It’s been confirmed that a homophobic attack will feature in It Chapter Two.
Stephen King’s original 1986 novel featured a character called Adrian Mellon, who is beaten up by a group of homophobic teens as his partner watches on, then thrown off a bridge into the water where he’s killed by the story’s monster Pennywise.
The horrific scene was based on the real-life homophobic murder of Bangor, Maine resident Charlie Howard, and while it wasn’t featured in the 1990 TV miniseries, it will play an important role in the upcoming movie adaptation sequel.
“It was TV and they didn’t have the possibility of making a Rated R [movie] or anything,” director Andy Muschietti told Entertainment Weekly about why he believes the attack didn’t feature in the TV adaptation.
“But, in my vision of the movie, Adrian Mellon was always there. The impact of that event in my mind was always very deep. For me, there wasn’t a choice for that.
“It’s one of the things that really caused a deep impact on Stephen King when he was writing It. So, he decided to include it.
“Of course, the names are changed, but the beating happened almost exactly like it’s described in the book, and Charlie died in three feet of water in the canal.”
Adrian will be played by Xavier Dolan (I Killed My Mother, Boy Erased) in It Chapter Two. There is, however, one small change from King’s novel in the new movie to make it more true to Charlie Howard’s life.
“He was asthmatic, so that made things really worse. The thing I’m adding in the scene is that Adrian is asthmatic, as well. For me, it was always an essential part of the story,” director Muschietti revealed.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter earlier this year, screenwriter Gary Dauberman described the homophobic attack as “an iconic scene in the book” and said they were adamant it would be featured in the movie.
“It is the first attack in present-day Derry and sets the stage for what Derry has become,” he explained.
“It is the influence of Pennywise even while he is hibernating, and it’s pure evil what happens to Adrian. These bullies working through Pennywise was important for us to show.”