When it comes to iconic horror villains, there are few from the 1990s that resonate more than Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise the Clown from the TV miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s IT.
While Curry has played dozens of memorable roles during his long career, it’s hard to think of a more frightening one than Pennywise, a child-eating clown prone to cracking darkly hilarious jokes while scaring the hell out of his prey.
This fall, much younger actor Bill Skarsgard will take his shot at bringing Pennywise to life on-screen, this time in director Andy Muschetti’s highly anticipated IT remake.
Every bit of released footage has drawn widespread approval so far, with some wondering if this new IT might end up being even scarier than the first adaptation of King’s classic novel.
During a recent chat with Interview Magazine, Skarsgard revealed that – at least for some unfortunate child extras on set – IT (2017) has already been quite the terrifying experience.
“At one point, they set up this entire scene, and these kids come in, and none of them have seen me yet. Their parents have brought them in, these little extras, right? And then I come out as Pennywise, and these kids — young, normal kids — I saw the reaction that they had. Some of them were really intrigued, but some couldn’t look at me, and some were shaking. This one kid started crying! He started to cry and the director yelled, ‘Action!’ And when they say ‘action,’ I am completely in character. So some of these kids got terrified and started to cry in the middle of the take, and then I realized, ‘Holy shit. What am I doing? What is this? This is horrible.”
On one hand, that sucks for those kids, as they probably had nightmares for days afterward. Elsewhere in the interview, Skarsgard says that he later tried to comfort them, but it’s highly doubtful that they wanted hugs from the guy while he was in full Pennywise garb. Hopefully their parents know good therapists.
On the other hand, it delights my horror-loving heart to know that Skarsgard’s Pennywise succeeded in scaring the crap out of a bunch of unsuspecting kids, and I’m betting it does the same for many of you as well. Nothing against those extras, but it’s good to know that Pennywise still has the power to horrify.
IT (2017) stalks theaters beginning September 8th, 2017. You better believe I’ll be there on opening night. Join me, won’t you? After all, if it’s not a big hit, we might not get part 2.