Bill Skarsgard had pretty big shoes to fill while playing the role of Pennywise in this year’s movie adaptation of Stephen King’s IT. The story had been adapted in 1990, with Tim Curry as the clown. To ensure that he got this part, he sported some clown makeup while driving to his audition and practiced his cackle.
“Pennywise was so extreme, and so far away from anything I’ve ever done,” the actor said.
“For the callback, director Andy Muschietti asked for people to wear simple whiteface . Not a clown nose, but a red-painted nose and a clown smile. I thought this was a great idea – up until the point where I realize I don’t know how to put on makeup. That’s a skill I don’t have.”
His girlfriend had helped him a whole lot as well:
“I ended up asking my girlfriend to put some makeup on that morning, and then I get into the car and had to drive across L.A. in this clown makeup,” Skarsgard said.
“There was something kind of humiliating and absurd about the whole thing. I’m an actor auditioning in Hollywood, and I’m driving with a clownface on. It’s kind of a metaphor for what the profession of acting feels like.”
“Andy had also asked to explore clown laughter, so I’m sitting in the car and I feel ridiculous, but I thought I might as well absorb it and use it,” the actor then confessed.
“So I just started to laugh like crazy in the car, as I’m just bearing down on pedestrians.”
Fans did not see the actor’s final performance until September and those near the audition had gotten a taste of his performance.
“The audition was not on a studio lot, so I had to park and walk for a few blocks with my clownface on,” Skarsgard detailed. “I pretty much just stayed in character through the whole thing. It was one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever done. It sums up my approach to this character.”
Fans can see his Pennywise when the movie hits Blu-ray on January 9, 2018.