The stories of Stephen King have never shied away from gruesome depictions of horror and violence, which can be said of many of the live-action adaptations of his works. The 1990 It mini-series, however, was made for a TV audience, prohibiting it from embracing the true terror of the source material. With a new series of adaptations of the story on its way, director Andy Muschietti explained why his R-rated approach to the story helped the film tremendously.
While speaking with French magazine Mad Movies (with a translation by The Losers' Club), the director revealed, "This is an R-rated movie. I'm very happy about that, because it allows us to go into very adult themes." said Muschietti.
Although the first film explores adult themes, it focuses on the "Losers' Club" as teenagers and how this group of friend formed an alliance together.
The director elaborated, "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," Muschietti notes. "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," Muschietti revealed of those early discussions. "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."
Muschietti's sister Barbara, one of the film's producers, assured fans they didn't have to tone down their original vision of the film.
She confessed, "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."
It will be in theaters September 8.