Okay! Continuing with our trend of recasting Stephen King miniseries, I present to you the new cast of It.
Oh, Tim Curry. You are so very, very hard to replace.
It is my very favorite Stephen King book of all time, and the miniseries they made in 1990 is . . . well, it’s interesting. On one hand, Tim Curry as Pennywise is fantastic. I mean, seriously—if this had been an actual movie, he would be one of my favorite horror movie villains of all time. But the rest of the adults are pretty godamned terrible, so Mek and I have taken the liberty of recasting them.
I know. Grown-up Bill is supposed to be bald. Well, so what? What’s more important to me is that Bill looks and acts like a leader. He’s that charismatic guy that everybody is drawn to. And Simon Baker can hold a lead. He’s certainly charismatic enough, and The Mentalist has proven that he knows a little bit about vengeance, too.
Unfortunately, The Mentalist has also proven that Simon Baker’s American accent is about as consistent as my ability to bowl, that is, not very. But that’s only in that one particular show. Everything else I’ve ever seen him in (Land of the Dead, Smith, LA Confidential), has been fine, accent-wise, leading me to believe that either The Mentalist has some shitty vocal coaches, or that after Simon Baker got his Emmy nod, he just gave up caring. That will not be the case here. We will have an awesome vocal coach team, comprised of whoever’s helping Hugh Laurie on House and whoever worked with Colin Firth on The King’s Speech. This is not an age for bullshit stuttering. I expect Simon Baker to sound like he actually has a stutter, not like some guy just reading the letter ‘T’ over and over again.
And if it is a problem of motivation . . . we’ll, we’ll just lock Baker in a box with screaming fanfiction writers until he gets his act together.
Isn’t it about time that Mark Pellegrino finally gets to play an unequivocal good guy? He’s a fantastic villain, of course, but he must get bored being the bad guy (or at least the guy with possibly nefarious motives) all the time. God rest John Ritter—I love the man in Stay Tuned—but he may be the very worst Ben Hanscom I could possibly have imagined. It’s not entirely his fault—there’s really no way to turn, “I used to be a fat,” into a hot come-on line—but his acting is pretty damn terrible.
Mark Pellegrino, on the other hand, is a strong, dramatic actor with a penchant for (or at least an agent who likes) genre work. He would be excellent in the awesome drinking scene that they horribly eviscerate/mutate in the 1990 miniseries, and he has a quiet sort of intensity that I like for Ben.
With two Oscar nods under her belt, Amy Adams is probably a little above and beyond the TV horror miniseries that I’m imagining, but . . . fuck it, that’s why they call it a dream cast, right? Check one: she’s a redhead. Bev has to be a redhead—this is far more important than Bill being bald. Check two: she’s a great actress, and while I’ve seen her in primarily cheerful roles, I firmly believe that she could be both tough and vulnerable, the way Bev needs to be.
And the scene where she’s attacking her abusive husband, Tom? Yeah, hopefully that would be a touch more kickass than it was in the miniseries.
Richie is my very favorite character in It, and while I have vague recollections of enjoying Harry Anderson in Night Court as a child, I despise his portrayal of Richie in the miniseries. Richie is funny and smart and talks too much for his own good, sure, but he’s not a slimy, neurotic asshat who constantly wants to abandon his friends and get back to his bullshit life in LA.
I did consider Seth Green for awhile, considering that he played young Richie in the original miniseries and, as he’s easily the best of all the child actors, he might still be a viable backup. But, somehow, I just didn’t quite see him as adult Richie. Michael Weatherly, on the other hand, can do tense humor like no one else I’ve ever seen before. If you need an actor who can smile his way into Hell, you pick Michael Weatherly. I think he’d be fantastic as Richie. Anyway, anyone would be better than Harry Anderson, Christ.
Oh, Mike was not easy to cast. There are plenty of good black actors out there, but many of them are, well, hot. Not that Lennie James is unattractive (especially with his own British accent, mmmm) but Mike Hanlon is supposed to be worn, exhausted, beaten down with the responsibility of memory. He is not supposed to be Sexy! Mike. You aren’t exactly supposed to expect him to strip off his shirt and dance on the table, the way you might if Taye Diggs or Shemar Moore or LL Cool J were cast.
Lennie James gives great performances in Jericho and The Walking Dead, and I’m sure he’d be equally good here as Mike, the figurative lighthouse keeper and more literal librarian who calls everybody back to Derry. Tim Reid was actually one of the best adult actors in the original miniseries, but Lennie James could really bring an emotional weight to the role that could only improve my imaginary remake.
Like any proper geek, I quite naturally adore Firefly, and Sean Maher is one of the more understated actors on that show who doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves. I think he could bring some depth to Eddie, instead of just letting him be that Nerd with the Inhaler. Maher’s a touch younger than some of the other actors in this cast, but that actually works in his favor here. I think he could play both strong and fragile, as the role of Eddie requires.
Oh, before I forget: we won’t be turning Eddie into a lifelong virgin like they needlessly do in the miniseries. I understand certain things being altered from the book (like, er, how eleven-year old Bev helps get everybody out of the sewers) but the totally random virginity of Eddie? Yeah, that’s not going to happen.
Okay, I have to be honest: Stan is kind of a thankless role. Compared to the other Losers, he doesn’t exactly have a lot of screen time, but I’d still like him to be portrayed by a good actor—and NOT by Richard Masur, whose Stan is just . . . vexing. He’s only in it for six minutes, and I wanted to slap him (although, admittedly, not as badly as Harry Anderson).
Stan needs to be articulate, clean, orderly. He needs to be precise. Most of all, he needs to be sympathetic—you want to feel sorry for adult Stan, especially because you spend a decent amount of time with Child Stan. I’ve seen Josh Charles do a lot with relatively small parts, and while I’m sure there are many actors who could play the role, I think Josh Charles could do it particularly well.
PENNYWISE THE DANCING CLOWN
Like I already said, Tim Curry is fantastic as Pennywise, and it doesn’t have anything to do with his mouthful of super sharp teeth. (Okay, the teeth are creepy.) It’s really about his delivery, though, his seemingly effortless ability at being both sinister and cheerful. I find him just as funny as I do scary, and frankly, that’s how I like my horror.
So, I know the new Pennywise can’t be the same as the old Pennywise, but it’s also important to me that he can nail that same sense of evil glee (because it’s just not Pennywise to me if he’s some kind of gothic, Tim Burton-esque clown). I was trying to come up with an actor who had a certain kind of energy, maybe someone with a background in musical theater . . . and that’s about the time when I got the idea for Michael C. Hall who, besides being a phenomenal actor in both Dexter and Six Feet Under, played the Emcee on the Broadway production of Cabaret.
And I just think anyone who can play the Emcee in Cabaret has a decent shot at playing Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
Henry, of course, was a little psychopath before he met Pennywise, so now that he’s grown up and has spent the last thirty or so years in a mental asylum, you really want an actor who can be both totally looney tunes and menacing. The guy they got for the miniseries, he’s mostly just pathetic. I wanted someone who could be a villain, someone who you would actually be scared of when he comes after Mike Hanlon.
Enter Robert Knepper, who knows something about being both crazy and villainous. He’s got a certain look to him that I like for Henry Bowers. You could believe he was a grown up greaser. Not to mention Knepper’s an awesome actor. If anyone is going to start gibbering at the moon . . . well, I’d like it to be him.
For those of you who never actually read the book itself, Audra isn’t English. She’s supposed to have some vague English rounding thing going on as a carryover from her last film, but she’s actually an American, and she isn’t nearly as annoying and useless as Olivia Hussey makes her out to be.
Audra is Bill’s wife, and while she doesn’t have the largest part in this story either, she needs to be both strong and likable as the woman who chases after her husband because he’s in danger and she won’t just sit around and wait for him to return (or not return). Elizabeth Mitchell has proven that she can play strong women (Juliet, LOST) and she’s got sort of an old school glamour to her that works for me, since Audra herself is an actress. I’d love to see her and Simon Baker play off each other. There are some scenes between their characters that I’d really like to see on camera.
Here’s the truth: I couldn’t find a picture of Matthew Morrison that I liked for Tom (he’s smiling in every single freaking picture, dammit) so I just found a shirtless one for the hell of it.
Matthew Morrison may seem like a bizarre choice for Tom Rogan, Beverly’s abusive husband, but I picked him for two reasons: one, it’s fun to cast against type sometimes, and two, there’s this one scene in the first season of Glee where Matthew Morrison just bursts out with this huge amount of violent intensity that surprised the holy hell out of me when I first watched it. If I ever had any doubts about his ability to play anyone other than a geeky teacher with a penchant for sweater vests and horrible decision-making skills . . . well, they were banished here.
And . . . that’s pretty much it. I’d love to cast the children as well—you really want strong child actors for this kind of story, particularly if you’re going to up the horror the way I’d like to—but I just don’t know that many child actors. Although, while I bet she’s technically too old for the role, I’d love to see Kaitlyn Dever (Loretta, Justified) as Young Beverly. I’m sure you could make her look younger, after all, and if there’s anyone I’d trust to play tough, poor, chain-smoking Beverly, it’s Kaitlyn Dever.
Finally, as a cameo for the malicious Mrs. Kersh:
Because she’s just fucking creepy, and that’s all there is to it.