Words: Steve Brown
Jessica Chastain says we cannot pretend homophobic hate crimes don’t happen anymore because they are ‘part of our every day’.
The actress is set to star as adult Beverly Marsh in the upcoming It: Chapter Two and fans of the Stephen King novel will remember the second part of the book opens with a homophobic hate crime.
The attack sees Adrian Mellon being beaten and thrown off a bridge where he is eventually devoured and murdered by the terrifying Pennywise The Clown while his partner, Don Hagerty, looks on.
This spurs the Losers Club to return to Derry, Maine, to once again confront Pennywise and put a stop to his murderous ways.
King was inspired by a real homophobic attack on Charlie Howard in 1984 who was attacked by a group of teenagers, throwing him into three feet of water in a canal where he sadly drowned of an asthma attack.
The scene from the novel was omitted from the 1990s TV miniseries – which starred the legendary Tim Curry as Pennywise – but director Andy Muschietti has included the scene, which stars Xavier Dolan and Taylor Frey as Adrian and Don respectively.
Now, Chastain has spoken about the scene and said it’s important to see the attack as it is ‘very much part of our culture’.
While speaking to Variety, Chastain said: “The reason why I think Stephen King is the king of this genre is because he writes psychological horror.
The monster usually is spawned from a human. It’s inside of us. Look at ‘Pet Cemetery.’ Look at ‘Misery.’
“We can become our worst enemies sometimes. He wrote the novel ‘It’ because a hate crime was committed in his childhood town.
“That darkness, he wanted to explore and that’s the first scene in our film.”
When asked to elaborate, the actress said: “It’s going to be hard to talk about this without crying.
“I think you need that scene because he writes about the darkness that’s under the surface. The dirt under the fingernails of these small towns or of mankind.
“That’s what ‘It’ represents. It’s the darkness of human behaviour.
“I think it was important to see Adrian’s scene and not to change it from what it is in the novel because we’re living in a time right now where it is very much a part of our culture and part of our conversation and we haven’t moved past it.
“So, we can’t pretend that it doesn’t still exist because it’s part of our every day.”
Star of the scene Taylor Frey tells Attitude’s September Style issue – out now to buy globally and download to any device - how he had a “weird reaction” to the violent content it depicts.
It: Chapter Two hits UK cinemas on September 6.
Watch the trailer below: