Movies & TV

9 Things to Know About the Guy Who Plays Pennywise in It

The man behind the makeup is Bill Skarsgard (and yes, he comes from a famous family).
IMAGE Warner Bros. Pictures

Underneath the clown makeup isn't a sadistic, murderous entity hellbent on tormenting children with their biggest fears, it's Bill Skarsgard. And, as far as we know, the actor who plays Pennywise in the new film adaptation of Stephen King's It is not a demonic monster—he's a Swedish actor you should get to know.

Who Plays Pennywise in the New It

Pennywise is an iconic character written by Stephen King. He's the main villain of It and is referenced several times in the writer's universe. "It" is actually a cosmic evil force and one of its forms is the clown Pennywise to easily lure his preferred victims—children. Pennywise was made famous in pop culture by Tim Curry who played the scary clown in the original miniseries. Taking the iconic mantle from him is the new Pennywise: Bill Skarsgard.

He's Tim Curry-approved.
Tim Curry, who played Pennywise in the original 1990 It miniseries praised Skarsgard’s performance, saying the new actor doesn’t have a clown face at all. “You can’t really see him at all…He’s very good.”


He loves scaring children.
He terrified a bunch of child actors in the movie by walking onto set in character, and they were visibly shaken after filming had ended.

No, he really enjoys scaring children.
He knows being successful as the character means he’ll traumatize a new generation of children.

But he's not really into horror movies.
He wasn’t a huge fan of horror films growing up and never liked getting scared. His favorite movie is the cult South Korean action film Oldboy.

He's from an acting family.
Skarsgard’s family has eight kids and half are actors. Becoming an actor is first priority in the Skarsgard family.

His brothers are famous.
That’s probably why his brother Alexander Skarsgard is known for True Blood and Big Little Lies and Gustaf Skarsgard is known for Vikings.

His dad is famous.
Bill’s father Stellan Skarsgard has starred in Good Will Hunting, Thorand the Avengers movies.

He's known for more than just Pennywise.
Some of Bill’s breakout roles include Roman Godfrey on Netflix’s Hemlock Grove and Merkel in Atomic Blonde.

He's been on screen alongside his bro.
Bill’s first time on camera was in White Water Fury alongside his brother Alexander at 9 years old.

This story originally appeared on

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Matt Miller
Matt Miller is the Associate Culture Editor for
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