Easily the most hotly-anticipated horror movie headed our way next year is Andy Muschietti’s film adaptation of Stephen King’s It, which will see young actor Bill Skarsgard taking over the role of Pennywise. We recently got our first glimpse of Skarsgard in the brand new studioADI-designed makeup, and you won’t find us complaining.
Of course, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Tim Curry in the role of Pennywise, as his performance was iconic and terrifying to the point of being completely unforgettable. Even if you weren’t a fan of the 1990 mini-series, you simply can’t deny that Curry is the standout highlight of the whole thing, and he truly brought to the screen one of the most memorable villains of all time.
It was makeup artist Bart J. Mixon who designed the Pennywise makeup for Curry, and today we wanted to share with you a few pieces of concept art that have mostly gone unseen over the years. In addition to a concept drawing whipped up by Mixon in the early stages of the production, we also got our hands on a rare behind-the-scenes shot of Curry testing out one of Mixon’s early makeup designs, along with a few busts that showcase other potential designs that were ultimately unused.
But first, some words from Mixon himself.
“I started out designing Pennywise by doing lots and lot of research into various clown looks,” the Emmy-nominated artist told me when I spoke with him a couple years back. “I did do a number of sketches, but these were somewhat pointless until the part was cast. The production was considering Tim Curry, Roddy McDowall, and Malcolm McDowell – and while I think any of these great actors would have given us a very unique Pennywise, I do think they made the right choice in casting Tim.”
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“Once Tim was it, I got his head shot from the production and started sketching over it, so that I knew whatever I designed would fit on Tim,” Mixon continued. “We then took a full head cast of Tim and produced three copies of it. Upon these busts, I did three clay sketches of different looks that I liked, sealed them, and painted them with different clown designs. I took photos of these busts with a red wig and sent them to the director, Tommy Lee Wallace. We discussed them, and eventually he chose one very similar to the final look in the film. I then sculpted this approved version, and it was broken down into the various sections for an appliance makeup. At this time there was a domed head, the nose, cheekbones, and a chin. I had a wig made, and we tested this makeup on Tim.”
“Tim wanted to wear as little prosthetics as possible, so we tested two looks for Pennywise. The first was just the nose and headpiece and a paint scheme that Tim contributed some ideas to. Since I was using PAX paint as a base, and not traditional clown white makeup, I was able to glue the cheeks and chin over this for our second test. The paint this time was closer to what I had originally intended, but in the end the lighter makeup was chosen and the paint was modified to what it was in the film. Of course, this look was chosen AFTER I had sculpted the ‘battery acid’ look for Pennywise, so that stage does have the facial features of my original design.”
Check out all the goodies below, most of which come from Bart Mixon’s Facebook page!