The upcoming new film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, It has just cast the story’s evil eponymous pronoun of a character. In a surprisingly out-of-the-box move, it is being reported that actor Will Poulter will be donning the bright, demonic digs of the one and only Pennywise The Clown for the remake project directed by True Detective visionary Cary Fukunaga.
According to Variety, Will Poulter, seen recently in The Maze Runner and memorably busting impressive rhymes covering TLC in We’re the Millers, will be taking the role of Pennywise, the homicidal harlequin who lures young children into the sewers to be murdered - but not before feeding on their fears. For the 22 year-old English actor, this will be a major step up in prestige, as he takes the next evolutionary sinister step for which his villainous repertoire of roles in The Maze Runner and the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle, The Revenant have him prepared.
Cary Fukunaga’s film will serve as the first proper feature film adaptation for Stephen King’s 1986 horror novel, It, and will reportedly be divided into two films due to the enormity of the story. The book actually saw a live-action rendition in the form of two-part TV movie that aired on ABC in 1990, boasting a packed cast headed by TV A-listers at the time like John Ritter, Richard Thomas and Harry Anderson. However, it was horrifyingly memorable for Tim Curry’s iconic, categorically chilling portrayal of Pennywise The Clown (pictured at the top of this article). To this day, Curry’s nightmarish visage as the puffy-buttoned parasite who freaked out an entire generation of viewers remains the gold standard by which Will Poulter will be judged as he gets set to tackle the role. Yet, things sound promising, since, according to Variety’s sources, Poulter’s audition for the role left Fukunaga "blown away."
The traditional story of It focuses on seven children in a Maine town who are stalked and tormented by Pennywise, a sinister shapeshifting killer creature, whose fun-loving façade of a clown is ironically no-less creepy than his elusive sewer-dwelling unhuman form. The creature also has the power to use the fears and phobias of people to bend them to his will, which makes him a particularly formidable adversary to children and adults alike. That aspect becomes more consequential, since the story takes place between two distinct time periods, documenting the group’s first confrontation with Pennywise as children, as well as the period 30 years later with the kids grown to adults whose lives have been shaped by the emotional scarring of the ordeal, and must go back to face him again.
Both the original novel and the ABC TV movie depicted a dynamic of dual time periods set in the late-1950’s when the group were children, and the contemporaneous period of mid-1980’s in the book and 1990 in the TV movie. At this point, it has yet to be confirmed if we will see a change in chronological setting, although, Fukunaga has hinted about what he said would be "changed names, dates dynamic" – though vowing to maintain the spirit of the original story. It's possible that the casting of the 22 year-old Poulter could be indicative of a general direction pointing to a younger cast with the adult group. An alteration of the length of time between the two primary periods could allow for a younger set in the adult cast, opening the possibility of actors in their 20's or 30's playing opposite the updated, younger-looking clown played by Poulter.
Regardless, this sounds like an inventive casting choice to take the mantle of Pennywise and moviegoers will undoubtedly look forward even more to sleepless nights from the horrifying images that he’s sure to generate. However, no details have been revealed regarding when the It films will commence production or see release.
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