Pennywise the Dancing Clown, the particularly infamous villain of IT, will be portrayed by Bill Skarsgård, but was considered to be portrayed by a particularly unexpected character actor – Tilda Swinton. In addition, Swinton may have also been considered to portray a different form of IT.
JoBlo recently released an article discussing what they learned on their set visit to IT in September 2016, in which journalists asked producer Barbara Muschietti about who the casting process for casting for the title antagonist in two of its forms – Bob “The Leper” Gray and Pennywise. She revealed that, since IT is a shapeshifter, they did not feel the need to necessarily cast one or both parts as a man:
“We auditioned literally hundreds of potential Bob Grays or Pennywises and it was an amazing process. We got to audition people that don’t audition anymore and a huge gamut of talent; women, younger age, older age, we really went through the spectrum of actors.”
One of the other journalists on the set of the movie joked that Tilda Swinton would have made for a good Pennywise… Which, to everyone’s surpise, turned out to be something that Muschietti was thinking about after all:
“She wasn’t available. No, no I swear to god. She was not. We had a slot to shoot the movie and she wasn’t available so she didn’t even audition. But of course, we all thought about it.”
As odd as this choice might seem from a glance, it actually could have made sense. Swinton has a history of playing male or andogynous characters and (SPOILER ALERT!) the climax of the novel reveals that IT is actually a “she” instead of a “he”. But if the second movie is made (which it seems likely based on enthusiasm from horror fans), then there’s probably room to have her serve as a voice-over for IT’s true form.
IT will bring terror to the big screen on September 8, 2017, featuring a cast that includes Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Dancing Clown (IT), Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough, Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben Hanscom, Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh, Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak, Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon, and Wyatt Oleff as Stanley Uris. A sequel covering the events from the second half of the book is planned (as this adaptation only covers the first half), although no release date has been set.