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IT; Bill Skarsgard
Credit: Marco Grob/Warner Bros.; Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

You can understand why the grown-up Losers Club in It Chapter Two would be frightened of Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise, given their, let us say, rather negative experience with him in the original 2017 film. But it turns out that even the sequel’s effects team was unnerved by the actor’s depiction of the killer clown when Skarsgård first turned up to begin his reprisal of the role.

“The first thing I did, it sort of caught me off guard,” the actor tells EW. “I was supposed to do a motion-capture test and I didn’t think I had lines or anything. I thought it was a facial scan of me doing different expressions. Then the night before, the director, Andy Muschietti, was handing me a scene to do. This was months before we started shooting. I was like, ‘Oh my God, you want me to actually perform like Pennywise again?’ I was like, ‘I hope the character is still there, and still intact, and as he was two years before.’ It was a weird thing because we showed up at this sort facility, I got dots on my face, set up a camera to scan my facial expressions, and, yeah, just like that he character was there as if he’s never been gone, so it was kind of fun.”

Was it not scary, being able to summon up this monster so easily?

“I think it was more scary for the people in the room at that point,” he says. “It’s a big difference. Those guys, the VFX guys, they’d never really seen me perform live before, or a lot of them hadn’t. To see me coming in as myself, and then the big shift of going from that to this sort of demonic creature [laughs], with the eyes, and the mouth, and everything — it caught some people off guard.”

It Chapter Two also James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, and Bill Hader, and opens Friday.

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