Words: Steve Brown
Andy Muschietti on why he decided to include the homophobic hate crime in It: Chapter Two.
Fans of the Stephen King novel will remember that in the opening of the second half of the book, Adrian Mellon and Don Hagerty are involved in a homophobic hate crime.
The attack sees Adrian being beaten and thrown off a bridge where he is eventually devoured and murdered by the terrifying Pennywise The Clown while his partner looks on.
This spurs the Losers Club to return to Derry, Maine, to once again confront Pennywise and put a stop to his murderous ways.
King was inspired by a real homophobic attack on Charlie Howard in 1984 who was attacked by a group of teenagers, throwing him into three feet of water in a canal where he sadly drowned of an asthma attack.
The scene from the novel was omitted from the 1990s TV miniseries – which starred the legendary Tim Curry as Pennywise – but now director Andy Muschietti has included the scene, which stars Xavier Dolan and Taylor Frey as Adrian and Don respectively.
Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise in It: Chapter 2
While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Muschietti opened up about why he decided to include the scene and said it caused a ‘deep impact’ on King.
He said: “It was TV and they didn’t have the possibility of making a Rated R [movie] or anything.
“But, in my vision of the movie, Adrian Mellon was always there. The impact of that event in my mind was always very deep.
“For me, there wasn’t a choice for that. It’s one of the things that really caused a deep impact on Stephen King when he was writing 'It'.
“So, he decided to include it. Of course, the names are changed, but the beating happened almost exactly like it’s described in the book, and Charlie died in three feet of water in the canal.”
As well as including the scene, Muschietti has also made Adrian asthmatic, making a direct reference to the tragic death of Charlie.
“He was asthmatic, so that made things really worse,” he added.
“The thing I’m adding in the scene is that Adrian is asthmatic as well. For me, it was always an essential part of the story.”
Star of the scene Taylor Frey tells Attitude’s September Style issue – out now to buy globally and download to any device - how he had a “weird reaction” to the violent content it depicts.
It: Chapter Two hits UK cinemas on September 6.
Watch the trailer below: