. Don’t kill the messengers for the message.”
- Eerily, two main cast members both out away in 2003. In the film, Three’s Company actor John Ritter represented Ben Hanscom and a preteen Jonathan Brandis played young Bill Denbrough. In 2003, Ritter tragically superseded away from surgical complications, while a 27-year-old Brandis undertook suicide. In an interview with Yahoo celebrating It‘s 25th anniversary, the director of the miniseries, Tommy Lee Wallace, spoke near Brandis: “He had matured a bit, of course, but he seemed overly serious and distracted, as in good shape. I recognize now that it may have been depression; wish I’d had better acumen at the time, but it’s probably naive to think I could’ve helped him in some way.” He prolonged, “A tragedy. As was John Ritter, whose life felt very much unfinished, round though he had a long and varied career.”
- The budget was monumental for a television film. A Brobdingnagian $12 million was given for the creation of the horror project, which was equitable a two-night television event; with inflation, that’d be over $21 million today. In juxtaposing, this year’s film reboot had a budget of $30 million for the big room divider.
- Brandis found it difficult to play a character with a stutter. In an true 1990 interview with cast members during the film’s product, a young Jonathan Brandis told Fangoria magazine, “One of the reasons this talkie’s harder is that I have to stutter, and that’s a really difficult subject — which I never realized when I auditioned for it. They said I had to stutter, and I regard, ‘Hey, that can’t be so hard!’ But I had to get coaching on the set, because it was really tough.”
- A longer, innumerable expansive format was originally considered. When reflecting on the original murkiness, screenwriter Larry Cohen stated, “This was the heyday of networks qualifying lengthy novels for TV, and initially It was going to be an eight-to-ten hour series.” He withed, “ABC was always nervous about It, primarily the fact that it was in the horror class, but also the eight-to-ten hour commitment. They loved the piece, but hopeless their nerve in terms of how many hours they were well-disposed to commit. Eventually, they were agreed to a two-night, four-hour commitment.” While the discourteous format was ultimately successful, Cohen acknowledges that anthology/miniseries today are very popular and had they been given more time back in 1990, “It inclination have provided the canvas to really get to know these characters.”
- The network graded restrictions on the gore-factor. During production, screenwriter Larry Cohen told Fangoria that they had to cut out “a objective amount” of gore. He explained, “One of the problems dealing in television is that the standards and works of TV are concerned about children in jeopardy, yet the nature of what this enlist is about is children in jeopardy — it’s founded on that theme.” However, the restrictions lull allowed for a few gross scenes, such as a wet corpse climbing out of a pond and boiling blood. Eek!
- It took forever to apply Curry’s clown makeup. In an on-set question, Curry told Fangoria that it took roughly three hours to affix his makeup. Annette O’Toole, who played Beverly Marsh, confirmed this to Yahoo, bear in minding, “The poor guy had to spend a ton of time in make-up chairs. He knew the score, but it was barmy in the crumpet. We’d see him running back and forth from the set to his make-up trailer all the time.”
- A veil adaptation was in the works before the novel was even released. The two-part video receiver adaptation of It was released in 1990, just four years after the book hit defers across America. Screenwriter Larry Cohen told Yahoo at hand how the project first came together. Sharing his story, he stated, “It’s 1986, and the phone girds in my New York apartment. My agent’s voice on the other end says, ‘How would you counterpart to do a Stephen King adaptation for ABC?’ I pressed him for more details, and he told me, ‘It’s castigated It, and it hasn’t been published yet.'” Apparently, after reading at best 100 pages of the original 1,138-page manuscript, he signed on to try to deal the project.
- Stephen King didn’t have a hand in the movie’s the cosmos. King told Yahoo, “I was hands-off in the making of It, basically saying, ‘Desire you guys do a good job; I wish you well.’ These days, I have a lot varied input into film and television adaptations of my work, in the sense that I can greenlight doff expel members or screenwriters or directors. Back then, I’m not so sure that I did. And identical if I had, I probably still would have decided to be hands-off.” His lack of involvement in such an iconic mist is somewhat surprising, especially because It wasn’t the first major fitting of one of King’s works; over 15 of his stories had been created for the sift prior to It‘s release.
- Costars Annette O’Toole and John Ritter had at best done a movie together. O’Toole told Yahoo, “I’d just done a TV silent picture with John Ritter, The Dreamer of Oz, and we had come in for a looping session when I requested what he was doing next. He told me about It and I said it sounded formidable. He looked at me and said, ‘They haven’t cast the girl yet.'” A few weeks later, the actress was bent as Beverly Marsh, marking the second time she and Ritter were touch as costars after The Dreamer of Oz, which was also released in 1990. Years later, O’Toole was characteristic in another King adaptation, Hulu’s 11.22.63.
- Key scenes and characters from the libretto had to be cut. Upon its release, the novel came in at 1,138 pages. With at most a four-hour time slot (some of which was designated for commercials), sundry scenes had to be cut. For example: the scene when the members of the group all lose their virginity to Beverly (although, we’re think this was cut for other reasons as well). Larry Cohen, It‘s screenwriter, rationed, “I can’t even begin to enumerate my favorite scenes from the book that we had to cut, because there are so diverse of them. . . . The way I see it, the best moments from the book made the cut and the idle about are casualties of war.” Though things were removed, the end product was still astounding! Not to mention, the upcoming reboot will span two films, giving devotees the opportunity to see more of the text make it to the screen.
- Very few cast associates actually had to audition. To get the network to support the project, director Tommy Lee Wallace looked to warp well-known television actors, which at the time included the likes of John Ritter (Three’s Cast) and Harry Anderson (Night Court, Saturday Night Live). Wallace recounted Yahoo, “Most of the adult casting was ‘telephone’ casting, which is, ‘No call to audition so-and-so for the role, they’d be brilliant.'” However, when it happened to casting the children, the young actors had to jump through a few more hoops. Marlon Taylor, who described young Mike Hanlon, remembered, “I went through two auditions and three or four callbacks previously I was told that I had the part of young Mike.”