Pennywise is back and he’s scarier than ever before. It’s hard to believe that the person in the photo is actually Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård.
Tim Curry’s Pennywise the Clown might have been an absolutely unforgettable scare for those that grew up in the early 90s, but the new Pennywise is a whole other level of creepy. The first close-up photos of Pennywise the Clown from the film version of ‘It’ were released a while back, and were quite unnerving. But now we get to step back and revel in the full image of the titular character from the film that’s set for a September 2017 release.
Bill Skarsgård is going to take on the role of the supernatural creature who feeds on children’s fears and by the looks of it, Pennywise is not going to resemble any clown we know. Director Andy Muschietti who is most famous for directing Mama is looking to steer away from the colorful suit and cheerful serial killer look and into darker tones.
The person responsible for the new look of Pennywise is Emmy-winner Janie Bryant who’s worked on shows like Mad Men and Deadwood. Bryant says that he drew from Medieval, Renaissance and Victorian motives to get the look he wanted for the scary clown. “The costume definitely incorporates all these otherworldly past lives, if you will,” he says. “He is definitely a clown from a different time.”
“That pleating is actually Fortuny pleating, which gives it almost a crepe-like effect,” he continued. “It’s a different technique than what the Elizabethans would do. It’s more organic, it’s more sheer. It has a whimsical, floppy quality to it. It’s not a direct translation of a ruff or a whisk, which were two of the collars popular during the Elizabethan period.” There wasn’t a need to stay true to the old look as Pennywise is actually a physical manifestation of what a malevolent supernatural being thinks a clown should look like.
Bryant claims that the new version of Pennywise looks more like a doll than a clown, which might mean that the creature got the look from a doll that belonged to the first child he feasted on. “There is almost a doll-like quality to the costume,” Bryant says. “The pants being short, the high waistline of the jacket, and the fit of the costume is a very important element. It gives the character a child-like quality.” Even the gloves are so tight and seamless they make his hands look like porcelain.
One obvious difference between the two clowns is the actors that are playing them. Skarsgård (26) is much younger than Tim Curry, who was well in his 40s when he put on the costume for the Mini-series. That doesn’t matter, of course, as Skarsgård is playing a character that carries himself differently to the one played by Tim Curry and the costume captures that to perfection.
“If you look at the sleeves, there are the two puffs off the shoulder and biceps and again on the bloomers, I wanted it to have an organic, gourd or pumpkin kind of effect,” Bryant says. That includes the peplum at his waist, the flared, skirt-like fabric blossoming from below his doublet.It helps exaggerate certain parts of the body. The costume is very nipped in the waist and with the peplum and bloomers it has an expansive silhouette.”