Pennywise is frightening audiences everywhere this week as Stephen King’s IT opens in theaters. The transformation from actor to terrifying clown is certainly difficult, and Bill Skarsgard (Pennywise) looked to a familiar performance for inspiration: Heath Ledger’s Joker.
Speaking to People, Skarsgard first discussed a couple of the differences between the two cinematic clowns, mainly in how they go about being evil and causing mayhem:
“I think the biggest difference between Pennywise and the Joker character — or at least Heath Ledger’s interpretation — is that he’s far more based in reality.”
Pennywise, of course, is not a human at all, and certainly, that comes across in the performance. Ledger’s Joker, on the other hand, is completely human. In fact, it is his humanity and will to create chaos to upend humanity’s order, that is probably the biggest difference between the two. Skarsgard explained:
“[The Joker] is sort of this social anarchist, crazy person, and I don’t think Pennywise is the same in that way. He’s not even human, he’s just pure evil.”
Skarsgard concluded by comparing how he prepared for the role in a similar way to how Heath Ledger prepared himself to take on the Joker. Ledger famously spent much time getting himself into character in order to fully sell the performance of the deranged Clown Prince of Crime. Skarsgard said he tried to think of the worst thing he could possibly do, then commit:
“Where I went with it was like, ‘What’s the most horrible thing that could happen here?’ And then I’d do that. You need to access parts of yourself where you’re thinking about what’s the most disturbing or horrifying [thing to do], and then you have to commit to that.”
Based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel. A group of young kids face their biggest fears when they seek answers to the disappearance of children in their hometown of Derry, Maine. They square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.
Directed by Andy Muschietti, the film stars Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Lieberher, Wyatt Olef, Jack Grazer, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs, and Bill Skarsgård.
IT is now showing in theaters.
10 Reasons Jared Leto Is The Worst Joker
The Joker is one of the most iconic characters in fiction. His bombastic schemes, twisted behavior and eerie laugh are the things nightmares are made from. Amazing actors like Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger have brought the Joker to life over the years, and he will continue to grace the big and small screen for years to come.
Jared Leto is another amazing actor who’s been lucky enough to play the Joker. The actor, who’s set to star in the upcoming Blade Runner 2049, was dealt a poor script in Suicide Squad and wasn’t given a chance to properly shine. Certain aspects of his character were enjoyable, and hopefully he will be better in future renditions, but for now, Leto is considered a disappointment. No matter how far the actor pushed himself to get into character, things just didn’t click for him this time around.
Hit Next to find learn about the 10 reasons why Jared Leto is the worst Joker!