The latest adaptation of Stephen King’s It reigned supreme at the box office, breaking horror movie sales records and ensuring that another generation of moviegoers learns to fear circus clowns. And apparently, it (and by it we mean It, ha) was supposed to be even creepier.
Bill Skarsgård, who stars as monstrous Pennywise the clown, told Variety’s “Playback” podcast that he shot a super-creepy scene that ended up on the (digital) cutting room floor. “There was a scene we shot that was a flashback from the 1600s, before Pennywise [was Pennywise]… It’s very disturbing, and sort of a backstory for what It is, or where Pennywise came from,” he said, according to Digital Spy, which theorized that the footage might be based on scenes from an earlier version of the script by Cary Fukunaga, who developed the project for years before parting ways with it. In that version, there’s a scene where a mother allows a translucent, half-formed Pennywise to devour her daughter in exchange for protection. Bill said the scene, whatever it was, “turned out really, really disturbing. And I’m not the clown. I look more like myself.”
And if you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, were there party clowns in ye olden days?” remember that Pennywise is just one of the many manifestations of It, a trans-dimensional entity that can appear as many forms. As Skarsgård notes, “The book is very abstract and metaphysical about what it means to exist and the idea of fantasy and imagination and all of these things… I think that could be cool to explore as well. It’s like, what is Pennywise? He only exists in the imagination of children. If you don’t believe him to be real then he might not be real. There’s an interesting aspect to explore there.”