When he first auditioned for the role, Bill Skarsgård was asked to do his own interpretation of the infamous character, Pennywise, from Stephen King’s best-selling novel, It. “The decision was a very easy one,” says producer Seth Grahame-Smith about hiring the 27-year-old Swedish actor to join Andy Muschietti’s movie adaptation in the behind-the-scenes video, below, which explores Skarsgård’s incredible transformation into the evil clown and how the director handled his imposing presence on-set for best effect.
Through the fascinating making-of, we learn that what first drew Muschietti to Skarsgård was how flawlessly he could portray the wicked entity’s unpredictable persona. “I probably connected with his madness and the inner balance of someone who can look very cute and sweet and childlike but is hiding something terrifying, and when I saw Bill for the first time, I saw it immediately,” says the Argentinian director. A feeling mutually shared between the actor and the filmmaker that ultimately established trust to get the most out of the character’s potential throughout the production of the horror movie.
We also find out that the fear exuding from the impactful portrayal of Pennywise rapidly grew so strong that even members of the crew were troubled by Skarsgård wearing his costume on the set. “It was by far, in a way, the loneliest production I’ve ever worked on,” explains the actor. An isolation that he, however, considered very beneficial for the performance, especially when it came to sharing scenes with the young leading cast (Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs and Jack Dylan Grazer).
In order to instill true feelings of terror and anticipation among the child actors, Andy Muschietti first shot, for more than a month, scenes in which the clown did not appear before finally introducing Bill Skarsgård’s character in the script’s scariest sequence (the one taking place in the abandoned house). “I wanted to keep the distance between Bill and the kids because I wanted to carry that tension to the set until the last moment,” comments the director about his approach. A clever method that obviously worked like a charm!
Already available in DVD, Blu-Ray and on Digital HD, It will get a much-awaited sequel in September 2019, with Bill Skarsgård set to return and Jessica Chastain already confirmed to play the adult version of Beverly.