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.
Photo Sessions > Photoshoots from 2017 > Session 002