Tim Curry's a bewilderingly talented individual. He can knock our socks off with his tremendous singing voice, and or make us squeal in terror with his signature penchant for playing tremor-inducing, diabolical villains. His popularity has risen this past year since receiving an honorary Tony award, and participating in Rocky Horror Picture Show's recent cast reunion and 40th Anniversary Special on NBC. Now, with an emerging interest in 'The Cheshire Cat,' I'm sure new fans are clamoring for information about him. Old fans might want to learn something new, so here are seven entertaining facts about Tim Curry.
7. Mozart on Stage, But Not on Film
For the 1980 Broadway production of Amadeus, Curry replaced Simon Callow as the show's titular character. Callow had previously portrayed him up till that point since the play's 1979 debut at London's Royal National Theatre. When the play was being adapted to film, Curry auditioned for the lead role. However, he was passed over and Tom Hulce was eventually cast. Mark Hamill took over the stage role as after Curry, but was similarly unsuccessful in the movie auditions.
6. He's a Big Scooby-Doo Fan
Apparently, Curry's an admirer of the talking mutt, who originally appeared in the 1969 animated series of the same name. Which probably explains why he's acted in many Scooby Doo related projects; Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost, Scooby-Doo: Night of 100 Frights, Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King, etc. Funnily enough, when the producers of Scooby-Doo learned this, they offered him the role of the film's "villain," Mondavarious. However, when Curry found out Scrappy-Doo (a character he dislikes) was going to be involved, he turned down their offer.
5. His Favorite Line
Tim Curry once said that out of all the films, TV shows, video games, and plays he's acted in, his favorite line is, "Dreadful darkness, hear my cry. Bring back one who cannot die." This was uttered by his character Ben Ravencroft in Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost. The reason was because he considered it to be an inside joke referring to Scooby-Doo (who emerged after Ben said the line).
4. First Voice Over Role
Since 1989, Curry has cultivated a fruitful voice-over career. Some of his most notable roles include Nigel Thornberry (The Wild Thornberrys), King Chicken (Duckman), Hexus (FernGully), and Taurus Bulba (Darkwing Duck) among others. Seeing as he has a penchant for portraying baddies, it's fitting that his animated debut was playing a serpent, a.k.a. the devil, during the creation segment of Hanna-Barbara's The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible.
3. Makeup Issues
Initially, Tim Curry wasn't going to accept the role of Pennywise because he wasn't keen on the possibility of being plastered with heavy amounts of makeup. This concern stemmed from his troubled experiences while filming Legend. In the movie he's the Lord of Darkness, a muscular and tall red creature with protruding, bull-like horns, big claws, sharp teeth, a tail, hooves, yellow eyes, and a prominent bone structure. To become the Lord of Darkness he had to spend five hours in the makeup chair each day of shooting. The makeup was so cumbersome and time consuming to put on/remove (particularly his headpiece), that one day he got so frustrated and claustrophobic that he removed the makeup himself. He ended up doing it too quickly, and as a result accidentally ripped off his own skin.
Much to his relief, It director Tommy Lee Wallace reduced the amount of makeup, leaving Curry to spend only three hours being transformed into Pennywise. The lack of aesthetics didn't prove to be a problem as Curry's performance was magnetic, and terrifying enough on its own. This can be attested to by the film's cast, as you'll read in the next fact.
2. Tim Curry's Too Scary for His Own Damn Good
It's no secret that Curry has the power to turn our pants a different color, but it's surprising to learn that even those behind the scenes are receptive to his frighting demeanor. During It's DVD commentary, the cast collectively stated that Curry's performance was so authentic and chilling that they steered clear from him during filming. Another incident came when Curry auditioned for Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Apparently, his audition not only mesmerized Robert Zemekis, Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg in a state of absolute fear, but also Steven Spielberg -- the man behind one of the scariest films of all time, Jaws.
1. Tim Curry was Almost the Joker not Once, but Twice
For Tim Burton's Batman, Tim Curry was Burton's second choice to breathe life into Batman's arch foe, The Joker. Later when Batman: The Animated Series was being developed Curry was actually picked to voice the Clown Prince of Crime. However, after he recorded a few episodes the crew decided they'd turn to someone else, that person being Mark Hamill. Curry was reportedly replaced because he was deemed too scary for kids, and the producers thought his Joker voice sounded too similar to his other character, Captain Hook, from the cartoon Peter Pan and the Pirates.
I think a couple of the reasons why Tim Curry's such a compelling and intriguing person is because he's an entertaining and versatile performer. He can conquer any genre and role he's given. He's able to play a compassionate father figure (Nigel Thornberry) on one end of the spectrum, and a ruthless, psychotic murderer (Billy Flynn from Criminal Minds) on the other. What's even more admirable about him is that he genuinely seems to be a down-to-earth individual who's passionate about his work, and doesn't give up. In 2012, Curry suffered a stroke that paralyzed his body. However, he hasn't let this deter him and he's been making a steady recovery and working ever since the incident, proving that he's a strong spirit who's dedicated to his craft.