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Happy birthday Bill Skarsgard! 28 facts you didn't know about the Pennywise actor


Handsome actor Bill Skarsgard turns 28 today – and if you've no idea who he is, rest assured you soon will when his Pennywise returns to the big screen in next year's horror sequel IT: Chapter 2.

To mark the actor's birthday, here are 28 things you didn't know about him.

1. Swedish-born Bill is the son of acclaimed Mamma Mia! actor Stellan Skarsgard.

2. He's the younger brother of Alexander Skarsgard, star of 2016's The Legend of Tarzan.

3. Bill made his acting debut at the age of 10 in Swedish thriller White Water Fury (2000).

4. Bill resisted turning to acting at a young age, believing he would be stigmatised and accused of riding on his dad's fame.

5. Instead he became fully invested in acting after graduating, putting on hold his plan to ride the Trans-Siberian railway.

6. The movie in question was Swedish 2010 coming of age drama Behind Blue Skies.

7. Bill hails from an acting dynasty comprising his father, mother and seven siblings.

8. His full name is Bill Istvan Günther Skarsgård.

9. Bill made his Hollywood debut in Joe Wright's adaptation of Anna Karenina (2012).

10. However he came to wider attention with his role in the Divergent series entry, Allegiant.

11. He played Genetic Welfare agent Matthew, close ally to Tris (Shailene Woodley).

12. He's no stranger to horror, having had a recurring role in Netflix series Hemlock Grove (2013 – 2015).

14. In the series Bill plays half human, half vampire Roman Godfrey – good groundwork for his Pennywise role.

15. In 2014 he was interviewed by his father Stellan for men's fashion magazine Hero

16. Bill promises to reinvent Pennywise for a new generation, stating: "It’s such an extreme character. Inhumane. It’s beyond even a sociopath, because he’s not even human"

17. However he wasn't the first choice for the role – that was British actor Will Poulter who was set to make the movie with True Detective director Cary Fukunaga.

18. Bill takes over from Tim Curry who terrified audiences as Pennywise in the 1990 TV adaptation of Stephen King's story.

19. Bill confesses to being terrified of Curry's Pennywise: "I remember [the original] It being the scariest thing that existed for a kid. There were other horror films, like Friday the 13th or Halloween, but this was the really scary one because it was children and a clown."

20. He stayed in character on set: "On set, I wasn't very friendly or goofy. I tried to maintain some sort of weirdness about the character, at least when I was in all the make-up."

21. He proved so effective he even terrified the young cast members: "This one kid started crying. He started to cry and the director yelled, 'Action!' And when they say 'Action!' I am completely in character."

22. Needless to say he soon apologised to said child after the scene was filmed.

23. Bill has a habit of being interviewed by family members – just this year his brother Alexander quizzed him for Interview magazine.

24. In the same interview he admits that despite being a rising star, he still forgets to take out the trash like a normal person.

25. In 2017, Bill starred in IT and also appeared opposite Charlize Theron in hard-hitting action-thriller Atomic Blonde.

26. Bill plays Merkel, the East Berlin contact of Theron's no-nonsense MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton.

27. Bill has returned Stephen King territory in TV horror series Castle Rock.

28. According to a GQ interview, it took two and half hours to apply the Pennywise make-up.

Want more horror? Click here for details of IT: Chapter 2, released in September 2019.