Tim Curry, the original Pennywise, on the physical violence and mental cruelty in Stephen King’s It

By Steve Newton

Now that I’ve seen the new version of It–and declared that Tim Curry is the Pennywise of choice–it’s time to unleash another previously unheard audio excerpts from my exclusive interview with Curry on the Vancouver set of the 1990 TV movie.

At one point in our conversation–which took place in Stanley Park, with Curry in full clown face and makeup FX artist Bart Mixon standing by–I asked the British actor if his character did most of the killing in the movie. I was on assignment for Fangoria magazine at the time, and the managing editor, Michael Gingold, wanted me to get the lowdown on how much gore they’d be getting away with, considering the medium.

“I off quite a few people here and there, one way or another,” Curry replies before I pressure him for some grisly details. “I remove a child’s arm, so he bleeds to death. That’s up there.”

Then he comments that the violence wasn’t all that physical, before joking “it’s been weeks since I read the script”, which draws quite a laugh from the unit publicist hosting my visit.

Shortly after that, although you can barely hear him, Mixon explains how there’s a lot of taunting of the kids, aka the Losers’ Club, before Curry declares that “it’s mostly mental cruelty” that Pennywise exerts on his victims.

And when I mention that I’m still trying to get through Stephen King’s novel, he admits that it’s an “endless” book. “You’ll be on it for months,” he says with a chuckle. “The series will be out and gone and forgotten by the time you’ve reached the end of that novel.”

If you listen real closely at the end you can hear Mixon comment: “Stephen King will like that.”

Have a listen: (sorry, you’ll need to crank up the volume a tidge.)


One thought on “Tim Curry, the original Pennywise, on the physical violence and mental cruelty in Stephen King’s It

  1. Nice post. have always thought that gore in films is massively overused and more psychological terror is far more scary and for an audience is much more intriguing than simple violence

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