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Bill Skarsgård on Playing Pennywise the Clown


WELL, IT’S VERY GOOD TO HAVE YOU HERE. YOU’RE FROM SWEDEN I UNDERSTAND.>>I’M FROM STOCKHOLM, THAT’S RIGHT.>>Jimmy: STOCKHOLM. YES, I’VE HEARD OF THAT. WHAT GOES ON IN STOCKHOLM? IS IT A FUN PLACE TO LIVE?>>IT’S A PLACE, YEAH. [ LAUGHTER ]>>Jimmy: ARE YOU STILL LIVING THERE?>>I’VE BEEN SORT OF ON THE ROAD FOR SEVEN YEARS. SO I’M TRYING TO FIGURE IT OUT.>>Jimmy: ACTING AND GOING AROUND AND WHATEVER.>>YEAH.>>Jimmy: DO YOU HAVE A HOME OR ARE YOU — YOUR LAST NAME IS VERY AT THE LEAST FAMILIAR TO PEOPLE BECAUSE YOUR DAD STELLAN IS AN ACTOR.>>YEAH, HE’S AN ACTOR.>>Jimmy: HE WAS IN — HE’S IN SO MANY MOVIES. HE’S IN “GOOD WILL HUNTING.” THE “THOR.” MOVIES. YOUR BROTHER ALEXANDER IS AN ACTOR. SO IS THIS SOMETHING THAT YOUR DAD ENCOURAGED YOU TO DO, TO BE AN ACTOR? IS THIS SOMETHING YOU WANTED?>>YOU HAVE TO, YEAH. HE HAS EIGHT KIDS. AND THE FIRST RULE IS YOU HAVE TO BECOME AN ACTOR.>>Jimmy: EIGHT CHILDREN. HOW MANY OF THEM ARE ACTORS?>>HALF SO FAR. SO FOUR.>>Jimmy: REALLY?>>YEAH.>>Jimmy: AND THERE’S A POSSIBILITY THAT MORE SKARSGARDS — >>YEAH, BECAUSE THERE’S THE TWO ONES THAT ARE VERY LITTLE.>>Jimmy: DO YOU HOPE THAT THEY DON’T JUST TO KIND OF REDUCE SOME OF THE COMPETITION — >>COMPETITION, YEAH. [ LAUGHTER ] I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO BE THE YOUNGEST ONE. AND THEN MY LITTLE BROTHER IS 5 YEARS YOUNGER AND BETTER-LOOKING — >>Jimmy: YOU NEVER KNOW NOWADAYS — >>IT’S JUST A WHOLE KIND OF GREEK EPIC STORY.>>Jimmy: YEAH. AND WHEN YOU WERE A KID, DID YOU TRAVEL WITH YOUR FATHER AND GO TO MOVIE SETS AND GET TO SEE ALL THAT STUFF?>>YEAH. FOR SURE. HE WOULD SHOOT — AND MY DAD’S CAREER KIND OF TOOK OFF WHEN I WAS A KID AND HE WOULD — INTERNATIONAL CAREER AT LEAST, AND HE WOULD SHOOT IN ALL THESE VERY EXOTIC LOCATIONS. AND I — YOU KNOW, HE WOULD BRING THE ENTIRE FAMILY AND PRETTY MUCH BREAK EVEN.>>Jimmy: YEAH, THAT’S A LOT OF PEOPLE TO BRING.>>YEAH. IT’S A LOT OF KIDS TO BRING. AND HE WOULD BRING A HOUSE FOR US ALL TO COME — >>Jimmy: DO YOU REMEMBER BEING ON ANY OF THOSE SETS AND SEEING SOMETHING THAT STILL KIND OF LASTS IN YOUR MIND?>>I GET THE QUESTION A LOT WHERE IT’S LIKE OH, YOU COME FROM AN ACTING FAMILY AND FOR A KID ACTING IS LIKE THE MOST APPEALING JOB EVER. LIKE YOU’RE 8 YEARS OLD AND YOU’RE ON A SET AND YOUR DAD’S LIKE — YOUR DAD’S YOUR DAD. BUT LIKE ON SET HE HAS LIKE A GUN, THICK MUSTACHE, AND THE WHOLE THING.>>Jimmy: YEAH, RIGHT.>>SO FOR ME IT’S LIKE — AS A KID THAT’S WHAT YOU DO BEING A KID, PLAYING LIKE WITH YOUR FRIENDS. SO THE APPEAL OF THIS IMAGINARY, YOU KNOW, FANTASTICAL WAY OF JUST BEING PAID AND BEING AN ADULT AND ACTING LIKE A CHILD I THINK WAS PLANTED AT A VERY YOUNG AGE.>>Jimmy: AND NOW YOU GET TO BE A CLOWN WHO EATS CHILDREN.>>EXACTLY. [ LAUGHTER ] WE GO FULL CIRCLE HERE.>>Jimmy: WE HAVE A PICTURE OF YOUR LOOK. PEOPLE ARE SCARED ALREADY. WERE THE KIDS ON SET ACTUALLY SCARED OF YOU?>>I DON’T KNOW. I DON’T KNOW. THE KIDS WERE — BECAUSE WHEN YOU WORK WITH KIDS LIKE ACTORS YOU NEVER KNOW IF THEY’RE GOING TO BE GAME OR NOT. LIKE SOME KIDS THAT ARE ACTORS THAT HAVE THIS KIND OF RAW TALENT, AND SOME OF THEM ARE LIKE PROFESSIONAL ACTORS AT 12 YEARS OF AGE.>>Jimmy: RIGHT. YES.>>THESE SEEMED TO BE — LIKE YOU DIDN’T KNOW GOING INTO IT BUT THEY WERE ALL LIKE REALLY PROFESSIONAL ACTORS. THIS ONE KID, JACK RACER PLAYS EDDIE IN THE MOVIE. IT WAS MY FIRST DAY OF SHOOTING AND WE KIND OF DELIBERATELY KEPT ME SEPARATED FROM THE KIDS. THEY’D NEVER SEEN A CLOWN, THEY’D NEVER REALLY MET ME, AND THIS IS ONE SCENE AND THE SCENE OF THE MOVIE IS VERY INTENSE. AND IT WAS MY FIRST DAY. SO I NEEDED TO KIND OF GET INTO CHARACTER AND IT WAS LIKE, OH, HEY THERE, JACK, HOW ARE YOU? LOOKING LIKE THAT. AND THE SCENE I WALK OUT AND I APPROACH HIM AND IT’S A REALLY INTENSE SCENE AND I’M SORT OF RIGHT IN HIS FACE. I’M DROOLING ALL OVER HIM. AND HE’S CRYING. AND WE SORT OF BLOCK IT BRIEFLY WITHOUT DOING REALLY EMOTION INTO IT. AND THEN YOU KNOW, THEY YELL ACTION AND I DO IT. AND I’M DOING THIS CLOWN THING AND I’M SCREAMING — BECAUSE PART OF PENNYWISE IS THAT HE HATES THE KIDS AND THERE’S SO MUCH ANGER — >>Jimmy: MOST CLOWNS DO. [ LAUGHTER ]>>AND THEN I APPROACH HIM AND I SCREAM IN HIS FACE AND WE’RE DOING THE SCENE AND HE’S CRYING AND GAGGING AND DOING THIS WHOLE THING. AND IN THE BACK OF MY HEAD AS WE’RE SHOOTING IT I’M LIKE OH, MY GOD, I’M TRAUMATIZING THIS CHILD. [ LAUGHTER ]>>Jimmy: YEAH.>>LIKE WHAT AM I DOING? AND THEN HE — AND THEN THEY SAY — YOU KNOW, THEY YELL CUT, AND I GO, ARE YOU OKAY, JACK? HE GOES, “I LOVED WHAT YOU WERE DOING. I LOVED WHAT YOU WERE DOING WITH THE CHARACTER.” [ APPLAUSE ]>>Jimmy: THIS IS WHY CLOWNS HATE CHILDREN.>>YEAH. AND I WAS LIKE, I LOVE WHAT YOU’RE DOING WITH THE CHARACTER? THANK YOU, JACK.>>Jimmy: THANK YOU, JACK. DO YOU THINK YOU’LL KEEP IN TOUCH WITH JACK AFTER THE FILM WRAPS?>>WELL, I HOPE HE’LL HIRE ME AT ONE POINT. [ LAUGHTER ]>>Jimmy: YEAH, RIGHT. WELL, I DON’T WATCH SCARY MOVIES BECAUSE I GET TOO SCARED. BUT I HEARD THIS ONE IS PARTICULARLY SCARY. I THINK YOU’VE GOT A GOOD ONE ON YOUR HANDS.>>BUT YOU’LL NEVER WATCH IT?>>Jimmy: I WILL NEVER SEE IT, NO. [ LAUGHTER ]>>YOU SHOULD.>>Jimmy: DO YOU LIKE SCARY MOVIES?>>IT’S WEIRD. I’VE KIND OF BECOME THIS LIKE GENRE ACTOR NOW IT SEEMS LIKE. AND I NEVER REALLY GOT INTO THE IDEA OF GETTING SCARED.>>Jimmy: YEAH, ME NEITHER. I DON’T LIKE IT. YOU KNOW WHY? IT SCARES ME. [ LAUGHTER ]>>YEAH, RIGHT. THERE’S TWO WAYS TO GO ABOUT IT. SOME PEOPLE REALLY ENJOY AND LOVE THE SENSATION OF FEAR. AND I GET LIKE UPSET AND ANGRY.>>Jimmy: I THINK THAT’S WHAT GOD INTENDED FOR US TO EXPERIENCE WITH FEAR. LIKE WHEN WE SEE BEARS COMING AT US WE’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO GO OH, THIS IS AWESOME.>>YEAH.>>Jimmy: WE’RE SUPPOSED TO RUN. EXACTLY. THAT’S A GOOD LESSON FOR EVERYBODY. ALL RIGHT. [ LAUGHTER ] WELL, THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. THE MOVIE IS CALLED “IT.”

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