How Many Times Did Isaiah Mustafa Read ‘It’ While Filming ‘It: Chapter Two’

Isaiah Mustafa takes acting very seriously. Most actors do. It is their craft, after all, but Mustafa’s level of commitment seems noteworthy. He plays Mike in It: Chapter Two. Chosen Jacobs played Mike as a child in It: Chapter One. They had to make two movies just to fit all 1100 pages of Stephen King’s book into the story. 1100 pages weren’t too daunting for Mustafa though. 

Isaiah Mustafa
Isaiah Mustafa at TCA Winter Press Tour | Image Group LA via Getty Images

Mustafa spoke to Showbiz Cheat Sheet at the Los Angeles press junket for It: Chapter Two. He had a lot to say about getting into the character Jacobs first established. It: Chapter Two is in theaters Friday, September 6.

Isaiah Mustafa didn’t stop at reading ‘It’ twice

Isaiah Mustafa read It the way Stephen King intended.

“Reading the book helps, obviously,” Mustafa said. “I scoured the book two times, cover to cover.”

That’s already ambitious homework, but Mustafa another way to absorb It.

“Then I just listened to the audiobook on repeat for about four months,” Mustafa said. “Actually, I take that back. From February until the end of October, I just had it on repeat when I go to the gym, just had it in my car. It was just on Audible so I just played it all the time.”

Then Isaiah Mustafa read more Stephen King

Isaiah Mustafa said he read 14 other Stephen King books including Under the Dome, The Stand, The Tommyknockers, Insomnia and Doctor Sleep

“Just being able to get into Stephen King and how his books, the way he structures his books, how he draws you in [helped me with It: Chapter Two. 100s of pages of just getting to know someone, getting comfortable in someone’s situation so you really know them universally. Then suddenly having something happen to that person you’ve grown to love over these past 300 pages just draws you in deeper to the book.”

Isaiah Mustafa, Interview wtih Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 8/25/19
Isaiah Mustafa
Isaiah Mustafa attends the Premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ “It Chapter Two” | Jean Baptiste Lacroix/WireImage

That was true of It, but it was also the Stephen King way.

“I saw how he did that in different novels that I read,” Mustafa said. “That was my research. The book though, by the time we started filming, like I said, I listened to the audiobook so many times and read it so many times that I knew it front to back. At that point, the research had been exhausted.”

Isaiah Mustafa met Stephen King on the set of It: Chapter Two

Mike isn’t in the scene in which Stephen King cameos, but Isaiah Mustafa had the chance to meet King and fanboy out.

It: Chapter Two
L-R: Jessica Chastain, Isaiah Mustafa and Jay Ryan in It: Chapter Two | Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros. Entertainment

“I had a bunch of questions about The Black Spot,” Mustafa said. “I just wanted to know some of the things that he wrote and how he came to those things. I had a couple questions about The Stand that I didn’t ask. I just chickened out at the last minute.” 

Isaiah Mustafa really played Chosen Jacobs in ‘It: Chapter Two’

Isaiah Mustafa respected the character Chosen Jacobs created in the first film and just wanted to play him grown up.

“Chosen laid such an amazing foundation of work that really all I needed to do was go back and watch that film and dig into what he was tapping into at the same time,” Mustafa said. 

It: Chapter Two
(L-r) JEREMY RAY TAYLOR as young Ben Hascomb, JACK DYLAN GRAZER as young Eddie Kaspbrak, SOPHIA LILLIS as young Beverly Marsh, WYATT OLEFF as young Stanley Uris, JAEDEN MARTELL as young Bill Denbrough, FINN WOLFHARD as young Richie Tozier and CHOSEN JACOBS as young Mike Hanlon in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “IT CHAPTER TWO” | Warner Bros. Pictures

Mustafa even read Jacobs’ scenes from the first movie for his audition.

“The first two scenes were Chosen’s scenes so that was cool because I got to use Chosen and see what he did, work on that,” Mustafa said. “Then the last scene that I did was the one with Mike and Bill where Mike takes him back and convinces him, ‘Did you see it? Just close your eyes and see.’ and then he puts the vase in his face.”

Isaiah Mustafa would find research to do for any movie

For whatever role he plays next, if it’s not based on a book and if there was no prior actor to play the character, Isaiah Mustafa would still find ways to do deep research.

“I just read the script, research the hell out of it. I tend to ask a lot of questions. ‘So what is he in this? What is he thinking here? What is he thinking there? Where do you see him going?’ I like to talk to the director or the writer if that’s allowed and just really get into how they saw the character or maybe any kind of backstory that they had they could provide me with. I need that to make the story real.”

Isaiah Mustafa, Interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 8/25/19