Stephen King on the origins of IT’s Pennywise and meeting Ronald McDonald

Here are two interviews with Stephen King about Pennywise, the IT movie inspiration and shares a funny true story about him meeting Ronald McDonald while traveling.

The first was filmed by Nicole Schröder in Hamburg in November 2013 in which King explains the origin of Pennywise.

“I had an idea when I was in Colorado that I wanted to write a really long book that had all of the monsters in it. I figured if people think I’m a horror writer — I never considered myself to be that myself, I’m just a writer-writer — I thought to myself, ‘I’ll get all of the monsters together as I possibly can; I’ll get the Vampire, I’ll get the Werewolf, and I’ll even get the Mummy.’ The Mummy has never really scared me because it’s like the Mummy is after us, let’s all walk. It’s not a terribly scary monster, but he had to be there because he’s one of the classics. But then I thought to myself, ‘There out to be one binding, horrible, nasty, gross, creature kind of thing that you don’t want to see, [and] it makes you scream just to see it.’ So I thought to myself, ‘What scares children more than anything else in the world?’ And the answer was ‘clowns’.

“So, I created Pennywise the Clown,” he adds. “Then, what happened was, ABC came along and said they wanted to make a mini-series out of it and wanted to cast Tim Curry as Pennywise. I thought it was a strange idea but it really worked and it scared a whole generation of young people and made them scared of clowns, but clowns are scary for children to start with.”

The second half of the video takes us back to 2005 when King visited Conan O’Brien to promote his novel “The Colorado Kid”. Conan O’Brien asked about King if he had personal interaction with a clown that scared him. While the answer was “No,” he did share this hilarious anecdote.

“I was on a book tour and I was on my way home…the plane started to pull away from the gate…and then it pulls back in. The door opens again and Ronald McDonald gets on the airplane. He’s fully dressed [and] sits down next to me – because I attract weirdness, I’m a weirdness magnet – here he is orange hair, orange shoes, the whole nine yards. He sits down next to me – this is years ago – plane takes off, ‘no smoking’ light goes off, he pulls out a pack of Kents, lights up and he orders a gin and tonic from the stewardess…I said the only thing I could think of, ‘Where did you come from?’ He says, ‘McDonaldland’, which is a real place in Chicago.