“It was a personal decision I respected,” Muschietti continued. “But I was eager and willing to find my own Pennywise and that’s what we did.” Who could he get who was both a convincing horror actor and willing to put up with the buckets of blood and gore that he’d be dealing with? Well, the answer soon came in the form of Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård.
Skarsgård was a fairly unknown actor at the time. Nonetheless, he’d appeared in the acclaimed Swedish film Simple Simon, the TV series Hemlock Grove and the blockbusters Allegiant and Atomic Blonde. And he also came from a famous acting family. Bill Skarsgård’s father is Pirates of the Caribbean and Mamma Mia actor Stellan Skarsgård, and his brother is Alexander Skarsgård from True Blood.
Once he’d won the role, Skarsgård soon found himself with some big (clown) shoes to fill. The previous version of It – the 1990 miniseries – had starred Tim Curry as Pennywise, and his take on the character was still the one in most people’s minds. The filmmakers decided that the design for the new version had to be very different. “It’s important that we do something fresh and original for this one,” Skarsgård told Entertainment Weekly in July 2016.