When Andrés Muschietti stepped in to replace Cary Fukunaga on the long-gestating remake of Stephen King’s It, it was generally assumed that someone would also have to replace Will Poulter in the role of Pennywise the dancing demon clown.
Now, THR has reported that Hemlock Grove star Bill Skarsgård has been cast as the iconic character who terrorises the small town of Derry, Maine and hunts its children.
They also state that the plan is still to split the movie into two parts, with the first focusing on the kids and the second focusing on the Losers’ Club as adults. Those young kids will be played by Jaeden Lieberher (St Vincent), Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), Jack Dylan Grazer (Tales Of Halloween), Wyatt Oleff (Guardians Of The Galaxy), Chosen Jacobs (Cops And Robbers) and Jeremy Ray Taylor (42). It looks like the character of Beverly Marsh has yet to be cast.
So, Skarsgård has experience working with big teeth from his time as Hemlock Grove‘s upir, and he’s got a strong line in being an unsettling presence. It will be interesting to see how he does with dialogue that’s less deliberately mannered and often terrible than the Netflix show’s, and there’s definitely enough there to make us think “Hmmm, yes, that could be interesting.” Also, this writer can’t judge him on The Divergent Series: Allegiant because he hasn’t seen it.
Still, Tim Curry’s terrifying clown shoes are mighty big ones to fill. Pennywise didn’t drive his way into our childhood nightmares purely by being a scary clown. There’s the switch that the actor needs to nail, between gleefully giddy and furiously pulling your arm out of its socket. Pennywise feeds on the children’s fear and he has a brilliant time doing so, and Curry played that beautifully.
Fukunaga’s “creative differences” departure still rankles, mostly because he would have been such a perfect fit, dammit, but we’re definitely interested to see what Muschietti does with It. The novel is one of King’s greatest works and, if they get it right, a big screen adaptation could be brilliant. And if it’s not, well, there’s always Tim Curry.
It is released on 17 September 2017. Keep up with the latest horror news with the new issue of SciFiNow.