After overcoming a handful of hurdles, New Line’s reboot of Stephen King’s It is back on track with a new face in the project’s most iconic role.
Sources tell Variety that Divergent actor Bill Skarsgard is the top choice to play Pennywise – the evil clown who terrifies a small town’s children – in the studio’s adaptation of the classic novel.
Will Poulter was originally attached to the project, but had to part ways due to scheduling conflicts. According to insiders, the studio was conflicted on whether or not to stick with a younger actor like Poulter (Skarsgard is 25) or cast an older thesp like Hugo Weaving, who was also considered for the role.
Meanwhile, Jaeden Lieberher is said to play Bill Denbrough, a part portrayed by Jonathan Brandis in the original 1991 film. The original King novel followed seven children who comprised the Losers Club, of which Bill is the leader.
New Line recently announced the movie would be released on Sept 8, 2017, with Mama helmer Andres Muschietti directing. Muschietti came on board following Cary Fukunaga’s departure from the movie last year, and quickly turned around a rewrite of the script.
The studio plans two films, one focused on the children, and a sequel following them into adulthood when they return to their hometown to face the monster again.
Barbara Muschietti, Roy Lee and Dan Lin are producing along with David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith.
The Pennywise role would mark the biggest part to date for Skarsgard, who is best known for his work in the Netflix series Hemlock Grove as well as the Divergent franchise.
Lieberher had a breakout role opposite Bill Murray in St Vincent and recently delivered another critically-acclaimed performance in Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special. He is also set to star opposite Room sensation Jacob Tremblay and Naomi Watts in Colin Trevorrow’s follow-up to Jurassic World, The Book Of Henry, which premieres in September. – Reuters