IT Star Reflects On Working With Pennywise's Bill Skarsgard Again On Castle Rock

castle rock chosen jacobs hulu
(Image credit: Image courtesy of Hulu)
(Image credit: Image courtesy of Hulu)

Horror came to Hulu in a brand new way this summer with the premiere of Castle Rock, an anthology series based on elements straight out of the pages of some of Stephen King's most unforgettable works. The show also incorporated multiple actors known for their work in other King-based projects, including Chosen Jacobs and Bill Skarsgard of IT fame. Skarsgard is not playing Pennywise the Dancing Clown this time around, and Jacobs -- who tackled the role of Mike in IT -- shared what it was like to work with Skarsgard again, saying this:

I auditioned for Castle Rock, and when I auditioned, I didn't know it was Castle Rock, because they don't say the name, but when I found out that I booked it, and then I flew up to Massachusetts, which is where I'm from, and I saw his picture on the wall. I was like, 'Wait, Bill's in this?' It was kind of an awesome thing because shooting IT, they kind of kept him away from us in the beginning just so that it would up the ante a little bit, so to actually see him, and to be able to experience back and forth conversation with him just as a human being was very awesome for me, just to see the talent even in that aspect. Because even though he's playing a character, it's less of a caricature as Pennywise is. It's more so, 'Okay, how does Bill act as an actual human being?'

Castle Rock was shrouded in enough secrecy that Chosen Jacobs didn't actually know what he was auditioning for when he read for the new series, and he had no idea until he even arrived at his new job that Bill Skarsgard would be part of the show as well. Speculation ran rampant after Skarsgard's casting was announced that he was reprising the role of Pennywise as one of the show's nods to IT, but it became clear once the first trailer released that he would not be the Dancing Clown this time around and probably wouldn't be munching on any kids' arms from the sewers.

Chosen Jacobs and the other IT kids were infamously kept separate from Bill Skarsgard in his Pennywise makeup and costume early in the IT filming process to help their terrified reactions ring especially true, so working with Skarsgard on Castle Rock must have felt different in more ways than just Skarsgard turning in a performance as a different character. While we can't vouch that his appearance won't change before the end of the first season -- this is based on Stephen King, after all -- he probably won't wind up in full clown makeup.

Who knew that Bill Skarsgard could be creepy in non-Pennywise roles? It's nice to know that Chosen Jacobs was able to get to know Skarsgard a little better on Castle Rock, although it should be interesting to see if the two perform together again in any IT: Chapter Two flashbacks. Just because another actor will play Mike in the IT sequel doesn't mean the kids can't reprise their roles! Jacobs went on in his chat with to comment on how Skarsgard embodied his new role:

He just transformed, man. He transformed in the role, and it's just kind of weird watching the series now. The character he plays, and this is a testament to how good of an actor he is, he is a totally different guy than what the character's he plays is like.

Well, it's good to know that Bill Skarsgard transforms himself to play characters in Stephen King-based projects! I wouldn't want to think that he's quite as creepy in real life as he is in Castle Rock or certainly in IT. Will he put on clownface to audition for what could be the role of a lifetime? Sure. That doesn't make him Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

You can catch Chosen Jacobs and Bill Skarsgard in Castle Rock on Hulu. For some more viewing options now and in the not-too-distant future, take a gander at our fall TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).