Exclusive: Director Andy Muschietti Talks ‘IT’ [Video]

When in doubt, sing it out. That’s director Andy Muschietti’s motto, the karaoke master at the helm of the deeply disturbing ‘IT’ update out this Friday, September 8.

He lets his mostly-teenage actors make choices and take risks, which pays off big time on screen. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at improvised lines while also terrified to my core. Muschietti sat down to tell us about his process, and to hint at the film’s very dark opening sequence. I seriously haven’t gotten over that scene.

Your actors said across the board that you let them make choices. What was it like working with such young actors?

A: It was great. All of those kids are so talented. It’s scary. It’s a little scary. It was just a magnificent experience. And yes there were moments of talking hours and hours of talking about the characters. Talking about how they’re related. What each of them is relating to with their character. And there was a previous need for me to find actors that share DNA with their characters. Cause I really want to bring them to life, being a bunch of characters that I love so much and I a book that I love so much. So there comes a point where you start knowing how each of the kids work, what their fortes are. Part of bringing that group to life was sometimes giving them the freedom to go for it and improvise. And there’s a couple of scenes in the movie that are the product of improvisation. Some of the funniest moments. For those who didn’t know, this movie is also fun.

It is. I laughed a ton. Sometimes it doesn’t feel right…like should I be laughing?

A: You need those moments of levity.

What can you tell me about that gruesome opening scene?

A: Pretty intense! It has a lot to do with doing justice to the spirit of the original story. Stephen King doesn’t hold back. It also has to do with the introduction of the character. When introducing a character that is supposed to be scary, the worse thing you can do at the beginning of the movie, the better. I won’t tell you what that is but it’s pretty bad.

I was told to ask you about karaoke.

A: It’s the best. It’s one of my favorite activities. I managed to drag the losers and their parents to multiple karaoke sessions. Cause I have the need to humiliate myself in front of an audience.

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