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Bill Skarsgård on preparing for the role of Pennywise the Dancing Clown

05 November 2017 - 01:18


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Bill Skarsgård is the 27 year old Swedish actor that portrayed the role of Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the movie 'It' (chapter one) based on the which was released on 8th September, 2017, based on the Stephen King novel of the same title.

If you are unware, Pennywise is an entity that comes out roughly every thirty years to prey upon the children of Derry, Maine. 'It', as the kids refer this evil entity due to being uncertain of what it actually is, has the ability to shapeshift, manipulate, and go unnoticed by surrounding adults. 

Bill Skarsgård presented the character so perfectly, that it creeped out adults watching the movie as well. In 'Playback', a Variety podcast, Skarsgård explained that he went through a phase during which he was terrified because of his role. 

"I’ve never done anything on this scale before, and I’ve certainly never done anything where there were that many opinions of the character beforehand, fans of the TV show, fans of the book — there were so many people who had their opinions of what the character should be. And I never wanted to compete with the Tim Curry performance. I didn’t see a point in trying to emulate that because I don’t think I could do it as well as he did." Explained Skarsgård.

Tim Curry portrayed the same character in ABC's miniseries adaptation of the novel in 1990, which has become iconic. Therefore, Skarsgård worked on bringing out his own take to the character by taping into certain abstract elements of the novel. 

"There’s this thing that can take any shape or form, and it’s taken this shape of a clown, but there’s something wrong with the clown," said Skarsgård. He says that there is something off with Pennywise, as if the interpretation of it has glitches here and there.

 "I thought that was a fun thing to explore. So there was the wall-eyed look and at times it seems like Pennywise disappears altogether, he shuts down and freezes in a moment and he’s lost. My idea was that was the entity, who lives in this other sort of dimension, tapping in and out of these spaces." he added.

In addition to that, Skarsgård spent time studying animal programs so that he could develop the physical behaviour of Pennywise. He focused on the energy of hynas, and the lower-lip scowl of bears as a criterion. After that, he worked on the voice.

"The voice for me sort of started out with a laugh," he says. "I was playing around with a laugh, but on the verge of a panic attack and crying at the same time. When I started doing it just by myself, I started to creep myself out."

The actor certainly put a great deal of effort in portraying the character as perfectly as possible, in his own unique way. 

The second chapter of it is expected to be released on 6th September 2019.


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