‘IT: Chapter Two’ Casts Indie Fave Xavier Dolan in Pivotal Role
Director Andy Muschietti has assembled an exceptional ensemble of stars to play the grown-up members of the Losers Club in IT: Chapter Two, but he’s not done just yet. The upcoming sequel to last year’s horror hit has just landed a pair of actors for two supporting, but crucial roles — including indie filmmaker and actor Xavier Dolan, who will play the most heartbreaking character of all in a brutal scene that we were sure wouldn’t make it into the sequel.
According to Deadline, Dolan — the director and star of films like Mommy and Tom at the Farm — and Will Beinbrink (Free State of Jones) have been cast in IT: Chapter Two, which is currently gearing up for production. Beinbrink will play the role of Tom Rogan, Beverly’s abusive husband, which lends some additional weight to her arc in the sequel. But Dolan’s casting is the more interesting news here, as he’ll be playing the small but incredibly crucial role of Adrian Mellon.
Stephen King’s original novel opens with the death of Mellon — a young, gay man living in Derry, Maine in the ’80s. In the book, Mellon is attacked by a group of men who hurl homophobic slurs at him and his partner, Don Hagarty, before tossing Mellon off the side of a bridge and into the canal (which, it’s noted, has been defaced with homophobic graffiti). He survives the attack, only to come face to face with our old friend Pennywise the Clown, who viciously murders Mellon, heralding the evil entity’s return to Derry.
As Muschietti’s film is set in the ’80s and the Mellon scene is meant to take place in “present day,” I assume the setting will be pushed ahead to 2018-ish.
Given Hollywood’s track record with cutting LGBTQ characters (and scenes in which characters discuss their sexuality) from its major films, this news is somewhat surprising — though the sequence in question is far from pleasant, it’s still a pleasant surprise, since it seemed likely that of all the scenes in King’s novel, this would be the most likely to get cut in the adaptation. But it’s a vital scene; not just because it establishes Pennywise’s return, but it helps to underscore the idea that evil spreads like a virus, especially in a small town like Derry, where the very essence of violence has become cyclical. There’s a reason why Pennywise keeps coming back.
Dolan’s casting isn’t entirely out of left field, either: He directed fellow Chapter Two star Jessica Chastain in the long-delayed The Death and Life of John F. Donovan. (Her part was ultimately cut during Dolan’s lengthy re-editing process.) And after the release of the first IT, Dolan praised it as his “favorite film this century”:
IT: Chapter Two stars Chastain as Beverly Marsh, James McAvoy as Bill Denbrough, Bill Hader as Richie Tozier, James Ransone as Eddie Kaspbrak, Jay Ryan as Ben Hanscom, Andy Bean as Stanley Uris, Isaiah Mustafa (aka the Old Spice dude) as Mike Hanlon, and Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Clown. The sequel will hit theaters on September 6, 2019.