Why ‘It: Chapter Two’ Had To Be Nearly 3 Hours

Everybody knew Stephen King’s It was too big for one movie. It was over 1100 pages, and the previous adaptation was a two-night TV miniseries. So It: Chapter One focused on the story of the children in Derry battling Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) in the Summer of 1989. It: Chapter Two focuses on them returning to Derry as adults 27 years later. However, even adapting only half the book, It: Chapter Two runs 169 minutes, nearly three hours.

It: Chapter Two
(L-R) BILL HADER as Richie Tozier and JAMES RANSONE as Eddie Kaspbrak in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “IT CHAPTER TWO” | Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros. Entertainment

Three hours only means more It goodness to love, and almost an extra hour of terrifying thrills. Screenwriter Gary Dauberman, who wrote both Chapter One and Chapter Two, spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet about the adaptation. It: Chapter Two is in theaters Friday, September 6.

The one part of the ‘It’ story that made ‘Chapter Two’ longer

For the most part, separating the movie into one film about the kids and another about the adults divided the book fairly evenly. It was reaching the climax that added running time to It: Chapter Two.

Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise in It: Chapter Two
BILL SKARSGÅRD as Pennywise in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “IT CHAPTER TWO” | Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros. Entertainment

“I think the third act is such a big metaphysical set piece in the novel that I knew that was going to take up a large part of our real estate,” Dauberman said. “So yeah, it becomes unwieldy just because of the nature of we want to tell a complete and have a finality to the story and make it this is the end.”

The ensemble of ‘It’ takes time too

There are just as many characters in It: Chapter Two as there were in Chapter One, only now they’re all grown up. 

It: Chapter Two
(L-R) JAMES McAVOY, JAMES RANSONE, JESSICA CHASTAIN, BILL HADER, ISAIAH MUSTAFA and JAY RYAN in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “IT CHAPTER TWO” | Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros. Entertainment

“Also it’s always unwieldy when you’re dealing with seven characters,” Dauberman said. “You’ve got to make sure that they all have their due and contribution to the story.”

‘It: Chapter Two’ has all the characters twice

It: Chapter One only had the characters as children. It: Chapter Two has them all as adults, but still flashes back to visit them as children again. While the kids aren’t in as many scenes as the adults, it does add to the story.

It: Chapter Two
(L-R) CHOSEN JACOBS, FINN WOLFHARD, JAEDEN MARTELL, SOPHIA LILLIS, JEREMY RAY TAYLOR and director ANDY MUSCHIETTI on the set of New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “IT CHAPTER TWO” | Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros. Entertainment

“You want to see Eddie and Richie play off each other,” Dauberman said. “You want to see Stanley. You do have the temptation to write more but also I had the excitement of what the adults were going to do, what the cast were going to do with the adult versions that I was never like oh man, I wish we were back with the kids. That’s what I did not want to happen. You want the audience to be with the adults as much as they were with the kids in the first one.”

Pennywise is a slowpoke in ‘It: Chapter Two’

Pennywise has many opportunities where he corners a character alone and gets close enough to eat them. He likes to play with his food though, so Pennywise messing with the characters also gives Chapter Two more time to tell its story.

Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise in It: Chapter Two
BILL SKARSGÅRD as Pennywise in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “IT CHAPTER TWO” | Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros. Entertainment

“I think as an adult, he’s playing with their psychology,” Dauberman said. “I think he wants to season their skin as well. The meat tastes sweeter when they can reconnect with their youth so I think there’s that. So yes, I think there’s a method to his madness there.”