The long-awaited IT movie is finally in theaters this weekend. Even though the movie hasn’t been in theaters for more than a day, it’s already a resounding success both critically and commercially. Much of that has to do with the fact that director Andy Muschietti and the creative team very faithfully adapted Stephen King’s novel, or at least the first half of it, for the big screen. But not everything could make it from the page to the screen. Namely, the very controversial sex scene. Now, writer Gary Dauberman explains how they decided to handle that scene in this adaptation.
Warning: spoilers ahead for IT. In case you aren’t familiar, or just need a quick refresher, in Stephen King’s IT novel, there is a big orgy scene with The Losers Club in the sewers after their battle with Pennywise. In the scene, Beverly sleeps with every member of the gang, which helps spark their memories and leads them out of the sewers. For very obvious reasons, this was not included in the new movie. Gary Dauberman, who did the most recent draft on the IT script, spoke with Entertainment Weekly about that scene and how they approached it in their adaptation. Here’s what he had to say about it.
“Besides Georgie in the sewer [the It opening], I think it’s the one scene that everybody kind of brings up and it’s such a shame. While it’s an important scene, it doesn’t define the book in any way I don’t think and it shouldn’t. We know what the intent was of that scene and why he put it in there, and we tried to accomplish what the intent was in a different way.”
In the movie, The Losers Club doesn’t actually get lost on their way out. We catch up with them outside of the sewer going over the recent events and making a pact to meet up if IT ever comes back. Instead of Beverly having sex with the six boys, they all cut their palms and join hands in a circle, taking an actual blood oath. Also, Bev and Bill definitely kiss. This accomplishes the same thing without the controversy, as Gary Dauberman explains. Even Stephen King understands the scene feels particularly out of place in modern times, but he does feel justified in including it in the novel, as he explained in 2013 on his website’s official message board.
“I wasn’t really thinking of the sexual aspect of it. The book dealt with childhood and adulthood, 1958 and Grown Ups. The grown ups don’t remember their childhood. None of us remember what we did as children, we think we do, but we don’t remember it as it really happened. Intuitively, the Losers knew they had to be together again. The sexual act connected childhood and adulthood. It’s another version of the glass tunnel that connects the children’s library and the adult library. Times have changed since I wrote that scene and there is now more sensitivity to those issues.”
Books are not movies and movies are not books. Some things need to be changed when adapting a book to the big screen. In this case, Andy Muschietti and Gary Dauberman absolutely did the right thing with IT. Considering that the movie has been a huge hit with critics and is looking to shatter records at the box office this weekend, audiences seem to agree. So much for the whole “sex sells” thing.