Behind The Scenes Saturday: IT (1990)

Welcome back to Behind The Scenes Saturday!! Although its not my personal favorite adaptation of Stephen King’s thrilling novel, 1990’s IT scared a whole generation of horror fans. When someone discusses their fear of clowns, this mini-series is usually mentioned as the root of that fear. So, stay away from the sewers, never forget your promises, and enjoy these fun facts and behind the scenes photos!!

(Trivia provided by IMDb.com)

(Pictures provided by google.com, facebook.com, and IMDb.com)

(SPOILER ALERT!!!)

  • In the film’s commentary, the actors mentioned that Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise was so realistically terrifying, that they avoided him during a good chunk of filming.
  • Tim Curry initially didn’t want to take the role of Pennywise. After filming Legend, Curry didn’t like the idea of being under so much heavy makeup again. The film’s director, Tommy Lee Wallace, compromised by lightening the clown’s makeup. This ended up working out for the best considering Curry’s performance was very strong.
  • Jarred Blancard (young Henry Bowers) absolutely hated that his character had to call Marlon Taylor (young Mike Hanlon) the N word. He was so ashamed that he would constantly apologize to Taylor before and after they filmed their scenes together.

  • The furniture in Stan’s (Richard Masur) house was intentionally created to be weird to be evident of how “off” his life was.
  • Tommy Lee Wallace regretted that Part 2 of IT wasn’t as strong as the first part. He felt the adult cast wasn’t as magnetic, especially during the final battle with Pennywise.
  • When the kids went into the sewers, it was actually raining. Production was grateful that they didn’t have to fake the rain while filming.

  • In this adaptation, the phrase “beep beep, Richie” was used quite often. In the novel, it’s explained that the phrase was coined by the group of friends when they wanted young Richie (Seth Green) to shut up.
  • A lot of Eddie’s medicines really belonged to Dennis Christopher. Tommy Lee Wallace let all the actors bring a piece of their real lives to set.
  • After filming ended, John Ritter (Ben Hanscom) kept one of the playing cards that had Pennywise’s face on it.

  • All of the cast members had a blast filming the mini-series. They stated it was one of the best experiences of their lives.
  • The theater scenes took such a long time, waiting and doing retakes took a toll on the child extras. At some point, Tim Curry came to set in full costume and led sing-alongs with the child extras. Most of them had no idea who Curry was and they just assumed he was a professional clown hired to entertain them.
  • Alice Cooper, Roddy McDowall, and Malcolm McDowell were all considered for the role of Pennywise.

  • To accomplish the gray look in Mike’s (Tim Reid) hair, baby powder was brushed into his hair using a toothbrush.
  • Neither adaptation included the appearance of the Turtle, creator of the universe and IT’s natural enemy. When John Ritter, who was a huge Stephen King fan, asked the studio if the Turtle was going to appear in the mini-series, they asked him if he was crazy.
  • A lot of Richie’s lines were improvised by Harry Anderson.

  • During the scenes with the adults in the sewers, there was real rust on set, so the cast had to be extra careful while filming.
  • Tommy Lee Wallace admitted that he didn’t read the novel before filming because he wanted the script to speak for itself. Once he read the novel later on, he believed the mini-series did fall short of the source material.
  • Tim Curry was supposed to play all of the forms that Pennywise took, except for the giant spider of course. Later, it was decided that it would be quicker and easier to have different actors playing those forms, rather than taking the extra time to change Curry’s makeup and costuming.

  • Ironically, Tim Curry has a huge fear of clowns. In his contract, it stated that while he’s on set, there would be no reflective surfaces around him while he was in makeup. His fear was so severe, that a makeup tech almost got fired for having a mirror in his hand while Curry was having his makeup applied.
  • David Alan Grier was once considered for the role of Mike Hanlon.
  • Emily Perkins (young Beverly Marsh) stated that she used to have a huge crush on Jonathan Brandis (young Bill Denbrough) when they were filming. She thought he was “really cute and a very nice boy.”

  • Tommy Lee Wallace didn’t like the idea of Audra (Olivia Hussey) coming to save Bill just to become a damsel in distress for Bill to save. He felt it wasn’t working on the drama factor.
  • Marlon Taylor was very excited to be a part of the mini-series, considering The Shining was his favorite movie at the time.
  • Jim Carrey was considered to play Eddie Kaspbrak.

  • While filming Brandon Crane (young Ben Hanscom), Tommy Lee Wallace felt that his anger at Henry Bowers’ bullying seemed very real. This was because Crane was actually bullied for his weight.
  • Emily Perkins based her performance on her mother who had a rough childhood. Ironically, her mother’s name is Beverly.
  • Tim Curry tried to scare the child actors every chance he got, even when cameras weren’t rolling. When they were filming Georgie’s (Tony Dakota) death scene, Dakota said to Curry, “Tim, you’re scaring me!” Curry simply responded, “That’s why I’m here, kid!”

One thought on “Behind The Scenes Saturday: IT (1990)

  1. This is a great collection! My daughter is nine and very interested in spooky stuff so we finally decided to let her watch this version of It during the Halloween season. She really enjoyed it and didn’t seem to be bothered by it. We watched it in a few segments and talked about it. While the book and the newer films are absolutely not for younger audiences, this movie really does seem to speak to kids, especially the scenes where the cast are kids. I remember it being on when I was young, though I don’t remember watching all of it. I would have been a few years younger than her when it first aired.

    Now my daughter likes to go in the bathroom and scream like Beverly, pretending there’s something in the drain.

    Liked by 1 person

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