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IT: Chapter One

Character: Pennywise The Dancing Clown/IT

Created by: Stephen King

Directed by: Andy Muschietti

Written by: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman

Produced by: Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg, Barbara Muschietti

Cast Members: Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Nicholas Hamilton, and Jackson Robert Scott

Released date: September 8, 2017

Genre: Horror

In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shape-shifting monster, which disguises itself as a clown and preys on the children of Derry, their small Maine town.

 

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Taglines:

  • You’ll float too.
  • It Takes Many Forms

Trivia and Goofs:

  • Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie) was the first one out of all the kids to work with Bill Skarsgård (Pennywise). During their scene, Grazer would cry and gag while Skarsgård was right in his face yelling and drooling. Skarsgård was genuinely concerned for Grazer and after the scene ended, asked him if he was okay. Grazer looked right at him and said, “Love what you’re doing with the character!” Skarsgård was left confused and impressed at Grazer’s attitude, calling the child actors “little professionals.”
  • Pennywise has only four minutes of dialogue in the entire film.
  • Jackson Robert Scott (Georgie) is the youngest in the movie and stated that he wasn’t as scared of Pennywise as he thought he would be. He said he actually had a fun time doing his scenes, and that Bill Skarsgård was always joking around.
  • Bill Skarsgård did research into the “psycho universe” to find his own way to perform Pennywise. He got inspiration from The Shining (1980), A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
  • The teeth prosthetics that Bill Skarsgård wore as Pennywise made him drool profusely. Director Andy Muschietti liked this as that the drooling adds onto the ravenous nature of Pennywise.
  • Bill Skarsgård had auditioned in Hollywood for the role of Pennywise. This required him to wear clown makeup to the audition. He proclaims, “There was something kind of humiliating and absurd about the whole thing. I’m an actor auditioning in Hollywood, and I’m driving with clownface on. It’s kind of a metaphor for what the profession of acting feels like.”
  • The refrigerator scene was filmed involving Bill Skarsgård partially contorting his body and CGI. Attached to wires, Skarsgård was filmed lying at the bottom of the refrigerator on his back to which the wires would pull him out of the refrigerator and rotate his body as he steps out. His actual body was digitally removed and replaced with a digital body. Portions of the body were digitally built in order for limbs and body parts to be maneuvered in various and intricate ways. The unfolding was hand-animated. Skarsgård’s head ultimately remained intact in the shot. VFX supervisor Arnaud Brisebois states, “I actually suggested to my animation supervisor Yvon Jardel that he animate in reverse.” He mentions further, “Pennywise would step back into the fridge so that he can push himself inside. It gave a better choreography to enter and fold onto itself than to try and do it the other way.” Brisebois says that he knew this was going to become an iconic horror shot.
  • Bill Skarsgård wanted to make sure that his performance as Pennywise was convincing for audiences. He states, “In order for this movie to be as effective as the book and the series, I have to scare a whole generation. My take was that Pennywise functions very simply. Nothing much is going on in terms of what he’s thinking – he’s animalistic and instinctive.”
  • While on his way to the audition and wearing clown makeup, Bill Skarsgård, at the suggestion of director Andy Muschietti, tried out different types of maniacal laughs. He ended up getting perplexed stares from creeped out pedestrians. He says, “Andy [Muschietti] had also asked to explore clown laughter, so I’m sitting in the car and I feel ridiculous, but I thought I might as well absorb it and use it. So I just started to laugh like crazy in the car, as I’m just bearing down on pedestrians.”
  • Bill Skarsgård actually was able to smile in such a weird way that it really intrigued the director and now it is Pennywise’s iconic smile.
  • Pennywise’s costume in the film is much more faithful to the description in the novel, in comparison to the Tim Curry costume in the 1990 TV miniseries, including his orange hair, and the orange pom-poms going down his silver suit. The miniseries only included the orange pom-poms.
  • Director Andy Muschietti kept Bill Skarsgård separate from the child actors up until they had to shoot scenes together. On the day of their first scenes together, the production staff warned the kids about how scary Skarsgård could be while in character. The kids brushed this off, claiming that they knew he was just an actor in a costume and that they were professionals and would be fine. However, when the time came for Skarsgård to be Pennywise for the scene, the kids were genuinely terrified.
  • Bill Skarsgård had admitted that he was so into his performance as Pennywise that he would have constant nightmares during and after production.
  • Although Bill Skarsgård was on set for the majority of production, he didn’t actually begin filming his scenes until more than half of shooting was complete. The time before he actually started filming was spent working with Andy Muschietti and the producers in order to perfect his portrayal of Pennywise, as Skarsgård stated that he felt an immense amount of pressure to play the role perfectly due to Tim Curry’s well-regarded performance in It (1990).
  • Despite playing the villain, the cast and crew have said that Bill Skarsgård was extremely polite and friendly between takes and made an effort to ensure his performance didn’t upset the child actors.
  • Director Andy Muschietti confirmed that Bill Skarsgård spoke in Swedish sometimes while in character as Pennywise.
  • According to director Andy Muschietti in an interview with GQ, two of the most difficult scenes to shoot were the storm drain scene with Georgie and Pennywise and the flooded basement scene with Bill and Pennywise. It involved a lot of water in both situations and a lot timing.
  • The scene where Pennywise is holding the red balloons in the style of an upside down pyramid when Eddie encounters him for the first time was done using a mixture of practical effects and CGI. The first six balloons going upward in a triangular fashion that Bill Skarsgård hold are real. Yet, the rest were computer generated balloons.
  • Though CGI was used in some scenes, Bill Skarsgård was actually able to move his eyes in different directions in some scenes at the behest of Andy Muschietti. At first, it was uncertain if he was able to achieve this effect on his own, yet Skarsgård assures, “I can do that.” The purpose of this was to add to an already unsettling and disturbing look to Pennywise.
  • Shortly before the film’s release in early September, at the Fan Expo Canada event, Tim Curry was asked about his thoughts on Bill Skarsgård’s take as Pennywise. He states, “Well, I like [Bill] Skarsgard very much. I think he’s very clever. It’ll be interesting on what sort of clown face he puts on because it’s not an obvious clown face at all. I’ve seen the trailer and you can’t really see him at all. So I’m fascinated to see it. He’s very good.”
  • Due to the massive success of the film, Andy Muschietti was so confident that a sequel would happen that he began meeting with Bill Skarsgård and Gary Dauberman to discuss production on Chapter 2 before it had even been officially greenlit by the studio.
  • Hugo Weaving and Bill Skarsgård were the two finalists for the role of Pennywise after Will Poulter left the project. Skarsgård eventually got the role, reportedly due to his ability to play a more fun and child-like Pennywise, in addition to a creepy Pennywise, while Weaving reportedly fell short in playfulness and could only play creepy.
  • According to Andy Muschietti and Bill Skarsgård, there are several scenes of additional footage that were shot but didn’t make it into the theatrical cut. For the home video releases, a Director’s Cut will be released with the additional footage.
  • Bill Skarsgård has described Pennywise as being “Such an extreme character. Inhumane.” He added, “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 that It creates. It truly enjoys taking the shape of the clown Pennywise, and enjoys the game and the hunt.” Skarsgård elaborated on his connection to the children, saying, “There’s a childishness to the character, because he’s so closely linked to the kids. The clown is a manifestation of the children’s imaginations, so there’s something child-like about that.”
  • There were rumors at one point that Bill Skarsgård would not be returning to play Pennywise in the second film due to concerns that the role was negatively affecting his mental health. However, a week before the film was released, Skarsgård confirmed that he was officially attached to the sequel and had already began meeting with director Andy Muschietti to discuss ideas for the character and the film.
  • Bill Skarsgård trained with a contortionist for his role in the movie.
  • When Bill visits Georgie’s room he picks up a green Lego turtle which later breaks on the floor. Green Lego brick other than plates for building structures on, or 1/3×1 plates did not exist in 1988/1989. Lego’s reasoning behind this is they didn’t want children building tanks from the bricks. The green 2×4 bricks shown were introduced in 1996 and the color lime (aka bright yellowish green) was introduced in 2001.

Quotes:

  • Hi Georgie!
  •  I bet I can cheer him up! I’ll give him a balloon. Do you want a balloon too, Georgie?
  • NO! I’ll take him! I’ll take all of you! I’ll feast on your flesh as I feed on your fear… Or… you’ll just leave us be… I will take him. Only him, and I will have my long rest and you will all live to grow and thrive and lead *happy* lives, until old age takes you back to the weeds.
  • Where you going, Eds? If you lived here you’d be home by now! Come join the clown, Eds. You’ll float down here. We all float down here. Yes, we do!
  • asty, tasty, beautiful fear.
Script developed by Never Enough Design