Production started last week in Toronto on "It Chapter Two" (in theaters Sept. 6, 2019), based on the Stephen King novel and starring Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy and Bill Hader. The sequel catches up with the Losers’ Club – the misfits who took on Pennywise and won in the 1980s – when they return to their hometown of Derry, Maine, for a second round against the evil entity that feeds on the town’s children every 27 years.
Skarsgård already has his castmates on guard, even sans clown makeup. During a chat about his upcoming role in Hulu's "Castle Rock" series, he tells USA TODAY that, while sitting next to Chastain at a recent table read, “there was a moment in the script where Pennywise has a line and I took a little beat before I said the line and projected my voice really loudly as Pennywise. And I got her pretty good.
“The whole room jumped,” he adds with a laugh – his own, not one of his creepy Pennywise chuckles. “I let them know what’s coming.”
The past couple of years, Skarsgård has been living the most Stephen King life, aside from the master of horror himself. In addition to the two "It" films, he stars in the upcoming 10-episode "Castle Rock" (premiering July 25), which features the denizens in and around the infamous town from King’s novels. Skarsgård plays a mysterious young man known as “The Kid,” who’s found in the depths of Shawshank prison with no one knowing who he is or how he got there.
“Both these two characters are so larger than life,” says Skarsgård, adding that returning to Pennywise has been “weird” but good. “It’s a strange thing. I put in so much work to figure him out in the first one, and coming back to him now, I was surprised how much the character was already there.”
In addition to rattling his co-stars’ nerves, Skarsgård has been working to “amp up the character a little bit, or the threat of him, and explore new things that haven’t been explored. This is the final showdown and it’s going to be different.”