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‘It Chapter Two’: Bill Hader Says the Sequel Is an ‘Epic Horror Film’ Akin to ‘Lord of the Rings’

On the film's stunt work: "James McAvoy is jumping off 10-foot tall things. [...] Jessica [Chastain] is doing all this crazy stuff — I had to run 10 feet, and I pulled my groin muscle."

IT Chapter Two Bill Hader, Finn Wolfhard, Jessica Chastain. Bill Hader, left, Finn Wolfhard, center, and Jessica Chastain, cast members in the upcoming film "It: Chapter Two," share a laugh onstage during the Warner Bros. presentation at CinemaCon 2019, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) at Caesars Palace, in Las Vegas2019 CinemaCon - Warner Bros. Presentation, Las Vegas, USA - 02 Apr 2019

Bill Hader, Finn Wolfhard, and Jessica Chastain at CinemaCon 2019

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Between making “Barry” and snagging Emmy nominations for it, Bill Hader starred in one of the most hotly anticipated sequels of 2019. “It Chapter Two” arrives on the heels of an original that grossed more than $700 million, so expectations for a follow-up are high — especially considering the blockbuster ethos of “bigger is better.”

Hader, who got to see “a good chunk” of the film while recording ADR a few weeks back, told IndieWire the scale is appropriately “massive.”

“[Director] Andy Muschetti played me scenes, and just the scope of it is so big,” Hader said. “It’s bigger than the first one. […] It’s an epic horror film. It feels like ‘Lord of the Rings’ or something — just, ‘Whoa! This is cool!'”

He described the production itself as “massive,” adding that he’s “never seen so many sets” for a single film. “It was like being in ‘The Goonies,'” he said. “And then talking to the younger kids, ‘Did you guys just have the best time ever doing this?'”

Hader said Muschetti didn’t have to “compromise on anything visually,” and the two-time Emmy nominee for Outstanding Director remembered his film director fondly. “He does a lot of takes,” Hader said. “He has a clear idea of how he wants it, and he’ll just keep going until he gets it. It was nice seeing the finished product and seeing it pay off in ways. It was cool. He’s a real visionary guy — and he’s a sweetheart.”

Hader emphasized the latter point by recalling an injury he suffered on set.

“Everyone did their own stunts on this movie,” he said. “James McAvoy is jumping off 10-foot tall things, and PJ Ransone, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, all these people are doing really cool stunts. Jessica [Chastain] is doing all this crazy stuff — I had to run 10 feet, and I pulled my groin muscle.”

Hader said his first thought was how embarrassing it was and wanted to walk it off, but Muschetti immediately called in his stunt double.

“He was so concerned,” Hader said. “I’ve worked with directors who are like, ‘Oh, well, go sit down. We’ll bring you back in a second’ — because they’re so into what they’re doing. Andy stopped everything, and was like, ‘Let’s get a doctor.’ It felt very genuine.”

Hader said he kept checking up on him for days. “‘How are you, Bill? You feeling good? How’s your leg? You all right? Everything OK?’ ‘Yeah, man. I’m good.’ ‘OK, but if you’re ever not feeling it, just sit down.’ […] He’s a really sweet guy —just a wonderful guy, very warm, really caring.”

Considering the scale and stunts involved, it should come as no surprise Hader said most shoot days ended with the cast covered in makeup, dirt, and fake blood. Jessica Chastain had previously said there’s a scene that uses more fake blood than any film in history, and Hader confirmed the practical effects were thorough.

“There was a lot of dirt,” he said. “At the end of every day, you’d just have crap all over you — dirt, tons of fake blood, sweat, and all that stuff. And to get it off of you, they’d put shaving cream on you. They’d put shaving cream on your arms, your legs, your face, your neck, your ears. They’d just douse you with old school shaving cream, [that] has some chemical in it that cleans the stuff off better than anything. It was actually really comforting at the end of the day.”

So if any viewers out there get too scared, just remember Bill Hader sitting on set with shaving cream covering him from head-to-toe like a Marshmallow Man. Perhaps then you’ll feel a bit comforted, too.

“It Chapter Two” hits theaters September 6.

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