If Stephen King’s It — either the book or the 1990 miniseries — didn’t traumatize you growing up, then Bill Skarsgård hopes his remake does the trick.
The Swedish actor, best known as Roman Godfrey on Hemlock Grove, recently opened up about stepping into some big clown shoes as Pennywise in an Interview magazine conversation with his brother, Big Little Lies‘ Alexander Skarsgård.
Bill, the younger Skarsgård, was method on set — meaning when he was in his full demon-clown makeup, he “wasn’t very friendly or goofy.” Instead, he worked to “maintain some sort of weirdness about the character.” His dedication to the craft resulted in a horde of child extras getting the scare of their young lives.
During filming for a scene, when Skarsgård emerged, one kid started bawling his eyes out — at which point director Andrés Muschietti called out, “Action!” Dressed in clown garb and staring at a roomful of kids scared shitless of him (several of whom had also begun crying), Skarsgård thought, “Holy shit. What am I doing? What is this? This is horrible.” Of course, Skarsgård isn’t an actual monster, and worked to assure the kids everything was “pretend” once Muschietti yelled, “Cut!”
However, he did jokingly admit he hopes “a lot of 10-year-olds” will be forever scarred by his Pennywise. Based on both the trailer and the Movie & TV Awards first-look clip, I think it’s safe to say many 20- and 30-year-olds will also be traumatized come September 8.