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Interview

‘Run’ Creator Vicky Jones Talks About ‘The Best New Show Of 2020’

The first four episodes of Run, NPR’s “best new show of 2020”, have just arrived first on Showmax, with the remaining four episodes coming every Monday.

Seventeen years ago, college sweethearts Ruby and Billy made a pact: if either of them ever texted the word “RUN” and the other replied with the same, they would drop everything, board the first train after 5pm out of Grand Central Station, and travel across America together. But they’re about to discover that the reality of taking that leap may not be quite how they pictured it…

Emmy winner and Golden Globe nominee Merritt Wever (Unbelievable, Godless, Nurse Jackie) stars as Ruby, opposite Berlin Shooting Star winner Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Ex Machina) as Billy. The cast also includes Emmy and Golden Globe winner Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), who’s also executive producer; Golden Globe nominee Archie Panjabi (HBO’s upcoming I Know This Much Is True, The Good Wife); Screen Actors Guild nominee Rich Sommer (Mad Men, Glow); and Sundance jury prize winner Tamara Podemski (Coroner).

HBO’s genre-defying rom-com thriller has an 83% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes, where the critics’ consensus praises its “sharp subversions of romcom clichés” and “Merritt Wever and Domhnall Gleeson’s electrifying performances.”

Run is the brainchild of Vicky Jones, who was a writer on Killing Eve, directed the original stage production of Fleabag and went on to script edit that series, which won Best Comedy at both the 2019 Emmys and 2020 Golden Globes.

We asked Vicky about the romance of train trips and the appeal of running away.

Where did the idea for Run come from

Me and Phoebe [Waller-Bridge] had this old joke where we’d whisper “Run!” to each other in any situation we wanted to escape from. I also wanted to write a romance about the little routines that develop between couples, the beautiful details and minutiae of relationships behind closed doors. So we had this idea of this couple coming back together after years apart, that led to this premise of a pact [where] they would walk out on their lives, meet on a train platform and go on this journey together.

Why is the idea of breaking free and reinventing your life so alluring?

Nowadays we have so many choices but as life happens, those paths close down. Worrying that you took the wrong option and wondering about what might have been is only human. We might pin those feelings from a certain person and fantasise about the idea of dropping everything for them. In some ways, it’s a really exciting idea. Time goes so fast. You leave school or college and suddenly you’re in your late 30s, still feeling like the same person inside but with all these grown-up commitments. Maybe we’re secretly all feeling like it happened too quickly.

Did you set out to write a story that would cross genres?

Mainly we just wanted it to be exciting. We wanted to investigate what makes people fall passionately in love, what makes you feel so safe and accepted that you can say anything, do anything, and be your true authentic self with that person.

But, of course, you can’t have a drama without conflict. Other things come crashing into their world. There’s an element of “be careful what you wish for”, exploring what happens when you step outside your obligations. Wonderful, magical things happen, but terrible things too.

Apart from the Before Sunrise films, what else did you look to for inspiration?

Hitchcock’s Strangers On A Train, of course. We watched lots of road trip movies like Badlands. And I always reference Nora Ephron. When Harry Met Sally’s influence can be detected in everything I do. I aspire to the gorgeousness of that back-and-forth.

What is it about trains and romance?

I love a train journey. I love that feeling of being out of life, of stepping into another world. Time seems to operate differently on trains. It’s like a microcosm of the real world. Ruby and Billy feel like they’re secretly trying something, just to see. They’re in denial about what they’re doing and because they’re shut away from everyone with no phone signal, it’s almost like nobody will notice they’ve gone… But of course, they do notice.

Tell us a bit about the characters…

Ruby is a lot braver than she thinks she is. She’s fallen into a way of behaving with her husband that isn’t who she used to be with Billy. She rediscovers her authentic self through the journey.

Even though he’s very flawed, Billy’s love for Ruby is deep and true and he’s made vulnerable by that. It’s nice to write a man who’s driven by his need for a woman.

What were Domhnall and Merritt like to work with?

I still can’t believe that I get to work with actors that extraordinary. They constantly surprise you. Sometimes you have no idea whether a line is going to work until they come out with it and then they do something that breaks your heart. They make you look good!

Watch Run on Showmax: www.showmax.com/eng/tvseries/3tl7eldr-run

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Interview

Q&A with “Bad Education” Writer Mike Makowsky

Bad Education is based on the real-life scandal that went down at writer Mike Makowsky’s high school, where the single largest public school embezzlement scheme in American history was uncovered – by a student journalist, no less. What’s more, as the movie tells it, she was encouraged in her investigation by the school supervisor, a dedicated and highly respected educator, and the very man her article would ultimately land behind bars.

What was your vision for the film?

Mike Makowsky: My goal was to revisit a pivotal incident in my hometown’s past, and to examine what happened with a renewed, more modern perspective. It was an opportunity to recreate a time and place very intimate to me, and to tackle complicated subjects that helped shape that world for me as a kid.

How do you feel about the players involved?

I was in seventh grade when the scandal came to light, and we saw a huge change happen in my town almost overnight. Frank Tassone was a man who’d done so much for Roslyn, had been held in near unanimous high regard, and all of a sudden, he became the villain of all our childhoods. I went into this process totally primed to despise him even further.

So it was fascinating to go back home and speak with people who knew and worked with him, and to read over ten years’ worth of weekly op-eds he wrote in our local paper. I quickly gleaned a different picture of Dr. Tassone, one that really surprised me. It wasn’t rooted in greed or villainy at all, but rather a clear passion for education and almost bottomless commitment to his students — to us. It was hard to reconcile this man with the criminal who participated in a $11.2 million scheme, who stole from the pockets of those same students.

It’s beyond question that Tassone caused a tremendous amount of hurt in my hometown, and to my school — some of which still has ramifications to this day. But the script is an attempt to at least try and understand his actions, and those of his cohorts, and to find some window for empathy.

What research did you do in writing the script?

I got to interview a number of people over the course of my research process, many of whom were former teachers of mine in the Roslyn school district. A handful were among my first readers on the script. All had distinct, specific recollections of the scandal that were very illuminating.

I also spoke with Roslyn parents who served on the PTA or spearheaded initiatives with Dr. Tassone, and students who dealt with him directly — including the former editor-in-chief of our school paper, the Hilltop Beacon, who first reported on the scandal in any form back in 2004. It was a big achievement for student journalism, and one that thrilled me on a personal level, having held the same job title at the paper five years later as a senior at Roslyn High.

Did you approach anyone directly involved?

We made the decision not to invite any of the perpetrators to participate in the film’s telling. As a former Roslyn student, I remember firsthand just how painful the scandal was to my community that fell victim to it. Those wounds are still very raw for many people I care about, and I felt it was important to remain loyal first and foremost to my town’s perspective.

On the surface, this could seem like a small, secular story about school board and administrative drama on Long Island. But I would hope people can receive its themes — in specific those about human nature and institutional corruption — on a broader scale. To me, at least, this kind of story feels like a microcosm for bigger elements at play in our world.

Bad Education is available now, on Showmax

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Interview

Q&A With Paterson Joseph Of Noughts + Crosses

What were the challenges of taking on the role of Kamal Hadley?

I have been writing and researching the black presence in the UK since the Roman times, and with this drama we have an incredible story that is almost in reverse, looking at what it is like to be the oppressed if you are the majority. When I took on the role of Kamal Hadley it was a question of – how do I depict a racist who is black, in a country where he is in the minority, but also where they are ruling?

That is somewhere I have never had to go with any character I have played before, so that fascinated me. Kamal is a slick politician with a very firm idea of what he wants the country to be and that country is black ruled. The white population, or as they are referred to in our story, the Noughts, have no say in how things are run.

People who read Malorie Blackman’s books are of an age where they are now the adults watching it at home and we wouldn’t want to disappoint them with something so different. But at the same time they are not children anymore, they are fully grown participants in society and they want to know about the politics, the food, the music and fashion, how people negotiate work and what the class system is like.

That is what we are attempting to do with this adaptation – to broaden it out for a more adult audience, so we can see that this is the way the world is structured. And that is why Sephy and Callum are going through what they are going through.

Can you describe the alternative world that this drama is set within, and how it was created?

We have a visual representation of England after 800 years of colonial rule from an African nation. Everything had to be thought out properly. We were filming a scene in Kamal’s diplomatic car with Sephy, and we had extras driving in cars around us and someone pointed out that the woman in the Porsche Estate was white, and if we were picturing a world where white people didn’t have any money that would look strange. We had to reshoot the whole thing.

It’s politically quite hot. Filming in South Africa you are in an ex-apartheid country doing a show about apartheid in reverse. There are so many small moments that a lot of people wouldn’t think about, like the fact that flesh coloured plasters are not the flesh colour of anyone but white people. It is an insidious, tiny, incremental knock to you as a citizen of any country to be told what normal is in those casual ways.

There a lot of tiny things like that: the clothes you wear, the colour of them, the way you speak, things that are so important to us in Britain particularly when designating who is who, where they have come from, what their job likely is, where they live, their level of education and all the things we break down just from hearing someone speak or seeing them come into a room. Working on this drama has exercised all of our minds and made us super aware of everything.

Do you have a stand-out moment from the shoot?

My favourite scene to film was in the first week of shooting, and it was Kamal’s wife, Jasmine’s (Bonnie Mbuli) birthday party. There were about 80 supporting artists in this huge garden with a beautiful swimming pool, it was amazing. Just seeing that many black supporting actors dressed so finely, a lot of them in stunning African clothing, was thrilling.

What is your understanding of Kamal, and how do you make sense of his heinous behaviour?

As an actor you try to find reasons for actions taken by your character, which is what I did with Kamal, so he is not just a two-dimensional villainous character.

Starting with his name, Hadley – this is such an English sounding name, I figured there must have been a white man who was part of his family line. Knowing that could, if you become radicalised about race, lead you to want to reject it, and that is part of his motivation. It was part of my justification as to why he has that blind side to the Noughts. He is denying a major part of his DNA in order to – he believes – fulfil his bigger destiny which is the establishment of a black superpower.

The other factor is his emotional past. That story is about something to do with his own heart and having to kill a part of himself in order to fulfil what he thinks is his destiny, which leads him to be a cold character towards most people except Sephy.

Tell us about the relationship between Kamal and Sephy.

Masali is a great performer – she broke my heart three times during filming. We filmed scenes that a lot of fathers would relate to when they realise that their daughter has grown up and is no longer going to tell them everything, and in fact is going in a very different direction.

That was heartbreaking because our relationship is very close and warm, unlike Kamal’s relationship with Minerva (Kiké Brimah), Sephy’s older sister, and Jasmine (Bonnie Mbuli), his wife, which are casual and almost cold. Sephy brings out the joy of fatherhood in Kamal, she is smart and sensitive, and she is obedient up until this story kicks off. Her ambitions are likely political which Kamal is very pleased about, and then it all turns sour because of, in Kamal’s eyes, the McGregors – the bane of his life.

Are you prepared for audiences to dislike Kamal?

I am prepared for how unpopular this character will be because he is horrible to some very nice people. Playing a character who will be seen as villainous will be fascinating, because a lot of the characters I have played are reasonably affable. Kamal however is cold and Machiavellian, and it is thoroughly enjoyable playing him because he is all these things yet charmingly, whilst wearing a smile…

Read more about Noughts + Crosses

Watch Noughts + Crosses on Showmax:
www.showmax.com/eng/tvseries/x8iovqoe-noughts-crosses

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Interview

Q&A With Paul Walter Hauser, Title Role Of Richard Jewell

How did you get the part?

I was in Thailand doing another movie and I got a call saying Clint Eastwood was interested in me for one of the leads of his next film, which was very hard to believe. I had another offer to do a TV show at the time, but Geoff Miclat, who is his casting director, and of course Tim Moore, one of the producers, said, “Please hold off, don’t take any more jobs, we really want you for this movie.” So I held it off and I left Thailand three weeks later and I found myself on the Warner Bros. lot meeting Clint Eastwood for the first time.

What was your first impression? What did he tell you?

Clint saw me coming down the hallway with one of the producers, Jessica Meier, and David Bernstein, his first AD, and he kind of smirked at me and just laughed a little bit, as if it had validated his decision, just meeting me. He could tell that I was Richard Jewell and that was very comforting to see that.

What interested you in the script?

Well, I’m a big fan of Billy Ray, the writer. He wrote one of my favorite films of all time, Shattered Glass with Peter Sarsgaard, so it was an honor just to read that script and feel that I would get to say his words and do this film. And I thought what was a strength of the screenplay was that it’s a very heavy story but there were some comedic moments and some very endearing moments and I liked that Richard was painted as a hero in this story, unlike what happened in real life.

How did you interpret Richard in order to play him?

I never wanted to play Richard Jewell as a country bumpkin or a stereotype of America’s South. I wanted to play him as just a human man and the Southern accent was just a by-product of being born in this region. And I think Sam [Rockwell] and I and everyone involved in the project were portraying the characters very realistic and grounded.

How specific was Clint in giving you ideas beforehand?

I think he wanted me to watch a lot of footage, because he wanted me to have the voice down and he wanted me to have some of the mannerisms. He had seen what I did in the film I, Tonya and he kind of knew that I could play a real guy. But, you know, it’s also it’s not like I was playing a famous sports figure or politician or celebrity. You don’t have to do everything in mimicry. It can really be its own thing and you can really just honor the script. But I did watch a lot of footage and I did pack on some weight.

Who did you meet that knew the real Richard Jewell?

I got to meet Bobi Jewell, his mother, and Watson Bryant, his attorney, and we had a long meeting, a couple of hours, and I got to ask them to tell stories about Richard and ask how they felt about the story itself and what was true and what was missed in the story. And they were able to fill in the gaps. And they said they had full confidence in me because Clint had confidence in me.

Was it at all intimidating working with Clint Eastwood?

Clint is kind and confident and warm to people, so if you are fearful of him, it’s because he is this creative giant and he’s a master storyteller. He’s the cowboy, he’s the lover, he’s the fighter, he’s this icon of cinema. So it is intimidating in that sense.

I think the first Clint Eastwood movie that I ever saw when I was young was A Perfect World with him and Kevin Costner. And as I got older, I really loved Changeling with Angelina Jolie, that is one of my favorite dramatic films. And Mystic River was obviously an unforgettable movie, so is Million Dollar Baby. Clint has always been in the foreground and background and periphery of my movie watching.

What was it like working with him day to day?

The relationship between Clint and I, actor to director, was very open and honest. I could tell him if I didn’t like something, if I needed another take, and he gave me another take, he never cut me off. He had said to me, “I’m hiring you because I trust you and I want you to make choices, be instinctual, trust yourself and play the character as you see it.”

And how was it working with Sam Rockwell?

That was interesting, because Sam Rockwell’s one of my acting heroes. He is to me what probably Robert Duvall or Gene Hackman is to him, you know. So meeting him was very nice to kind of break down that barrier, and we could just talk as people and be buddies. And I remember the first night I met Sam, we were eating chocolate and drinking whiskey on his couch watching Rain Man with Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, and it was one of the weirdest/coolest moments of my life. But what was great about that moment was we were bonding, and we were getting to know each other the way Richard and Watson had. So even the moments where we weren’t working on the script, where we were just hanging out, those became very important influential moments to us having on screen chemistry.

What makes Richard so touching for you as a human being?

I saw a picture of Richard Jewell where he was crying, and it got me emotional just seeing a grown man cry, but it wasn’t just that he was crying. He was such a strong-willed individual who cared about keeping this appearance of being a man and being strong, and so seeing him break down and cry in public in the photo really told me that he had been broken by this incident. This incident broke him. And so I’m moved by this story, because what do you do with a man as broken as him, in this nightmare of a situation, and what does it take to bring him out of the muck and the mire.

What would you like the audience to take away when they see the movie?

If there’s one thing the audience could take away from the film, it is that I hope they realize you can’t judge a book by its cover. You can’t look at someone and build up presuppositions and barriers and assumptions; you have to know the facts and you have to give everyone their due diligence and know that justice sometimes takes a lot longer than you would like it to. And in this case, in Richard Jewell’s story, they weren’t interested in justice – they were interested in solving the puzzle and closing the case.

Do you remember the event of 1996? Was it something that you followed on the news?

It wasn’t really in my memory. But I know just like the marathon bombing several years ago in Boston, I know that this means a lot to the city and this is a story that has not left the City of Atlanta. So hopefully this will be further closure, and a correct version of history for them, I think.

Read more about Richard Jewell, the film.

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Interview

Roundtable Q&A With The Director And Cast Of IT Chapter Two

Andy Muschietti (Director), James McAvoy (“Bill Denbrough”), Jessica Chastain (“Beverly Marsh”), Isaiah Mustafa (“Mike Hanlon”), Bill Hader (“Richie Tozier”), Jay Ryan (“Ben Hanscom”), James Ransone (“Eddie Kaspbrak”) and Andy Bean (“Stanley Uris”)

How much did watching the kids in the first film inform your performances in this one?

JAY RYAN: I watched Jeremy Ray Taylor’s performance even before I auditioned and tried to capture his sweetness and his humility.

JAMES RANSONE: All I did was I thought, “That kid talked really fast. If I can keep up with him, everything’s gonna be fine.” (LAUGHS)

ANDY BEAN: Absolutely, with the mannerisms, the posture and the sensitivity.

ISAIAH MUSTAFA: In fact, my audition piece was a speech done by Chosen Jacobs in the first film, so I watched to see what he was up to with the character.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: I definitely watched the first film and specifically Sophia Lillis’ beautiful performance, and I tried to mirror the things that she was doing. When I rediscover the post card after all those years, I tried to mimic what she had done when she first received it, how she held it. I hadn’t told Andy [Muschietti] I was doing this, but I was holding my hands the way she did. When he saw me, he said, “You’re walking with her hands.”

JAMES MCAVOY: Yeah, I suppose I stole Jaeden Martell’s emotional vulnerability and his openness. As a kid, I think Bill is a strange mix of suppression and complete vulnerability, and Jaeden nailed that. So, I stole that from him, HARD. (LAUGHS)

BILL HADER: Yeah, Finn Wolfhard, it’s pretty easy. He’s not a very good actor (LAUGHS), you just have to kind of sleepwalk through the part. No, I absolutely worked within the character lines he had drawn.

Andy Muschietti—how important was it for you that they nailed the performances of the kids, or were you open to them bringing their own take on it?

ANDY MUSCHIETTI: It was both, actually. I didn’t ask them for a percentage, to capture an amount of what the younger actors had done. I just encouraged them to watch the performances in the first film—there are some important things, like the physicality. Mostly, it was just to help them get closer to these characters that audiences have seen and loved. But, I gave the actors the freedom to explore and let them decide what was good.

Did any of you have nightmares while filming?

JAMES MCAVOY: I did, in a strange way. I had read IT when I was a kid and really liked it, but it didn’t really scare me. Then, I re-read it again as an adult and I started to have nightmares about Pennywise. I can’t remember a hell of a lot of them, but I do remember one of them being him in bed beside me and stroking my back, while I pretended to be asleep. And that was pretty f***in’ terrifying.

BILL HADER: Yeah, that’s scary.

JAY RYAN: I had a weird dream about PJ [James Ransone], like just the other night. (LAUGHS)

JAMES RANSONE: That was so not the question!!!

JAY RYAN: No, actually after the ADR session, when I got to see some more of the film, I did have the weirdest dreams.

ANDY MUSCHIETTI: It’s amazing how all of the cast trusts you while you’re shooting. But, it’s not until you show them the movie edited, with the music and the visual effects, it’s like, “Oh, now I get it.”

Would any of you have been a member of something like a Loser’s Club?

GROUP: Nope!!!

(LAUGHTER)

BILL HADER: No, okay.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: A bunch of losers.

BILL HADER: A bunch of losers.

JAMES MCAVOY: Basically, during summer holidays, all the kids would sort of team up. But it would be intermittent—the next summer it would be different, and the summer after that. When I grew up, there were all these houses on a big huge row and they all shared gardens. I remember moments where we were going on adventures with our pals, and the adventure was to make it to the 20th garden along. But, there was a dog halfway there, and it felt like the whole world would collapse if we didn’t get past that dog. Nothing like this film—this stuff was truly adventurous and exciting.

ISAIAH MUSTAFA: We just didn’t row that deep. We didn’t have seven people. We had maybe three, and then somebody’s relative would show up and you’d hang.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: You could play a fourth. That’s a squad.

ISAIAH MUSTAFA: When we had seven, we were playing the game.

BILL HADER: Basketball.

ISAIAH MUSTAFA: When there were seven, there was a ball involved.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: I didn’t have friends that were boys, which would have been nice when I was growing up. For some reason growing up, it was very segregated, where the boys hung out and the girls hung out separately. So, that would have been nice, especially to my development as a human being. (LAUGHS)

Tell us more about how you imagined your character was doing between the two films, in that 27-year span, and how that influenced your performance in this movie.

ISAIAH MUSTAFA: It was pretty easy. Andy told me what my character was doing. (LAUGHS) He said, “You are the only one who stayed in Derry.” Mike was trying to figure out if this thing that happened so many years ago was going to happen again. I believe he felt a responsibility to stay in Derry, to be the custodian of this energy that they cultivated as a group. So, once that evil returned, he could call his friends and say, “Let’s do this thing again.”

The fact that your character never forgot, how did that shape your performance with everyone else? The other Losers don’t really remember until they come back to Derry.

ISAIAH MUSTAFA: I think just having listened to the audio book so many times, it was almost like I had lived in Derry for 27 years.

Andy Bean, what happened to your character during that time, in those years in between?

ANDY BEAN: I think the first seven years he joined the circus, to get over it. (LAUGHS) No, I think he developed the most normal life he could possibly create for himself, with the most routine, the most consistency. Finding his wife was his entire life. I think having a predictable life and enjoying the consistency and the contentment of his marriage—they were each other’s worlds. That became enough. It is quite a beautiful, content, comfortable life. I think Stanley was very happy with that, and he pushed down all of his memories of what happened for years and years.

And when the news comes back, with Mike’s phone call, would you say that idyllic life is thrown off-balance?

ANDY BEAN: Sure, yeah. I think he had buried his memories so deep that he didn’t really remember anything until he heard Mike’s voice—it’s his voice.

JAMES MCAVOY: In the book and in the film, the Losers that leave all become arguable winners, but they all have this tainted side to their success—none of them seem to be able to have children, for one. And there are these emotional issues that darken all of their, what seem like, perfect lives.

Jay, your character has a huge transformation.

JAY RYAN: Yeah, he has a polarizing physical change, becomes a Kiwi and moves to New Zealand. (LAUGHS) Ben, once he leaves town, he starts running, physically and emotionally, for 27 years. He learns how to say no, to stand up to bullies, and he becomes a leader in his profession. I don’t think he remembers the horrific things of Derry, but he remembers the good things and holds onto those, like Beverly, the friendship. It seems to the outside world that here’s a man who has everything, but he doesn’t really have any real human connections. I think he’s been waiting for this phone call from Mike for a while, and he’s ready to go back to Derry and really reveal his true self.

JAMES RANSONE: I think, for Eddie, there’s a lot of couple’s therapy and prescription pill management. (LAUGHS) Actually, I really think that he’s probably spent a lot of his time pretending to not think about his childhood by focusing on his wife—they don’t really love each other. I think that’s what it is. You get in those type of relationships, where it’s a constant project that needs fixing. You focus on that so that you don’t have to think about yourself.

Do you think it had a lot to do with his mother?

JAMES RANSONE: I agree with everyone in saying that the book’s about childhood trauma. And afterwards, a lot of people grow up and do really great things…but then, at a certain point, you have to deal with it. I think you get into adulthood and you aren’t focusing on those childhood events and, as some point, they come up again. I think that’s really what it’s about.

Bill, what about your character, Richie?

BILL HADER: I think he’s pretty good at repression –

(LAUGHTER)

JAMES MCAVOY: Repression?

BILL HADER: Yeah, like a lot of comedy people, you deal with stuff by joking about it. You say you’re being honest, but it’s really…

JAY RYAN: Depression.

BILL HADER: It’s depression. Yeah, exactly. I think that’s what he’s been not thinking about. He’s definitely someone who just doesn’t even want to. He’s the first guy, when they realize what’s happening, to say, “Oh, I’m outta here. F*** this.” He has deep, deep repression.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: For Beverly, she’s still living with her ideas of what love is. The first person she really loved is her father, so this idea—that love means someone you love can hurt you at the same time—has lasting impact on her. Also, choosing people who aren’t necessarily free. She falls for people who are, in some sense, tortured themselves. It’s all complicated for her. Love for her has always been something that hasn’t been easy. And when it’s not easy, she’s feels, “That’s what love is.” That’s where we meet her, 27 years later.

JAMES MCAVOY: Bill’s been off writing. He has all of this subconscious stuff—that he can’t remember—coming out in his work. He can’t finish his story because the story isn’t finished, in his head. Meanwhile, he’s trying to do a good impression of being in love. I think when he gets that call and he realizes that he’s been playing a role his entire life, he’s got to go home and get real.

ANDY MUSCHIETTI: In “IT Chapter Two” we’re telling the story of a bunch of adults who will face that one fear that is the most deeply buried. And in some cases, these are some things that we as an audience will not expect. These broken characters have been mostly successful in their professional lives, but they’ve been pushing down their original trauma. Obviously, it has to do with that summer, but it’s something that you don’t necessarily see coming, having watched the first film. It has to do with an event in that summer that they don’t remember—we didn’t see it, because they’ve repressed it.

This is a journey that the Losers need to take back to their childhood, to access the power of belief. But, they also need to look that one event from their past in the face, to be able to confront it, understand it and ultimately, overcome it. The conversations we all had were about character in general, but also about what these journeys meant for each of them. You can’t move past something you can’t recall, so this has basically cemented their paths as adults—they have just been running in circles. Beverly still has relationships with men that abuse her. She loves people that hurt her. Eddie has married his mum…basically.

(LAUGHTER)

ANDY MUSCHIETTI: These are the things you can basically surmise from watching the first film. But, there is other stuff that will be a surprise.

Are any of you actually afraid of clowns in your life, prior to joining this cast?

JAMES MCAVOY: I’m wary of them. I’d rather not be around them.

ANDY BEAN: They give me a really bad feeling.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: It depends on the clown.

ANDY BEAN: You know what scared me when I was a kid? Easter bunnies, when you go into a store. That actually scared me more. A six-foot Easter bunny.

BILL HADER: The “Magical Mystery Tour” album cover, like that animal mask. That dog mask thing bummed me out. Clowns, I was fine with.

JAMES MCAVOY: I often feel that clowns are like slightly freaky uncles, who are trying so hard. And you see a little kid react to that, like “That’s f***in’ weird.” Even to an adult, I think clowns are like that. Why are you trying so hard? There are easier ways to make me laugh. Just talk to me a minute, make me laugh. There’s something creepy about the effort that goes in it.

BILL HADER: Why did you look right at me after you said that…?

(LAUGHTER)

All right. That’s it. Thank you.