Those who fear clowns may not want to read any further. On Wednesday, Entertainment Weekly released the first image of Pennywise the Dancing Clown from the upcoming movie adaptation of Stephen King’s It, one of pop culture’s scariest characters during the mid-80s to early 90s.
Does Pennywise look like a happy clown who would love to make a balloon animal for you? Of course not. He’s an embodiment of evil who preys on the children of Derry, Maine. Fear is his salty snack.
Here is Bill Skarsgard (Hemlock Grove) as the clown sure to haunt our dreams for the next year or so.
“It’s such an extreme character. Inhumane,” Skarsgard told EW’s Anthony Breznican. “It’s beyond even a sociopath, because he’s not even human. He’s not even a clown. I’m playing just one of the beings It creates.”
If you’re not familiar with the story, It follows seven children who are drawn together by their unhappy lives and bullying, and haunted by a clown. As the kids grow into adults, Pennywise returns to terrorize them nearly 30 years later and the group has to confront its fears.
Skarsgard and director Andrés Muschietti (Mama) had some rather large, clown-sized shoes to fill, as Tim Curry’s original portrayal of Pennywise in ABC’s 1990 TV miniseries adaptation of It was defining and frightening.
Going with a younger actor to play Pennywise is an interesting angle, one that director Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) also wanted to try when he was previously attached to the project and raised eyebrows by casting Will Poulter (The Revenant) as the clown. Poulter was 22 at the time (and reportedly not a popular choice with the studio, who wanted a bigger star to justify a large budget). Skarsgard is 25.
It is scheduled for a Sept. 18, 2017 theatrical release.