Why IT's Original Pennywise Dropped Out, According To The Director

Pennywise in IT

Will Poulter in IT

The IT movie entered development in 2009, and next week, Stephen King fans will finally get to see how the theatrical adaptation of his massive 1986 novel turned out. Bill Skarsgard is breathing life into the movie's eponymous being more than two decades after Tim Curry played Pennywise the Dancing Clown on TV, but originally Detroit star Will Poulter was set to portray the terrifying clown. Poulter dropped out of IT in April 2016, and director Andres Muschietti has revealed that the main reason the actor departed was because he was losing interest in playing Pennywise on the big screen. After noting that he'd talked to Poulter after his directorial predecessor, Cary Fukunaga, left IT, Muschietti said:

But I was very, very intrigued by the prospect of working with Will, I always thought that he would be an amazing Pennywise. We talked a little bit about it, the idea of making the movie even though that Cary wasn't there. Will basically expressed a feeling that he had slowly disengaged from playing that character, that was so dark and terrifying. It was a personal decision I respected, but I was eager and willing to find my own Pennywise and that's what we did.

From 2012 to 2015, True Detective's Cary Fukunaga was set as the IT director, and it was in his final weeks on the movie that he cast Will Poulter as Pennywise. It's unclear if Fukunaga's departure from IT played any role in Poulter's own decision to leave or if he might have left even if Fukunaga had stayed on board. Either way, as Andres Muschietti laid out to Deadline, the actor eventually decided he didn't want to be part of IT anymore. If Poulter's recent appearance as police officer Phillip Krauss in Detroit is any indication, he would have done an impressive job playing one of Stephen King's most terrifying creations. However, from what we've seen of Bill Skarsgard's Pennywise in the IT previews, he has the creepy clown act down pat, and when also taking into account the early reactions to the horror movie, it's safe to say the casting change worked out for the best.

Pennywise in IT

Just like the original IT story, Andres Muschietti's cinematic re-telling will follow The Losers' Club, a group of outcast kids, who face a shape-shifting entity in their town that preys on children using their deepest fears. However, as with any adaptation, there will be some differences from the source material, most notably with the action being moved from the 1950s to the 1980s. IT Part 2 is already in development, and will adapt the adult portions of Stephen King's novel, with some flashbacks to when the main protagonists were still kids.

IT opens in theaters on September 8. Don't forget to also look through our movie premiere guide to find out what other theatrical releases 2017 has coming up.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.