Bill Skarsgard is absolutely terrifying as Pennywise in "It"

The actor said he tried to stay in character as much as possible

Published June 11, 2017 4:00PM (EDT)

 (New Line Cinema)
(New Line Cinema)

Bill Skarsgard may be playing a clown, but his newest role is no joke.

As part of Interview magazine's Youth in Revolt special, Skarsgard sat down with his brother, fellow actor Alexander Skarsgard, and opened up about playing the evil clown, Pennywise, in the highly anticipated remake of Stephen King's "It."

"I remember It being the scariest thing that existed for a kid," Bill said. "There were other horror films, like Friday the 13th or Halloween, but this was the really scary one because it was children and a clown. So many people go, 'That film really destroyed my childhood,' or, 'I hated clowns after that.'"

"Hopefully, there will be a lot of 10-year-olds who will be traumatized forever based on my performance," he added with a laugh.

"Does it feel good knowing that kids around the world for decades to come will have nightmares about you?" Alexander asked.

"It's a really weird thing to go, 'If I succeed at doing what I'm trying to do with this character, I'll traumatize kids'," Bill replied.

Like he had done in previous films Skarsgard, at first, tried to maintain his characters demeanor while in costume on set. He soon realized that was going to be hard to do.

On set, I wasn't very friendly or goofy. I tried to maintain some sort of weirdness about the character, at least when I was in all the makeup. At one point, they set up this entire scene, and these kids come in, and none of them have seen me yet. Their parents have brought them in, these little extras, right? And then I come out as Pennywise, and these kids—young, normal kids—I saw the reaction that they had. Some of them were really intrigued, but some couldn't look at me, and some were shaking. This one kid started crying. He started to cry and the director yelled, "Action!" And when they say "action," I am completely in character. So some of these kids got terrified and started to cry in the middle of the take, and then I realized, "Holy shit. What am I doing? What is this? This is horrible.

"Was this your first interaction with a child where you realized how terrifying it would be for them?" Alexander asked.

"Yeah," Bill said. "But then we cut, and obviously I was all, 'Hey, I'm sorry. This is pretend.'"

The movie isn't set to release until September, but the trailer has already given fans more than enough to get excited over. As Alexander mentioned in the interview, the official trailer has been viewed over 197 million times, and set a record for the most online views in a single day, when it launched.


By Katie Serena

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Alexander Skarsgard Bill Skarsgard It Movies Stephen King