Slowly but surely, the sequel to Andy Muschietti’s 2017 Stephen King adaptation sensation It is coming together. New Line began its casting on a high note in February, recruiting Jessica Chastain to star as an adult Beverly Marsh. Now, Bill Hader and James McAvoy are in talks to join the It: Chapter 2 cast, as well, as Variety reports.
McAvoy and Hader are in talks to play the adult versions of Bill Denbrough and Richie Tozier, who were played by Jaeden Lieberher and Finn Wolfhard, respectively, in the first film. Muschietti will return to direct the Gary Dauberman-scripted sequel, set 27 years after the events of the first installment, in which Bill, Richie, Beverly and the rest of the Losers’ Club took on Bill Skarsgård’s chilling antagonist, a demonic supernatural force that manifests as Pennywise the killer clown. Chapter 2 will see the adult Losers returning to their hometown of Derry, Maine, decades later for a climactic showdown with Pennywise.
Variety’s sources stress that Hader and McAvoy are in the early stages of negotiations, and that the film’s script is still being worked on. Those are two (well, three) of the many balls that are still in the air for the sequel: For instance, Muschietti has said he hopes to have the first film’s young actors return for flashbacks in the follow-up, but that’s not yet a sure thing. And there are still quite a few grown-up Losers to cast, including Chosen Jacobs’ Mike Hanlon, Jack Dylan Grazer’s Eddie Kaspbrak, Wyatt Oleff’s Stanley Uris and Jeremy Ray Taylor’s Ben Hanscom.
Interestingly enough, the kids of 2017’s It were asked by EW and MTV News who they would cast as their adult selves last summer, and they named some familiar names: Wolfhard picked none other than Hader to play grown-up Richie, while Sophia Lillis chose Chastain as adult Beverly. Lieberher suggested Christian Bale, but surely McAvoy would make a more than capable substitute. Other picks included Chadwick Boseman as Mike, Jake Gyllenhaal as Eddie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Stanley and Chris Pratt as Ben.
Hader currently stars in rookie HBO comedy Barry, which was renewed for a second season earlier today. His comedic background, which includes a successful stint on SNL and roles in Superbad, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Trainwreck, makes him a fantastic choice to depict the wise-cracking Richie. McAvoy will next appear in Glass, the sequel to M. Night Shyamalan’s surprise 2016 horror hit Split, and he’s led Fox’s X-Men franchise in recent years, serving as a dependable central presence in his role as a young Charles Xavier.
It was a record-breaking box-office smash, reeling in over $700 million worldwide—including more than $327 million in the U.S.—against a production budget of only $35 million. The film became the highest-grossing horror movie of all time and is the top-selling home video release of 2018 so far. It’s only fitting the studio would bet big on a star-studded follow-up.
Production on It: Chapter 2 begins this summer—an IndieWire report published Thursday quoted producer Roy Lee as saying the film starts shooting this July in Toronto—ahead of a Sept. 6, 2019 release. Read our thoughts on what went right for the first film here and see where it landed on our list of last year’s best movies right here.