Midnight Special

It’s a big day for Andrés Muschietti’s take on Stephen King’s horror classic It. Not only has the production secured an antagonist—in the form of Hemlock Grove star Bill Skarsgard—but it’s also lined up its young male lead. Variety is reporting that Jaeden Lieberher, one of the stars of Jeff Nichols’ recent early Spielberg homage, Midnight Special, has joined the cast as young Bill Denbrough.

The unofficial leader of The Losers Club—the kids who confront the book’s monstrous title creature in 1958, only to be forced to face it again when they return to Derry, Maine, as adults—Bill is a classic King protagonist, in so far as he’s brave, down-to-earth, and, of course, a writer, as all brave and down-to-earth King characters must be. Jonathan Brandis played his younger self in the 1990 TV miniseries, while The Americans’ Richard Thomas played him as an adult.

The teenaged Lieberher has had a number of high-profile roles in recent years, working with Cameron Crowe, and starring opposite Bill Murray in St. Vincent. (He also had a recurring role on the most recent season of Masters Of Sex.) Now, he’ll face off against Skarsgard’s take on Pennywise The Clown, joining a long line of heroic clown fighters that includes Brandis, Harry Anderson, and whoever the hell it was that starred in Killer Klowns From Outer Space. (Grant Cramer, in case you’re keeping track.)