Bill Skarsgård (IT)
Getty Images/New Line Cinema
Hiring an actor who moonlights as a model only to cover him in makeup might seem pointless, but Bill Skarsgård wasn’t cast as Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s IT because of his good looks. The Swedish actor brought a whole new level of intensity to the character, setting his Pennywise apart from the earlier Tim Curry TV version. Getting into the right mindset for the role was difficult for Skarsgård, and he found it even harder to shake it off after the film wrapped.
“I was home, done with the movie, and I started having very strange and vivid Pennywise dreams,” Skarsgård told Entertainment Weekly. “Every night, he came and visited. It was in the shape of either me dealing with him, sort of Pennywise as a separate entity of me, and then also me as Pennywise in circumstances that I didn’t appreciate.”
It wasn’t just Skarsgård himself who got spooked — some of the child actors he worked with were “traumatized” too. “Some of them were really intrigued, but some couldn’t look at me, and some were shaking — this one kid started crying,” he told Interview. The actor admitted that the moment director Andy Muschietti yelled “Action,” he went straight into character, tears or no tears. “So some of these kids got terrified and started to cry in the middle of the take, and then I realized, ‘Holy s***, what am I doing? What is this? This is horrible.'”