James McAvoy Describes Pennywise Nightmares at 'IT' Panel

Conan brought the cast of 'IT' to Comic-Con, Speckels Theater

July 18, 2019

Lines snaked down the street and around Horton Plaza last night as Comic-Con fans gathered to catch a sneak preview of 'IT' hosted by Conan at the Spreckles Theater downtown. 

The informal panel included Jessica Chastain (Beverly Marsh), James McAvoy (Bill Denbrough), Bill Hader (Richie Tozier), and director Andres Muschietti. Bill Skarsgard (Pennywise), did not attend.

The evening opened with the unreleased movie trailer - a bloody, pulse-pumping bit of horror that left even the naturally pale Conan blanched with fear. 

"That was a f*@#ing good trailer," said Conan, "I mean, I've been presenting and pretending that trailers are good for, like 20 years, and that one was actually really f*#@ing good!"

In addition to the trailer, the audience previewed clips from the movie, which even the cast present had not had a chance to watch. The clips included the adult characters' Derry reunion at the Jade of the Orient Chinese restauraunt. Only one of three clips faithful to the original movie. 

The scene went like this: after a long absence from Derry, the grown members of the "losers club" reunite for the first time, unleashing a flood-gate of feel-good memories and, at the end of the eventing, remembering the shared trauma of Pennywise. 

Hader is brilliant as adult Richie. He takes the bright moments in the otherwise dark film and makes them shine like a flood light, giving the plunge into horror an even greater height to fall from. 

Without giving away any spoilers, the remaining two clips were completely original to the reboot. Bill, still hauted by his inability to save little brother Georgie, Bill is given a chance to redeem himself. Entering a fun-house, hall of mirrors we watch Ben face-off against Pennywise in an attempt to save another little boy.

The final clip of the evening gave viewers a glimpse of the final showdown between the Losers Club and Pennywise.

When asked by audience members whether bringing 'IT' to life had affected them psychologically off-set, McAvoy confessed that Pennywise had followed him off the screen in the form of reoccuring nightmares. He described one dream in particular where the clown lay side-by-side with him in bed coaxing him to wake up while trailing his fingers along the length of McAvoy's spine.

"I just kept telling myself, 'Pretend to be asleep! Pretend to be asleep! But we've all been there right?" McAvoy turned to cast mate Jessica Chastain for reassurance. "No!" she screamed, sending the audience into peals of laughter.

When asked what movies the cast felt might be completely off-limits in the age of reboots, Hader offered up another Stephen King classic, "The Shining," while Chastain concluded that "Rosemary's Baby" is something that should never be redone. 

Contesting the opinons of his cast mates, Hader used his own kids as an example. "While 'Rosemary's Baby' is a classic, shot in a visionary style, I don't know if ten years from now I would have much luck convincing my kids to dust off the DVD player to revisit it." Rather, he suggested, the remaking of classics was a way to introduce them to new audiences. 

The opinion, while unpopular with the crowd, is a solid and pragmatic spin on the slew of reboots hitting movie screens everywhere.