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SYFY WIRE Stephen King's It

Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise scared the joy of acting out of James McAvoy

By Elizabeth Rayne
Stephen King's It Pennywise Bill Skarsgård

If you think the actor who plays the Beast can’t get terrified himself, think again.

James McAvoy recently admitted to Good Morning America (and the entire world) that he’s more than afraid of clowns. The actor, who apparently had no problem being the villain in M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass, was so frightened by Bill Skarsgård on the set of Andy Muschietti’s It: Chapter 2 that it actually made McAvoy wish he could put the whole acting thing aside until the clown-thing from the Macroverse was gone.

“He’s amazing. [Skarsgård] is terrifying,” McAvoy said. “He’s a lovely guy, and yet he really freaked me out. I remember standing there with the rest of the cast, all these adults, and we’d all done weird, freaky stuff. And we are all looking at each other going, ‘I don’t like being here. I don’t like being an actor today.’”

McAvoy will be playing the adult version of Bill, 27 years after the Losers’ Club faced down Pennywise the clown in the sewers of Derry in Chapter 1. If the film is anything like the book, McAvoy probably had plenty of scenes where he had to confront his greatest fear on and offscreen.

“He really did, he really freaked me out,” admitted McAvoy. “I never liked clowns as a kid.”

What is it that makes him a coulrophobe? It’s just one of those things. Trying to touch on what exactly about rainbow costumes and greasepaint gives him the chills, he said: “They’re crying, but they’re laughing, there’s something tragic about them, maybe they’ve all run away and joined the circus—what are you running away from, Mr. Clown?”

Pennywise is definitely something to run away from, even if you know in the back of your mind that he’s just Bill Skarsgård in makeup putting on a performance believable enough to give you nightmares for the rest of your life.

The Losers’ Club isn’t going to have an easier time of facing him just because they’ve grown up. If you think Pennywise was the worst clown to ever carry balloons in the first half of It, it sounds like you should get ready for an even more monstrous presence from him when It: Chapter 2 opens Sept. 6. You can see McAvoy's own personal horror show when Glass officially opens tomorrow, Jan. 18.

(via Bloody Disgusting)