While we’re only two weeks away from the opening of Andy Muschietti’s IT, we can still take some time to look back at the miniseries that premiered in 1990 since, for many people, it was one of the most important horror films of their lives. For some, the performance of Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown is the reason that they are terrified of clowns, his role the catalyst in turning those painted jokers into visions of pure terror.
In a recently discovered interview over at Ear of Newt, Steve Newton found an interview he did from the set of the miniseries oh so many years ago, this one with makeup-FX artist Bart Mixon, who created the Pennywise design. Mixon spoke about the experience in the brief clip, telling Newton, “The main thing about IT and what I like about the design we came up with was when we were starting everybody was going, ‘Oh, it’s gonna be real cool because it’ll be this real evil looking clown.’ Well, no. That’s not the context of the story, that’s not the way it works because 90% of the time he’s suckering these little kids in and he was this real exaggerated… A lot of people had trouble seeing that. ‘Oh, but it’s not gonna be cool!’ Oh, but that’s not the point.
Tim’s so good in this stuff. He could be nice and jolly and then suddenly to a real evil presence, so we don’t have to get real…I don’t think we had a real sculpted brow or stuff like that. I don’t think it would’ve been quite the same. I did have some different things originally what I wanted…
Originally, since in the story it takes place in two sections, in 1960 and 1990, so in 1960 when [Pennywise] first encounters the kids, I wanted to have him pretty much like how he is now or maybe even a little more stylized, like kind of a McDonald Land character. I wanted to have, like, scleral contacts that were, like, solid white, y’know the whites of the eye were white, the blues were blue… Just real cartoony looking. But Tim didn’t want to wear that much makeup. But then in the 1990’s, when the adults see him, since they know that he’s not a nice clown, I wanted to have him where he’s more of a corpse-like caricature of a clown, where since he’s taunting them, going ‘You guys used to think I was a clown, haha!’, as if it would’ve been a gross caricature of a clown. So instead of painted lips, there would be big red cracked lips. Stuff like that.”
Mixon then went on to briefly touch upon Curry’s desire to use as little prosthetics as possible, since he still had memories of what that was like from portraying Darkness in Legend. However, not too much was offered because the recording stops before the full story was told. Still, as a fan of Legend, it was wonderful to hear it referenced!
If you want to hear the interview, simply click on the link above.
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