Everyone has their biggest fears, whether it be heights, spiders, or the dark; however, clowns top most people's lists of scary things that go bump in the night. The fear of clowns (coulrophobia) was helped in no small part thanks to Steven King's 1986 novel IT. The novel hit mainstream fear in 1990, as Tim Curry popped on a cherry nose and collared frills to play Pennywise the Dancing Clown - Ronald McDonald's evil cousin! IT was one of those "don't tell your mum we watched it" sleepover films that gave everyone the willies! Ever since we saw poor little Georgie lured to his death behind the bedsheets, we knew IT wasn't your standard slasher film, cementing itself as the original 'evil clown' film. Seven years after studio bosses announced that they would be reviving the 1990 clown killer, IT has finally started shooting. New clown, new kids and a new (new) director - here is everything we know about the remake of IT!
Time To Scream
For anyone new to IT, both the novel and the film follow a group of children who are stalked by a horror-filled entity through their childhood and into their adult years. The creature can turn itself into the children's biggest fears, most often appearing as the titular clown Pennywise (originally played by Curry) and going offing them one-by-one. The original film aired as a 'mini-seires' for television on ABC, split into two parts, thanks to its 187 minute run-time. The remake will (now) be a singular theatrical release as opposed to two back-to-back films. Whilst the novel was set during both the '50s and the '80s, the mini-series was in the '60s and '90s. It is most likely that the new film will ditch its '80s time-frame in favour of a modern setting, meaning there will be no more thick-rimmed spectacles or dungaree'd children for #throwbackthursday.
Who's Behind The Camera?
Way back in 2009, Warner Bros. announced that a remake of IT, based on King's 1,138-page novel, had started. Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Doug Davison were set to produce, with a screenplay written by Dave Kajganich - the novel was to be adapted into a two-part film, just as the TV film was a two-parter. The project moved into development with True Detective's Cary Fukunaga at the helm, but when Fukunaga left the project, he also took a large chunk of the plans with him. Fukanaga was originally thought to have left due to budget constraints, but later cited 'creative differences' were the reason behind it. He told Variety:
I was trying to make an unconventional horror film. It didn’t fit into the algorithm of what they knew they could spend and make money back on based on not offending their standard genre audience. Our budget was perfectly fine. We were always hovering at the $32 million mark, which was their budget. It was the creative that we were really battling. It was two movies. They didn’t care about that. In the first movie, what I was trying to do was an elevated horror film with actual characters. They didn’t want any characters. They wanted archetypes and scares. I wrote the script. They wanted me to make a much more inoffensive, conventional script. But I don’t think you can do proper Stephen King and make it inoffensive.
Once again it looked like IT could enter development hell - but luckily Andrés Muschietti came to the rescue! Muschietti is the man behind horror-hit Mamá and thankfully is all too keen to share snaps of his project with fans clamoring for gore. Just the other day he posted on Instagram a picture from "Day One". We are surely in safe hands with the Argentine director; a new breed of horror master, Muschietti originally created Mamá as a three-minute short. Guillermo del Toro said that the short had one of the scariest scenes he had ever seen and put the film into full production - this would undoubtedly have helped Muschietti's case for IT!
The Body Count
Due to declining health, 70-year-old Tim Curry sadly won't be returning to his days of Pennywise, but we are confident the latest addition will do the character justice! During the Fukunaga era of IT, it was We're the Millers's Will Poulter who was attached to play Pennywise. When the search for a new director pushed the film back by a year, Poulter was no longer available and someone else was needed. Our new Pennywise is Bill Skarsgård, star of Netflix's Hemlock Grove, so no stranger to the horror genre. Also joining the cast are St. Vincent's Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough, leader of 'The Losers Club'. Finn Wolfhard will portray Richie Tozier, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak, Wyatt Oleff as Stan Uris, Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon, and Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben Hanscom, and newcomer Sophia Lillis will portray Beverly Marsh. Whilst child-murder may be a touchy subject, it is key to the horror of IT, so don't except Muschietti to skimp on the corn syrup. After the recent run of success on R-rated films, you can scream for joy - producer Roy Lee told Collider that IT would officially be rated R. This was from when Fukunaga was attached, but we wouldn't expect much to change on that front. This means we get to see various children pulled into storm drains, lured into lakes and attacked by shower heads!
New Era, New Look
As for the clown himself, we aren't really sure how Pennywise will look, other than internet Photoshops form gore-fans. With filming only just started, we are yet to see what the new Pennywise looks like, but with the man behind Mamá at the helm, expect some scary s**t. Keen to hype up his film, Muschietti's social media was on hand again to share some scribbles of what the satanic clown could look like. Whilst this may only be pipe-dream concept art, IT's Pennywise looks like something more from Eli Roth's Clown; could we be ditching the prop store wig in favour of a nightmarish vision. We have already seen Skarsgård as the murderous vampire Roman on Hemlock Grove, so we know he has the 'teeth' to sink into Pennywise. Hopefully we won't have to wait long until some official pictures surface, IT went into production on June 27, and will film in Toronto until September 6. IT is officially aiming for a September 8, 2017 release, so those suffering coulrophobia, you know when to book your holiday!