‘It’ Star Bill Skarsgård Thought He Was “Traumatising” The Kids While Filming

It drops in a couple of days, and as someone who has seen it I can absolutely assure you it’s a pretty exhausting affair with more jump scares than I’ve probably ever seen in a film. Is it a masterpiece? No. Does it do exactly what it says on the tin? Yes, and then some.

Turns out to elicit some genuine spooks from the kids in the film, they kept them all away from Pennywise in production. In an interview with news.com.au, actor Bill Skarsgard – who plays the fucked up clown himself – says he was isolated on the set from the child actors so that their fear responses would be more genuine:

It made sense that I was separated from the kids. They were all hanging out together, becoming friends, and I was by myself trying to wrestle this demonic clown that I was going to portray. It was important the kids didn’t see me in makeup until the first day of shooting.

Jack Grazer, who plays Eddie in the film, says he was “genuinely scared” by Skarsgard’s performance. “One minute he’s asking if I’m OK, and how’s school going, and the next minute he’s trying to choke me,” he said.

“And the way he was moving was weird and unsettling.”

This isn’t the first time Skarsgard has spoken about his performance as Pennywise in relation to the child actors. In June, he told NME that he completely traumatised a bunch of child extras when they came on-set and saw him for the very first time.

Some of them were really intrigued, but some couldn’t look at me, and some were shaking. This one kid started crying. He started to cry and the director yelled, “Action!” And when they say “action,” I am completely in character. So some of these kids got terrified and started to cry in the middle of the take, and then I realized, ‘Holy shit. What am I doing? What is this? This is horrible’.

Speaking to news.com.au, Skarsgard also went into the laborious process behind his clown makeup:

It took six hours the first try, but eventually we got it down to two and a half. I have to tell you, it’s not the most comfortable thing in the world. We shot it in the summer in Toronto, which gets really hot. There’s a lot of physicality and so much intensity in the character, and sweat would just build up underneath my bald cap.

Then things would start loosening up at the end of the day, so not the easiest, most comfortable thing to wear, but I think it paid off when you see what we have on the screen.

Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise is pretty decent in the film. Tim Curry‘s turn on the miniseries back in 1990 is pretty iconic, so he’s clearly tried to go for something a little different – his Pennywise is weird and childlike, and more monstrous than Curry’s.

Check It out when it hits cinemas on Thursday.