In 1990, Stephen King's nearly 1200-page novel It was adapted into a two-part mini-series that aired on ABC.
The story told the tale of a group of friends, who referred to themselves as "The Losers' Club," who have been ostracized by their peers but find companionship in one another. In addition to all being mocked and bullied by classmates, they've all had run-ins with the terrifying entity Pennywise, which takes the image of a horrifying clown and is responsible for a series of children's deaths in their small Maine town.
For the mini-series, Tim Curry played Pennywise, a role that quickly created a fear of clowns in many, with his performance being equal parts innocent, playful, silly, and sinister.
When it comes to any remake or new adaptation, fans who love the original property will be defensive about the new installment, as they often believe the magic of the original cannot be recaptured by anything that's new. With Bill Skarsgard playing the nefarious Pennywise in the upcoming R-rated adaptation of the story, he has big shoes to fill to match Curry's original performance in the role, but it's certainly a challenge he feels up to taking.
The Story Deserved a 'Re-Adaptation'
During a set visit by Bloody Disgusting, Skarsgard revealed his approach to the character that he feels will set the film apart from the previous adaptation.
"I worked really hard to create my own interpretation of the Stephen King character," Skarsgard explained. "Tim Curry's performance is understandably iconic, still, but the whole [mini-series], to me, at least, felt like something that might be worth a remake of, or rather, a re-adaptation, is kind of how I want to see the film. It's not a remake of the TV show or the original mini-series, but it's a re-adaptation of Stephen King's book."
The important distinction in Skarsgard's eyes is that, rather than being a remake of the mini-series, this was an all-new interpretation of the source material, which allowed the actor to craft his own version of the character instead of recreating another actor's interpretation of the character.prevnext
A New Pennywise
When speaking with Variety, director Andres Muschietti echoed Skarsgard's statements about reinterpreting the character.
"I wanted to stay true to the essence of the character," the director pointed out. "I knew that I didn't want to go the road of Tim Curry. Bill Skarsgard caught my attention. The character has a childish and sweet demeanor, but there's something very off about him. Bill has that balance in him. He can be sweet and cute, but he can be pretty disturbing."
The clown, however, is merely one representation of the mysterious "It" creature, something Skarsgard kept in mind while crafting his performance.
"I didn't want the clown to be completely separate from the entity," Skarsgard detailed. "I wanted It to really kind of shine through Pennywise, as opposed to Pennywise just being the clown, so there's a lot of what the entity was I wanted to be in the background of who Pennywise is at all times."prevnext
Crafting a Creepy Clown
The upcoming film is merely the first of a two-part film series, with the first film focusing on the young children and their experiences while the second film will explore their journeys as adults. Despite developing two entire films, there's still plenty of material in the book that wasn't included, causing Skarsgard to turn to the book for inspiration.
"I think it's almost 1200 pages, but I used the book because what was in the script is not much at all about who this character is," explained Skarsgard of his process. "I read the book and I took a lot of notes on anything that describes Pennywise in any way, or describes It in any way, so there's a lot of like great chapters, where It, like the entity, is the narrator."
He adds, "You hear his thoughts and what he thinks and all these things, and so there was this huge source material to go from, like, 'Oh, what is this saying, why is he here, what does he think like, what does he like, what doesn't he like?' — I could use all of those things to come up with my own interpretation and my own version of what It is, and then also what Pennywise is in terms of his embodiment."prevnext
The storyline revolves around a group of young kids in Derry, Maine who come face-to-face with their worst fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.
The cast of IT includes: Bill Skarsgård, Javier Botet, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff, Nicholas Hamilton, Owen Teague and Logan Thompson.
The adapted screenplay was penned by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman. The producers on the film include Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg and Barbara Muschietti, with Marty P. Ewing, Doug Davison and Jon Silk serving as executive producers.
Be sure to check out IT when the movie hits theaters on September 8, 2017.prev