The reboot of Stephen King’s It is scheduled to hit theaters on September 8, 2017, and director Andy Muschietti posted a sketch on Instagram—presumably the new look for Pennywise the Dancing Clown. In 1990, the first film adaptation of It, based on the bestselling novel by Stephen King, was released as a two-part miniseries on ABC. The film starred John Ritter, Harry Anderson, and the twisted clown Pennywise was portrayed by Tim Curry. The original look of Pennywise from the 1990 movie was disturbing based on his simplicity: classic clown makeup, untamed red hair surrounding a bald head, and he occasionally donned razor sharp teeth.
Recently, Steve Newton, from Ear of Newt, recalled the time he interviewed Tim Curry on the set of It. Curry described Pennywise and the original design of the child killing clown.
“Basically he’s just pure evil, really, and he can also metamorphose into various other forms—mostly into the image feared most by whoever he’s appearing to. Or he can also seductively become other people. At one point he turns into somebody’s dead father, at another point he turns into the girl that the hero’s in love with.
“The clown face was a little mixture of all three of us,” he says, referring to himself, [Bart] Mixon (who’s best known for his monster creations on Fright Night 2), and director Tommy Lee Wallace, who helmed the latter film as well as Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. “But the first five days of shooting there wasn’t a day when the face was quite the same, because tiny little things evolved, like the shape of the mouth. And the eyebrows are actually the hardest thing to really nail down.”
Bill Skarsgård (Hemlock Grove) has been casted as Pennywise for the new film. Whether his version of Pennywise will be successful or not will be based primarily on three things: the script and content for the character, Skarsgård’s version of Pennywise and whether he will be believable or not, and the overall appearance of the sinister clown.
There have been many speculations on the new manifestation of Pennywise ever since the reboot was announced. Vincenzo Natali, director of Cube and Splice, tweeted in 2015 a few potential sketches of Pennywise and called them “pitch imperfect.”
— Vincenzo Natali (@Vincenzo_Natali) June 1, 2015
An Instagram post from January, 2016, by director Andy Muschietti, has resurfaced and many are speculating that it is Pennywise. The sketch portrays an evil wide-eyed clown with wild hair that resembles flames. If this is what Muschietti was visualizing as Pennywise then the final conception may not be far from this sketch.
From Stephen King’s It, the novel, King describes Pennywise.
“There was a clown in the storm drain. The light in there was far from good, but it was good enough so that George Denbrough was sure of what he was seeing. It was a clown, like in the circus or on TV. In fact he looked like a cross between Bozo and Clarabell, who talked by honking his (or was it her?—George was never really sure of the gender) horn on Howdy Doody Saturday mornings—Buffalo Bob was just about the only one who could understand Clarabell, and that always cracked George up. The face of the clown in the storm drain was white, there were funny tufts of red hair on either side of his bald head, and there was a big clown-smile painted over his mouth. If George had been inhabiting a later year, he would have surely thought of Ronald McDonald before Bozo or Clarabell.”
The remake of Stephen King’s It will be similar to the 1990 version in that it will be a two-part movie. The first part of the movie will focus on the main characters’ childhood and the second will focus on them as adults, as they do battle with Pennywise the Dancing Clown in both parts. The original movie has a “fresh” score of 67 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and is adored by fans worldwide. The Tim Curry version of Pennywise will be big shoes to fill for Bill Skarsgård. Curry is a beloved actor and is entrenched throughout movie pop culture history. In addition to his role in Stephen King’s It, Curry is an acclaimed actor and best known for his portrayals’ of Wadsworth/Mr. Body from the movie Clue, and Dr. Frank N. Furter from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Time will tell if the remake will be successful or not, but meanwhile, fans can heed the words of warning from Pennywise.
“I’m every nightmare you’ve ever had. I’m your worst dream come true. I’m everything you ever were afraid of. “
[Photo via ABC/Warner Bros.]