SAN DIEGO – The Stephen King horror sequel “It Chapter Two” scared Comic-Con to its core once again, and while the man who plays evil clown Pennywise didn’t make the trip, his castmates couldn’t forget his importance.
As the crazy-eyed clown that returns to Derry, Maine, every 27 years, Bill Skarsgard haunted a young version of the Losers’ Club in the first 2017 hit “It.” He returns to terrify their adult selves nearly three decades later in the upcoming “Chapter Two” (in theaters Sept. 6.)
“Each of the Losers have an encounter with It, whether it’s Pennywise or an incarnation,” director Andy Muschietti tells USA TODAY.
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Pennywise the clown (Bill Skarsgard) returns to haunt Derry again in "It Chapter Two." (Photo: WARNER BROS.)
In 1989, the kids made oaths to return to Derry if the evil entity ever came back, and they’re still traumatized many years later, like Andy Bean’s character Stanley Uris. His “relationships with Pennywise and memories are very clear, very distinct and it was all very disturbing, nightmarish and horrible,” Bean says.
One of the most important scenes for Jessica Chastain’s character, Beverly Marsh, is an emotional face-off with Pennywise. “He throws back at her how men have treated her,” Chastain says, “and she has to overcome it in order to be able to move forward.”
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Isaiah Mustafa teases a moment where his Mike Hanlon encounters a constricted Pennywise, and what impressed him was how much Skarsgard put into his performance. “He gave everything. It was very eye-opening for me just to see how awesome he was at playing this character.”
Bill Hader (far left), Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, James Ransone, Isaiah Mustafa and Jay Ryan star as the grownup Losers' Club in "It Chapter Two." (Photo: BROOKE PALMER)
In his signature costume, Skarsgard strikes a “really imposing” figure and is amazing to watch, says Jay Ryan, who plays the adult Ben Hanscom. Ryan also loves the way Skarsgard can keep one eye forward and move the other all around: “That’s one of his party tricks.”
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Muschietti admits there’s a tense “atmosphere” when Pennywise is on set. Skarsgard would warm up and get into character in a secluded tent where he’d have final touches done on his makeup and insane getup. Sometimes a loud evil laugh would come out of there, “and everybody would shut up.”
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