‘IT’: Bill Skarsgård On His ‘Disturbing’ Approach To Pennywise The Clown

Bill Skarsgård's portrayal as Pennywise the Clown in IT is considered a standout in the film, and now the actor reveals just how intense it was for him.

This year’s adaptation of Stephen King’s IT was a massive success, with a large part of that due to Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal as the murderous Pennywise the Clown. The actor created a monster for a whole new generation of moviegoers, and he recently opened up to Entertainment Weekly about his audition and approach to the character, which he describes “was so extreme, and so far away from anything” he had ever done.

During the audition process, director Andy Muschietti asked the Pennywise callbacks to wear white makeup and practice their clown laughs. Skarsgård quickly realized this was like nothing he’s ever attempted before:

“Andy had also asked to explore clown laughter, so I’m sitting in the car and I feel ridiculous, but I thought I might as well absorb it and use it. So I just started to laugh like crazy in the car, as I’m just bearing down on pedestrians.”

As Skarsgård was crafting the character, he paid special attention to how Pennywise should sound, and how his voice could further inform the character:

“Something I found disturbing was that I wanted Pennywise to feel entirely unpredictable at every moment, and also his voice doesn’t have a predictable way of sounding. It can go kind of up and down and crackle, you can go really high pitch and low pitch, even in the same sentence. I wanted it to be sort of colorful in that way. It can be soft and it can be whispery and it can be alluring, then it crackles and breaks a lot of times. He’s not entirely there, you know?”

With roles this demanding, many actors turn to method acting to help them stay focused and in character. Skarsgård didn’t go full method, but he did intentionally refrain from interacting with other members of the set:

“It was such a physically demanding performance that I wasn’t as chit-chatty and mingling with the crew as I normally am. I had to sort of stay very focused and somewhat isolated on set in order to do justice to the character. I just needed to allow myself to go very crazy and be silly and really embrace the weirdness and scariness of it all.”

Was Bill Skarsgård’s take on this iconic character creepy enough for you? Let us know in the comments and check out the link below for much more on the actor’s experience with the role.

The film stars Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Clown, Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough, Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben Hanscom, Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh, Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak, Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon, and Wyatt Oleff as Stanley Uris. Here’s the official synopsis:

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.

IT is available on Digital HD and will be released on Blu-ray and DVD January 9, 2018. Stay tuned to Heroic Hollywood for the latest details on the IT home release, as well as news on the planned sequel as we learn it.

Source: Entertainment Weekly