Bill Skarsgård is diabolical. At any rate the 29-year-old Swedish actor seems to like taking on rather perverse parts. He first became known internationally for his role as a vampire in the Netflix series Hemlock Grove, but it was in his portrayal of the child-killing clown Pennywise in the movies It (2017) and It Chapter Two (out this September) that he took Hollywood by storm. Yet he remains sanguine about his career choices, joking in an interview that “there was something rather strange in saying to myself that my acting would be judged on my ability to traumatize children both on set and in movie theatres.”
Skarsgård consequently seemed a natural choice to reinterpret Francis Bacon’s tormented figures in our homage to the late British artist’s work: the Swede’s chiselled features and ice-blue eyes, not to mention his ability to convey hidden emotions with the utmost economy of means, make him an ideal candidate for the exercise. One of eight children (of whom four others are actors) born to Swedish star Stellan Skarsgård (who has worked with Lars Von Trier, starred in the Avengers saga and will feature in Denis Villeneuve’s forthcoming Dune), Skarsgård started out young, at just nine years old. Nothing can therefore frighten him in a movie business from which he deliberately takes a step back.