Stephen King’s It is here to ruin childhood all over again. Seventeen years after the miniseries, New Line Cinema dropped the first trailer for the big screen adaptation, giving us our first look at Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise the clown. The film’s take on the iconic character pays tribute to Tim Curry’s version which won him a huge amount of acclaim. But this year’s dancing clown is more sinister-looking than the predecessor.
To get more acquainted with the new Pennywise actor, here are some things you need to know:
1. He comes from a Swedish acting dynasty.
Skarsgard comes from one of the most successful and prominent acting families in Hollywood. Born as Bill Istvan Günther Skarsgård in Stockholm in 1990, he is the son of My Sonja and Stellan Skarsgard of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. His brothers are popular in the industry too, including Alexander who plays the role of Eric Northman in True Blood, Gustaf aka Floki of Vikings, and Valter. Bill’s younger sister, Eija, is a model while his other brother, Sam, a doctor.
2. Bill got his Hollywood break appearing in the Divergent Series: Allegiant.
The 26-year-old has been acting since 2000 and he’s been a rising star in Sweden for quite some time now. However, MoviePilot notes his big acting break came with the role of Matthew in last year’s Allegiant. We can recall that his character in the film worked for the Bureau of Genetic Welfare and was one of Tris’s friends who helped her stop the Bureau from using the Memory Serum on their experiments.
3. He is no stranger to horror.
Skarsgard appeared as Roman Godfrey in Hemlock Grove, an American Netflix horror series which examines the strange happenings in the titular town. His character is a Upir (vampire-like creature) who is both revered and feared in town. Roman Godfrey, according to the same site, was “twisted and disturbed in more subtle ways” than Pennywise the clown. However, those who’ve watched him portray his Netflix character should know he is more capable of portraying darker roles.
4. Bill wasn’t the first choice for the role of Pennywise.
Maze Runner alum Will Poulter was initially cast as the dancing clown during Cary Fukunaga’s tenure as the film’s director. But when he dropped the project, Poulter’s involvement was scrapped too. Mama director Andrés Muschietti who took the directorial baton from Fukunaga was previously keen on keeping Poulter aboard. Unfortunately, conflicting schedules got in the way, resulting to a recast in June 2016.
5. His Pennywise is just as glorious and terrifying as fans feared.
It 2017’s Pennywise makes all those real-life clowns pranking several countries last year like stuff toys, or that’s at least what majority of the It trailer reviews says so far. According to Bustle, Skarsgard’s Pennywise wears a different costume. He still is pom-pommed and puffy in places, but this year’s character has omitted the baggy-everywhere jumpsuit and replaced it with peplum doublet and bloomers, with form-fitting sleeves and leggings.
In a previous interview, Skarsgard said of Pennywise:
“It’s such an extreme character. Inhumane. It’s beyond even a sociopath, because he’s not even human. He’s not even a clown. I’m playing just one of the beings It creates. It’s important that we do something fresh and original for this one. It’s purposely not going toward that weird, greasy look […] It truly enjoys the shape of the clown Pennywise, and enjoys the game and the hunt. What’s funny to this evil entity might not be funny to everyone else. But he thinks it’s funny.”
Watch his portrayal of the dancing clown in It trailer below. It 2017 premieres on Sept. 14.