Alamo Drafthouse's Viral It Video Was Shot in Arizona | Phoenix New Times

Here's the Story Behind Alamo Drafthouse's It PSA

It was filmed in Arizona — and features the actor who plays Georgie.
You'll float, too.
You'll float, too. Patton Werner
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If you talk or text in an Alamo Drafthouse, "you’ll float, too."

That's the message in the latest of a series of public service announcements from the theater chain, which already made waves with its clown-only screenings of the hit horror film It. The video stars Jackson Robert Scott, who plays the doomed Georgie Denbrough in the new film adaptation of the Stephen King novel.

Dressed in his character’s signature yellow raincoat and holding a floating red balloon in his hand, the child actor explains the dangers of using your phone during a movie in a frightening fashion. As he screams the film’s menacing catchphrase, you might wonder why audiences think Pennywise is the scary one. The video then cuts to a clown with a devious smile and a pierced septum — and you remember that the horror film terrified moviegoers to the tune of $120 million last weekend.

The 30-second clip, which went viral this week, was conceived and written by Alamo Drafthouse Phoenix creative director Lauren Knight. It was filmed by Valley photographer Patton Werner. Vanessa Ferrales plays the clown with the piercing eyes.

The idea for the PSA came about when the theater received a phone call from Scott’s mother asking to rent a location to screen her son's film for family and friends in the Phoenix area. They replied by asking if the young talent would be interested in coming in to shoot a PSA to help raise awareness of Alamo’s strict no-phone rule.

“They were completely on board,” recalls Derek Dodd, Alamo Drafthouse Phoenix's operating partner.

According to Werner, Ferrales was already applying her creepy clown trade in front of It’s opening night crowds, so she was brought in front of the camera as the Alamo’s lobby filled up with customers ready for an unnerving evening.

Originally, Ferrales was going to tug Scott under the chair much like his character Georgie is pulled into the sewer grate. That idea became a bit cumbersome to complete, so they settled on that sinister parting shot to send shivers down your spine.

Werner says it took five takes to capture Scott screaming, “You’ll float, too.”

“He nailed it every time,” the photographer says.

Werner sent the raw footage to Alamo’s headquarters in Austin, Texas, which is where Laird Jimenez edited together the final product with the blessing of corporate and It’s distributor Warner Brothers. According to Dodd, a majority of the famous Alamo Drafthouse policy trailers are created in Texas, so this unique video is a first for the Chandler location.

When putting the PSA together, Dodd wanted to tap a local talent to get it right. He had seen a photograph Werner created inside of the Chandler Alamo of the artist sitting in every seat in the theater miming a different reaction. Much like the characters known as "The Losers" in the film, Dodd thought it was time to bring him into the Alamo family for his first formal project with the theater.

“It was definitely a team effort,” Werner says. “I was fortunate enough to be part of this amazing experience.”
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