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Bill Skarsgård Says Returning for ‘It: Chapter Two’ Is ‘Weird and Surreal’ Now That Pennywise Is a Pop Culture Icon

The actor also explains what it's like for Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, and more to be joining the sequel to the blockbuster 2017 horror movie.

Bill Skarsgård Pennywise the Clown It

Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Clown in “It”

Warner Bros./Youtube

Director Andy Muschietti has officially kicked off production on “It: Chapter Two” in Toronto. The sequel to the blockbuster 2017 horror film finds Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, and more playing the adult versions of the Losers’ Club, but the one face that’s staying the same is Bill Skarsgård. The 27-year-old actor is wearing the clown makeup once again as Pennywise, and he told Collider returning to the role was a bit weird after the first movie became a pop culture phenomenon.

“The first time I did it, nobody knew what I would do with it, so it was just all of this expectation,” Skarsgård said. “I didn’t know if it would work, or if people would respond to it. There was a lot of that worry going on about it…I worked really closely with Andy [Muschietti], the director. This time around, because the movie became such a phenomenon, it’s almost like I’m re-adapting myself.”

Skarsgård said it was surreal to watch Pennywise became a pop culture icon following the release of the first “It” installment last September. The character was so popular that LeBron James even dressed up as the clown for Halloween.

“It became this completely universal thing, outside of the thing. That’s not me. I can’t even relate myself to it anymore,” Skarsgård said. “And now that I’m going back and doing it, it’s such a bizarre thing. I don’t think I’ll ever really experience anything like it. It’s this dualistic thing of me and the work and the character, and then the thing that it became, but it’s fun.”

The actor said it didn’t take long for him to re-discover Pennywise’s voice during read-throughs and rehearsals. “I was surprised how much of the character was just there already,” he said. “I instantly could access him again, like it was yesterday that we wrapped the first one. It was just all there. So, the work and preparation and figuring out the character is almost intuitive, which is pretty cool. It’s a very strange thing, but I’m trying to enjoy the ride, as much as I can.”

As for what it’s like to have major stars like Chastain and McAvoy joining the franchise after the first movie went relatively star free, Skarsgård admitted it’s a bit odd.

“It’s weird and it’s surreal because some of them are really big stars and they’re coming in to your thing,” the actor said. “They’re stepping into the thing that me and Andy and the kids did. They’re joining the band, in a way. They’re excited, and I just had a lot of fun hanging out with all of them. It’s going to be a very different shooting experience with all adults, for sure, but it will be fun. They’re all really cool and talented people, so I think they will bring a lot to the table.”

Warner Bros. has already set a September 6, 2019 release date for “It: Chapter Two.” Skarsgård is sticking with Stephen King this summer with a supporting role in the Hulu original series “Castle Rock.” Head over to Collider to read the actor’s full interview.

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