2017 will be remembered as a year that Swede Bill Skarsgård became a genuine Hollywood superstar. Taking on the role of evil clown Pennywise for the reboot of IT, the actor's performance has been heralded as manically insane by those that saw an early glimpse of the movie.
Yet the project could have come out so differently if filmmaker Cary Fukunaga did not walk away from the movie when he did. That choice by the 40-year old would leave a void, seeing Argentine Andres Muschietti take the reigns. With Will Poulter earmarked for the leading antagonist of the piece, the director was keen to have him onboard until the Englishman decided on a different path.
WP's Heart Was Not In IT Anymore: Muschietti
Speaking with Deadline on the eve of the September 7 debut in the US, Muschietti admitted that he was eager to link up with the talented 24-year old. Seeing him operate on titles like We're the Millers, The Maze Runner, The Revenant, War Machine and Detroit, there was a sinister energy to the performer that could easily have worked.
"I was very, very intrigued by the prospect of working with Will, I always thought that he would be an amazing Pennywise," the filmmaker remarked. "We talked a little bit about it, the idea of making the movie even though that Cary wasn’t there. Will basically expressed a feeling that he had slowly disengaged from playing that character, that was so dark and terrifying. It was a personal decision I respected, but I was eager and willing to find my own Pennywise and that’s what we did."
Pennywise is an Iron Fist Disguised as a Velvet Glove
As the director went into detail about the lead character, it was obvious that someone like Poulter would have to give their heart and soul into a villain that is absolute evil. Much to Muschietti's delight, that is what Skarsgård perfected.
"I wanted to reach a balance between a character that is a trickster and a monster," he said. 'The sole fact that he incarnates a clown is terrifying because it’s like bait. And there is nothing worse; it’s not an honest approach in killing someone. He is tricking someone into something horrible, and I wanted to convey that. It was why in part that I wanted to work with Bill. He has that balance. He can be sweet and cute and good looking. But in the turn of a wink, he can do something, a gesture that gives an unsettling feeling. The character is very childlike, too. He has the buckteeth. That’s what I wanted to convey, that balance between a sweet and cute creature, with something very dark behind it."