James McAvoy has this unique ability to immerse into his characters, a trait possessed by very limited actors. Certainly, it is not an easy task to bring a character home and integrate with life. McAvoy has some mind-bending roles he played in his career including in M. Night Shyamalan’s Split, where he played the character of a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder having 23 alter egos, and of course, the other one as he admitted was, It Chapter Two.
For an actor, some things stay. McAvoy recalls his crazy and scary journey while preparing for his It Chapter Two role. Stephen King’s adaptation of the classic horror is indeed scary, as the killer clown played by Bill Skarsgård terrified the audience whenever he appeared on screen.
It Scared James McAvoy to The Bone
James McAvoy played the role of grown-up Bill, still haunted by the It. Andy Muschietti’s horror sequel further brings nightmarish chaos into the heads of the characters chasing Pennywise. McAvoy revealed that he read the Stephen King classics while he was young but went through the pages again before filming the movie. He said that it was not easy, as Pennywise terrified him in the next read. He recalled,
“When I reread It as an adult for the film, I actually had nightmares about Pennywise in a way that I never did as a child.”
But the actor is known for leaning toward sci-fi or fantasy film roles. Earlier, he appeared in Chronicles of Narnia and most notably, played the genius Professor with telepathic superpower, Charles Xavier in the X-Men films. However, with It, it is all different. King is a master of scaring people with his creation, but the depiction of the people around the scare in a small town has its own depth to the storytelling. McAvoy said,
“He’s writing about a small American town, he’s writing about death, he’s writing about growing old, growing up. And the movie is very much about that. You could argue the first movie is as much Stand by Me and Goonies and all those things as it is a horror movie.”
It Chapter Two follows the band of Losers as adults, as they return to Derry 27 years later and encounter more of the terrifying clown Pennywise.
James McAvoy on Playing Bill Denbrough
Fear is a motivating factor for the actor to play the role in the film, he revealed to RSNG Magazine.
“It was a freaky shoot and there was lots of freaky stuff going on and those images we had shot on the day would literally be coming back to haunt me during the night.”
“I’m not someone who gets scared easily and I read the book as a kid but it didn’t have the same effect on me as it did when I went back to it as an adult – I am being serious when I say that it left me with nightmares. I think it was because what I was reading was then being recreated in front of my eyes.”
Further, the Atonement actor said that Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal of Pennywise was incredible, appreciating his commitment to the character bringing out the darkest scare to the audience.
“What Bill (Skarsgård) does with Pennywise is really incredible. Yes, he is dressed as a clown and he obviously wears the scary makeup and a funny voice, but the level of commitment to the character and the sheer amount of effort he puts into it… it’s nothing short of remarkable. What he does is disturbing, just as he was in the first film”
McAvoy’s portrayal of his character in the film is also noteworthy, “I think that he’s so committed to the character, to the story, and something that I cannot value enough, which is his talent,” said the director. Muschietti further called the actor “a real trouper” when it comes to the physical stunt work.
The scare was well received by fans as the movie grossed over $473.1 million at the global box office.
McAvoy will appear in The Bullitts’ The Book of Clarence which is scheduled to release on 22 September 2023.
Source: Entertainment Weekly