If you were to trace the origins of multiple generations’ fear of clowns, the terrifying Pennywise would be front and center, grinning with his sickly, sharp teeth as he prepared to eat the children of Derry, Maine. While Bill Skarsgård’s bloody take on the character in 2017's It continued that clown-related trauma, fellow It actor Jaeden Martell says he found working with someone else even more frightening: the esteemed Donald Sutherland.
“I had known Bill [Skarsgård] beforehand, and he’s very sweet. And then with the [Pennywise] makeup on, I was terrified, don’t get me wrong. But there’s something about Donald—he’s the real deal,” said Martell to Variety about his Mr. Harrigan’s Phone co-star.
All that fear was for nothing though, as Martell spoke about how the Invasion Of The Body Snatchers actor gave him some sage advice on life and the acting world.
“He called me into his trailer, and he was like, ‘Don’t stop acting,’ which was amazing to hear,” Martell remarked. “Also, he told me to go to college and to study literature, because that’s exactly what he did. And then he gave me a list of plays to rehearse.”
Having played a collection of unnerving characters, like the intimidating President Snow in The Hunger Games trilogy, Sutherland beating out Pennywise as Martell’s ‘Scariest Co-Star’ doesn’t seem all that surprising. The two are even keeping it in the Stephen King theme, as Netflix’s Mr. Harrigan’s Phone is based on a short story from King’s collection of four novellas If It Bleeds.
Directed and written by The Little Things’ John Lee Hancock, the supernatural film follows Craig (Martell), a bullied teen who becomes friends with the wealthy Mr. Harrigan (Sutherland). After Mr. Harrigan dies, Craig begins to receive texts from the former companion, sparking the teen to believe he is communicating with him beyond the grave.
We’ll just have to see if Sutherland is as scary in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone as he came off on set when the film is released on October 5 on Netflix.