Previously, we only got a little glimpse of Pennywise from the new film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel It. He was definitely scary, but let’s be honest, Tim Curry’s character is pretty hard to top.
We admit we’re a little nervous for Bill Skarsgård’s version of the deranged clown. He’s much, much younger than Curry, which puts a whole new spin on the character, but it turns out that Skarsgård is plenty terrifying in his own right.
Entertainment Weekly has revealed the full, brand new Pennywise costume, and it’s pretty darn freaky. Skarsgård definitely looks like he crawled out of a sewer and lacks personal hygiene. His costume has a doll-like quality and makes the clown look almost like a cracked, forgotten porcelain doll.
For comparison, here’s Curry’s original costume.
Unlike Curry’s Pennywise, the formfitting costume exaggerates Skarsgård’s lankiness and gives him a super natural, paranormal-like aesthetic. He’s ghostly and other-worldly, which fits with the fact that he’s an ageless, supernatural beast who feeds on the fears of children. Curry’s character looked much more of this Earth — a deranged, middle-aged man who happened to wear a freaky costume (until he opened his mouth and had all those freaky teeth). For Skarsgård, this costume is almost as natural as skin. It’s interesting to see if this look will make viewers even less sympathetic towards Pennywise. He is less of a man and more of a violent, terrifying monster.
Janie Bryant, the Emmy-winning costume designer behind Pennywise’s new look, drew from a variety of eras to create the clown’s costume. It’s inspired by the Medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, and Victorian eras instilling the idea that the evil inside of Pennywise is older than anyone could even imagine.
“The costume definitely incorporates all these otherworldly past lives, if you will,” Bryant says. “He is definitely a clown from a different time.”
“There is almost a doll-like quality to the costume,” she continues. “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.”
Pennywise doesn’t particularly follow a single era. While things like the pleating around the neck may be inspired by Elizabethan times, it’s not actually true to the era. This is because the costume is what this ageless, evil creature thinks a clown should look like. It’s possible he was even inspired by a toy he saw with one of the children he tormented — a clown-like doll or something of the sort.
“If you look at the sleeves, there are the two puffs off the shoulder and biceps and again on the bloomers,” Bryant says mentioning the intent behind the clown’s creepy silhouette. “I wanted it to have an organic, gourd or pumpkin kind of effect. 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.”
The outfit is a bit different from Curry’s oversized, colorful getup. It’s mostly grey with a pop of color.
“The pompoms are orange, and then with the trim around the cuffs and the ankles, it’s basically a ball fringe that’s a combination of orange, red, and cinnamon. It’s almost like Pennywise fades into his environment. But there are accents to pull out the definition of the gray silk,” she says. “It makes him almost like a shadow.”
The new version of Pennywise is much more suited towards creeping around and hiding as a ghost-like entity than Curry’s version which used balloons and bright colors to lure children in.
What do you think of the new Pennywise? Could this costume prove to be scarier than the original?