Isaiah Mustafa Shares What It Was REALLY Like Shooting “IT: Chapter 2” + His Biggest Grown-Up Fear

Isaiah MustafaPhoto Credit: Storm Santos

Some of you know him as Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.” Others know him as Luke Garroway on Freeform’s “Shadowhunters.” But on September 6, the world at large will know him as Mike Hanlon, Losers’ Squad member extraordinaire, in “IT: Chapter 2,” the sequel to 2017’s “IT,” based on Stephen King’s iconic 1986 horror novel. Mustafa, who co-stars alongside Bill Skarsgard, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and James McAvoy, discusses what really went on behind the scenes of this frightening film, how his NFL training came in handy on-set, and the awesome (and very original) gift he gave King as a thank you.

Isaiah MustafaPhoto Credit: Storm Santos

Did “IT: Chapter 2” bring out your inner kid at any point during film?

Totally! I had a really great time engaging with my castmates and getting to run around all the huge set pieces. It was like being a kid playing in the backyard.

What were you terrified of growing up? What are you terrified of now?

As a kid, I was terrified of almost all scary movies but always felt compelled to watch them. I fear real adult things now, like bills.

Did you get close to your adult Losers’ Club cast members? Who did you bond with the most and in what way?

The whole cast and director got really close during filming. We were around each other for 14 hours a day over the course of four months, so we definitely bonded. I think PJ and Bill and I had some cool moments bonding over music and movies. But I also had fun moments with Andy Bean too. Come to think of it, I got pretty close to Jessica, Jay and James too!

Did you do your own stunts for It? What was the trickiest? Did your former NFL career come in handy here?

There were only a handful of stunts to do for “IT: Chapter 2” but I think I did 95 percent of them. There was one gag that I wasn’t allowed to do. I remember asking about it but being denied. I can’t say what it was, but it was pretty wild. But for the stunts I did do, I’d say playing baseball came in handy more so than football. When you see the movie, you’ll know what I mean.

Isaiah MustafaPhoto Credit: Storm Santos

You were known of the prankster of the set. What prank were you most proud of and who did you play it on?

I’m not sure who said that, but I definitely was not the prankster on this set.

Have you ever had a near-death experience like Mike does in the movie/book?

On the set of my first Old Spice commercial I was almost crushed by the bathroom set that flies into the air when it unsuspectedly and accidentally fell from the wires it was being held up by. That’s about as close as it comes for me.

Did you have a chance to personally speak to Stephen King while preparing for the role?

I didn’t speak to Mr. King while preparing, but I did talk to him during filming. He was amazing to speak with! Such a prolific writer. I also gave him a pair of Old Spice socks as a thank you for signing my copy of “IT.”

What would you say is the biggest challenge you’ve had to deal with in life thus far?

The biggest challenge for me so far in life has been being a father. There’s no handbook, you’ve got to learn as you go.

Isaiah MustafaPhoto Credit: Storm Santos

What has been your scariest/most thrilling adventure?

Up until filming “IT: Chapter 2,” I’d say my trajectory as a journeyman in the NFL was the scariest and most thrilling adventure I’ve ever experienced. There would be times when I wouldn’t know if I was going to make the team. That was crazy because the pressure to make it was so great and if I didn’t, I was going to be out of a job with a family to support. There were times when I made it but ultimately I didn’t, and thankfully so because me not making the cut is what propelled me into acting. A lot of times in life when one door closes, it creates the opportunity for another door to open. But it’s hard for a person to understand that when they lose their job. I was fortunate to have someone to explain that to me: my mom.

How are you celebrating 10 years of his “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign with Old Spice?

How else, on a horse…

What’s next for Isaiah Mustafa, in both your career and in your life?

Hopefully, more opportunity in both my career and in life but what I’m really looking forward to is giving back. I’ve been fortunate to have some great coaches and teachers along the way. I’d really like to be a positive influence to anyone who feels unheard or left behind. Sometimes we hit sticking points in life and can’t seem to put the puck in the back of the net. We could all use a teammate, friend or mentor from time to time to feed us a nice little drop pass for a slap shot. It would be great to be able provide that assist. Can you tell I play hockey?

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