Oh, how do I love Tim Curry- Let me count the ways..
It seems like almost an untrue statement to tell you my first introduction to Tim Curry was his iconic portrayal of Pennywise the Clown in It (1990). I snuck the VHS (1 of 2) out of it’s box one morning, and rightly so developed a lasting fear of the evil Pennywise appearing at the end of my bed. Being terrified by Curry soon became a pattern; once I discovered Fern Gulley (1992), it remained in heavy rotation on the old VCR. Curry’s voice embodied the character of Hexxus, a malevolent, goopy force with a jazzy singing number or two. When I was a bit older, the parental gate guarding the aisles of the video rental store opened up to me. I watched, and subsequently became obsessed with Clue (1985), in which Tim Curry assumes the roll of Wadsworth, the cheeky butler and master of affairs. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York(1992) was always a family staple around the holidays, with Curry as Mr. Hector the concierge threatening to thwart Kevin’s happy Christmas.
And such was the theme yesterday at Fan Expo Canada, with Tim Curry in attendance. Fans were giddy with excitement to hear Dr. Frank-N-Furter (his iconic role in cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show) speak, sharing their favorite films with fans alike, some even decked out in costumes akin to his previous roles. When Tim Curry entered the auditorium, he was greeted with standing applause. The audience was eager to ask their burning questions of the star; what would he say of his acting process? His favorite moments of his monumental career? His thoughts on the upcoming It reboot?
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It’s amazing to see so many of you.
So, how does a seeming savant like Tim Curry get into acting? He responded “I talked my way into a musical called Hair. They were sort of through hiring hippies, you know, and I qualified”. His biggest inspiration? Alec Guinness (Lawrence of Arabia, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations). He said, “I admired him because he disappeared so completely into whatever he was doing [..] I do disappear. I try to.” What is Curry’s best advice for those wanting to succeed in acting? “Show up.”
Soon, the topic changed to Tim Curry’s favorite roles and moments of his extensive body of work. It took some consideration before Curry was able to respond to this question (there are so many to choose from!). His answer? “Clue.” He then shared the hilarious story of Madeline Kahn, who portrays Mrs. White in the film, ad-libing the iconic line “Flames. Flames, on the sides of my face..” When interviewer, Charlie Adler (voice actor) asked “Did everyone lose it?” Curry responded,
Yes. They had to scrape us off the floor!
His thoughts on some of his roles? For his role as Darkness in Legend(1985) Tim Curry shared that the extensive make-up effects took “over 10 1/2″ hours” during the first sitting. To remove it? “They cut a hole in the top and poured solvent in” while he soaked in a hot bath. As Hexxus in Fern Gulley (1992),
“I was glad to do it, because it was about being eco-friendly. I was a little unhappy because they drew the character based on my face and it wasn’t at all kind.
Curry seemed to attract the roles of villains. His memorable voice and theatrical acting lended well to their over-the-top personas. But Curry also loved to portray them, saying “villains are always the best written”. But, in order to play one, “you have to be able to pull it on and pull it off”.
When asked about his most iconic experience with fans, it got a little real-life scary:
I was actually stalked by a 250lb transvestite who was on parole for the murder of his lover.. So, that is probably the most interesting. But not one I’d care to repeat.
And probably the most popular topic of the hour, the upcoming reboot of It, with Bill Skarsgård assuming the role of Pennywise the Clown, the same character Curry played in the 1990 version. You can read all of Tim’s thoughts on the upcoming IT in the first part of this article.
Tim Curry is appearing all weekend at Fan Expo Canada, doing photo-ops and signings both Saturday and Sunday. Unable to attend? Check out our LIVE coverage of Fan Expo all weekend long on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.