Originally starring on the big screen, the character Pennywise from the movie IT terrified and intrigued viewers all the same for decades. One viewer that took interest in the character was Michael Taeza.
His similar laugh to the infamous character led him to create the viral TikTok account, @TwistedPennywise, that now has over 12 million followers.
The idea of Michael cosplaying as Pennywise started long before he downloaded TikTok. When IT came out in 2017, his friends constantly said he sounded just like Pennywise. This voice is characterized by what Michael calls “a raspy, high-pitched version of Scooby Doo” that took him only 5 minutes to perfect.
Michael didn’t expect the fame he was about to receive, but after just the second video he posted, his page blew up. He began taking the trend TikTok dances and performing them as Pennywise and each video quickly started having millions upon millions of views.
He’s done collabs with various celebs, including Jason Derulo, Austin Mahone, Skylar Derulo, JuJu (NFL), Carmit from The Pussycat Dolls, J Valentino, Bella Dose, On The Outside, Blame It On Kway and former Vine stars. Beyond celebrities reaching out for collabs, Warner Brothers Studio has also reached out to Michael.
At first, Michael recounts that he was scared that it was a scam. After some evaluation, he called them up and signed a partnership with the studio.
Michael started out by using an old prosthetic of Pennywise large and textured head that took 3 hours to put on. As he began building a following, he teamed up with a SFX team to make a prosthetic mold of his actual head. This cut the time it took Michael to put the prosthetic on in half, but still, it takes him an hour and a half to get the makeup just right.
Michael mentioned he’s considering bringing in the 1990 Tim Curry version of Pennywise into some of his TikToks in the future. He also hinted at cosplaying as other characters but kept the names as a secret for now.
Part of Michael’s success is thanks to key collaborations and tapping into trending sounds on TikTok such as his recent viral video with @creepycutejaylah, which now has over 70 million views (and counting!) with over 9 million likes. Even Cardi B is into IT!