Pennywise, the killer clown from It, has always been a terrifying figure—but if one particularly gruesome scene hadn’t been cut from the recent movie, he would’ve been even more nightmarish.
Appearing on the Throwing Shade podcast, actor Timothy Simons (Veep) shared some memories from the time he auditioned for Pennywise in the It reboot (a part that eventually went to Bill Skarsgård). He and podcast host Bryan Safi, who also said he tried out for the part, commiserated about an audition scene where they made a devil’s bargain with a young woman—either he would kill her and everyone she loved, or she’d let him eat her baby.
It was him way back at the beginning of Derry convincing a woman to give him her baby to eat, and it was scary. The thing that was scariest about it was it was very direct. It was, “If you don’t do this, these are the things that I’m going to do” and they were all terrible...He basically says, “Give me that baby or I will take everything from you, and then I will damn you to the soil.”
During the podcast, Simons and Safi read part of the audition scene, where a 19-year-old Puritan woman is running away from a “naked, lithe” Pennywise, only he catches up to her because, obviously, that’s going to happen. After some not-so-veiled threats, he coerces her to hand over the baby, and proceeds to devour it. An unverified copy of the script has been making the rounds on Reddit, and the scene was reportedly shown during early test screenings, which (if true) would mean that it was filmed. Skarsgård did previously mention that they filmed a “disturbing” flashback scene for Pennywise that was set during the 1600s, so this could be the one he was discussing.
In non baby-eating news, Simons also went further into the insanity that was casting the part of Pennywise in It. According to Simons, almost every actor in Hollywood was terrified to take on the role. He said it was not only because Pennywise is a scary and challenging villain to play, but also because Tim Curry had set such a high bar for the character. Simons’ approach was a little unconventional—and it kind of explains why he didn’t get the part.
“The thing that got me over the hump to even get in the door of ‘How the fuck am I ever going to do this?’ is I just didn’t do a crazy clown, I just did a child molester,” Simons said. “I just did a really nice child molester.”