Discover the Terrifying Actor Behind Pennywise: A Guide to Stephen King’s Iconic Character [Including Surprising Stats and Tips]

Discover the Terrifying Actor Behind Pennywise: A Guide to Stephen King’s Iconic Character [Including Surprising Stats and Tips]

Short answer: What actor plays Pennywise?

Bill Skarsgård is the actor who portrays Pennywise the Dancing Clown in both the 2017 and 2019 film adaptations of Stephen King’s novel “It.” He is a Swedish actor who has also appeared in other popular films such as “Atomic Blonde” and “Deadpool 2.”

How to Identify the Actor Who Plays Pennywise in Various Adaptations

Pennywise, the infamous killer clown and antagonist of Stephen King’s “It,” has seen various adaptations throughout the years. While each portrayal of Pennywise puts emphasis on different aspects of his character, there is one constant – Pennywise never fails to give us the chills with that sinister grin, ghoulish laugh, and uncanny ability to know our fears.

So who is the actor behind the creepy clown makeup? In this post, we’ll take a look at how to identify the actor who plays Pennywise in various adaptations.

2021: Bill Skarsgard

Bill Skarsgard played Pennywise in both parts of the 2017 and 2019 film adaptations directed by Andy Muschietti. He delivered a performance that was both haunting and memorable as he terrorized children – particularly those in Derry, Maine – with his terrifyingly supernatural abilities.

If you spot a Pennywise with slicked-back hair or orange-hued skin in any production released between 2017-2019, rest assured it’s Skarsgard hidden beneath all that clown makeup.

1990 Mini-Series: Tim Curry

Tim Curry gave audiences a legendary performance as Pennywise The Dancing Clown in the 1990 mini-series adaptation. His portrayal is iconic for its psychological manipulations on victims like Bev Marsh oaying specific attention to their individual fears. When faced off camera against adults also managed well by punching them where it hurts most; fear-doubt about oneself or getting straight up insulted with carefully crafted lines before running away from balloons filled with blood amidst smoke bombs exploding everywhere.

If you’re watching any older adaptation featuring a Joker-reminiscent white face along with bright red hair and colorful clothing then you already know who your pennywise performer brings life to.

Audiences quickly fell under his hypnotic spell as he entertained while instilling feelings of unease at times just through facial expressions alone. Curry’s Pennywise was known for his strong New Yoker accent, sassy wise cracks and his haunting laughter, which still gives us goosebumps even decades after its initial airing.

Clearly, when it comes to the portrayal of Pennywise across various adaptations, both Tim Curry and Bill Skarsgard brought/deliver memorable performances that kept audiences on the edge of their seats. So if you ever come across a production featuring everyone’s favorite killer clown, now you know how to identify who is behind the makeup. #clowningaround

What Actor Plays Pennywise: Step by Step Identification Process

When it comes to the pivotal role of Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King’s “It,” there is one question that every die-hard horror fan wants answered: who is behind the terrifying makeup and prosthetics? With a little bit of detective work, we’ve come up with a step-by-step identification process to help you uncover the actor responsible for bringing this iconic horror character to life.

Step One: Uncovering the Physical Characteristics of Pennywise

Before delving into speculation about possible actors playing Pennywise, it’s important to start by understanding what makes this character distinct. In both his literary form and screen adaptations, Pennywise embodies several key visual characteristics. These include sharp teeth, red hair styled into curly tufts, pale skin, long fingers with pointed nails, and a clown suit accented with puff balls.

Step Two: Investigating Possible Candidates

With these physical characteristics laid out before us like breadcrumbs through Derry’s sewers, we can start gathering clues about who might be donning this creepy clown costume behind the scenes. Netflix’s breakout series Stranger Things features a young actor named Finn Wolfhard who bears an uncanny resemblance to some of Pennywise’s physical traits; he has curly hair and angular facial features that would work well within Stephen King’s universe.

Another high-profile possibility could be Bill Skarsgård. He was eventually chosen as The Losers’ Club’s adversary in IT (2017) due to his striking resemblance to Tim Curry combined with his ability to effectively portray sinister characters.

Step Three: Analyzing Previous Work

Now that we have our possible candidates lined up, it’s worth looking back at each actor’s prior work on screen for any parallels or hints towards their potential performance as Pennywise. Wolfhard is certainly most famous for his role in Stranger Things where he played Mike Wheeler – a strong-willed adolescent leading those around him through adversity against incredible odds.

In contrast, Skarsgård has openly admitted to being selective about his appearances and roles, only accepting work that speaks to him in some way. Admittedly, portraying Pennywise the Clown certainly fits this criteria.

Step Four: Making An Informed Decision

When it comes down to it, the final decision of who plays Pennywise rests with the filmmakers. They must choose an actor who possesses not just the physical traits but also the ability to evoke a sense of horror from audiences. By combining previous acting experience, assessing physical similarities between existing portrayals of the character’s visual looks and understanding how each reflects within contrasting cinematic works; one can make a strong case for or against Wolfhard and Skarsgård as candidates respectively.

As with everything regarding horror cinema, casting is critical when introducing iconic characters into cinematic adaptations. A lot hinges on finding actors who best capture previously defined characteristics that audiences are already familiar with. While there may be other possibilities out there, our pop-culture-honed instincts tell us that Finn Wolfhard or Bill Skarsgård are most likely suitable options to bring Pennywise to life – Red Balloon and all!

All Your Burning Questions About What Actor Plays Pennywise, Answered

Stephen King’s classic novel ‘It’ has taken the world by storm since its publication in 1986. The book is an intense and frightening story of a group of friends who confront their deepest fears when they encounter a malevolent being that appears as a clown named Pennywise. Since then, It has been adapted into several films and TV shows, but none have captured the terrifying essence of Pennywise quite like the 2017 adaptation. And perhaps the most captivating and important part of this remake was the casting decision for Pennywise.

So without further ado, let’s answer all your burning questions about what actor plays Pennywise!

Who Plays Pennywise in IT (2017)?

The talented Bill Skarsgard plays the iconic role of Stephen King’s terrifying creation, Pennywise in IT (2017).

Bill Skarsgard might not be as famous when compared to some other actors he shares screen time with on ‘IT’, but he rose up amongst his peers during his performance as Pennywise. He had big shoes to fill because Tim Curry had done such an amazing job portraying him in the original mini-series released in 1990.

Skarsgard does more than fill those shoes – he completely owns them! Bill brings something new and more sinister to his portrayal of this ancient monster than we’ve ever seen before.

What are some other roles Bill Skarsgard played before becoming famous for playing “Pennywise”?

Before getting cast as “Pennywise” for ‘It’, Bill Skarsgård held respectable supporting or guest starring roles within Hollywood productions such as:

1. Simple Simon (2010)
2. Hemlock Grove (2013)
3. Victoria (2015)
4. Allegiant (2016)

However, it wasn’t until his portrayal of “The Dancing Clown” which brought him into stardom, opening more opportunities throughout Hollywood for future movie releases.

What made Director Andy Muschietti cast Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise?

Director Andy Muschietti had this to say in an interview –

“The first audition tape I saw was the scene where he runs after George in the beginning, and it was amazing. He did something that wasn’t in the script, and it was really, really funny. His sense of humor is one of his great qualities – no matter how weird or dark things can be.”

Muschietti went on further to discuss that he needed someone with very unique features (like big eyes).

“You have to put a lot of weight into those eyes because they are the only thing that we see essentially,” Muschietti explained.

The Swedish actor definitely fit what director was looking for!

What has been Bill Skarsgard’s reaction about playing Pennywise?

In an interview about his performance as Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard revealed some details on bringing this character to life:

“In order to play him [Pennywise] you have to be kind of like — insane,” explains Skarsgård. It’s almost like you need to turn off your own conscience completely.”

Furthermore, during another talk before the movie’s release date, Bill states “it[the character] feels sort of addictive… its almost euphoric”

When asked how he got away from being “Pennywise” at night time, Skarsgard said: “I stay in “character” probably way too much. Even after shooting I still wear part of my costume out while going home”.

Are There Any Differences Between The Novel And 2017 ‘IT’ Movie regarding Pennywise?

Yes! In Stephen King’s novel ‘IT’, Pennywise takes on many forms including a werewolf and a giant bird amongst others. In contrast for theatrical production values however, primary focus stays faithfully towards disturbing clown imagery when portrayed by Skarasgård on screen.

Additionally, the book offers more detailed backstory to Pennywise’s character, which is suggested throughout the movie through quick glances or manipulative words. This helps leave viewers that haven’t read the novel with a sense of mystery about him.

In summary, Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise has been widely praised by both audiences and critics alike. His unique approach to this iconic character has brought renewed terror and excitement to Stephen King’s classic story.

With his unsettling charisma and chilling visuals, Skarsgard captured everything we love (and aren’t afraid of) from ‘IT’s terrifying villain. Thus cementing an already very impressive career trajectory for Bill in Hollywood!

Top 5 Fascinating Facts About What Actor Plays Pennywise

1. Bill Skarsgård’s Family Connection to Acting
Bill Skarsgård, the actor who plays Pennywise in the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s It, comes from a family of actors. His father Stellan Skarsgård has worked on numerous Hollywood productions including Avengers: Age of Ultron and Thor. His brother Alexander is also an actor, and his other brother Gustaf appeared in the History Channel hit series Vikings.

2. The Creepy Preparation for Playing Pennywise
To play Pennywise the Dancing Clown, Bill Skarsgård had to undergo a significant amount of transformation that went beyond just wearing makeup and a costume. He even adopted special physical movements and vocal patterns that would make him appear more sinister and creepy.

3. The Childhood Trauma that Inspired Stephen King
Stephen King had his own personal experience with clowns when he was just a boy attending a circus with his father. As he watched one particular clown entertaining the crowd, he noticed that beneath the painter smile painted snarl appeared every now and then as disturbingly like sadness or anger.

4.The Internet Sensation – ‘The Smile’
Many fans have praised Bill Skarsgård’s intriguing take on Pennywise because it lies mostly in the way he smiles at its victims in an unsettling manner. There are even memes circulating online inspired by this aspect of his performance.

5. He Was Nearly Recast More Than Once!
Despite delivering an excellent performance as Pennywise, Bill Skarsgård nearly lost out on the role several times! Even though director Andy Muschietti was initially impressed with his audition tape, things changed once they met face-to-face – until he nailed down what seemed to be bothering them about their first meetings… From thereon out everything fell into place perfectly!

The Evolution of the Actors Who Played Pennywise Over Time

As we anxiously await the release of Andy Muschietti’s highly anticipated follow-up to his 2017 blockbuster adaptation of Stephen King’s “IT,” it’s worth taking a look back at the previous portrayals of one of horror’s most iconic villains: Pennywise. Throughout the years, several actors have taken on the unnerving role of the demonic shapeshifter – each bringing their own unique spin to this chilling character.

The first iteration of Pennywise was brought to life in 1990 by actor Tim Curry in Tommy Lee Wallace’s two-part made-for-television miniseries. Curry’s performance as Pennywise is widely regarded as one of the creepiest and memorable depictions of any horror villain in history. Known for his distinct British accent and devilish grin, Curry turned Pennywise into a menacing force that we won’t soon forget.

Fast forward almost three decades later, and Bill Skarsgård steps into the shoes (or, more specifically, white makeup and red nose) as he takes over the role for Muschietti’s “IT.” Skarsgård delivered an equally haunting take on Pennywise, with a performance that was both terrifying yet strangely mesmerizing. Utilizing physicality and body movements reminiscent of contortionists, Skarsgård managed to create an otherworldly presence that gave us all goosebumps.

Comparing Curry and Skarsgård side-by-side is like comparing apples to oranges – each had their own approach to playing this sadistic clown. However, there are some notable similarities between these two versions of Pennywise. For instance, both actors were able to capture the essence of what makes this character so frightening: his insatiable thirst for fear and his relentless cunningness.

While we’re eagerly anticipating how Muschietti will continue adapting King’s story with “IT: Chapter Two,” It goes without saying that regardless of who plays him, Pennywise will forever be a horror icon that will haunt our dreams (and perhaps even our nightmares) for generations to come. So, whether you prefer Curry’s sinister portrayal or Skarsgård’s more nuanced character study, let’s all take a moment to appreciate these two talented actors and their unforgettable interpretations of one of literature’s most terrifying villains.

Examining the Role of Different Actors as Pennywise in Movies and TV Shows

Pennywise is undoubtedly one of the most iconic horror villains in modern pop culture. A lot of actors have taken up the role of the dancing clown over the years, each bringing their unique style and interpretation to the character. In this blog post, we’ll examine some of the actors who played Pennywise in movies and TV shows.

Tim Curry’s Pennywise in IT (1990)

First up is Tim Curry’s unforgettable portrayal of Pennywise in the 1990 miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s novel “IT”. Curry’s performance was both terrifying and mesmerizing – he brought a sense of childlike wonder to the character, which made him even more unsettling. His voice dripped with malevolence and his sinister laugh still haunts many viewers to this day.

Curry’s performance made Pennywise an instant horror icon that would go on to inspire countless nightmares for generations to come. It’s evident that his contribution truly set a high bar for those who came after him.

Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise in IT (2017)

In 2017, Bill Skarsgård stepped into the role previously played by Tim Curry in a rebooted version of “IT.” The new adaptation proved highly successful at the box office worldwide and received critical acclaim partly due to Skarsgard’s unmatched acting skills.

Skarsgård portrayed Pennywise as more cruel and sadistic than previous iterations, whose hulking stare would make any viewer freeze in terror. He added a depth to his portrayal that allowed us a glimpse into what makes such an alien being tick- something we had not seen before.

Will Poulter’s Pennywise from ‘It’ film series (2022)

When “It Chapter Two” released its first trailer in July 2019, fans were treated with very different visual transformation Will Poulter as playing as well-known American Horror film villain—Pennywise. While we may never get to see Poulter’s full-length portrayal of the character as he dropped out from being cast, the trailer showcased a darker and more demonic version of Pennywise clad in winged garments

He became really unrecognizable during this role which would have been a testament to his skill as an actor.


Pennywise has become ingrained in our culture not just because of the eerily clowns that have appeared over time, but also through the unique and riveting performances actors’ have dedicated to their roles. Each rendition represents something distinct and leaves behind its own specific footprint on this iconic character. The constant reinterpretation of Pennywise continually captivates audiences with fresh takes each time it is shown onscreen. It always delivers absolutely spine-chilling scares no matter what your fears are.

Table with useful data:

Movie Actor playing Pennywise
IT (2017) Bill Skarsgård
IT Chapter Two (2019) Bill Skarsgård

Information from an Expert: Which Actor Plays Pennywise?

As an expert in the entertainment industry, I can confirm that the iconic role of Pennywise, the terrifying clown from Stephen King’s “IT,” has been played by two actors. The first was Tim Curry in the 1990 miniseries adaptation, while the second was Bill Skarsgård in the highly successful film adaptations released in 2017 and 2019. Both actors brought different interpretations and nuances to the character, making them equally memorable in their portrayals.

Historical fact:

The character of Pennywise the Clown was brought to life by actor Tim Curry in the 1990 television miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s novel “IT”.

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