Pennywise is back on the screen and scarier than ever
STEPHEN King's menacing clown Pennywise has inspired his fair share of nightmares.
But coming face to face with the villain was fun for Jack Dylan Grazer.
The Los Angeles native was one of seven young actors - portraying kids known as the Losers Club - who starred opposite a creepy Bill Skarsgard in director Andy Muschietti's award-winning 2017 adaptation of King's 1986 horror novel It.
"We took none of it seriously. It was like summer camp. We forgot it was work and that we were even getting paid," Grazer says.
"Bill's a sweetheart. When he did have to get up close and personal and yell in my face, after every take he'd be like 'Hey man are you OK? Can we get this guy a pillow please'?"
As well as grappling with an evil entity, the Losers Club also battled schoolyard bullying - an issue close to 15-year-old Grazer's heart. He is a Stomp Out Bullying supporter.
"It's an epidemic," he says.
"I go to these conventions and people come up wearing my shirts, and sometimes they're crying saying 'I've had such a rough time but you've helped me push through and love myself'. It's the most beautiful thing to hear. I was in their shoes at one point where I was like 'I don't want to be around people ever again'. People can be so cruel sometimes."
Grazer reprises his role as Eddie Kaspbrak in the sequel It: Chapter 2, reuniting with both Skarsgard and Muschietti.
"When the first one wrapped, I went up to the director and I was like 'If you make a second one, please put us in it'. It was the most memorable experience of my life ever," he says.
"My fears are way too specific to ever be in a movie, but the first film did help me cope with watching scary movies. I've never been really good at watching scary movies. I'll enjoy it while I'm watching it but after I'll regret it because I can't sleep. It did help me with understanding it's all make believe because I would just look over my shoulder and see a camera.
"I've never been sacred of clowns really, but I understand why people could be. I'm thankful it wasn't a movie about dolls or pigeons."
In the new sequel, the returning teenage cast have adult counterparts as the story picks up 27 years after the Losers Club defeated Pennywise, who has returned to terrorise the town of Derry once more.
Grazer shares the role of Eddie with The Wire's James Ransone. Australian actor Jay Ryan is a new addition, portraying the adult Ben Hanscom.
"We all went to this barbecue place in Toronto with the director and producer and our adult counterparts were there. It was like a speed dating thing; we went around talking to each other," he says.
"I met James first and we shook each other's hands. I looked at him and I was like 'Wow it's insane. I got the golden ticket'. Then we both got awkward at the same time."
Grazer promises an even scarier experience for movie-goers this time around.
"It's a lot scarier than the first one," he says. "There's still the comedic aspect from Bill (Hader) who plays Richie, and that back and forth Eddie and Richie have. It's a reassuring thing that when you get scared, then you get a joke."
The film set has been a classroom for Grazer, who aspires to become a filmmaker.
"A film set is the best place to be when you want to have insight into what it's like," he says. "I probably won't go to film school because it's already my life. This is film school."
It: Chapter 2 opens tomorrow.