Actor Tim Curry helped establish one of
“I think the biggest difference between Pennywise and the Joker character — or at least Heath Ledger’s interpretation — is that he’s far more based in reality," Skarsgard pointed out.
He added, "[The Joker] is sort of this social anarchist, crazy person, and I don’t think Pennywise is the same in that way. He’s not even human, he’s just pure evil.”
In Stephen King's story, a group of kids is targeted by an evil presence that lurks the small town of Derry, ME, taking various forms to intimidate the children of the town and play into their worst fears. "It" portrays itself in a variety of ways in the original novel, miniseries, and feature film adaptation, ranging from a leper to a werewolf to a surreal painting. More often than not, It ends up taking the form of Pennywise the dancing clown.
Ledger suddenly passed away in the spring of 2008 before audiences got to see his character in the film. The cause of death was ruled an accident, with a fatal mixture of prescription drugs and sleeping aids leading to his demise. Many claimed it was Ledger's embrace of such a dark character that led to these personal struggles, a myth which his sister dismissed earlier this year.
“Honestly, that’s been the biggest thing for us as a family,” Kate Ledger clarified to USA Today. “He had an amazing sense of humor and certainly playing the Joker, for him it was one big gag. He had so much fun doing that. It was actually the exact opposite. There was no doom and gloom. ... That was a shock to me that people even thought that, really.”
The approaches to the character's also sounded different, according to Skarsgard, with Pennywise not being a master strategist like The Joker.
"Where I went with it was like, ‘What’s the most horrible thing that could happen here?’ And then I’d do that," Skarsgard explained. "You need to access parts of yourself where you’re thinking about what’s the most disturbing or horrifying [thing to do], and then you have to commit to that.”
IT is in theaters now.