What’s a blockbuster movie without one or two cameos? Many Marvel movies had theirs (Stan Lee), including, just recently, Joe Russo appeared in Avengers: Endgame, Peter Jackson appeared in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and now we have Stephen King dropping down to Derry.
The big cameo that we get for IT Chapter Two is none other than It author Stephen King, who makes an appearance as a Derry, Maine antiques store owner.
In the scene, McAvoy’s adult version of Bill Denbrough comes by his old bicycle in the shop window and darts in to try and buy it back. King is sitting behind the counter, and recognizes Bill as the writer of a book he read, but didn’t like the ending of.
In IT Chapter Two there’s a running joke that while Bill is a very successful author, he can’t write a good ending to save his life. So, when Bill spots one of his books on the shop counter and offers to autograph it, King’s character declines, saying that he didn’t like the ending. He also charges the rip-off sum of $300 for Bill’s rickety old bike, on the basis that Bill is rich enough to afford it. Bill doesn’t mind, however, telling King that Silver was “fast enough to beat the devil.”
This is a cameo that director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman have been dreaming up for a while, though King was initially reluctant to participate in the role.”With Stephen King, my hero — I grew up reading him, so he’s one of my life heroes — and I got to know him. I discovered a very loving and funny guy, and I wanted him in the movie, so I offered him a cameo,” said Muschietti at the IT Chapter Two press conference. “The first thing he said is, ‘Well, you have to consider that I’m a jinx. Every movie that I’m in, it bombs.’ So I said, I guess we should give it a try. I think we’re going to be fine.”
“He gave us a little list of things that he would like to see in the movie,” Muschietti shared with io9. “But he is very gentle. He said like, ‘Please take this. It is what it is. There are no strings attached.’ It was more an affectionate thing with what he remembers of his own work.”
Screenwriter Gary Dauberman doesn’t actually think that King’s endings are bad, but instead wrote the running gag into IT Chapter Two in response to fierce internet debates about the quality of King’s endings. “I think he has stuck the landing over and over again on many of his stories. The proof is in the pudding on that,” Dauberman told Inverse. He also explained that he originally “wrote him into the script just along the lines of, ‘Looks like Stephen King,’ early on in the drafts. You know, just kind of planting the seed.”
Stephen King is one of the most iconic modern horror writers. The author has been responsible for over sixty novels and more than two-hundred short stories across a career that has spanned more than 50 years.
King’s first cameo in one of his movies was as “man at bank ATM” in 1986’s Maximum Overdrive. Since, he’s cameoed in a number of his film adaptations — from 1989’s Pet Sematary through 2002’s Unlocking Red Rose: The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer — and TV series and mini-series — from 1994’s The Stand through 2017’s Mr. Mercedes. IT Chapter Two marks King’s first appearance in an IT adaptation, and Muschietti felt the Second Hand Rose shopkeeper was the “perfect match” for the best-selling writer.
“The scene grew up on the day, the comedy grew up,” said Muschietti. “I have a tendency to try to make things funnier, even though the scene is not, so that’s why I did IT Two, it’s almost a comedy — with body parts. And that was it. It was a lot of fun.”
King isn’t the only cameo in the movie: actor and director Peter Bogdanovich, best known for helming The Last Picture Show, plays the director of the movie Bill is writing early on in Chapter Two. Muschietti, who describes himself as “very ambitious when it comes to cameos,” also had his sights set on a cameo from horror director Guillermo del Toro, but ultimately it didn’t work out.
“We were this close. He was going to play the janitor that Ben runs into when he’s running away from Pennywise,” revealed Muschietti. “That scene, of course, would have been like five minutes longer if he had [said yes].”
So far, IT CHAPTER TWO has been met with mixed reviews, currently standing at 67% on Rotten Tomatoes (although, the audience score is 86%).
It: Chapter Two stars Bill Skarsgård, James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Jay Ryan, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Teach Grant, Jess Weixler, Will Beinbrink, Xavier Dolan, Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff and Nicholas Hamilton.