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‘I Was Just a Kid’

'I Was Just a Kid'


  • Taking on the role of Pennywise was nerve-wracking for Bill Skarsgård, who faced online backlash for his look as the iconic clown.
  • Skarsgård, now 33, recalls the mean comments and losing sleep over the role, but it ultimately unlocked his confidence for future challenges.
  • Despite initial hate,
    was a critical and financial hit, solidifying Skarsgård’s place as Pennywise and paving the way for more roles.

Bill Skarsgård might be returning to the role that made him famous in the HBO Max prequel series, Welcome to Derry, but it’s a part he was extremely nervous about following the online backlash he received in 2016 after an early image was shared by Warner Bros. to promote the 2017 release of IT. Skarsgård portrayed the role of Pennywise in Andy Muschietti’s reimagining of the Stephen King classic in 2017 and 2019 respectively. The film, which was split into two parts, would go on to gross a collective $1.1 billion dollars, and made Skarsgård a household name.

Speaking with Esquire, Skarsgård recalls that at the time, he really didn’t understand what he was getting himself into by taking on the role of Pennywise, which had previously been played by Tim Curry in the 1990 made-for-TV miniseries, and had become such an iconic part of pop culture. He says looking back on it all now, “I was just a kid.” Check out his comments below.

“When you are twenty-six, you don’t feel young at all, but now,
looking back at it, I was a kid
. It was fairly early on in my career to take on something that had so many eyeballs and expectations on it.”


It (2017)

Release Date
September 6, 2017

Andres Muschietti

Now 33-years-old, the Swedish actor recalls the hateful rhetoric that was spewed his way after Warner Bros. released an early image of Skarsgård in full Pennywise costume, holding a balloon and smiling maniacally. The image was shared online before filming for IT even began, which Skarsgård called a “mean” thing to do.

“They did a thing that
I felt was kind of mean
. I was so incredibly nervous to start this job, and then the Internet is having so many hateful opinions on the weird, strange look of the thing.”

Bill Skarsgård Says He Lost Sleep Over His Role as Pennywise

While the part of Pennywise the Dancing Clown in IT was ultimately a role that would change his life, it was also a part that he says caused him to lose a lot of sleep. Skarsgård would go on to have tremendous success in the years following his portrayal of the demented clown, with appearances in Deadpool 2, Barbarian, John Wick: Chapter 4, and the lead in 2024’s Boy Kills World.

At the time Warner Bros. shared that first-look image of him in his Pennywise costume, he said he couldn’t get the insults out of his mind. He recalled a few of the more “polite” ones that were directed his way.

“This looks so stupid.’ ‘Lame.’ ‘Boooo.’”

Despite the haters, IT would go on to be a critical and financial hit, and Skarsgård’s epic portrayal of Pennywise has become a part of the culture in its own right, just as Curry’s did all those years ago. He says the part “unlocked” something that now gives him the confidence to take on more challenging roles, despite what people might say.

“It unlocked something in me, and it
gave me the confidence that I can take on any challenge
. At least, that’s how I feel when I accept these things.”



The Crow Trailer Sees a Gothic Bill Skarsgård Step into Brandon Lee’s Anti-Hero Shoes

The Crow has unveiled its first trailer of Bill Skarsgård’s take on the cult classic movie.

It’s that confidence Skarsgård will need to portray the part of Eric Draven in Lionsgate’s upcoming reimagining of The Crow, which – in a bit of déjà vu – has already received a ton of online backlash following a look at the actor in full costume.

Chapters 1 and 2 are available to rent or buy on all VOD platforms.

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