‘IT’ Floats into Theaters September 8 and Bill Skarsgard Brings the Fright Factor


Photo Credit Brooke Palmer

BILL SKARSGARD as Pennywise in New Line Cinema's horror thriller "IT," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

© 2017 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND RATPAC-DUNE ENTERTAINMENT LLC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Article by Lynette Carrington

New Line Cinema’s horror thriller “IT,” directed by Andy Muschietti (“Mama”), is based on the hugely popular Stephen King novel of the same name, which has been terrifying readers for decades. Originally adapted for television in 1990, this big screen reboot will premiere September 8. The wildly anticipated film stars Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the clown (“IT”) and a slew of talented child actors, including Arizona’s own Jackson Robert Scott, who is making his feature film debut.

When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries. They must ban together to fight this demon.

In the 1990 television adaptation, actor Tim Curry delivered a fiendishly delicious and critically lauded performance as Pennywise. Now, multi-talented actor Bill Skarsgard steps into the proverbial clown shoes to bring about his own updated and unique version of the devilish clown.

When the casting call went out for Pennywise, the audition guidelines were a bit loose. “Auditioning for this movie was a really fun thing to do,” states Skarsgard. “’Oh, here you go. Here’s an audition for Pennywise. You can do whatever you want with it!’ There were no instructions. There was no anything that describes why Pennywise would be one way or another. He could be young, he could be old, it could be a girl, it could be a guy… There was nothing that limits the character.” As an actor, Skarsgard liked that somewhat nebulous aspect of the audition as it gave room for interpretation.

Translating Pennywise

As an actor, Skarsgard really wanted to get this portrayal just right and went to extra lengths to capture the essence of the character and bring the creep factor. “I usually don’t feel a need to go, ‘Can I go and look at how that looks,’ you know? But with this one, I had no idea what anything looked like. I didn’t know what my face with the makeup on looks like and how it translates onto the screen. So, for the first time, I was much more curious to see what it that we were doing. And the studio wouldn’t give me any access to the dailies, but Andy would!" says Skarsgard of “IT” Director Andy Muschietti. Skarsgard would sit and study the footage that was captured during filming as he felt it was important that he got the right translation of what he talked about with director Muschietti in terms of portraying Pennywise.

Photo Credit Brooke Palmer

(L-R) JACK DYLAN GRAZER as Eddie Kaspbrak, JAEDEN LIEBERHER as Bill Denbrough, CHOSEN JACOBS as Mike Hanlon, WYATT OLEFF as Stanley Uris, SOPHIA LILLIS as Beverly Marsh, JEREMY RAY TAYLOR as Ben Hanscom and FINN WOLFHARD as Richie Tozier in New Line Cinema's horror thriller "IT," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

© 2017 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND RATPAC-DUNE ENTERTAINMENT LLC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Skarsgard knew the visuals of Pennywise were incredibly important. He explains, “It’s such a technical and important aspect of the character. Andy would show me things and he would go, ‘Do this exact same thing, but like… ‘there.’ There are minor differences on how the light hits the face and the chin and it really weaves this visual impact of the character, so it was really important to me to understand that aspect.”

“IT” Director, Andy Muschietti explains, “We talked for hours about what the character was and mostly we agreed on everything about what the character should be. But talks are just the beginning. Then it’s Bill who starts building the character. We have here a guy who is committed and fearless!”

Muschietti likes how Skarsgard translated a character that may have had some “monster predictability” and brought in more twists and turns. Muschietti says, “I think one of the greatest things that he brought is embracing that concept of unpredictability and really giving something new at every point.” The director also points out how the makeup of the Pennywise character also delivers an extra dose of menace, along with certain angles of how he captured Skarsgard on film.

Muschietti finishes, “I think we built trust and became like kindred spirits and it was very important to feel confident about one another.” “IT” opens in wide release in theatres nationwide Friday, Sept. 8. 

 Courtesty of Warner Bros. Pictures

(L-R) JACKSON ROBERT SCOTT as Georgie Denbrough and JAEDEN LIEBERHER as Bill Denbrough in New Line Cinema's horror thriller "IT," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

© 2017 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND RATPAC-DUNE ENTERTAINMENT LLC.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

About “IT”

“IT” stars Bill Skarsgard ("Allegiant,” TV’s “Hemlock Grove”) as the story’s central villain, Pennywise.  An ensemble of young actors also star in the film, including Jaeden Lieberher (“Midnight Special”), Jeremy Ray Taylor (“Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip”), Sophia Lillis (“37”), Finn Wolfhard (TV’s “Stranger Things”), Wyatt Oleff (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), Chosen Jacobs (upcoming “Cops and Robbers”), Jack Dylan Grazer (“Tales of Halloween”), Nicholas Hamilton (“Captain Fantastic”) and Jackson Robert Scott, making his film debut.

Muschietti directed “IT” from a screenplay by Chase Palmer & Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman, based on the novel by King.  Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg and Barbara Muschietti are the producers, with Dave Neustadter, Walter Hamada, Richard Brener, Toby Emmerich, Marty P. Ewing, Doug Davison, Jon Silk and Niija Kuykendall serving as executive producers.

The behind-the-scenes creative team included director of photography Chung-Hoon Chung (“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”), production designer Claude Paré (“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”), editor Jason Ballantine (“The Great Gatsby”), and costume designer Janie Bryant (TV’s “Mad Men”).  The music was composed by Benjamin Wallfisch.

New Line Cinema presents a Vertigo Entertainment/Lin Pictures/Katzsmith Production, “IT.” Slated for release on September 8, 2017, the film will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Entertainment Company. For more information, visit itthemovie.com/.

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