When Bill Skarsgard clowns around, it’s the stuff of nightmares. The actor, who plays the monstrous Pennywise clown in It, showed Conan O’Brien on Tuesday night that he doesn’t need all that makeup to look terrifying.

While explaining how he came up with that signature smirk for Pennywise, Skarsgard cracked the sinister smile for the cameras. You can only laugh to keep from crying.

As he explained, “My older brother Gustaf, who’s an actor as well, he had this ability to do, you know, point his lip in a very strange way and for some reason, I don’t know how, I understood that I could do it as well.” So, around the age of 10, he created a character based on a Swedish name and chased his brother around with his t-shirt pulled over his head.

Skarsgard joked how watching It must have brought back all these memories for his sibling. “Not again!” he cried.

Wyatt Oleff, who plays a member of The Losers’ Club in It, was equally irked upon seeing Pennywise for the first time in real life.

“They actually separated Bill and The Losers’ Club to make us not know what he’d look like, so that the first reaction would be really raw,” he told EW. “We were definitely scared from that, but seeing him in person for the first time… he’s 6-foot-4 and looming over you with clown makeup and his getup. It was definitely scary at first, until he was really nice and shook our hands and was really cool.”

It is now playing in theaters.


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