Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What You Didn't Know About Pennywise's Costume In The Original It

While Andy Muschietti's "It" movies make up one of the biggest horror film franchises in the modern era, the on-screen adaptation of the Stephen King novel really started with the 1990 miniseries. Before Bill Skarsgård transformed into the horrific role of Pennywise the Dancing Clown for the 2017 feature film remake, Tim Curry's Pennywise started it all by terrorizing the children in Derry, Maine. The legacy of the '90s "It" miniseries is murky, with many critics and fans criticizing the plot points and how King's story was translated on screen. However, Curry's Pennywise made it iconic. The character was considered one of the scariest horror villains at the time and the psycho-killer clown haunted nightmares of children and their parents for decades to come. 

When comparing Curry's Pennywise with Skarsgård's rendition visually, there are clearly some differences. The newer version of the "It" villain takes on a more sinister look. His outfit is raggedy and looks like something a haunted doll would wear, while the makeup and hair are not typical of your run-of-the-mill birthday party clown. But Curry's is just that. The simple makeup and traditional clown costume made the character all the more scarier. And it turns out the simplicity of the look was Curry's idea from the start. 

Tim Curry wanted a simplified Pennywise in for the It miniseries

Tim Curry's Pennywise in the "It" miniseries is marked with a white face, domed head, thin black eyebrows, blue triangle eyeshadow, simple red lips, and, of course, a red ball nose. Makeup artist Bart J. Mixon told Dread Central that his original idea for the look was to include more prosthetics. To determine the best look, Mixon took a full head cast of Curry and created three models. "Tim wanted to wear as little prosthetics as possible, so we tested two looks for Pennywise," Mixon said. 

Initially, Mixon's idea featured cheek and chin prosthetics. "But in the end, the lighter makeup was chosen and the paint was modified to what it was in the film," Mixon said. "Of course, this look was chosen AFTER I had sculpted the 'battery acid' look for Pennywise." Therefore, the models still exist, even though Curry was adamant about spending as little time as possible in the makeup chair. 

There's also an urban legend that Curry's signature frizzy red hair was not a wig, but his own hair teased out and dyed red. There's been no firm confirmation of this, but Mixon did mention in the interview that he did have a wig made for the character during the design phase. So Curry's Pennywise could have had a completely different look for the "It" miniseries. And who knows how that would've impacted not only the character's legacy, but the "evil clown" trope in horror for years to come.