VARIETY – With “It” tearing it up at the box office for a second weekend in a row, you can expect Warner Bros. to green-light the second chapter of Andy Muchietti’s Stephen King adaptation any day now. (Indeed, the film has not yet been given the official go-ahead, but it is in active development.)
Recently appearing on Variety’s “Playback” podcast, actor Bill Skarsgard — who stars as the creepy manifestation of It, Pennywise the clown, in the new film — spoke briefly about one scene that was shot but ultimately cut.
VARIETY – Welcome to “Playback,” a Variety podcast bringing you exclusive conversations with the talents behind many of today’s hottest films.
Film festivals may be raging from Venice to Telluride to Toronto, but the biggest industry story this week had to be the box office dominance of Andy Muscietti’s Stephen King adaptation “It.” The film raked in nearly $120 million opening weekend and looks to stay strong over the next week, ensuring a whole new generation’s fear of clowns.
Actor Bill Skarsgard got the call to play Pennywise the Dancing Clown in the film, the physical manifestation of an evil entity that has terrorized a small Maine town for centuries. But it was a daunting prospect, not least of all because such an iconic portrayal of the character already existed courtesy of Tim Curry in ABC’s 1990 miniseries adaptation.
THE NEW YORK TIMES – Bill Skarsgard was calling from his native Sweden, where “It” — the much-anticipated horror film in which he co-stars — was set for a premiere in Stockholm on Friday. “It’s more of a family gathering,” Mr. Skarsgard said. “I’ve invited all my cousins and uncles, and my sister, who works in event planning, is throwing the after-party. My brother Alexander did the same thing with ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ last year, so he inspired me.”
But Pennywise, the child-killing clown Mr. Skarsgard plays in this adaptation of the 1986 Stephen King novel, is a far cry from Tarzan. “It will be fun to see my entire family jump while watching my performance,” Mr. Skarsgard, 27, said.
His relatives probably won’t be the only ones startled by his disturbing turn. “It” is expected to devour the competition at the box office this weekend, building off the repeated reports of creepy-clown sightings around the United States and in Britain in recent years. “These are grown men who put on makeup and try to entertain children,” Mr. Skarsgard said of professional clowns. “If you ask anybody what they think of clowns, it’s associated as much or more with something crazy and scary as it is something joyful. I don’t think this film is going to help that.”
“It” will no doubt be a boost to the career of Mr. Skarsgard, who was previously seen in the sci-fi film “Allegiant” and Netflix’s supernatural drama “Hemlock Grove.” He’s fine with the fact that in this film he disappears underneath layers of prosthetics. “I’m a pretty private person, so I don’t mind not being recognized,” he said. “It’s nice to hide behind the makeup.”
Bill attended the It premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California (September 5). Bill received support at the event from his brothers Alex and Gustaf! Check out the photos below.
VARIETY – The new reboot of Stephen King’s “It” hasn’t even opened in theaters, but director Andy Muschietti is already planning for the next installment. The sequel is a near-certainty since King’s book switches off between two storylines, and it’s already known that the film that opens Friday focuses more on the child characters.
Though it has always been planned as a two-part story, Warner Bros. isn’t emphasizing the two movies in marketing materials. Perhaps the studio learned from “The Dark Tower,” which was planned as a movie, TV series and more, but fizzled after the first film disappointed.
However, the movie itself leaves plenty of room for a sequel, not to mention the fact that the title card at the end of the film (MILD SPOILER ALERT) reads “It: Chapter One.”
The novel “It” follows a group of children known as “the Losers Club” as they battle the evil force known as Pennywise, then follows up with another battle with the creature 30 years later. While the 1990 miniseries adaptation directly follows the plot of King’s novel, including interdimensional travel (Carey Fukunaga’s original script for the reboot reportedly included a dimension portal), Muschietti’s version is much more grounded and does away with the weird otherworldliness…at least for now.
Muschietti told Variety that he doesn’t think of the next film as a sequel, more like the second half of a single story and that’s he’s prepared to helm this project as well.
“I really wanted to focus on the emotional journey of the group of kids. Getting in to that other dimension — the other side — was something that we could introduce in the second part,” Muschietti said in an interview with Yahoo Movies. “In the book the perspective of the writing… is always with the Losers, so everything they know about Pennywise is very speculative and shrouded in absurdity, so I wanted to respect that mystery feeling of not knowing what’s on the other side.”
“It” is expected to break the record for biggest opening weekend of a non-sequel, R-rated horror film, currently held by “The Conjuring,” which debuted to $41 million in 2013.
“It” opens in theaters Sept. 8.
The ‘It’ star will voice Moomintroll in ‘Moomins and the Winter Wonderland’ that features top Swedish talent, including his father Stellan.
Bill Skarsgard is swapping Pennywise for a role that’s definitely more child-friendly after signing up for Moomins and the Winter Wonderland.
The Swedish actor, who has a starring role as the killer clown in Warner Bros.’ upcoming film It, will voice the protagonist Moomintroll in the animated movie. Skarsgard is the latest in what is becoming an all-star Swedish voice cast that includes Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander and his father Stellan.
“So excited to be a part of this lovely project and bringing Tove Jansson’s fantastical world to the big screen. I grew up with my mom and dad reading Moomin and their adventures to me at bedtime, so it will not be the first time I hear my dad voice Moominpappa,” said Skarsgard.
The Moomins were created by the Finnish writer Tove Jansson in a series of books and comic strips, originally published in Swedish in the 1940s. The iconic fairy tale characters have garnered a global following thanks to translations, along with several television and film adaptations as well as a theme park called Moomin World in Naantali, Finland.
Finish film company Filmkompaniet and Polish animation studio Animoon are co-producing the new project. Los Angeles-based production, distribution and IP management company Global Genesis Group is handling international distribution and sales.
Based on Jansson’s original books, with a screenplay from Małgorzata Więckowicz-Zyla, Piotr Szczepanowicz and Ira Carpelan, Moomins and the Winter Wonderland will be created from existing, vintage footage from original stop-motion Moomins productions co-produced by Jupiter Film and Film Polski in the 1980s.
When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.
In Theaters September 8
Exciting news! Bill has joined the upcoming Stephen King Hulu Series, Castle Rock.
Bill Skarsgård has been cast as a series regular in Hulu’s Stephen King series “Castle Rock,” Variety has learned.
The project marks the second King project for Skarsgård, who will star in the film adaptation of King’s classic novel, “It,” as the iconic terrorizing clown, Pennywise.
In “Castle Rock,” Skarsgård will play a young man with an unusual legal problem. He joins a cast that includes Sissy Spacek, André Holland, Jane Levy and Melanie Lynskey.
“Castle Rock” is described as a psychological-horror drama set in the Stephen King multiverse that combines the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of King’s best-loved works, weaving an epic saga of darkness and light, played out on a few square miles of Maine woodland. The fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine, has served as the setting for many of King’s books, including “Cujo,” “The Dead Zone,” and “The Body.” The series landed a 10-episode order.
Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason are writers on the series and will serve as executive producers along with J.J. Abrams, Ben Stephenson and Liz Glotzer. Bad Robot Productions and Warner Bros. Television are behind the series.
Skarsgård is on the rise. Aside from gearing up for his biggest role to date with “It,” which hits theaters this September, the Swedish actor starred in Netflix’s “Hemlock Grove” and is also known from the “Divergent” franchise. He is repped by WME.
Production on “Castle Rock” begins this year. No premiere date has been set, though the series is expected to debut in 2018.
Of the eight Skarsgård siblings, four of them—Valter, Bill, Gustaf and Alexander—are professional actors, each blessed with the good looks and distinctly rakish swagger of their father, Stellan. So the odds of 26-year-old Bill finding his footing in the industry weren’t exactly stacked against him. More unexpected is the path he’s chosen: neither through the mainstream (such as Alexander, a leading man since his star turn on HBO’s True Blood) nor through auteur-driven projects (such as Stellan, who has appeared in six films by the Danish provocateur Lars von Trier), but rather through a series of unexpected, résumé-confounding detours. Take his biggest American role to date, as Pennywise, the demonic child-eating clown, in the upcoming remake of It, out thisSeptember. As the blood-curdling creature originally played by Tim Curry in the 1990 miniseries of the same name, Skarsgård spends the entire film hidden beneath layers of garish and grotesque makeup—a daring choice for any young actor with matinee idol features.
But Skarsgård has been in the business long enough to know what he’s doing. He spent much of his youth traveling the world with his father, from film set to film set, and his first role came at the age of 9, as the younger brother to Alexander’s character in the Swedish thriller White Water Fury (2000). After being cast in a handful of roles, both big and small, back home—including an award-winning turn as a young man with Asperger’s syndrome in Simple Simon (2010)—his first major appearance on Stateside screens was in the Netflix fantasy series Hemlock Grove. This July, he will begin his play for international stardom alongside Charlize Theron and James McAvoy in Atomic Blonde, a high-octane spy thriller set in a simmering East Berlin. After that, he’ll appear in Assassination Nation, alongside cool-kids Hari Nef and Suki Waterhouse.
But first: breakfast. Over a meal at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, Skarsgård submits to some words of wisdom—and a little gentle bullying—from his older brother Alexander.