IT may disguise itself in many forms, but the one that floats most often behind our eyes while we sleep at night is Pennywise, the Dancing Clown who devoured children with gleeful abandon under the streets of Derry. Tim Curry first brought Pennywise to life with disturbing relish in a '90s TV adaptation, but director Andrés Muschietti looks set to elevate this "watered down" version with a ferocious new performance from Bill Skarsgård that will soar higher than balloons caught in the winds over Maine.
How Did Andrés Muschietti Wise Up To Bill Skarsgård's Talent?
During an interview with Variety, Muschietti revealed how Skarsgård won the role. He explained that their version of IT needed to forge a new path that veered away from the TV mini-series and adhered more closely to Stephen King's book (although not completely, mind you):
"Bill Skarsgård caught my attention. The character has a childish and sweet demeanor, but there’s something very off about him. Bill has that balance in him. He can be sweet and cute, but he can be pretty disturbing."
Of course, Bill's brother Alexander Skarsgård may be one of the few people out there who would agree with Muschietti's description of Pennywise as "sweet." However, it's worth bearing in mind that IT deliberately hides behind a clownish facade in order to lure children in, so it's reassuring that Muschietti actively sought those qualities in his new version of #Pennywise. For the most part though, the Dancing Clown remains a monstrous creature, one who understandably terrified the entire cast of IT — Well, all except one.
Loser No More
Bill Skarsgård didn't stay in character once the cameras were switched off, but Muschietti thought it would help if they kept him apart from the Losers' Club between takes anyway:
"We wanted to carry the impact of the encounters to when the cameras were rolling. The first scene where Bill interacted with the children, it was fun to see how the plan worked. The kids were really, really creeped out by Bill. He’s pretty intimidating because he’s six-four and has all this makeup."
An impressive 192 centimeters of pure clown nightmare, Skarsgård would scare even the most hardened #StephenKing characters, including the likes of Carrie and Annie Wilkes, but there was one particular child actor on set who wasn't perturbed by the Dancing Clown — and no, we're not talking about a member of the Bowers Gang.
Speaking to MTV, the young actors who have brought the Losers' Club to life discussed what it was like to meet Bill Skarsgård in costume for the first time. Wyatt Oleff — the boy who plays Stanley Uris in the movie — reacted like any sane human with the gift of sight would, describing the experience as "really scary."
However, it seems as though not everyone felt that way. After Sophia Lillis remained rather quiet in the corner of the room, co-star Finn Wolfhard revealed that the girl who plays Beverley Marsh had a more unusual response than the rest of the Losers' Club:
"Her reaction was to burst out laughing."
Oleff then confirmed this by declaring that Lillis laughs every time that she sees someone die in the many scary movies that they watch together. Sophia was quick to defend herself, arguing that she's "not a horrible person," but perhaps that's exactly the kind of unhinged bravado that the Losers' Club will need to survive long enough to appear in the sequel's flashback sequences.
Saying that though, it might be healthier for the cast of IT if they bonded over more innocent pastimes, such as bicycle training, instead of horror movie marathons at such a tender age. Fortunately, director Andres Muschietti has reinforced this by keeping things strictly platonic on set, avoiding the teenage sex scene in the sewers that #IT has controversially become famous for.
How do you think Bill Skarsgård's Pennywise will compare to the '90s performance from Tim Curry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!