6 Actors Terrifying Enough To Take On The Role Of Pennywise The Clown

The movie adaptation of Stephen King's 'It' is still seeking its horrific, red-nosed antagonist.

Things are getting serious for the big-screen adaptation Stephen King's "It," which is set for a two-movie treatment by "True Detective" director Cary Fukunaga. A script is in place (with King's blessing!), and the film is ready to take its next step in the direction of production.

There's just one problem: The next step is the immensely difficult task of casting Pennywise the Clown, a.k.a. the embodiment of an ancient evil which torments the movie's heroes over the course of thirty years, a.k.a. one of the most terrifying and challenging bad-guy roles ever to grace the screen.

According to IGN, Fukunaga told Portuguese newspaper O Globo that he's still seeking the "perfect guy" to be his grease-painted antagonist.

There's no mention of how long the director has been searching, or who he's already considered and rejected, but whoever it is will have big shoes to fill; the story has only been adapted once before, as a 1990s miniseries, but Tim Curry's performance as the clown was the stuff of nightmares.

Still, there are a handful of actors out there who could definitely handle the challenge. Below, we round up our top six picks.

  1. Jackie Earle Haley

    Haley is no stranger to playing monsters -- his Freddy Krueger was the best thing about the modern reboot of "Nightmare on Elm Street" -- and as acting goes, his mastery of "malevolent glee" is pretty much unbeatable.

  2. Johnny Depp

    Not only would he be a good pick, but we wouldn't be surprised to learn that Depp was actively campaigning for this one. Even when the guy isn't playing an evil clown, let's be real, he's still playing an evil clown.

  3. Tilda Swinton

    Credit goes to the denizens of the internet for this one: Someone (who had probably just watched "Snowpiercer") suggested Swinton for the role, and... um, yeah. She'd be perfect.

  4. Willem Dafoe

    He's so good at playing bad guys that Dafoe has to be on this list, although, on second thought, the sight of this man in clown makeup might be the thing that earns "It" an NC-17 rating for being too damn scary.

  5. Doug Jones

    Jones' great talent is being pee-in-your-pants terrifying without saying a word (see: his performance as the kiddie-eating Pale Man with eyeballs in the palms of his hands in "Pan's Labyrinth".) But with a role like this to chew on? Nightmares for days.

  6. Channing Tatum

    No, really! For one, Tatum is a way better and more versatile actor than anyone gives him credit for. For another, he's obviously trying to branch out into more diverse roles (see: "Side Effects," "Foxcatcher") and what could be more different from his usual fare than playing a child-killing clown? Clearly, this has to happen. Do it, Channing! We believe in you!


VMAs 2017