Andy Muschietti’s IT opened this past weekend, on Friday, September 8th, and with it there’s been plenty of talk revolving around both the Losers' Club as well as the terrifying Pennywise the Clown. Originally played by the great Tim Curry, this new incarnation of Pennywise, played by Bill Skarsård, takes a much scarier and darker approach than what was given by Curry’s performance.
In a roundtable interview with members of the press, actor Skarsgård was asked about his take on the character as well as the version of #Pennywise he wanted to portray. Skarsgård made sure to do his homework before diving deep into one of the most iconic horror villains ever put to the big screen.
Bill Skarsgård On Honoring The Source Material
With #StephenKing’s seminal novel, Skarsgård made sure to soak in as much of the source material as possible before becoming the character. In the interview, the actor goes into detail about how much of the novel he used to portray his own style of the character. The main challenge for him was understanding Pennywise’s emotions through the text.
“Going into this, I saw the mini-series and I read the novel. I saw the mini-series and then stayed away from that as much as possible, ‘cause I knew we weren’t doing that again. But the novel was my bible, my source material. I read through it and marked all the pages. I took notes. And I would go back to it throughout the whole shoot. It’s a 1200 page book, and there’s so much in there. And especially with the character of Pennywise, there are so many little breadcrumbs. The book was great to have around.”
It’s interesting to note that while Skarsgård did take the time to watch the mini-series, he wanted to differentiate himself from Curry’s performance. Curry will always be remembered for this role, but Skarsgård wanted to be sure that he brought his A-game to a memorable and terrifying performance.
Explaining The Psychology Behind The Character
While Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger are all iconic #horror icons, Pennywise stands on his own. Skarsgård made sure to stay focused on that before even putting on the make-up to get into the mind of the character:
“You can read the novel. You can watch the film, and you can have your own interpretation of what he is. But we have a very – such a huge important thing for me doing the film was not only having Andy but having Andy’s trust in me – and our collaboration in doing the character. We were never in disagreement about the psychology behind him. There is a chapter that we would go back to, that – where Stephen King kind of writes, sort of subjectively through “It”. And you can go and look at it in the novel. There’s a lot of clues to sort out of the mind behind him.”
While it’s always crucial to have the necessary collaboration with your director, it’s nice to see that there were no issues on the set. Though director #AndyMuschietti had to approve of Skarsgård’s performance, it seems like the two were always on the same page since day one of shooting. Skarsgård also revealed in the interview explaining how he would continue to question the thoughts of the character when depicting the him:
“What was the psychology behind him? How does he function, how does he work? Why does he work? Why is he even around? Does he even exist, apart from in the imagination of kids? This whole thing – almost existential things that is very true in the book if you read it. And then once I get the make-up on, now I need to embody this thing and this is the third and final stage of the process.”
These are questions that I would also like to have answered. Pennywise is an evil entity that has been haunting the children of the fictional town of Derry, Maine. The creature comes every 27 to 30 years to prey on the children and feeds on their worst fears. This new incarnation will look to take us into a much different direction than the TV mini-series did. The way Skarsgård embodied this character has truly paid off in a big way.
Skarsård's Work Is Paying Off At The Box Office
Though we’ve had a few horror hits on our hands over the past year including Don’t Breathe, Lights Out, and Get Out, IT has already blown all of them (and most other films) out of the water at the box office, thanks in large part to the chemistry of the child actors and #BillSkarsård's new take on a classic horror villain.
Already, #IT has joined the ranks of Pet Sematary, The Shining, Misery, The Green Mile and 1408 as some of the great book-to-film adaptations of Stephen King's work. Hopefully IT: Chapter 2 lives up to the hype as it will look to dive deeper into the origin of Pennywise.
[Via Horror Freak News]