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Things We Saw Today: Watch Bill Skarsgård Teach Stephen Colbert to Do Pennywise’s Creepy Smile

Bill Skarsgård is currently doing press for IT: Chapter Two, which means we get to be repeatedly reminded of just how jarring the disconnect is between the softspoken actor and Pennywise the demonic clown. Skarsgård has a fascinatingly unique face, to be sure, which he discussed with Stephen Colbert on The Late Show. There are whole Instagram accounts dedicated to comparing him and Steve Buscemi, which Skarsgård takes as the compliment he should.

But what he manages to do with his face (not to mention his voice) to create that scary-ass clown is pure art and it really all boils down to the smile. It’s what turns this very attractive movie star:

Into this:

Bill Skarsgard does his Pennywise smile.

image: screenshot, TBS

In the clip above, he attempts to teach Colbert how to recreate that creepy smile. (He did the same thing with Conan O’Brien back in 2017. It’s a hell of a party trick, after all.)

To be honest, Skarsgård doesn’t really offer much by way of tutorial; it’s more show-and-repeat. But he does discuss some of his inspirations. So if you focus on imagining a hyena crossed with a grizzly bear crossed with a terrifying demon clown that feeds on fear and hatred, that’s Pennywise!

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What did you all see out there today?

(image: YouTube))

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Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.