Horror fans, are you ready for It? The new adaptation of Stephen King’s famous killer-clown novel will be out all over the world soon, petrifying a whole new generation of teens. And it could be a star-making movie for Bill Skarsgård, who plays the titular “It,” the monster clown Pennywise. He’s underneath reams of carefully applied make-up, of course, designed to make him as horrifying as possible. But what he looks like out of make-up, now that’s a whole other story.
Skarsgård very nearly didn’t get the role of Pennywise at all, though. The role was originally taken by British actor Will Poulter, who’d been cast when the film was still attached to its previous director, Cary Fukunaga. When Fukunaga left the project after five years of working on it, Poulter left too. There were reasons for that decision beyond Hollywood politics, however.
Apparently, the prospect of playing a character as horrifying as Pennywise had taken its toll on Poulter. New director Andy Muschietti asked him to come back on board, but found that Poulter wasn’t entirely up for it. “Will basically expressed a feeling that he had slowly disengaged from playing that character, that was so dark and terrifying,” Muschietti told Deadline in 2017.