It and the film’s sequel It Chapter Two would be nothing without the diabolical Pennywise. For this incarnation of the popular Stephen King story, filmmaker Andi Muschietti chose Bill Skarsgard to play the coveted role. While the actor may not have been as well known to audiences, the casting paid off in the eyes of the director. Speaking to Collider about Skarsgard’s on-set warmup, Muschietti said, “Bill is ever intimidating in all the makeup and costume, and he’s like 6’6″. He warms up. He’s not a method actor, but when he warms up, he generates a silence in the set that’s terrifying. He lives in this little black tent… it’s a big mystery and suddenly you hear from the corner of the set [clown laugh], and that’s him warming up the voice. And that’s where everybody shuts the fuck up. He comes in like a long shadow.”
Transforming him into the monstrous villain of Derry was no easy task and he was more than aware of how draining it was to be Pennywise. “Everything I did took 100 percent of my energy. It was by far the most exhausting character I’ve ever done, physically and mentally,” Skarsgard said during a New York Times interview. By far it is a daunting role to take, but one that appears to be winning more critical praise with the sequel.
Returning to the role also presented some worry for the actor. He was especially concerned about getting into that mindset again as he told an interviewer for EW. “‘Oh my God, you want me to actually perform like Pennywise again?’ I was like, ‘I hope the character is still there, and still intact, and as he was two years before.'”he said.
Bill Skarsgard was certainly no stranger to the film industry when the role of Pennywise came about. Since 2000, the actor’s filmography grew to include roles in The Divergent Series and Atomic Blonde. He has also appeared in Swedish based film and TV projects.
The actor has another connection to the entertainment community—actually a whole family of connections. He is the son of Stellan Skarsgard and brother to True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard. In addition to these two stars, Skarsgard has six siblings and half-siblings. Speaking to his brother Alexander for Interview magazine, he addressed their family’s artistic and creative talents. “There’s definitely a sense of embarrassment about what it is artists really do, at least for me in terms of acting. We have a mom and a brother who literally save lives.” Skarsgard said in response to a question from Alexander.
It’s hard for him to see his entire family together due to their busy schedules–but they do make time for each other. In a conversation with his father for Hero magazine, the actor relayed how difficult it can be to see everyone, “Gustaf and Oss – yeah. I had a BBQ here in my little house I’m renting with Brian McGreevy who actually wrote Hemlock Grove – we’re roomies in Los Angeles. We a had little BBQ to celebrate Landon, who you met Dad – he was in the show… Landon Liboiron. He was supposed to come to LA. But he didn’t show because he had two auditions.”
Born on August 9, 1990, the actor maintains a strong connection to his native Sweden. He is also extremely guarded about his personal life, avoiding social media accounts or public appearances. According to reports from Swedish news outlets, the actor’s girlfriend Alida Morberg gave birth to a baby girl in 2018; this news was further confirmed by his father, Stellan, at a premiere. The actress may be best known to American audiences for her work on the series Black Lake.