December is traditionally the month in which film fans reflect on the year that was, and thanks to the meteoric success of Split, Get Out and a little-known adaptation called It, 2017 will be remembered as a defining 12 months for the horror genre.
And with a whopping $700 million to its name, the latter is far and away the biggest horror-themed hit of the year. It is, of course, an adaptation of Stephen King’s phenomenal, time-hopping tome, one which features a transdimensional, shape-shifting demon by the name of Pennywise.
Covered in pale-white makeup and clutching onto a single red balloon, it’s no secret that New Line searched far and wide before casting Bill Skarsgård as the dancing, demented clown. And by all accounts, Skarsgård repaid that faith ten times over with a powerhouse performance – from the quivering lip to Pennywise’s thousand-yard stare, the Swede absolutely nailed his interpretation of King’s creature.
Granted, it took some time before Bill Skarsgård was able to hone his performance, and he explained the following in a recent interview:
Andy [Muschietti, the director] 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. So I just started to laugh like crazy in the car, as I’m just bearing down on pedestrians.
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Via Entertainment Weekly, Skarsgård also recalled his desire to make Pennywise feel “entirely unpredictable” at every moment, which forced him to experiment with different voices:
Something I found disturbing was that I wanted Pennywise to feel entirely unpredictable at every moment, and also his voice doesn’t have a predictable way of sounding. It can go kind of up and down and crackle, you can go really high pitch and low pitch, even in the same sentence. I wanted it to be sort of colorful in that way. It can be soft and it can be whispery and it can be alluring, then it crackles and breaks a lot of times. He’s not entirely there, you know?
Pennywise hasn’t been banished for good, of course; once horror fans bear witness to Andy Muschietti’s director’s cut next month, New Line and Warner Bros. will be drawing attention to It: Chapter Two, the sequel poised to bring the curtain down on September 6th, 2019.