Will Poulter is going to play Pennwise the Dancing Clown in Cary Fukunaga’s two-part It. Considering the iconic nature of the role, and the previous blood balloon-popping portrayal from Tim Curry, this might not be the casting you’d expect.
That’s the first reason why Poulter should make an excellent Pennywise. He won’t be a retread of Curry, and that’s important considering that the line between unnecessary remake and inspired update is a thin one. It’s unclear who they could have gotten who would have matched Curry’s cigarette-throated intensity, but the fact that they chose someone who’s an anti-Curry, a kid born three years after the TV film version of It instead of a middle-aged man, is important.
Plus, the production has picked a rising star with chops. Poulter shined as the adolescent action hero of Son of Rambow, and he’s gone on to slightly more grown up battling in Maze Runner as well as awkwardly loser-ish in We’re the Millers — a movie which saw him in a ping-pong make out session with Jennifer Aniston and Emma Roberts as well as don a mangled prostheses to simulate a spider-bitten downstairs. Nice bit of arachnid symmetry there, but the overall point is that Poulter has proven several skills as an actor to both audiences and directors.
The latest is Alejandro González Iñárritu, who’s directing Poulter as a fur trapper who leaves Leonardo DiCaprio to die in The Revenant (one of our most anticipated movies of the year). The young actor is setting up an admirably weird career.
That’s really the final argument for Poulter nailing this role. If you trust filmmakers like Iñárritu and Fukunaga, and the performances they’re able to draw from the actors they work with, then there should be a severe amount of trust in what Poulter can do in It. Good luck, Losers Club.
It is currently in pre-production with a potential June start date and no announced release date.