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Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise Evil Smile Is Terrifying Without Clown Makeup

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IT is a monster, and not just of the evil clown variety. It absolutely demolished the competition (and expectations) at the box office last weekend, and it continues to set or threaten records. Its ticket sales yesterday gave it the second-biggest Tuesday gross ever for a horror film. You can’t spell “hit” without it.

Wait, come back! The post isn’t over yet! The joke wasn’t that bad!

There’s many reasons for IT’s success, but a big one is Bill Skarsgard, who plays IT’s Pennywise. Skarsgard had the thankless task of replacing Tim Curry in one of the most iconic horror roles of the 1980s. Somehow, he pulled it off. His sneering visage on the film’s advertising totally sold this movie. Just one look at that face and you know: This thing is gonna be creepy as hell.

Well, it turns out, Bill Skarsgard, lovely and benevolent gentleman that he may be, does not need the Pennywise makeup to freak a person out. In fact, he’s quite capable of a truly disturbing grin without any prosthetic assistance. As a guest on Conan, Skarsgard showed how menacing he can be with just a grin, and the answer is pretty freaking menacing.

Skarsgard went on to explain that his Pennywise stare came from years of practice; as a kid, he invented an evil character who smiled a lot, and he would hitch his shirt up over his head and run around the house, chasing his younger brother and grinning a lot. So apparently Pennywise was typecasting! Kudos to him for his amazingly creepy work, and our sincere apologies to his brother for all the trauma. But at least something good came out of all the sleepless nights!

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