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Stop Clowning Around: Hugo Weaving Nearly Played Pennywise In The 'IT' Reboot

It turns out that a frontrunner in the role alongside Skarsgård was none other than Hugo "Elrond" Weaving.

'IT' [Credit: Warner Bros. Television]

Whether Andy Muschietti's hotly anticipated IT remake sinks or swims, remember, "they all float down here." Fans of the upcoming film will know that 26-year-old Bill Skarsgård will star as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, the film's main antagonist — an evil clown who haunts the living nightmares of children. Only time will tell if we can get a faithful reimagining of #StephenKing's 1986 novel.

Skarsgård will be taking over from Tim Curry who iconized the role in the 1990 TV miniseries. However, it turns out that a frontrunner in the role alongside Skarsgård was none other than Hugo "Elrond" Weaving. The @IttheMovie Instagram announced the news in a post, so let that sink in and just imagine the #horror!

Image via Instagram

Weaving His Magic

'Captain America: The First Avenger' [Credit: Marvel Studios]

Adding Pennywise to his roster of roles would certainly have been quite the coup for Weaving, who has played everything from Red Skull to Mr. Smith. However, the story of #IT has been a long one and at one point neither Weaving or Skarsgård were in consideration. Ever since Stephen King's miniseries in 1990, fans have been bloodthirsty to pull the clown back out of the drain.

True Detective's Cary Fukunaga was originally attached to direct, with his iteration of the source casting 22-year-old Will Poulter as Pennywise — to be honest, a concept that is still hauntingly brilliant and devastating that it will never happen. In 2015 Fukanaga left over those typical "creative differences," before Muschietti took over.

Sadly, Poulter also left and the search began for (another) new Pennywise. Sticking with a younger Pennywise theme, the studio eventually settled on Hemlock Grove's Bill Skarsgård. There was a time when Muschietti was considering the tried and tested older Pennywise, after all, age is just a number, and Tim Curry was already in his 40s when he stuck on the big red nose and baggy pants. At 56, Weaving would have been a more mature choice and probably amazing.

When it came down to it though, apparently Bill had something that Weaving didn't. Lloyd Pagett, a source close to the film wrote on the IT Facebook page:

I have the honor and privilege of talking with Bill and the films director very often. People are gonna be surprised by the amount of charisma and twisted humor Bill is bringing to the table. Hugo's take was plain creepy, and though effective it didn't have much more to offer.
Tim Curry's take while fun was kind of stiff because of the limits they had on television, but this film is not going to let up. It will be a HARD R, giving Pennywise's character a whole new level of messed up.

Penny For The Clown

'IT' [Credit: New Line Cinema]

Part of the terror of Pennywise certainly came from his freakish enthusiasm and chilling charm, so the character has to be a careful balance of terror and children's entertainer. If they say that Bill is the man for the job, we just have to trust Muschietti. One way to distance the 2017 film from the 1990 version is to have a completely new idea for Pennywise, and that looks like what they are doing. The miniseries was superb, but left out a lot of the horror from the book, while the concept art for new Pennywise certainly looks like they are going for a more mythical "floating" clown to go after the group of outcast children.

As for poor Hugo, I guess we will never know what Weaving would have brought to the role, but it is a concept that would have definitely taken the film on another different route. No matter what though, if you suffer from coulrophobia, best to steer clear of September 8 next year.

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Stop Clowning Around: Hugo Weaving Nearly Played Pennywise In The 'IT' Reboot
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