Last September, audiences met an all-new incarnation of Pennywise the Dancing Clown thanks to actor Bill Skarsgard in IT. The horrifying performance got into many viewers' heads, with images of the character frightening them long after the credits rolled. Viewers aren't the only ones affected by the character, with Skarsgard himself claiming that his embrace of the villain caused images of Pennywise to appear in his own dreams.
“I liken every character that I do to a relationship that you’re in,” the actor shared with Entertainment Weekly. “Pennywise and Bill go into this sort of relationship together, and I’m trying to figure out who he is and I have to devote so much time and effort to this other person – or thing, in this case – and that goes on for months.”
Pennywise is merely one visage of a supernatural entity that plagues the town of Derry, Maine, tormenting the local children. Similarly, the character took various forms in Skarsgard's mind.
“I was home, done with the movie, and I started having very strange and vivid Pennywise dreams. Every night, he came and visited," Skarsgard confessed. "It was in the shape of either me dealing with him, sort of Pennywise as a separate entity of me, and then also me as Pennywise in circumstances that I didn’t appreciate."
While portraying the character might be viewed as nothing more than a job to some, Skarsgard claims his connection to the character goes much deeper than that.
“It’s just like being in a very destructive relationship,” the actor revealed. “People don’t really realize it until they’re out of it. All your friends go, ‘You need to dump this piece of sh*t, he or she is destroying your life.’ And then once you’re out of it, you see, ‘I was so miserable.’ But I wouldn’t say I was miserable doing Pennywise because I had a lot of fun with it as well.”
Once filming wrapped, an overwhelming feeling of relief washed over Skarsgard.
“After we wrapped, I was in my childhood home in Sweden, sitting having coffee with my mom at our kitchen table, and realized, ‘Oh, holy sh*t, I don’t have to deal with this relationship anymore!’" Skarsgard recalled. "It was a very quick shift of just feeling better, like, ‘Oh my God, I’m relieved that I don’t have to deal with the darkness of the character.’ I likened it to an exorcism – him exiting my body and getting rid of the Pennywise toxins.”
With a sequel on the horizon, one would think Skarsgard wouldn't be looking forward to embracing that destructive relationship again.
“I’m good with it,” he clarified.
You can grab IT on Blu-ray and DVD now. The film's sequel will hit theaters on September 6, 2019.
[H/T Entertainment Weekly]