‘IT’ Concept Art Reveals What Pennywise Almost Looked Like
Last week came the news that director Cary Fukunaga had left Warner Bros.’ upcoming adaptation of Stephen King’s IT following “creative differences” over the film. It wasn’t entirely surprising news (Fukunaga has a reputation for being an exacting and demanding director with little experience in the studio system), but it left the project in a state of limbo. We’ve since heard conflicting the reports — The project is dead! No wait, it’s not dead! Hold on, it’s dead again! — but as the studio figures out what they want to do, we can now take a look at what they almost did.
At some point before Fukunaga’s involvement (or, perhaps after the studio sensed he was leaving the project), director Vincenzo Natali (Splice) pitched the studio on his take for an IT adaptation, and included some concept art on what he thought the new Pennywise should look like. Considering he wound up not getting the job, Natali decided to share some of that art on Twitter.
Yes, those are definitely scary clowns. But, what seems all wrong about most of those designs is that they’re too scary. Pennywise’s form wasn’t designed to be scary, it was the opposite. The creature uses this form to lure children because children are easier to scare and their fears easier to manipulate. If Pennywise looked like this, no children would go near it. When it appears to poor Georgie in the opening of the book, it does so to try and lure him closer to the sewer with promises of promises of cotton candy, rides, and balloon. If Pennywise looked like any of these creatures, Georgie would’ve run home and Pennywise would’ve stayed hungry. The scariest part of Tim Curry’s portrayal was that he mostly looked like a normal clown, just one doing horrible things.
These designs could’ve been one of the reasons that Natali was not hired for the project and it’s unclear if Fukunaga’s designs for actor Will Poulter looked anything like these. Considering that Fukunaga threw out all the existing material that Warner Bros. had developed, it may be that whoever the studio hires to replace him (if anyone), will throw out all of the work Fukunaga developed and start from scratch.