How IT's Bill Skarsgard Actually Came Up With Pennywise's Smile

IT Pennywise deadly smile

Upon being announced as the new Pennywise for Andy Muschietti's IT, Bill Skarsgard seemed like somewhat of a surprise. It's not like anyone didn't think he could play the role with his own brand of crazy, but after so much time getting used to Will Poulter as the first choice, it took a little while to get used to the recasting. Well, if the Hemlock Grove star had managed to flash the smile his incarnation has now made infamous among those who fear it, then even the most staunch doubters would have fallen in line. And Skarsgard detailed just how he came up with that smile on a recent Conan appearance, saying:

Well, it's a funny story cuz my older brother Gustaf, who is an actor as well, he had this ability to point his lip in a very strange way. And for some reason---I dunno how I understood that I could do it as well---but I was maybe 10 years old and I'm like [does the Pennywise smile]. I came up with this character. I would pull my t-shirt over my head so you would just see the opening. I would do [The IT] face, and then I would chase my little brother and scare him.

With that fact in mind, you could say that IT's central villain was a role that Bill Skarsgard was preparing for all of his life. Not to mention that the smile has had Warner Bros and New Line laughing to the bank, as $123.1 million blew into the studio's bank accounts on opening weekend, and that number continues to grow. Records have been broken, critics are pleased and new fears will be fueled, all thanks to that winning Skarsgard smile, reinforcing the idea that this smile is still horrifying even without make-up. Take another look for yourself below, in case you've forgotten just what it looks like.

Conan Bill Skarsgard IT smile

Knowing that the destined-to-be-legendary Pennywise smile from IT is somewhat of a Skarsgard family trait, we can't help but wonder if maybe this is something that Bill's father Stellan or even his brother Alexander could do, much less the rest of the Skarsgard clan. All we're saying is, it'd probably be a killer Conan follow-up if the entire family could get on the show sometime in October in an attempt to creep out as many people as possible with that curved face of your nightmares. But in the meantime, Bill Skarsgard's smile will more than likely continue to propel IT into the waters of horror history.

IT is currently in theaters, with a second installment still awaiting an official announcement. If you're interested in seeing what else is floating into theaters for the rest of the year, take a look at our 2017 release schedule.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.