For Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård, performing onscreen very much runs in the family: His father Stellan Skarsgård, as well as older brothers Alexander and Gustaf, have all made names for themselves as prominent film and television actors. But it didn’t always come easy for Bill.
“As I grew older and came into my teenage years, I had a hard time with finding my own identity as an actor, coming from such a big acting family in such a small country as Sweden,” he tells Rolling Stone‘s The First Time. “I was probably around 18 or 19 when I really committed to it as an adult. I was like, ‘Here’s something I love doing, and I’m somewhat capable of it, so let’s go for it.’”
Skarsgård stars in the new Netflix thriller The Devil All the Time, portraying a World War II veteran who is haunted by memories of violence after he returns to his home and family in the mid-century American South. “I thought it was such a captivating story — it really felt like a world to me, an immersive world in tone,” he recalls. “It was very dark, but it was also strangely beautiful.”
Skarsgård gained notoriety for his role as Pennywise the Clown in the 2017 reboot of It. He says the audition was as memorable as the performance itself.
“As an actor, it’s a really fun audition to get. …I think anyone who grew up in the Nineties would remember Tim Curry’s performance and the show so well,” he says. “That was one of the more mythical horror books and films for me. And there wasn’t any instructions or anything, it was like, ‘Here’s an audition. Do your take of a trans-dimensional, psychotic, child-eating clown.’”
The Devil All the Time is streaming now on Netflix.