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Where Was ‘It’ Filmed?

November 20, 2019
6 min read

Stephen King is one of the best horror writers the world has ever seen. No other author in the history of English literature has seen as many of his works being adapted for the screen as King. From Brian de Palma’s ‘Carrie’ to Stanley Kubrick’sThe Shining‘ to Frank Darabont’s ‘Shawshank Redemption, King’s influence on Hollywood is simply unparalleled.

The 2017 movie ‘It’, along with its 2019 sequel ‘It Chapter Two‘ are some of the best King adaptations we have ever seen. The first movie begins with a small kid following the paper boat his brother has made for him down the road, only to see it disappear into the drain. What then emerges from the drain is this mysterious entity whom we come to know later as Pennywise. This creature has tormented the town of Derry for centuries, and a group of friends’ quest to kill Pennywise once and for all is what both these films are about.

The most interesting thing about Pennywise’s story is that his influence is just in the town of Derry where he manages to haunt the townsfolk after coming out of hiding every 27 years. Pennywise does not only haunt the children, but even consumes them on every chance he gets. The group of friends which includes Bill, Richie, Eddie, Stan, Mike, and Beverly then set out to look for Pennywise after it kills Bill’s brother.

The second movie starts exactly 27 years later from where the first one ends. Here, we see that most of these friends who were involved in the altercation with Pennywise have already left town except Mike. The film begins with Pennywise beginning his attacks on the people of Derry once again, which convinces Mike that the creature is alive. Then, he decides to call for his friends who were there with him the first time around. While all the others gather together at Derry once again, Stanley commits suicide as soon as he gets news of the return of Pennywise. The other friends return to Derry where they realize that the entity they had presumed to be dead has resurfaced once again.

Where Does It Take Place?

The stories of both ‘It and ‘It Chapter Two’ take place in Stephen King’s fictional town called Derry which is located in Maine. King has created three fictional towns in Maine called Derry, Castle Rock, and Jerusalem’s Lot, and has set many of his stories in these places over the years. Interestingly enough, King’s official website shows us a plan of Derry where we can see some of the major locations of the town where most of the events in these two films occur. Besides ‘It’, other important works of King which take place in Derry include ‘Insomnia’, ‘Dreamcatcher’, and ‘The Road Virus Heads North’.

The group of friends who are our protagonists in the film have christened themselves as “The Losers Club”, and there are many important places in and around Derry where they find themselves during their several adventures. These places include the house on 29th Neibolt Street, The Barrens, The Standpipe, and others.

It Filming Locations

Since the town where these two films are set are fictional as well, the filmmakers had a massive task of looking for a place where they would find almost everything that is mentioned in the description of Derry. However, this task being virtually impossible, several locations were used in the film to denote various places in Derry.

Port Hope, Ontario, Canada

It is well-known to everyone that many Hollywood movies are shot in various parts of Canada which are then passed off as American cities and towns. These two films are also no different. With the beautiful camera work of South Korean cinematographer Chung Chung-hoon in ‘It’, the director Andy Muschietti has been able to capture the charm of different parts of Ontario for his film.  The small-town feel of Derry is rather well-represented in the film. Here it must be mentioned that Southern Ontario’s Port Hope is the area which serves as Derry in the two films.

The small town of Port Hope went through various subtle changes during the filming. The Derry Public Library is featured prominently in both films, with Port Hope Municipal Hall being the place where the library scenes were shot. Mike, who also joins this group, is shown to work in a butcher’s shop. A shop called Gould’s Store on Walton Street is the place where the butcher’s shop was actually recreated.

Toronto

The best thing about Chung Chung-hoon’s work is that we never even understand he’s shooting in as popular a place as Toronto. The very first scene in the film shows us a little boy called Georgie whose brother, Bill, has made a paper boat for him. Georgie is the first person in the film to come across Pennywise, and the place where he meets this supernatural entity for the first time is somewhere around Springmount Avenue and William Street in Toronto.

The story then moves on to Bill and his friends, and we see them looking for Georgie’s body in a place called The Barrens. This place is actually the Rouge Park in Toronto’s Scarborough. Many important scenes in the film have been shot in this area.

Mississauga, Ontario

As the locations for both the films in question were more or less the same, it goes without saying that finding locations for ‘It Chapter Two’ was much easier for the crew. However, this does not mean that this film does not feature new locations. When all the friends meet for the first time in this film, they do so at a Chinese restaurant. This is actually The Mandarin Restaurant in Mississauga, Ontario.

A number of exteriors of the film were shot in Oshawa and Pickering, with Pennywise’s home being built as a set in Oshawa. This very property also serves as the exteriors of the horror house we see in the first film (29th Neibolt Street as mentioned above).

Pinewood Toronto Studios

A large chunk of both the films were also shot inside a movie studio. Instead, the filmmakers chose Pinewood Toronto Studios as the ideal place to work on these scenes.

Overall, Ontario is the place where most parts of these two films were shot. Canadian tax incentives naturally have made places like Toronto and Vancouver a hotspot for filmmakers who want to shoot on location and outside the confines of a studio. The details which the technical staff working on the film have used to set up these places as the locations of these two horror films must be appreciated. Stephen King’s powerful imagination has been able to create a city called Derry on paper. It is the film crew’s hard work which has been able to recreate the same for the screen.

Read More: It Chapter Two Ending, Explained

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