Will Poulter to Play the Evil Clown in ‘It’ Remake (EXCLUSIVE)

Will Poulter It Remake
manda Edwards/Getty Images

New Line and “True Detective” director Cary Fukunaga have found their “It.”

Sources tell Variety that Will Poulter (“We’re the Millers”) is in negotiations to play Pennywise, the evil monster who lured in children disguised as a clown, in the upcoming remake of Stephen King’s horror classic.

Fukunaga will direct “It,” which will be split into two feature films.

The original story followed a group of outcast kids who come together over summer break to take on the monster that’s haunting their town, battling their own personal monsters in the process.

King’s popular book was made into a TV miniseries in 1991 starring John Ritter and Tim Curry, who played the clown in terrifying fashion. A film adaptation was never undertaken given the size of the King novel, but Fukunaga has been very vocal recently that the latest script will stay true to the King story while also giving the film a new look.

Fukunaga penned the screenplay along with Chase Palmer. Seth Grahame-Smith and David Katzenberg are also producing through their KatzSmith banner while Dan Lin and Roy Lee are also producing.

Niija Kuykendall, Dave Neustadter and Walter Hamada are overseeing for Warner Bros. and New Line. Production will begin this summer.

After considering older actors like Mark Rylance and Ben Mendelsohn for the Pennywise role, New Line wanted to take a different route and go younger. New Line also distributed Poulter’s “We’re the Millers,” which co-starred Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis.

Sources say in the end, Fukunaga could not say no after being blown away by Poulter’s audition for the part and felt he was the right choice for the role.

While the role is dark and evil, sources say Poulter is more than capable of taking on the character especially after his work on New Regency’s “The Revenant,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. In the Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu film, he plays one of the robbers who leaves DiCaprio for dead after he is mauled in the wilderness by a bear. Insiders who have seen early footage feel that Poulter, 22, is more than ready for a villainous lead.

Since the original novel ran at about 900 pages and spanned several decades, the plan is for New Line to shoot one movie focusing on the protagonists as kids and another focusing on them as adults. Fukunaga has scripts for both ready, with Poulter appearing in both films, making him the star of the project.

He can be seen next in “The Revenant,” which opens on Christmas Day, and is attached to “Yellowbirds” opposite Tye Sheridan.

He is repped by WME, Hamilton Hodell and Pippa Beng and Donna Mills in the U.K.

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  1. Dee Johnston says:

    Tim Curry has a way of totally owning every part he plays, and Pennywise is no exception. His, are some super-sized shoes to fill! The trailer is however, definitely tempting, and I wish Mr. Poulter the best, but I don’t know if he can top Tim’s original performance.

  2. It will fail, the new pennywise will suck with this boy/man that barley knows how to shave. LOL

  3. Shane says:

    God! I recently watched IT, an i loved the movie!! It was funny, more then scary to me, so i would love to see a better futureistic adaptaion! I just hope they don’t change good ol’ pennywise’s looks!

  4. Jennifer Dixon says:

    Perfect choice!!!! I hate all remakes to the classic movies, but technology is better these days. I’m excited to see how he will be as Pennywise. Keep in mind, you can’t top Tim Curry!

  5. Linklee says:

    I would actually to see the audition tape, if he “blew it out of the water” I’m curious to see what he can do. Of course no one can come close to Tim Curry, because he doesn’t just play the role, he lives it. If this young man can force his mind into the same phyche and deliver, I couldn’t complain. Me personal I would go for Stephen Weber, I heard him do the audiobook of IT and he was amazing.

  6. He looks like the right person for it. This is the most important about a role, to be able to live it, not just play it. He seems to be… like me. haha

  7. Beatloaf says:

    Why is Pennywise going to be played by a twenty-something-year-old?!? Pennywise was like a middle aged man/clown! I’m not even a fan of the original mini-series (most King adaptations suck), but this obsession with youth is sickening in Hollywood and makes no sense in this casting.

  8. allan fletcher says:

    Why cant you producers just leave great films alone this will just be another shit remake and a major flop

  9. Leon Speth says:

    About 900 pages. Try over 1000. Makes me understand that you never picked up the book.

    • Andy says:

      actually, that depends on which publishing he read. I have two copies of the book which are identical in content, but one is 1042 pages and the other is 899. . .

  10. Bill B. says:

    Why?! It was a bad book (and I like many of his novels) and a worse TV movie. Again, why?! And two movies based upon some dude in a clown suit?! Why, why, why?! I guess the well has indeed run dry.

  11. Jennifer says:

    Well, looks like another class will be destroyed. Thanks for that….

  12. mseevers says:

    That sure is a funny way to spell ‘Tim Curry is returning for the role’

  13. Rationalist says:

    It sounded like a good idea until you said they also considered Mark Rylance. Now that WOULD have been a smart piece of casting.

  14. njwhitey says:

    Idiocy, time and time again these fools just shoot themselves down before they’ve shot a second of film. Pennywise is a powerful, adult, wise, trickster of a character. This would have been a perfect moment to cast Carrey against type in his first horror- or perhaps allow Crispin Glover out of exile.

  15. Guy says:

    So the children of Derry, Maine, are going to be terrorized by… a child in a clown costume?

  16. This could bring in quite a few fangirls… evil clown may be the next “hot” villian.

  17. Jg says:

    Hollywood. Remaking every Tim curry film.

  18. Sam Rhode says:

    I didn’t like the miniseries/movie at all. For one, it completely neutered the book because it was made for television, and the other problem was that it made the whole story about the clown, which was a small part of the book, and super cheesy to boot. I seriously can’t believe people were scared by that. If this film stays true to the book, it could be amazing, because the scope of the book is about ten times that of the miniseries.

  19. He seems perfect for the role to me. I was hesitant about this project at first due to the legend that is Tim Curry but this kid always seemed creepy to me and has the look to play Pennywise.

  20. Lisa says:

    This is going to be an epic failure. Only Tim Curry is Pennywise.

  21. I think the quality of the people involved cannot be understated. This is the guy who directed the first season of “True Detective.” King himself has given the remakes his personal blessing. I’m also excited that the remake is meant to bring out the “viciousness” of the original because despite the popularity of the ABC miniseries, the miniseries definitely had the potential to be an “R” rated movie if it ever became released from the boundaries of television. As a massive fan of the book, I am further excited at the new range of scenes that can be included in the movies given the “R” rated intensity of the books. This gives the project to be a better representation of the book as a whole. And this also gives a second chance for filmmakers to remake the “climactic” ending to the miniseries and allow for a deserving reinterpretation of the book’s villain. Fukunaga’s search to find his Pennywise was reportedly long and hard and the unlikely edition of Will Poulter as the villain has me undeniably intrigued that this unlikely sum of many unlikely parts can actually be crazy enough to work. Can’t wait.

  22. tick says:

    I liked the original but I’m a King fan and I’m excited to see the full story made. I actually really like this pick for Pennywise. I can’t wait to see it!

  23. They should not remake this movie, I don’t care how good they think it will be, it will NEVER be as good as the original. Tim Curry is the king and no one will do better!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Victoria says:

    Have we forgotten that Tim Curry was in comedic adaptations such as the Rocky Horror Picture show? And he did phenomenal as IT. I agree, he seems a bit young, but with the effects and make up I’m sure he will look scary enough! He should be given a chance.

    • Savvy says:

      Yay! Somebody I agree with! Plus, Poulter’s shown that he can play the evil/bad guy role with the character he played in The Maze Runner. Though since Fukunaga was dropped from the project recently (which is very saddening), I’m still hoping they keep Will Poulter attached. There’s a lot of people I know who still see him as “the kid from We’re The Millers” and, while he was fantastic in that, this movie will give him a chance to show audiences what he’s capable of. I’ve honestly got my fingers crossed for Poulter.

  25. Pennywise is a middle aged man, at least to my imagination the way King described him…not some young man who looks even younger than his actual age….the boy might be a good actor but I don’t see it working very well

    • Sam Rhode says:

      Pennywise was not a middle-aged man. He was a manifestation of a millions-of-years old Lovecraft-esque monster from space. I hated the miniseries because it put so much focus on the cheesy-ass clown, when that was only a small part of the monster, and one of the many forms it took.

  26. Um the chubby kid from We’re the Millers?

  27. I can see it now: “Shut the f*** up, Penny!” (Kenny In We’re The Millers) Haha!

  28. looking at this young actor i have a very strong feeling he is going to make one great penny wise –the original was scary enough but with tec the way it is now and a younger actor to play the clown i have great expectations of the re make

  29. Anne says:

    This is an interesting choice. While I’m used to thinking of Pennywise as older, he doesn’t necessarily have to be. I mean, who better to frighten children than a younger person? And he could easilybe aged up to be of an age with the adults later on.

  30. Dylan says:

    The fact that they are splitting the childhood and adult stories into two films shows they are not being true to the source material because the constant juxtaposition to both incidents was key to the story.

  31. JOE S HILL says:

    For the record,”Stephen King’s IT” was first aired in Fall 1990 on ABC-TV,and NOT 1991! it was produced by Lorimar Television,and aired as a mini-series! why anyone would want to bother remaking another Stephen King classic,is way beyond me! but New Line Cinema,like Lorimar,now defunct,are both Warner Bros. subsidiaries!

    • Michael says:

      Oh my gosh. They aren’t remaking anything. They are making a new film based on the book. Should be a great one!

  32. Donna says:

    He is not the right on!I always thought of pennywise as a senior citizen.

  33. heather says:

    He did a pretty good job as Gally in The Maze Runner. I personally can’t watch murderous clowns but I’m sure he will do a great job.

  34. The kid looks like a young Tim Curry in some aspects. I wonder if that’s why he was chosen….? Don’t have high hopes but I do hope I’m pleasantly surprised.

  35. I can’t wait to see this. I’m keeping my expectations kind of low, because it would be a hard story to film, but I’m excited nonetheless.

  36. IT ,isnt suppose to be a comedy. ridiculous casting.

    • Suzanna W says:

      He’s been in many more things than We’re the Millers. He’s a very good actor, don’t judge him on one roll. After all, Tim Curry was best known as Frankie in RHPS… who would have ever thought he could play Pennywise after that role, hmmmmm?

  37. LOL says:

    Must’ve been a heck of an audition because one just can’t figure what they’re thinking by casting this kid in this role.

    This is such an odd book that maybe such leftfield casting is perhaps why Fukunaga makes films and I don’t. Stephen King has such a corny sense of horror, though. His monsters are cheesy.

  38. Rod Labbe says:

    This has bomb written all over it.

  39. dmoney666 says:

    Let’s hope this is better than the TV series. That was so bad, we were literally yelling at the TV half the time. It was beyond awful. The problem is, King’s novels and imagination transcend what can be put on film. It’s always been a challenge and filmmakers have failed half the time. I wish them luck, and appreciate them doing two parts, trying to stay true to the book – which I hold as one of the greatest horror books ever written.

    • Janet says:

      My thoughts exactly. I have read every book Mr. King has put out and “It” will always be my favourite. A good story should be told in its entirety, no matter how long it is.

    • Jacques Strappe says:

      The ratings for the mini series tell a different story. It was wildly successful for ABC as were most of King’s earlier television adaptations by ABC. For network television, I thought it was well done and fairly creepy and scary but clowns freak me out anyway. A movie version doesn’t sound like a very good idea unless the box office expectation are really, really low to begin with. Casting this young guy in the lead is beyond bizarre.

      • dmoney666 says:

        Ratings or not, I don’t see how anyone could have found it scary. For crying out loud, the final scene with them all punching an inflatable spider to death.. Ugh. It was simply cheesy. And ratings don’t mean it was good. Of course people, esp King fans, would tune in. It’s just afterward that we all wished we could go back in time and NOT watch it.

    • Drea says:

      Yes exactly. King’s imagination is beyond anything that they can be relayed on film. His books delve deep into his characters with extensive narratives showing the readers different sides that could never fully translate on-screen. A movie can only begin to scratch the surface of the multi-dimensions that is a King novel. However, kudos to them and all the others who have tried.

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