Bill Skarsgård Will Return as Pennywise on ‘Welcome to Derry’

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Bill Skarsgård Will Return as PennywiseWarner Bros.

Picture this: It’s a warm, sunny day and you’re driving around Los Angeles. A car pulls up next to you at an intersection. You look to your right and, um, what’s that? Bill Skarsgård, in self-applied clown makeup, maniacally laughing to himself in the driver’s seat. Sounds terrifying, no? Well, that’s just how the star of Esquire’s latest cover story traveled to his callback for the role of Pennywise in 2017’s It. And it landed him the iconic part in director Andy Muschietti’s horror film.

“Something mesmerized me,” Muschietti recalls as he looks back on Skarsgård’s early audition. “One second he can act all cute, and then the next, there’s something ancestral and dark that just appears. His ability to transform is mind-blowing to me.”

Still, the first few days of fame surrounding Skarsgård’s It casting didn’t come easy for the young actor. After the studio released a photo of him in the Pennywise costume to ramp up excitement for the film, social media tore it apart. “When you are twenty-six, you don’t feel young at all, but now, looking back at it, I was a kid,” Skarsgård says. “It was fairly early on in my career to take on something that had so many eyeballs and expectations on it.” At the time, he was already “so incredibly nervous to start this job.”

Eventually, Skarsgård decided that “you can only make this performance to please yourself.” It became the highest-grossing horror film of all time—a record that the movie still holds today. The sequel, It Chapter Two, sits at number five. “It unlocked something in me,” Skarsgård reveals about the role. “It gave me the confidence that I can take on any challenge.”

Next year, Skarsgård will return as Pennywise for Max’s upcoming It prequel series, Welcome to Derry. Muschietti is also involved in the project, which is set to expand the world of It and It Chapter Two beyond Stephen King’s iconic horror novel. The series features Taylour Paige (Zola), Jovan Adepo (3 Body Problem), and Chris Chalk (Perry Mason). Before that, though, Skarsgård will star in both the long-awaited The Crow reimagining and Robert Eggers’s Nosferatu. As for now, we’re thrilled (and moderately terrified) that the door to Derry is still open.

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