After many, many years of waiting, a proper big screen adaptation of Stephen King's IT is on the way. The latest trailer just arrived online and it continues to promise that this movie is going to be very worthy of the legacy that the novel has garnered over the years. Much of that has to do with Bill Skarsgard's work as Pennywise the clown, which is nothing shy of terrifying from what we've seen. Though, it turns out we almost had a very different Pennywise as Doctor Strange actress Tilda Swinton was considered for the role.
JoBlo recently published the results of their set visit that took place while director Andres Muschietti was filming the IT movie. During the conversation on set, the director revealed that Tilda Swinton was indeed seriously considered for the part, but she wasn't available during the window they had to shoot the movie. Here's what he had to say about it.
"She wasn't available. No, no I swear to god. She was not. We had a slot to shoot the movie and she wasn't available so she didn't even audition. But of course, we all thought about it."
Tilda Swinton is a total chameleon of an actress and would have been a fascinating choice for the part. Sadly, we won't even get to see an audition tape. In the earlier days of the IT movie before Andres Muschietti came on board, We're The Millers star Will Poulter was cast to play Pennywise, but scheduling conflicts prevented him from actually being able to keep the part. Producer Barbara Muschietti revealed that they auditioned literally hundreds of people for the role of all shapes and sizes before ultimately arriving at Bill Skarsgard.
"We auditioned literally hundreds of potential Bob Grays or Pennywises and it was an amazing process. We got to audition people that don't audition anymore and a huge gamut of talent; women, younger age, older age, we really went through the spectrum of actors."
It's clear that New Line isn't screwing around with IT. They seem to know just how much people want to see this movie and they were willing to commit a lot of resources to do it properly. Trying to even bring in someone like Tilda Swinton to play a clown that eats kids speaks volumes. But what is it that made Bill Skarsgard, a relatively unknown actor prior to this, stand out? As Barbara Muschietti tells it, he knocked it out of the park.
"Bill came in and blew our socks off. Because he was doing his very own interpretation of Pennywise, very erudite...very, very familiar with the novel and with Pennywise in the novel, which for us was a huge help. Because we went in the casting process with the book in mind. We read the novel when we were teens, we saw the miniseries much later in the game, so Tim Curry's performance is extraordinary but that is not necessarily what we link to Pennywise immediately. For us, the Pennywise is the Pennywise in the book which is quite different. I think Bill went for that and he did an amazing, amazing performance and we gave him several tests. Again, because he's a shape shifter, we wanted to make sure that he could play in different grades, right? And he did. he's amazing. And what's even more amazing is that he kept the character very unpredictable, and that's what scares us the most, when you don't know what way he's going to go."
If all goes well, IT 2, which will adapt the second part of Stephen King's novel that sees The Loser's Club as adults have to return and once again confront the terror that haunted them as kids, is going to go into production early next year. Based on everything we've seen, IT will probably crush it at the box office when it arrives on September 8, 2017, and could be one of the rare horror movies that is a genuine critical hit as well. But it'll be hard not to at least wonder what Tilda Swinton would have looked like in the role of Pennywise while watching IT.