True Detective filmmaker Cary Fukunaga is currently deep in pre-production on his next feature film, a two-part adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel It, and now the first piece of casting has been settled. Variety reports that We’re the Millers actor Will Poulter has landed the role of Pennywise, a terrifying monster who lures children while dressed as a clown.
Previous reports indicated that Ben Mendelsohn was being eyed to fill the role, but the fact that he’s now in talks to star in the Star Wars Anthology film Rogue One generated a scheduling conflict. Mark Rylance (Wolf Hall) was also considered, but New Line wanted to go younger with the role and Fukunaga reportedly couldn’t deny the power of Poulter’s audition.
Poulter’s not exactly the first actor that comes to mind when you think of Pennywise, who was previously played by Tim Curry in the 1991 miniseries adaptation, but he’s an actor on the rise and marks an intriguing choice. He had a key role in last year’s YA hit The Maze Runner and stars opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy in Alejandro G. Inarritu’s upcoming 1800s-set revenge drama The Revenant.
Fukunaga co-wrote the scripts for both It movies with Chase Palmer. The first movie will focus on the characters as children, and the second film will focus on them as adults. Poulter is poised to star in both, making him the lead of this high-profile adaptation.
Filming is scheduled to get underway this summer, with Fukunaga only attached to direct the first film at this point. But with Pennywise set, the filmmaker will now be turning his attention to filling out the rest of the ensemble. Fukunaga’s only made great things thus far, so It is already ranking incredibly high on my most anticipated list.