As the hour of Pennywise's big-screen appearance creeps closer, Stephen King's Constant Readers are left wondering which parts of the book the IT remake will cover. In an interview with Collider on Monday, director Andres Muschietti confirmed that the IT movie will include that "gruesome" child murder scene in the novel's opening — but with a catch.
Spoiler warning: This article may spoil some parts of Stephen King's 1986 novel IT, as well as the 1990 miniseries and the 2017 film adaptation of the same name.
The series of events in IT begin with the murder of little Georgie Denbrough, the kid brother of hero Bill, in the late 1950s. Georgie dies when the paper boat Bill has made for him falls into Pennywise's sewer. The clown — by far the most infamous face of King's nebulous, otherworldly villain — rips off the boy's arm, leaving him to bleed to death in the street. Later, the monster uses Georgie's voice and visage to taunt Bill.
In the 1990 miniseries, It murders Georgie on screen, but the gory details were left mostly up to the imagination. In his interview with Collider, Muschietti says the scene in his movie is "pretty gruesome." In a critical twist, the IT director says that Georgie's reappearance in Bill's life will call the events of that opening into question:
[I]n this story, there is no confirmation that Georgie is dead. He’s attacked by Pennywise, and he’s missing an arm, and he tries to get away from the sewer, like he’s dragged into it again, leaving a trail of blood, but his body is never found. And that’s what prompts Bill, that’s basically Bill’s motivation in the story, is finding Georgie alive.
That isn't the only major deviation Muschietti's film will take from the source material, however. King's novel contains one scene so infamous that anyone who has read IT will know exactly what you mean when you begin to talk about "that scene."
At a critical moment in the novel, the preteen members of the Losers' Club become lost in the sewers. Although they don't know it yet, this is the last time they will ever all be together. In order to mend their fracturing group and hopefully find their way out of the sewers, Bev suggests a radical plan: that the six boys in the Losers' Club have sex with her, to cement their bond.
It's impossible to deny that that scene in IT deals out copious amounts of squick. Even the most ardent King fans can agree that it's an unnecessary scene, and although there's something to be said for the Losers' transition from childhood to adulthood, the way it happens — and the way King goes on and on about it — may be the most horrifying aspect of the novel.
Thankfully, Muschietti's film adaptation will follow in the miniseries' footsteps by not including the infamous group-sex scene from IT. Instead, the director says, he has substituted a blood oath in its place:
[T]he group sex episode in the book is a bit of a metaphor of the end of childhood and into adulthood. And I don’t think it was really needed in the movie, apart that it was very hard to allow us to shoot an orgy in the movie so, I didn’t think it was necessary because the story itself is a bit of a journey, and it illustrates that. And in the end, the replacement for it is the scene with the blood oath, where everyone sort of says goodbye.
Andres Muschietti's IT movie remake hits theaters on Sep. 14.