'It' Director Cary Fukunaga Seeks "Perfect Pennywise" Clown

‘It’ Director Seeks “Perfect Pennywise” Clown

Pennywise IT

After blowing our collective minds with the first season of “True Detective”, Cary Fukunaga is still developing a modern day take on Stephen King’s It.

What we didn’t know is that he’s been working on it for several years – and that he eventually had to start from scratch.

Bloody Disgusting reader Lucca Cantisano shared pages from Brazilian newspaper O Globo in which Fukunaga talks about the lengthy development process, their hunt for Pennywise, and getting Stephen King’s blessing.

“I’ve been in this project for about five years,” says Fukunaga in a translation by Lucca. “I had already read versions of the script but nothing felt right. Everybody tried to put too much into it, telling it from the perspective of the adult and the child in a two hour movie. It didn’t fit. So I decided to throw it all away and start from scratch.

“This will be my first movie in the US and I’m still trying to find the perfect guy to play Pennywise,” he added. “It’s really good to know Stephen [King] likes what we did. We (Fukunaga and writers David Kajganich and Chase Palmer) changed names, dates (the story is originally set in the 60’s) dynamics, but the spirit is similar to what he’d like to see in cinemas, I think.”

Based on the novel by Stephen King, the 1990 horror miniseries “It” originally starred Tim Curry as the hellish Pennywise. It took place in 1960 where seven outcast kids known as “The Loser Club” fight an evil demon who poses as a child-killing clown. 30 years later, they are called back to fight the same clown again…


  • Trisha Tachanawa

    It sounds like he’s taking this very seriously which is great. Tim Curry was a perfect monster, its going to be interesting to see if he can get the right person for this adaption.

  • I respect Cary Fukunaga, I just believe he’s looking too hard. Lightning struck with Tim Curry. He was brilliant in it, and if he was unshackled to be the TRUE novel Pennywise, he would scare millions of people. Instead of searching for the ‘perfect’ Pennywise, just ask Mr. Curry if he’s interested in doing it again.

    • Bill Smith

      Tim Curry is pushing 80 and had a stroke a few years ago. Pennywise is a major character and he doesn’t age. You don’t respect the director if you expect him to hire a man past his prime just to please the fanboys. This isn’t Star Wars we are talking about, this is a horror movie.
      Find an unknown actor who comes to an open casting call and hire him. When he does an awesome job it will shut everyone the hell up and they will say he did a better job than Curry did just like all the idiots did when Heath Ledger did a better job at being Joker than Jack Nicholson did.

      • Nina K.

        I agree with you but I feel like correcting that he’s pushing 70, not 80.

        • art123guy

          Born in 1946 which makes him 69.

          • Ray

            He was born on April 19th, 1946, which makes him 68. Jesus.

          • art123guy

            Sorry, I only looked at his birth year, off by about 2 weeks. Christ.

          • Corey Fox

            Actually your off by about 6 weeks.. Just sayin’

          • art123guy

            Ha, I thought it was April. I’m so out of it.

      • Dr.murder

        I agree that someone could make the role their own but I don’t agree that Ledger was better than Nicholson. They are two different takes from two different time frames and Batman representations. Both were excellent and different. Thats all.

      • Jamie Ashton

        hes only 68?

    • john

      The stroke took Curry out of the game and I’m sure that disappoints him most of all.

  • DrinkinWithSkeletons

    Eddie Izzard or—thinking outside the box—Tilda Swinton.

    • Andrew Flemming-Dunn

      i’ve been saying tilda for years

  • James

    While I’m incredibly excited I feel like take the kid story out of the 60s to be a bad idea. That era played such a part of their story. I remain hopeful though.

    • Captain Underpants

      I agree. Altering the novel’s time period is a little sketchy, but Stephen King has been championing the script, so I still have faith in this version. It’d be cool if the childhood section of the film takes place in 1985, so when Richie goes into the school’s boiler room, instead of the Wolfman, he sees Freddy Krueger. Robert Englund cameo.

      • Brooklyn Ann

        That would be AWESOME!!! You win the internet today.

        • Brooklyn Ann

          …but what if Roberty Englund played Pennywise?

  • KingCujo

    Philip Seymour Hoffman would have been great but I’m thinking Danny Houston or Paul Giamatti or JK Simmons. Tilda Swinton is a GREAT idea. Eddie Izzard’s not bad but he almost reminds me too much of Tim Curry in energy, personality and looks.

    • jason4eva

      JK Simmons would be amazing!!!

      • James

        Jk or Danny would be great.

        I could also see Tom Hiddleston.

    • Michael Gibney

      Paul Giamatti was the first guy to pop into my head too. His face in clown make-up and that laugh. *Shudder. But Pennywise is supposed to be tall, not short.

    • Ian Scott McClure

      Paul Giamatti! Totally agree. I had a hard time picturing him at first, but that evil grin in Shoot Em Up with the maniacle laugh and voice. He is one of the few I can consider.

  • Stephen Spencer

    i was thinking willam dafoe

  • Dr.murder

    Why can’t we get this in an HBO or Showtime miniseries. Over a 1000 pages does not translate well into 2 hours. As long as he doesn’t hire Jon Cusack or the brothers from Wings I will be grateful.

  • astronauta69

    what about Rhys Wakefield

  • J Jett

    i say HELLBOY’s Doug Jones would be perfect for the role!

  • Mr. Dry

    Benedict Cumberbatch would do it great, that voice.

  • Riku Ruohomäki

    Hire John Leguizamo. Problem solved…
    (his portrayal of Violator, the demon/clown from Hell was one of the few things they got right in the Spawn movie)

  • Golic

    Michael Shannon.

    • 1EyeJack

      Good choice! He’s always good, and when it comes to playing crazy he’s great. Easy to see how he can be scary (see movie Bug – you’ll know what I mean).

  • batmanfanatic

    It’s simple…Jackie Earl Haley.

    • Elias

      Seriously ??? 😀 you like the like the clown It ???? :’D

      • batmanfanatic

        seriously. He’s played a child killer in Nightmare on Elm Street, a child molester on Little Children and the sociopathic Rorschach in The Watchmen. He’s perfect for the role. I’m a huge fan of IT, the novel. The movie, not so much. It’s ok for what it was, but the acting was horrendously bad (except for Tim Curry). What HAD to be left out due to it being an ABC mini-series diluted the whole point of the story. This is a story of a clown that EATS children, or tears them to pieces. I FULLY believe that Jackie Earle Haley can pull it off wonderfully. I mentioned this on a SK website and most commenters agreed and were completely behind this casting choice.

        • Patrick Martin

          First off, never re fer to that horrid remake of NOES again. and secondly, I would rather have an actor who hasn’t already been in major franchises. Not a rookie but someone not already known and typecast. ‘m really worried about changing name and dates though, mainly dates, I can completely change the feel of the story.

          • batmanfanatic

            The film wasn’t as good as it could of been, but “horrid”? I think not. My opinion man. Telling someone to “never refer to that…again” is more or less saying…don’t mention something that YOU don’t like. Besides, I wasn’t defending that film, simply stating that JEH is a phenomenal actor. Plus, Tim Curry had already been in some major films by the time he played Pennywise. In fact, he was so iconic, it was often times difficult to see Pennywise and NOT think, oh, it’s Tim Curry playing a monster, psychotic clown. I don’t feel that the same problem would happen with JEH. He’s not THAT iconic of an actor, plus, most of the roles that you’re referring to where he was in a “major franchise” are NOES/The Watchmen, where he was, for the most part, covered in make-up or wearing a mask. And, JEH is not typecast. He’s played a variety of rolls.

          • batmanfanatic

            Although, Patrick, I DO agree with you in regards to changing the time-line. I think that’s completely unnecessary, but I AM curious how an 80’s version of the Losers Club would turn out. Also, as far as names…I’m curious as to what names he’s changing and WHY?! I’m not against changing certain aspects of a novel in order for it to fit the medium, such as dialogue, minor events, ect. Esp the dialogue. As evident by Mick Garris’ direction of a lot of King’s films, King’s dialogue often doesn’t translate well to the screen. While watching The Stand, Desperation, The Shining, all directed by Garris, and, while extremely faithful to the source material, the dialogue is cringe-worthy because…no body talks like that! It REALLY stood out in Desperation…but they should’ve had a better actor to play David Carter…but, again, my opinion.
            Someone also mentioned Paul Giamatti and Eddie Izzard…Giamatti would make an EXCELLENT Pennywise, even though he, like JEH, are both fairly short men and Pennywise is supposed to be tall (I think)…Izzard, on the other hand…is SO similar to Tim Curry that I truly hope they don’t go in that direction.

          • Patrick Martin

            I agree completely with doing changes that help the transition from a written to a visual medium, in-fact I normally have a standpoint of, “if you are going to redo something, then do it differently.” My only issue is if they bring it into the 80’s when their kids, then as adults they’ll be in present day, and if something like what happen in the novel happened in present day, it would be asking to much to suspend disbelief that the rest of the world would become aware of whats happening. I feel it would tear the majority of people right out of the movie when the nature of the story already asks for so much of that suspension and just introduce even more plot holes. Plus, I am a fan of the fifties vibe an vernacular portrayed in the book and wanted to see it in the movie. Also, I apologize that my comment (First off, never re fer to that horrid remake of NOES again) came off wrong. While I didn’t particularly enjoy the film, it was meant to be a joke and sound jaunty, but it’s difficult to express humor in text a lot of the time.

          • batmanfanatic

            lol it’s all good m’man! You’re right, hard to express sarcasm/humor in a text! And I completely agree with your points about changing it to the 80’s/present day…

    • Brent212

      that’s the first guy who I thought of too



  • Joey

    Doug Jones would be amazing.

  • Sarigar

    I’d love to see Fukunaga reunite with Glenn Fleshler from ‘True Detective’ on this project. The man who embodied the horror of Errol Childress has both the physical presence and acting versatility to be a truly terrifying Pennywise.

  • Brooklyn Ann

    I wish Robin Williams was still with us. He could play a terrifying villain.

    • Chrissie-Watkins

      He has! Have you ever seen One Hour Photo? That movie disturbed me deep down.

      • Brooklyn Ann

        Me too! That’s what gave me the idea. He was also creepy in “Insomnia: (No relation to the King novel). The script and film itself sucked, but he was great and so was Al Pacino.

        • Chrissie-Watkins

          You’re right, he would be so scary in the role, RIP Robin Williams.

    • Losingitinca

      RW would have been great. He had a great duality in his acting.

  • Ernesto

    I think Robert Carlyle will be crear

  • WalkingDeadGuy

    My top picks:

    Michael Shannon
    Andy Serkis
    Hugo Weaving
    Gary Busey

    • concerned citizen

      Yeah, but who would you like to see play Pennywise?

    • Stitches

      Hey, whatever crack you’re smoking… I hope you brought some to share.

    • Michael Gibney

      Pleaaaase. NO MORE of that guy who played Gollum. He’s in too many things playing the same type of character.
      I think Pennywise needs to take this Andy back to the Serkis.

  • Yakushiji Tenzen

    Mel Gibson!!! LOL!!

  • Tom Hiddleston could work.

  • DisasterRuss

    Michael C Hall

  • Dan Jones

    It was set in the late 50s, not 60s. And my pick for Pennywise is, Javier Botet.

    • Gillian Hollingworth

      Brilliant choice.

  • Adrian Abonce
  • Cathy Ann

    There is only one Pennywise….

  • Joe Davis

    Glenn Fleshler would be perfect

  • 3VWdriver

    Until I see someone different do the part justice; my pick will always be Tim Curry!!

    • Debbie

      Agreed. He was fantastic!

      • veronica

        no doubt..but there was a vote for Ron Perlman….if not tim..him

    • Geoffrey Hanan

      that’s the whole point though–you haven’t seen someone different do the part at all. that’s the entire point of this conversation 😀

  • Stitches

    Let’s hope it’s not Lady Gaga, right?

  • Irene B

    David Bowie.

  • Kristina Marie Gallogly

    Vincent D’Onofrio or, hear me out, Christopher Lloyd. He was a great Judge Doom and I feel that would translate well.

    • Losingitinca

      VD was great in The Cell too, and he was monstrous in that. But I don’t know, because Pennywise does have that playful, , howdy Dooody type air about him and I am not sure that VD has that quality.

    • 138

      Vincent D., in my esteemed estimation, is the man!…yep, this is your left sided classmate.

  • Lyly Beretta

    Bryan Cranston !?

    • Jen

      Great Actor, too short

  • Peter Johnson

    Ron Perlman

    • Jen

      Too bulky

      • Peter Johnson

        Okay…Adam Harrington

    • veronica

      he would make an awesome pennywise

  • Jen

    Alexander Skarsgard-tall, can be humorously dark.Unexpected

  • Fred Barnett

    Where is Tim Curry?

  • Mr. Roach

    Kiss me fat boy!

  • ITgrl

    Tom Hardy

  • Pamela

    Why are names and dates changed????

    • Tarpaulin77

      We don’t know WHO’S names are changed. Maybe none of the losers so then who cares? Probably to make them more different from each other. And the dates are just to make the story current. Makes sense.

  • Lucca Cantisano

    Well that was me btw

  • Victor

    God can we get a new Halloween already instead?

  • Mark Jamieson

    Eddie Murphy

    • This could really work!

      The thing about Pennywise is that he’s a dual character. The actor who plays him has to be able to finesse both sides with equal believability — the playful and charming side, and the demonic and manipulative side.

  • It’s really a fantastic f*cking book. I also enjoyed Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise from the TV movie. It was a good movie — but it was a TV version that feels like a TV movie, and is now outdated. I’m really looking forward to Fukunaga’s film version. It bodes well that he and his partners are still searching for the right Pennywise. That means they aren’t trying to grab someone who is just an A-lister in order to get exposure and money for the movie. A lot of filmmakers do that. They hire Big Names that aren’t worthy of the project and while it brings the film a lot of notice and money, artistically it degrades the work overall. I hope that won’t happen with Fukunaga’s version of It. I think Benicio del Toro could be a really good choice.

  • Cody Gregory

    God I loved this movie when I was a kid; yes a kid. It made Tim Curry my favorite actor hands-down; and it left images that will never go away. Hell; fly me out there. I’m not an actor, but if I get the part, I’ll be cheap; and I would get so into this you have no idea.

  • Lucca Cantisano

    John Carroll Lynch or Stellan Skarsgard

  • Jack Wilson

    If I were directing this, Andy Serkis would be my first choice. We know he can go from charming to menacing in a heartbeat, and he is the modern day Chaplin when it comes to physicality, which would bring a whole new dimension to this character.

  • Tricia

    There is only one Pennywise….Tim Curry!!!

  • TonyaJ

    Andy Serkis for the WIN!

  • Bug

    John Leguizamo?

  • michael myers

    Me…im on facebook

  • michael myers

    I would make the perfect one…

  • michael myers

    what you think..?

  • For some reason I think Adam Goldberg would nail it.

  • chris

    How about Paul Giamotti? He could be creepy!

  • Matthew Summerlin

    how about Mike Myers?!?! He would be so scary, and it could give him a chance at a comeback.

  • Tiger McDrew

    Ian McShane

    • Ryan

      thats perfect! I envisioned him too

  • Derek Raven

    I would be perfect for the role. Give me a chance and enjoy the show

    • Ryan Lenon

      So are people just trying to get the job off this website now? That’s 2 people now and this is kind of…

  • BurningBeard

    Um…It was an ancient alien, not a demon.

    • Death ToTruthers

      Not really. It definitely was NOT an alien. It was an interdimentional being as old as the universe itself. She was the counterpart to the Turtle, the creator of the universe (albeit accidentally in a fit of indigestion). More akin to the devil than a demon. But definitely not an alien.

  • Kristoffe Brodeur

    Boom. I can do this SAG or SAG-eligible. 🙂

    • Kristoffe Brodeur

      type a

    • Kristoffe Brodeur

      type b

    • Kristoffe Brodeur

      type c

    • Ryan Lenon

      What the…… What?

      • Kristoffe Brodeur


  • Scott

    Actually, the book was set in the 50s and the 80s.

  • Justin Zerbel

    The best person to play pennywise is the ORIGINAL CHARACTER

    • Ryan Lenon

      68 years old, 69 on April 19th. Not a chance.

      • Zachariah

        How many times does it need to be said that his age doesnt really matter?

        • Chris B

          Because Curry’s stroke could have affected his speech and movement. He hasn’t really been seen in public for a couple of years now. That’s likely why.

  • Losingitinca

    Tim Curry’s Pennywise was the best thing about that TV miniseries. (he also completely made up for the casting of John Boy as Bill) I would suggest Eddie Izzard, as seeing him play evil in Hannibal really impressed me, but then that’s too much like Tim Curry. I think they need to cast an unknown or someone who has never done evil, and pulls a massive acting trick out of his bag, blowing everyone away. I’m sorry but TC just did such a memorable, truly frightening job of it, it’s going to be one of the biggest challenges of this production.

    • Ryan Lenon

      I don’t know, of course everyone would love some unknown actor to come out and nail it but that’s way easier said than done, plus you can’t really just say I want this to happen, it’s not. Casting an unknown has 10% chance odds I think.

  • Daniel Anderson

    And Tim Curry isn’t because….why?

    • Ryan Lenon

      How about because right now he’s 68 and on April 19th he’s gonna be 69 years old.

      • Daniel Anderson

        “69 dude!” So? Makeup works great, I don’t remember seeing any major leg work required in the original (granted its been awhile since I’ve seen it (although him jumping into the ~3″ pipe would take some agility). Obviously if he turns it down its another story.

        • Ryan Jordan

          He had a major stroke a couple of years ago.

          • Daniel Anderson

            Damn, didn’t know. How fucked up did he get?

          • Ryan Jordan

            It took him a year or do before appearing in public again. I read somewhere that he couldn’t speak at all until then.

          • Ryan Jordan

            Not sure. But he didn’t appear in public for about a year, and I think he still has speech problems.

  • Brooks Jones

    one of the easiest ways to differentiate with the tv movie is to actually follow the book. in the book the it was not always a clown. the it was an alien or other worldly being that manifested into whatever it’s victim’s darkest fear was. so the it could turn into whatever. the clown visage should be prominent but not to the extent it was in the miniseries. I’ve always had the idea that whoever makes this should utilize other directors to do webisodes. if they did fifteen minute shorts that portrayed some of the journal entries from the book they could fill in parts of the story that wouldn’t be allowable in 1 or 2 features films. it could also become an option where if a viewer was feeling particularly ambitious they could play a version of the dvd that had the webisodes inserted into the movie. just a thought.

    • Ryan Lenon

      I think maybe 3 feature films, 3 hours each would cover all the ground but 2 feature films is gonna be skipping quite a bit I think.

  • felipevillanuevac

    Tilda Swinton!!

  • Ryan Lenon

    I loved the book at first but it lost its charm for me around page 800. I think I’d be fine if the movie trimmed down on some stuff. The book just became a drag around then and the ending was pretty predictable and I really didn’t like some of the clichés like the how the kids were always laughing and they’re just so happy all the time. “It” was kind of amusing at times, you know, how vulgar he is and how he’s not acting like a scary thing. “I’m Dracula! I’m the teen-wolf!”. It was best at the beginning and was really creepy then.

    • brainiac

      IT is a classic and never drags.

      • David John Bevan

        That is merely your opinion, this is just how it made this guy feel, making it his opinion, I felt it dragged too.

  • Ryan Lenon

    4 people now have said, “I should do it, let me do it, look at my creepy clown photo of me”… Are you serious now…

  • BrannigansLaw

    I worry about this being “modern day”. They need to capture the kids right. Stephen King’s best movie is arguably Stand By Me and that’s because of the kids and the way they grabbed that golden moment in growing up on film. Spielberg knew how to do this right in the 80s. A modern take on this may be lost on us adults that grew up with great horror stories from the 50s-80s. I really hope it’s not a bunch of kids sitting around on their cel phones or Pennywise is creeping on their webcams. Please keep this set as a period piece.

    • Skyler Russell

      It’s safe to assume the adult portion of the story would be moved to the modern day, while the child portion would be somewhere in the 80s.

      I don’t mind the change, personally. It’ll make it more relatable, and I can imagine Fukanaga pulling off something cool with 80s aesthetics.

      • macguffin54

        The article above says the child’s part is now in the 60s not the 80s. (Originally, the book started in the 50s).

    • brainiac

      Totally agree with you

  • sailornikki

    Eddie Izzard would be perfect. John C Reilly and Peter Stormare are close seconds. Sig Haig even!

  • brainiac

    Let Tim Curry do it again 🙂

    • Brugglesby

      Heck yeah, why not?

  • Barneybhoy88

    Gonna throw Sam Rockwell’s name into the mix just because he’s about the most versatile actor going right now and would probably come cheap enough

  • Greth

    Glenn Fleshler

  • Sebastian Villegas

    Just cast Giancarlo Esposito as Pennywise the Clown and you have a winning film.

  • hawkman2k

    Marilyn Manson or Rob Zombie could add a new take on Pennywise. Actually Twisty The Clown (American Horror Story) was as scary of a vision of an evil clown as was ever filmed and I think has set the bar.

  • aFriendlyAgenda

    They’re remaking It now?

    Is this the second or 3rd remake?

    • macguffin54

      Try the first. But they aren’t remaking the mini-series. They are adapting the book again to make it better since the first adaptation sucked.

  • drmodem

    As long as this actress isn’t in the remake I’ll watch it.

  • SozerKeyse

    Nothing I have ever read has ever terrified me as much as that mummy scene about 30% of the way in. Having watched True Detective, I’m very confident Fukunaga can capture that sense of abandoned, supernatural-but-no-one’s-coming-to-save-you small town dread.

    God it would be amazing if this move was even 80% as good as Misery. Watched it a month ago, still holds up.

  • Ryan