Alexander Skarsgård Scares His Brother Bill at the It Premiere

And you thought Pennywise the Dancing Clown was scary

By Zach Johnson Sep 06, 2017 12:05 PMTags
Bill Skarsgard, Alexander SkarsgardJason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Think Pennywise the Dancing Clown is scary? He's nothing compared to Alexander Skarsgård.

The 41-year-old star made a surprise appearance at Hollywood's TCL Chinese Theatre Tuesday to support his brother Bill Skarsgård, who plays the villain (a.k.a. Bob Gray) in the movie It. (Their brother Gustaf Skarsgård, who stars in History Channel's Vikings, also hit the red carpet.)

As Bill posed for photographers, looking straight-faced as ever, Alexander (in an Ermenegildo Zegna Couture shirt, suit and tie) snuck up on him and proceeded to make a series of silly faces.

At one point, Alexander snarled behind him and placed a hand on Bill's shoulder. The younger Skarsgård, who appeared unfazed by his older brother's silly antics, merely cracked a wry smile.

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Though Bill appeared opposite Charlize Theron in this summer's Atomic Blonde, he's poised to become a huge star thanks to It, Andrés Muschietti's adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel. The role of It/Pennywise the Dancing Clown/Bob Gray was originally given to Will Poulter, who dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Richard Armitage, Ben Mendelsohn, Mark Rylance, Tilda Swinton and Hugo Weaving were considered for the part. Mendelsohn reportedly balked at the pay cut, and Swinton "wasn't available," producer Barbara Muschietti said. "We auditioned literally hundreds of potential Bob Grays or Pennywises and it was an amazing process. We got to audition people that don't audition anymore and a huge gamut of talent: women, younger age, older age. We really went through the spectrum of actors."

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Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

Tim Curry famously played It/Pennywise the Dancing Clown/Bob Gray in ABC's 1990 It miniseries, and casting someone new in such an iconic role wasn't easy. "Bill came in and blew our socks off, because he was doing his very own interpretation of Pennywise, very erudite...very, very familiar with the novel and with Pennywise in the novel, which for us was a huge help, because we went in the casting process with the book in mind," Barbara said. "We read the novel when we were teens, we saw the miniseries much later in the game, so Tim Curry's performance is extraordinary but that is not necessarily what we link to Pennywise immediately. For us, the Pennywise is the Pennywise in the book, which is quite different."

Bill gave an "amazing performance" in all his screen tests. "Because [the character is] a shape shifter, we wanted to make sure that he could play in different grades, right? And he did. He's amazing. And what's even more amazing is that he kept the character very unpredictable, and that's what scares us the most," she added, "when you don't know what way he's going to go."

The movie—which stars Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, Chosen Jacobs, Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Jackson Robert Scott, Jeremy Ray Taylor and Finn Wolfhard—hits theaters Friday.