When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, neighborhood kids band together to square off against Pennywise, an evil clown whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.
See 3 new clips from IT, set to hit theaters next month and make us all fear clowns again. Bill Skarsgard recently spoke to Collider about how he came up with the voice for Pennywise, stating that he really wasn’t able to nail it down, until he saw himself in full makeup.
I play around with a lot of different versions of what this thing might sound like. The voice had changed a lot from the first time I had auditioned. I explored different versions of it, what would resonate the most with the audience. It was really when we did the full make-up test and see what the character would actually look like…it’s a very abstract way of preparing for something when you have no idea what he will look like. I didn’t know what the makeup would look like, I had no idea what the prosthetics would look like. Then we started exploring different things and I saw different prototypes of what he might look like and I started working with that. My first test with the prosthetics and makeup was where I saw what the character would actually look like with me in it. That’s something I needed to explore to [discover] what this thing would sound like.
I play around with a lot of different versions of what this thing might sound like.Bill Skarsgard
When asked about working with the kids while filming, Bill said that they wanted to keep tension on set between his character and theirs:
The kids were great. They really lucked out with the cast that they got. I’m not going to take any credit away from Andy, who directed it, and he was really pursuing these kids. He’s very good at casting, if I may say so myself [laughs]. But all these kids were amazing little actors. We tried to keep them separate from me because we thought that might be a good idea, working with kids. Let’s keep me, as myself, separate from them. But of course, also the character. So we could have this tension between Pennywise and the kids. The kids had already been shooting for a month before they started doing the scenes with Pennywise.
The first day of shooting, I’m working with this actor, Jack Grazer, who plays Eddie in the film. It’s a very intense physical scene where I’m an evil clown and I’m really going after it, you know? Those scenes can sometimes be pretty intense. I think the scene itself was kind of intense for Jack. It’s physical and it’s kind of a lot. After the first take, I tried to make sure he was okay. And he was really excited. He was like “Yeah, that was great, man! That was amazing! I love what you’re doing with the character!” And he was really excited about it and I was like okay, I’m not actually dealing with young kids here. These are little actors! That was really fun. It was fun working with them. I tried to bring out the best in them as we were shooting. Encourage them. Andy was amazing at encouraging the kids and encouraging them to explore. They would say things, they would come up with ideas. They are very smart and creative people. So that was a lot of fun.
The only difference in the cast was working with Georgie, whose name is Jackson. He was 7 years old. That was different because he was way younger than the other kids. We had to work with him a little differently. Shooting that storm drain scene, he was noticeably affected by the sight of me in the storm drain. I’ll just put it that way [laughs]. But we’re good friends in real life!
‘IT’ hits theaters September 8, 2017