Wyatt Oleff, who plays young Stanley Uris in the new film “It,” has a vivid memory of the first time he saw Bill Skarsgård dressed up as the killer clown Pennywise.
“The first time I actually saw him in person, he was standing next to a monitor and he had his full clown makeup from neck up, and his clown pants, and then he had like a white tank top on, and he’s holding a cup of coffee talking to Andy [ Muschietti], the director, and I was like, should I go talk to him? And then I thought to myself, probably not,” Oleff, 14, told TheWrap’s Beatrice Verhoeven (the video is above).
“So then the first time I really acted with him, it was right before a scene started, so it was like, we walked into the room, and he was like, ‘hey guys, nice to see you again,’ because we saw him during the table read, but we didn’t see him in full Pennywise getup until then, and uh, it’s really unsettling you know, just him smiling and being all nice,” Wyatt said. “Just everything going on with him is definitely a little creepy. But he’s such an amazing person to work with, so that kind of made it all the better.”
One of the best things about him? “Luckily he’s not in character all the time, which I was super happy about, because you know, I didn’t really want a guy who was constantly trying to terrorize us. That would be a little weird,” said Oleff, who has previously appeared in both “Guardians of the Galaxy” and ABC’s “Once Upon a Time.”
Oleff shrugged off comparisons between Skarsgård and Tim Curry, who played Pennywise in the 1990 ABC miniseries.
“Bill is just so perfect for this role and he plays it so well,” Oleff said. “There are a lot of people that are trying to compare him to Tim Curry, and I don’t think that they should because they’re just in two separate categories. One is from a miniseries and one is from a full-on feature film. So I think we have to respect both of them in, you know, each in their own realm I guess you could say.
He added that as murderous as Pennywise is onscreen, Skarsgård is “the sweetest guy.”
“He’s always willing to snap right out of it and help whoever is in need. Jack [Dylan Grazer] had this one scene with him, he had him up against the wall, and after they yelled cut, Bill would be like, ‘Are you ok? Do you need like a neck pillow or something?'”