“Just when fans thought they were about to head into the cinema to be scared out their minds by Pennywise, everyone is ending up walking out in tears thanks to Richie and what he goes through in the film.” (popbuzz)
After Eddie’s tragic death in It’s lair, we do see Richie carving his initials into that bridge next to his fallen friend’s, but we’re left wondering—unlike the rest of the Losers, whose futures are pretty clear—if that blissful moment of truth carries on into Richie’s post-Derry life.
But if the film doesn’t commit, Hader and Ransone do, and it’sa miracle to watch. We knew going in that these two would provide their fair share of whiz-bang banter and comic relief—it’s an SNL alum and freaking Ziggy from The Wire, come on—but it’s incredible the way both these actors navigate the subtler touches, not only between each other but in solo scenes. The slack-jawed look of sheer disbelief Hader locks on his face as Pennywise descends from atop a Paul Bunyan statue in a cloud of red balloons. The way Ransone turns a knife through the cheek courtesy of Henry Bowers (Teach Grant) into something darkly slap-sticky, like a one-scene guest-directing spot by Sam Raimi. This isn’t to say the rest of the Adult Losers don’t put in mighty performances—the casting on this movie is so insane I’m still marveling at the way Jay Ryan and Jeremy Ray Taylor somehow look nothing alike but also exactly alike—but Hader and Ransone provide flourishes that sell fear in an extremely human way, that type of feel-it-in-your bones, real-life fear that drives the It all culminates in what is, to me, the linchpin moment of their emotional arcs. (collider)
In the scene in question, Hader’s Richie Tozier and his friends Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone) and Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) are confronted by a horrific Pennywise taunt in the form of the severed head of his friend Stanley Uris, who committed suicide rather than return to Derry to face the clown again. The scene was made famous by the 1990 TV miniseries version, but the film adaptation pushes the horror into new territory by giving us a version of Stanley’s head that grows appendages. If you’re a longtime horror fan, just reading that description might conjure up the image of another severed head growing legs and walking around in John Carpenter’s The Thing. Hader, fortunately for us, had the same realization while shooting the scene.
“When he turned into a spider, I said to Andy, ‘Oh, man, this is like The Thing,'” Hader told Uproxx. “And I said, ‘Oh, let me say what the guy said in that.’”
Hader recalled a similar version of events back in July when a clip featuring Stanley’s spider-head screened at ScareDiego, though we couldn’t reveal the exact tribute at the time due to Spoilers. After a bit of a YouTube refresher, Hader got the exact line — “You’ve gotta be f***ing kidding.” — and dropped it into the scene. It’s a fantastic homage, because it’s the kind of moment fans who’ve seen The Thing several times will recognize immediately, but it’s not so overt that the audience is taken out of the moment of what’s actually happening to the characters in the scene. It’s also subtle enough that it makes us want to go back to the theater right now just to try and find even more obscure horror Easter eggs buried among all those red balloons.
“I didn’t look at the text. It was more of a conversation with Andy, and we just talked it through. My memory of it… I remember being in his office in Toronto, before we started shooting, and saying, ‘There’s a version of this that’s underplayed, and then there’s a version of this that’s more just more explicit.’ And I was more into the explicit version, because I just thought it was interesting for the character, and it would be an interesting thing to play. And you don’t want to be coy about it. If you’re going to go to the bell, ring it, you know? And so, it was like, ‘Let’s just do it.’”
‘There was actually a version where, after killing Pennywise, they return and Eddie’s still like… And Eddie wants to say something, and he dies in the middle of his sentence. He says, “Richie, I…” And then goes. It was two different ways of solving the scene.’
reporter: oMG tEll uS wHat the HOtTeST cluB is-
How much improv did Bill Hader do, if any?
I can tell you there is no joke I wrote where I went, “I hope Bill sticks to the script.” Andy does a lot of takes. Bill likes to improv, so there are a lot of jokes in the movie that are his improv. But, there are also jokes that were in the script. (Screenwriter Gary Dauberman)