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[Exclusive] Update on ‘Pennywise: The Story of IT’ and Never Seen Photo from Miniseries!

“We have amassed over 700 never-before-seen photos.”

Fan-funded earlier this year, the forthcoming documentary Pennywise: The Story of IT couldn’t possibly be coming along at a better time. With Andy Muschietti’s re-adaptation of the iconic Stephen King novel still smashing insane records at the box office, after all, what better time to revisit the original 1990 mini-series?

The documentary from Dead Mouse Productions Ltd and Cult Screenings UK Ltd. is being directed by Chris Griffiths. It’s a fully independent retrospective into the making of Stephen King’s IT and its cultural impact over the last 28 years, set to “tell a story heard by few and showcase a wealth of behind-the-scenes footage and photos seen by even fewer.”

From exploring the historical and cultural phenomenon of coulrophobia (the fear of clowns) to Tim Curry’s magical portrayal of Pennywise the Clown to the impact Vancouver (aka “Hollywood North”) had on the 1990 made-for-TV miniseries, The Story of IT will dig deeper into the Pennywise phenomenon than anything ever has before.

We caught up with writer/co-producer John Campopiano and co-producer Gary Smart this week to get an update on the doc, which is nearly complete!

After an amazing 3-week shoot in Los Angeles and Vancouver we are now managing a number of outsourced interviews with some additional key cast and crew,” Smart told us. “We’ve also started having the interviews transcribed so that John and I can produce the narrative structure of the documentary. It’ll then go to our editor, Nick Helmsley, who should have a basic rough cut of the film for John and I to sign off by December. We’re expecting a final cut by January with a *possible* release in April 2018.

The team left no stone unturned in the interview department, chatting with anyone and everyone who was involved in the making of the 1990 mini-series. That includes stars Richard Thomas, Seth Green and Emily Perkins, to name just a few, along with director Tommy Lee Wallace and makeup effects master Bart J. Mixon.

And yes, Tim Curry even provided a rare interview!

“I was lucky enough to meet Tim once before our group interview with him this past July. That experience–plus our initial conversation via phone–hardly prepared me for the enormity of the moment of connecting with him at his home,” Campopiano recalled. “Tim and his staff welcomed us all, had coffee, water, and cookies for us, and just made us feel very comfortable. I vividly remember telling myself to try and sit back every so often and just savor the moment as much as possible. With so much happening at once (e.g., finalizing logistics for the interview, briefing staff about the film project, setting up equipment, making sure we don’t accidentally break anything!) it was easy to get swept up in it all and forget that what we’re doing is special likely a once in a lifetime opportunity. Finding those moments to breath, step back, and appreciate what was happening, was important for me. It’s an interview experience I’ll cherish forever.”

One of the coolest features of the doc is that we’ll be taken on a tour of the town that played the role of Derry, Maine in the mini-series, which is actually located in Vancouver.

For me, visiting filming locations is always a powerful experience,” Campopiano explained to us. “I place a lot of significance in the power of place, so to step into the spaces where films I love were shot, I feel like I’m connecting with that film in a more meaningful way. Being in Vancouver was really special for that reason. At many spots very little had changed since 1990, so for a moment I felt like I was in that town of Derry I grew up watching. From the standpoint of the documentary, I think it’ll be a great treat for fans to see the places where the miniseries was set. Many people will never have the chance to visit Vancouver, so for those fans we’ll bring Vancouver to them.”

The doc will also be home to TONS of never-seen photos and on-set videos.

We’ve been fortunate to work with SFX makeup legend, Bart Mixon, a few times already, so we have a great rapport with him. Pretty much from day one, Bart was on board and gave John over 3 hours of never-before-seen video footage,” Campopiano and Smart excitedly told us. “We have also amassed over 700 never-before-seen photos from Bart and the cast and crew. The biggest bonus on this project is the amount of gold we have unearthed–we really do think it’s going to be a visual treat for fans. The photos stem from make-up tests on Tim Curry to the kids just having fun on set. They really are an amazing chronicle of the making of IT.

They added, “These photos (including those not featured in the final documentary) will be featured in the companion book slated for release around Christmas 2018.”

All the hard work, Campopiano promises, will result in something truly special for fans.

I think fans are in for a real treat with this one,” he confidently noted. “Sure, in some ways it’ll be your straightforward “making of” documentary. But it’s also going to go deeper and examine some of the themes and subtexts that keep people coming back to this massive and rich story.”

Be sure to follow Pennywise: The Story of IT on Facebook for regular updates, and check out an exclusive, never-seen photo of Tim Curry on set that the team provided to us!



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COMMENTS

25 Comments
  • Jack Derwent

    It makes me happy that the original still gets attention.

    • Saturn

      It should – it’s considered a (flawed) classic for a reason.
      I expect a modern audience who may have watched the new version, who go back to the original adaptation may be a little “meh” about it, especially if they have grown up with modern fx, but still, for many of us IT still holds a special place in out blackened hearts…..

  • DJV1985

    Having just read the book and literally finished it today, I’m not sure why it gets a lot of love. Don’t get me wrong, it’s entertaining and enjoyable to read, although I’ll admit that sometimes the jumping from different periods in time (kids to adults) got a bit confusing especially nearer the end but that could just be me, and with the new film being more comedy to the kids in the playground where I work, I have to say that I’m glad I watched, own and still enjoy the original which scared the marbles off of me back when I first saw it.

    • boxcar182

      The book was pretty good but King added so much filler that the book was longer than it probably should’ve been.

      Plus King seems to like to go into great detail on little things. Like if he is describing a game of checkers two characters are playing it should be like “the two sat down for a game of checkers” instead King will be like “The two sat down for a game of checkers. Tommy glanced at the black piece first and immediately thought of the inside of a coffin on a moonless night. The piercing gaze of a cats pupils. He knew moving this piece first was the right one”…..uhh what?

      • perfectinsanity

        You’re obviously not an author. If you had it your way the whole book would be:
        “There are some kids, six boys and one girl. There is an inter-dimensional being that exists in this small town called Derry, Maine. The being can manifest itself as anything in an attempt to scare people, mostly children. It wants to scare kids so that IT can eat them. IT eats Georgie. IT lives in the sewers beneath Derry. Gangbang. With the power of friendship, imagination and belief, the kids kill IT.

        …Or do they?”

        • boxcar182

          Haha dude, I am just being humorous. Need help removing the stick?

      • DJV1985

        Soooo true. I’ve just cracked open The Shining and from what I’ve read so far he seems to spend a long time on the tour of the place and the history of the Overlook. Now don’t get me wrong I know we have to know about the history but really do I need to know how the boiler works? Do I need to know about the pipes freezing and how to fix them?

        I put a similar post up on Facebook on a Stephen King fan page and was instantly told that I don’t understand his writing that he is a man of detail and that each detail leads to something later in the story…which isn’t true. Again I’ve read three of his books, or at least two before and now this and do plan on taking on the DARK TOWER challenge but if the books are all like this, heavy on the filler then I may just jump ship and go back to the Science Fiction genre that I took a break from.

  • Brandon

    Can’t wait!

  • Khy

    Nice. Is Stephen King by chance involved with the docu? I know he wasn’t super involved with the miniseries but it’d be nice to hear about his first thoughts when he learned they were adapting it for TV.

  • Frank Gambino

    What disease does Tim Curry have?

    • Edgar Pinecone

      None. He had a stroke in 2012.

  • BCB

    Both versions are terrific, and I’m looking forward to this project.

  • astronauta69

    still the best adaptation imho

  • Eddie Barsh

    IMO, I think many fans including myself, love the Golden Era of horror movies where all of our classic favorites come from, Halloween, F13th, NOES, TCM, Hellraiser, and yes even Tim Curry’s iconic portrayal of Pennywise, and I think many fans are rightfully ashamed of this era that hasn’t replicated that success and don’t give enough credit to the rare occasion of when this era does produce a truly classic film and character, and this years edition of IT has done that! Bill Skarsgaard and Andy Muschietti have delivered a masterpiece in terms of quality of a film and portray of a character. With all due respect to one of the greatest actors ever, Tim Curry, Skarsgaard took Pennywise to a whole other level and delivered a truly frightening and disturbing Pennywise more monstrous than we have ever seen on film to date! I agree he truly is on Heath Ledger/Joke level !! The Georgie/Sewer scene ranks among one of the greatest scenes in horror history imo! Bill Skarsgaard can take his place among the alltime great performances such as Nick Castle, Robert Englund, Richard Brooker, Kane Hodder, Gunnar Hansen, Doug Bradley and Tim Curry among others! That being said I too look forward to watching this project!

    • boxcar182

      I agree. Skarsgard’s Pennywise was more in mind of what I visioned Pennywise to be. Where he is represented as a clown but just slightly off…the twitch moves…the lazy eye drifting…the drooling. All of it was fantastic.

      Tim Curry’s Pennywise was more psycho/BoZo the Clown kinda thing. At the time it was fantastic and pretty chilling but I was also 6 years old when I watched it. I watched it recently and it hasn’t aged well.

      • Eddie Barsh

        I somewhat agree. The music was fantastic in the original series and was one of my biggest complaints w the remake. Curry’s was more humorous while Skarsgaards is alot darker. I agree tho that the miniseries is indeed showing its age a little but to me it is still a fantastic movie regardless

  • Dylan Gutierrez

    Why does every thread about IT turn into a comparison between the mini-series and the new film? This is about the documentary shedding a lot of backstory about the production, the cast and a love for the mini-series. No need to bash it for the sake of the new film because of its shortcomings. I remember a lot of people claiming it to be great until the new film came out and suddenly it became “Troll 2” level of cheese and bad filmmaking.

  • Necro

    Cool can’t wait to see this! I love behind the scenes documentaries about Horror films. I like both the mini series and the new film.

  • It’ll be an interesting thing to watch. Personally in terms of tone and portrayal of Pennywise I prefer the mini-series, which on both counts is far scarier than the movie. Both the mini-series and the new movie have equally as many discrepancies from the book, although personally I think the new movie makes even more of a hatchet job of the book than the TV show did. It’ll be interesting to see why the makes of the show made the decisions they did when compared with the movie version.

    • Trav

      I do like Curry’s Pennywise, but I strongly disagree about the miniseries being scarier than the movie. This is just my opinion of course, but outside of Curry, the miniseries hasn’t aged well. I thought the movie was terrifying.

      • It’s much scarier than the movie. Curry was menacing, this new guy looked like a creepy clown and it back-fired. They kept going with cheap ‘jump’ scares. After the 3rd one I was bored and waiting for the next one which you could see coming a mile off. They didn’t create any tension or make Pennywise the slightest bit creepy.

        • Trav

          Again, I disagree. Tim Curry is the only thing that really holds up in the miniseries, and even Pennywise as a character isn’t handled right in the miniseries. As for the jump scares in the movie, I don’t get the complaints behind jump scares when they are done well, which they were in the movie. Tension would build up, and then hit you with the scare (Good examples are the projector scene and Richie’s encounter with Pennywise). The miniseries had a huge effect on my childhood, and I will always love Tim Curry’s Pennywise, and I will always have a soft spot for the miniseries. With that said, it just doesn’t hold up like it used to, and the movie was scarier, at least for me.

          • Disagree all you want, the series was scarier and Curry was better in the role. The series was also marginally more accurate to the book than the movie.

          • Tanner the Spanner

            The series was more accurate in other areas.

          • Trav

            Think what you want, the movie is scarier and while I’ll always love Curry’s performance and have a soft spot for the miniseries, it hasn’t aged particularly well at all. I’m not even saying Skarsgard was better than Curry, I just like that he brought something different to the role. Also, Skarsgard’s Pennywise is closer to the one portrayed in the book.

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