It (TV Mini-Series 1990) Poster

(1990 TV Mini-Series)


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On the DVD commentary track, the actors note that Tim Curry's characterization of Pennywise was so creepy and realistic that everyone avoided him during the filming.
Based on one of Stephen King's longest novels, at 1138 pages. The length derived from King's desire to have all his favorite monsters in one place. King remarked that if he'd written the script for It (1990), it would have been a 32 hour miniseries. It's also King's last monster oriented story to date, as well as the last about traumatized children. This book gave him writer's block, a rare thing for King.
On the day the kids go into the sewers, it was actually raining, saving the production crew the trouble of having to fake it.
Tim Curry was reluctant to take the role of Pennywise initially because he didn't relish the thought of being buried under so much makeup. When he played Darkness in Legend (1985), it was a difficult and demanding role, and the hours in makeup was still fresh in his mind. To compromise, Tommy Lee Wallace minimized the amount of makeup on Curry, and a lot wasn't necessary anyway because Curry's performance was so strong.
Tommy Lee Wallace felt that Part 2 wasn't as good as Part 1, because the adults weren't as magnetic to watch, especially when it came time to battle Pennywise.
The night guard in the asylum is called Koontz, named after Stephen King's rival author Dean R. Koontz.
Jarred Blancard (young Henry Bowers) hated having to call Marlon Taylor (young Mike Hanlon) a "nigger", and would often apologize to him before and after filming for his character's excessive use of the slur.
The actors were injured slightly during the library scene what with so many objects flying around at once. It was filmed in one take but they managed to completely wreck the set.
To get the effect of "It" moving through the pipework, a dolly crane was built and pushed through the piping. It was a difficult shot to get right because it was so cramped. It was also done from "It's" point-of-view because Tommy Lee Wallace believed that what we imagine is often scarier than what we see, a trick he learned from his old mentor, John Carpenter.
In the movie the words "Beep beep, Richie" are often used. In the novel it is explained that this phrase is meant to get Richie to shut up.
Jonathan Brandis and John Ritter both died tragically in 2003. Brandis hanged himself, while Ritter suffered an unexpected, fatal aortic dissection.
Michael Cole got so much into the scene where he's trying to kill Mike that it was difficult for John Ritter and Dennis Christopher to pull him off of Tim Reid.
The blood oozing over Georgie's photo was quite unusual to see in a TV movie in 1990. It (1990) paved the way for TV movies and mini-series in the future to push the envelope far more than ever before.
When Beverly is listening to the voices in the drain, one boy identifies himself as Matthew O'Connor. Matthew O'Connor is also the name of the Supervising Producer of the film. A girl in the drain identifies herself as Vicky Burrows. Victoria Burrows did casting for the movie.
When Bill sees Georgie and Beverly sees her father in the sewer, it was all done in one continuous shot, with Tony Dakota and then Frank C. Turner appearing when needed.
John Ritter retained one of the playing cards with Pennywise's face on it after filming wrapped.
When Beverly goes back to the house she grew up in, Tommy Lee Wallace wanted Annette O'Toole alone on the street, without any other actors or extras around to make it creepier. Also, when she meets Mrs Kersh, he filled the scene with incidental details to illustrate to the audience that there's something wrong in this house, e.g. her teeth are all rotten, just like Pennywise's.
Alice Cooper was considered for the role of Pennywise.
The gray in Mike's hair was achieved by brushing in baby powder with a toothbrush.
A lot of Eddie's meds in the film belonged to Dennis Christopher. In fact Tommy Lee Wallace allowed the actors to bring things from their normal lives on set.
Pt 1 was the fifth highest rated program on Sunday, November 18th, with an 18.5 rating and watched in 17.5 million households. Pt 2 was the second highest rated program on Tuesday, November 20th, with a 20.6 rating and watched in 19.2 million households.
Beverly makes love to all of the "Lucky Seven" in the novel, but Tommy Lee Wallace omitted it from the movie because it was just something that didn't ring true to him.
Suzie Payne, Ben's cab driver, was really a stand-up comic. John Ritter said she was one of the funniest women he had ever met.
The weird furniture in Stan's house was meant to signify that something is 'off' in Stan's life.
When Pennywise appears as a ghostly image in the sewers, Tommy Lee Wallace originally wanted the roots growing down to begin writhing around him, something Eddie hopes they wouldn't start doing. The budget didn't allow it, however, and Wallace thought the effect they had to use instead was rather cheesy to look at.
Stephen King's novel IT is connected to his Dark Tower universe. The novel has an image of a turtle supporting the earth. A poem explaining this, "See the Turtle of enormous girth/ Upon his back he holds the Earth," appears in both IT and the third Dark Tower novel, The Waste Lands. That book also expands on the idea of multiple dimensions, each guarded by an animal avatar, held together by the Dark Tower in the center, rather like the spokes of a wheel. The final Dark Tower novel, The Dark Tower, features a character named Mordred who, like Pennywise, shifts from human to spider form, and another character, Dandelo, who, like Pennywise, has "deadlights" behind his eyes that will drive a mortal to madness. The character Mike Hanlon appears in both IT and Insomnia, which introduces Dark Tower character Patrick Danville.
Richard Thomas had to practice for days before doing the bike scene with Audra.
When the balloon appears in Ben's taxi, John Ritter was turning it with his finger, off-camera.
Bill is the author of a horror novel titled "The Glowing". This may refer to Stephen King's "The Shining".
The asylum orderly, Koontz, drops a roll when he sees Pennywise. Though not covered in the movie, the book explains that Koontz uses quarter rolls to beat the patients as it is as effective as a baton and more compact.
Most of Stephen King's books take place in Maine in the Bangor area and in a fictionalized town. The book was written and finished in Bangor also.
All of the cast have fond memories of working on It (1990), saying it was one of the best experiences of their lives on the DVD commentary.
Tommy Lee Wallace is a former protégé of John Carpenter's. It (1990) homages Carpenter films like The Fog (1980) and Halloween (1978), and Richard Masur was in Carpenter's The Thing (1982).
Tom Rogan has a much bigger part in the novel. He chases Beverly to Derry where Pennywise tries to get him to kill the "Lucky Seven".
Tommy Lee Wallace admitted he had never read the novel before making the film. He preferred to let the script speak for itself.
Harry Anderson improvised a lot of Richie's one-liners.
When Beverly, Ben and Eddie hug Bill outside the hotel, it was Harry Anderson's idea that Richie doesn't hug him. Tommy Lee Wallace wasn't sure about that idea at first but later came to agree with it because Richie had become the cynic of the group now that Stan was dead.
According to Tommy Lee Wallace on the Director's DVD Commentary, making the photo in Mike's album 'come alive' was a difficult scene to shoot.
Tim Reid was disappointed that he didn't get to work with the spider puppet like the rest of the cast.
John Ritter was a huge Stephen King fan.
The adult actors had to be careful what they touched during the sewer scenes because the place was so rusty, there was a very real danger of tetanus infection. Because of that, it was not a fun scene to film.
Tim Curry was the first on-set before any of the other actors because of the long hours in makeup he had to endure.
The scenes in the sewer were actually filmed in a steel mill.
The scene where Mike takes a photo of the kids in a machine was improvised on the day of filming because time was running short to finish the movie.
The Chinese restaurant scene was Richard Thomas' favourite scene in the movie. It was filmed in three days. There were puppeteers under the table working Pennywise's fortune cookies. The scene was shot on a handheld camera to make it scarier.
Stephen King allowed a lot of flexibility when it came to rewriting much of the novel.
The young Richie, played by Seth Green, was menaced by a werewolf during the movie. Years later in his career, he coincidentally played a werewolf during Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997).
The actress playing Ben's date filmed her scenes in one day. She mistook John Ritter for Beau Bridges.
The scene where we meet the adult Richie is Tommy Lee Wallace's favourite shot in the movie, because it runs on for so long.
Some of the actors playing the "Lucky Seven" had acted together before It (1990). E.g John Ritter had played a preacher in The Waltons (1971). It made for a more comfortable atmosphere on-set.
In the novel the group is not referred to as "The Lucky Seven". They call themselves "The Losers Club".
The receptionist at the Derry Inn is seen reading 'The Glowing' when the group leaves, which is supposedly written by Bill.
Tommy Lee Wallace's first TV movie. Because it was his first, he tried to get It (1990) as close to perfect as possible.
Loni, one of the girls who teases Beverly outside school, was played by an uncredited Laura Harris, who later acted in films like The Faculty (1998) and Severance (2006).
Filmed in New Westminster, British Columbia in late 1989.
When the balloon bounces away from Beverly outside of her old house, it was being reeled in by a pulley and a fishing-rod from down the street.
Stephen King dubbed the rock-fight between the "Lucky Seven" and Henry Bowers the "Apocalyptic Rock-Fight" in the novel.
Tim Curry is not in the last 15 minutes of the movie.
David Alan Grier was considered for the role of Mike.
The story spans a 30-year period, from 1960 to 1990.
Tommy Lee Wallace wasn't sure about turning Audra from a heroine coming to rescue Bill into a victim who needs to be rescued by Bill. He didn't think it worked dramatically in the movie, or the novel for that matter.
Tommy Lee Wallace likened the "Lucky Seven" to The Magnificent Seven.
Since It first aired, there has been much speculation as to the sewer building pump house. Fans wanted to know the location of the real building and rumor was that it was a built set that had been immediately torn down after filming. The real building is actually the old Buntzen Lake Hydro Plant in Canada, which looked vaguely different in 1990 but after it shut down in the early 2000's now retains a more faded look. People can go up to it, but are prohibited from going inside without authorization.
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Although the members of the Losers' Club are all supposed to be the same age (41 years), the actors who played them as adults ranged widely in age. At time of filming, the youngest, Dennis Christopher was 34, Harry Anderson 37, Annette O'Toole 38, Richard Thomas 39, John Ritter and Richard Masur both 41, and the oldest, Tim Reid, was 45.
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The movie the children are watching when they drop drinks and popcorn on the bullies is I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957).
When ABC and Lorimar first announced the film, it was to be a 6 hour miniseries directed by George A. Romero. Romero did extensive pre-production work and closely collaborated with Lawrence D. Cohen to develop the script, but he had to bow out due to a scheduling conflict with the remake of Night of the Living Dead (1990). This mirrored Romero's experience on another Stephen King property, the previous year's Pet Sematary (1989), which he was also slated to direct.
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Some of Brandon Crane's anger at being bullied by Henry Bowers seemed very real to Tommy Lee Wallace.
Richard Masur only appears in three scenes.
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It, Salem's Lot, The Shining and Pet Semetary are allegedly the scariest books Stephen King has ever written.
Jonathan Brandis was on SeaQuest 2032 (1993), where Seth Green made a few guest appearances. Green's nickname was "Wolflman".
The sewer centrum was a set.
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When the typewriter types out "He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts" over and over, that's probably an homage to Jack Nicholson typing out "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" over and over in The Shining (1980).
At one point, while running from Henry Bowers and his gang, Richie Tozier, (played by Seth Green), accidentally bumps into the school's principle (played by William B. Davis). A few years later, Green portrayed a secondary character in Episode 1x01 of The X-Files (1993), while Davis played the recurring role of The Cigarrette Smoking Man, the show's main villain.
The scene when the "Lucky Seven" promise to come back to Derry if "It" isn't dead was shot by a novice.
In the novel, Officer Nell makes the kids take the dam apart. He's not happy about the dam in the movie, but its unknown whether he makes them do the same.
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If you notice some scenes (like the final battle), you'll find the use of the green color very easily. Stephen King has said that green is a color that, for him, represents death, unease, or the supernatural. It's also been used by the author in other books, and by directors in movies based on his books.
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In Stephen King's book sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep he mentions Three's Company (1977), and the star of that show was John Ritter.
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Beverly's old house was all boarded up when she thought it wasn't; in Doctor Sleep Danny sees Tony through a window that turned out to be boarded up.
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Scary clowns appear in other Stephen King novels like It and Doctor Sleep.
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Stan slits his wrists with razor blades; in The Shining, one of the guests did the same.
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In Doctor Sleep, Danny Torrance vomits in the toilet; Richie Tozier does the same. Also, Danny has a medicine cabinet full of pills, like Eddie Kaspbrak does.
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The scrapbook is a lot like the one from an episode of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2012) where Stephen King was a guest.
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The Radioplay TKKG - Folge 183: Blindgänger im Villenviertel makes many References to the Movie. The Main Characters talked about they haved watched the Movie together.
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The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The spider at the climax was a fully operable puppet. It was the last scene to be filmed. John Ritter was disappointed that the final battle had to be fought with a puppet and not Tim Curry, because he felt Pennywise was the real villain of the show, and not some fake spider. The novel's ending was also much too cerebral to tackle on a television budget. Tommy Lee Wallace also felt disappointment with the movie's ending. The way he imagined it was different to the way it turned out, because they didn't have the money to do it as it was storyboarded.

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