Reviews of IT have been floating in since late last night, and one of the commonalities found between them is praise for the performance by Bill Skarsgard. The actor had large shoes to fill playing Pennywise The Dancing Clown -- previously played by Tim Curry in the 1990 miniseries adaptation of the story -- but Skarsgard delivers a genuinely creepy and properly off-putting turn as the monster. According to director Andres Muschietti, there were many signs during development that they had chosen an appropriate star -- but few more than the discovery that the actor can move his eyes independently and give Pennywise a perfect inhuman appearance. Muschietti recently told me,
In IT, a big part of what makes Bill Skarsgard's Pennywise impressively upsetting is not just the fact that he looks like a psycho clown, but also the fact that he occasionally lets his human mask slip and you can take a peek at the monster underneath. In order to get this effect, it would have been totally understandable if Andres Muschietti had to use CGI to adjust his actor's eyes -- and in fact I had entirely accepted that before I sat down with the filmmaker and his sister, producer Barbara Muschietti, late last month in Los Angeles. The director was prepared to do just that, but that was before he realized Skarsgard could provide his own unique special effect.
You can get a nice preview of Bill Skarsgard odd eye movement as Pennywise in IT watching the clip below!
Following this reveal, the conversation opened up to be about the nature of Pennywise and his abilities. As is written is Stephen King's original novel, he can manipulate his form to appear as an individual's greatest fear -- but Andres Muschietti took particular note of the fact that the book says that he isn't always 100% perfect. Said the filmmaker,
Andres Muschietti told me that finding the right actor to play Pennywise in his adaptation of IT was by far the greatest casting challenge. That being said, he also did notice something special about Bill Skarsgard almost immediately, and the reasons why he was the perfect choice for the part emerged during the process. The director took me through the steps, as well as his final epiphany:
Stephen King fans have been anticipating seeing Pennywise on the big screen for years, and the experience is now just days away. IT will be in theaters this Friday, September 8th - and we'll have plenty more interview pieces and features coming your way soon here on CinemaBlend!
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