Stephen King's 'It': Bill Skarsgard wants new Pennywise to traumatize moviegoers

Talking about his role in the flick, the Atomic Blonde actor said, "Playing Pennywise was often physically exhausting".

Setting the new film in the late 1980s was a personal decision for Muschietti, who threw in a bevy of 1980s nostalgia with music and pop culture references for his cast of smart-mouthed teenagers. "Henry is such a layered character, he is so unique for a bully character to have so many levels and to be so unique and different, which was incredible and to play around with", he said. "I'm wired with his way of telling stories", he said.

The surviving kids mature into adulthood and are forced to revisit their horrors as one by one they encounter Pennywise again.

The look of Muschietti's Pennywise is markedly different to any creepy clowns that have come before.

"I thought it was a terrific idea", he said. It's been a long time since I was last this excited to see a clown. That has been done and it's cool and there's a lot of people that fear that. So for the first time, I was much more curious to see what it was that we were doing. People don't like being scared in real life, but when you're watching a film or you're on a roller-coaster, you get scared but it's under control.

After a few lacklustre weeks at the box office with no new wide releases last weekend, there is much anticipation for the new releases this weekend. Fears and phobias aren't always tangible, but Pennywise makes it so. He's a metaphor for everything that is wrong about leaving childhood behind.

Swedish actor Skarsgard will be trading his signature big green eyes for a set of burning yellow one in his role as Pennywise.

"For that whole three-month period, I was married to Pennywise", says Skarsgard. You can get that at your average circus. To me, it's all about character.

"Then two hours later he emerges as this 6 foot 3 terrifying sculpture of a demon, it's so hard-hitting to see him as this normal guy. then, within a few hours be a terrifying, menacing character that you'd never want to be in a room alone with".

"I had two weeks of intense Pennywise dreams". But sometimes he'd have to try to choke me, so he'd put his arms around my neck. Sometimes I've had a glass wine when I should have had a glass of water.

Andrés Muschietti directs. The behind-the-scenes creative team includes director of photography Chung-Hoon Chung (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), production designer Claude Paré (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), editor Jason Ballantine (The Great Gatsby), and costume designer Janie Bryant ("Mad Men").

  • Salvatore Jensen