The It movie (1990) is beloved by horror fans, mostly for the incredible performance from Tim Curry as It. Pennywise is the greatest of all horror movie clowns, and Tim Curry's fearlessly dark, intelligent work as an actor made the It movie magic happen. He's every nightmare you ever had...
Check out this retro interview from the vaults of Fangoria (issue 99, to be precise) and experience the waves of utter charm emanating from the great Tim Curry as It, on set for the It movie in 1990. Writer Steve Newton had the enviable pleasure of meeting Tim Curry— and of seeing him chomp a crustless cheese and tomato sandwich and puff on a Marlboro in full Pennywise makeup!
Of course, the mighty Tim Curry always had a great understanding of who and what It really is (note the adorable consideration for '90s era spoilers):
''Basically he’s just pure evil, really, and he can also metamorphose into various other forms—mostly into the image feared most by whoever he’s appearing to. Or he can also seductively become other people. At one point he turns into somebody’s dead father, at another point he turns into the girl that the hero’s in love with.
I won’t tell you what he turns into at the end, but basically he’s completely irredeemable; he’s the kind of chap that’s entirely without charm.''
''I off quite a few people here and there, one way or another. But Pennywise turns out not to be that physical, actually—it’s mostly mental cruelty. What’s fun about him is that a clown is traditionally a very cosy, comforting kind of cheery image, and Pennywise is none of these things. I think of him all the time as a smile gone bad—that’s my image for him.''
Curry mentions the collaborative process he, SFX wizard Bart Mixon and It director Tommy Lee Wallace used to create the iconic Pennywise look:
“The clown face was a little mixture of all three of us. But the first five days of shooting there wasn’t a day when the face was quite the same, because tiny little things evolved, like the shape of the mouth. And the eyebrows are actually the hardest thing to really nail down.”
Obviously, just because he was part of the Pennywise creation process doesn't mean he loved racing around in heavy makeup under set lights all day!
“I don’t think anybody likes it. But it’s great fun when you’re actually working it, making it part of yourself and finding out what it can do...
But the most fun, I have to say, is taking it off. The moment they say I’m wrapped, I pull off the nose.”