News

Bill Skarsgård Insists His Castle Rock Prisoner Is ‘So Different From Pennywise’ of It

The stars and creators of Hulu's 2018 Stephen King anthology series dish on the series' new characters and ties to past King works.

by | October 11, 2017 | Comments

Castle Rock star Bill Skarsgard trailer screencap (Hulu)

Bill Skarsgård wants to make one thing clear about the new Stephen King character he plays in Hulu’s upcoming anthology series, Castle Rock: He’s nothing like It’s Pennywise.

Speaking with Rotten Tomatoes at New York Comic Con on October 8, the summer’s breakout star assured us that while his latest deep-dive into King’s universe is an equally “transformative character” who gets wrapped up in a lot of “unexplainable things happening,” a demonic clown he is not.

“[He’s] so different from Pennywise,” Skarsgård said. “I’m using a completely different tool set here for this one.”

We assume that tool set does not include red balloons and hyperactive salivary glands.


While secrecy was the name of the game at the Sunday afternoon NYCC panel and event — Castle Rock star André Holland and creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason admitted to being “indoctrinated into the Bad Robot code of NSA-level secrecy” after J.J. Abrams signed on as the Hulu series’ executive producer — Rotten Tomatoes did learn that Skarsgård is a prisoner in Shawshank who employs the help of Henry Deaver (Holland), a defense attorney and native of the titular Maine town. Skarsgård, however, hinted that his rapport with Henry differs from your typical lawyer-client relationship.

“It’s much weirder than that — I’ll tell you that much,” he said. “But I guess the only thing I want to stress is that [Castle Rock is] a completely separate thing than Pennywise and It. The world is brand new. It’s Stephen King’s universe, and Castle Rock obviously as a place and Shawshank as a place, these are places we’ve been familiarized with through his work. But the show is an original story in that world. The character is a lot of fun. He’s — it’s a really weird one.”


Andre Holland attends the Castle Rock press room at 2017 New York Comic Con on October 8, 2017 (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

Holland described Henry’s relationship with Skarsgård’s unnamed prisoner as “one of the most important relationships that my character has with anybody else in the show,” and that working with him forces Henry to revisit things in his past he thought he had long buried.

“My character grew up [in] Castle Rock, and so I think he is definitely a part of that world,” Holland said. “He ran away from it. Then he comes back, and working with Bill’s character reveals things about himself that he thought were sort of gone — that he had closed the door on.”

Really, though, can you blame Henry for fleeing his hometown and leaving his adoptive mother, Ruth (Sissy Spacek), behind? Castle Rock appears throughout King’s cannon as an attractive residence for rabid dogs, serial killers and the devil himself. We’d get the hell out of dodge, too.

When asked if his character is or was confronted with the supernatural his town is known for, Holland teased, “I think I better leave it to 2018 to [let you] find out what the specific dynamics of that are…. But he’s definitely familiar with this sort of Castle Rock — and all that that entails.”

Thomason said that it was precisely the fictional Castle Rock’s lurid reputation that made it an intriguing playing field to explore in a television series.

“The origin of the project in a way was to sort of ask ourselves the question: What does it mean in this age to live in a place that has just been beat down and beat down? Who stays there, and where do they get their optimism from, and how do they react in times of fear?”


Bill Skarsgard, Sissy Spacek, Andre Holland and Melanie Lynskey speak onstage at the Castle Rock Panel during the New York Comic Con (Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images)

Also among the people who stay in Castle Rock are Molly Strand (Melanie Lynskey), a struggling real estate agent with a rare medical condition, and Sheriff Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn), who is the only character announced thus far with a previous existence in King’s books and short stories. Co-creator Shaw echoed Thomason’s desire to show how these people living in constant fear get by, and was particularly keen on seeing how such messaging may resonate with American audiences today.

“We’re living in the era of terror, and it’s a moment where occasionally America can feel a little bit like the town that is revisited by a Biblical onslaught of horrors, and it’s up to us to figure out to what extent we assign blame or live in fear or move forward with a sense of hope and optimism,” Shaw said. “It felt to us it would be disingenuous or a missed opportunity to try to reinterpret Stephen King for an audience on television in 2017 and not engage as much with the question of fear and what fear does to us and how we live with it, [all] as we try to provoke fear in an audience. That really felt exciting to us.”

Above any of those greater allegorically political purposes, though, is the goal for Castle Rock to tell a “gripping, compelling, super strange story,” Shaw concluded. Consider us intrigued enough to see how they pull it all off.

Castle Rock premieres on Hulu in 2018.

Tag Cloud

The Purge Biopics ghosts rt archives Animation streaming gangster Watching Series Bravo spinoff Holidays name the review Star Wars a nightmare on elm street feel good Vudu First Look Dark Horse Comics streaming movies foreign Toys FOX Hallmark Christmas movies dogs all-time christmas movies italian hollywood Brie Larson VH1 asian-american zombie Instagram Live football HBO spain Binge Guide GoT Ellie Kemper A24 olympics NBC japanese Sundance Now natural history rom-coms documentaries dreamworks Superheroe concert Turner Classic Movies BET Awards 72 Emmy Awards Elton John Year in Review scary movies Pop romance Amazon science fiction Star Trek sequels sequel YouTube Red award winner Awards golden globes aapi finale prank TBS documentary green book Black Mirror Best and Worst Music game show politics rotten movies we love Amazon Studios Sundance South by Southwest Film Festival king arthur Hear Us Out Shondaland cooking comic razzies Prime Video aliens Best Actress ABC Fantasy animated Cannes AMC The Walking Dead archives History Tomatazos Avengers Captain marvel streamig Grammys crime drama Holiday Stephen King deadpool Starz Trophy Talk halloween tv AMC Plus TIFF OWN movies batman SXSW 2022 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Paramount Network spider-verse Spectrum Originals cars dark Crackle SXSW composers kids Oscar biopic psychological thriller Heroines Set visit Winners game of thrones rotten satire BBC America live event obituary Pacific Islander cancelled television indiana jones breaking bad MSNBC cinemax films Podcast TruTV ViacomCBS sports festival USA marvel comics Image Comics venice Universal Pictures Columbia Pictures witnail Marathons debate Freeform Oscars basketball news scorecard Epix vampires IFC Masterpiece what to watch facebook mutant theme song Countdown joker reviews mob Opinion french period drama serial killer Musicals 1990s SundanceTV popular mission: impossible Emmy Nominations Neflix TCA 2017 Nominations PaleyFest telelvision miniseries scene in color Lucasfilm boxoffice Chernobyl WGN Esquire cartoon Discovery Channel 2018 Video Games reboot comic books true crime high school universal monsters dexter Teen NBA police drama nature richard e. Grant anthology 93rd Oscars GIFs Paramount legend Creative Arts Emmys video on demand Fox News renewed TV shows trophy disaster best Acorn TV Marvel Television crime thriller sag awards HBO Max Tubi leaderboard romantic comedy target zombies BAFTA docuseries saw OneApp Drama 2021 The Arrangement DGA CBS All Access Marvel Studios justice league die hard Disney Channel south america fast and furious Disney streaming service TV movies 24 frames strong female leads Disney WarnerMedia DC Universe Amazon Prime dceu diversity Pop TV Alien Mary Poppins Returns Martial Arts Rock elevated horror book adaptation fresh james bond blaxploitation latino E3 twilight APB ITV 2017 cancelled Kids & Family Country Writers Guild of America casting PlayStation Netflix Christmas movies werewolf psycho The Walt Disney Company live action Horror Musical black posters technology comic book movie TLC Universal Sci-Fi talk show Polls and Games HFPA Character Guide Summer RT History canceled TV shows Syfy President Adult Swim mockumentary video dc Travel Channel mcc marvel cinematic universe quibi Shudder Cosplay halloween HBO Go critic resources TV Land superhero jamie lee curtis Fall TV Certified Fresh kaiju Fox Searchlight Turner Comedy series Pride Month Lifetime tv talk TCA Winter 2020 Peacock Rom-Com 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards remakes obi wan Awards Tour Box Office social media Pixar spanish language Extras Best Picture boxing king kong TV One MCU A&E golden globe awards free movies LGBTQ San Diego Comic-Con directors Apple BBC Rocky Arrowverse The CW sopranos Disney+ Disney Plus genre television cults kong Premiere Dates docudrama Mystery SDCC emmy awards black comedy Television Academy canceled Comic-Con@Home 2021 FX PBS sitcom hist travel 73rd Emmy Awards Film franchise worst Best Actor Disney Plus Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt women adenture screenings screen actors guild Apple TV Plus CNN ID pirates of the caribbean Ovation New York Comic Con BET VOD toy story First Reviews ABC Family 2016 Television Critics Association Infographic hidden camera IMDb TV Tags: Comedy ESPN Tokyo Olympics biography The Academy based on movie adventure art house Cartoon Network Family Sneak Peek hispanic Baby Yoda new zealand TCM 21st Century Fox Song of Ice and Fire Wes Anderson Marvel superman Britbox Showtime australia CW Seed action-comedy Anna Paquin war Fargo international robots stoner ratings nfl IFC Films teaser Broadway cancelled TV shows festivals Sony Pictures 79th Golden Globes Awards Women's History Month zero dark thirty YouTube children's TV Rocketman parents anime NYCC TNT Exclusive Video Interview ABC Signature Academy Awards child's play Hallmark comedies dramedy TV renewals Lionsgate MTV hispanic heritage month wonder woman YouTube Premium scary Apple TV+ thriller spider-man Endgame binge suspense 45 Spike revenge DC streaming service jurassic park worst movies 99% 4/20 Western FX on Hulu Funimation new star wars movies criterion blockbuster know your critic spy thriller Netflix Tarantino 90s American Society of Cinematographers comiccon laika VICE doctor who Ghostbusters Spring TV slashers USA Network Crunchyroll crossover godzilla lord of the rings Mudbound Trailer Legendary rt labs critics edition DirecTV movie Mindy Kaling Comedy Central 2015 supernatural heist movie Food Network Superheroes cats chucky crime Reality Nickelodeon GLAAD critics RT21 National Geographic dragons Action Mary poppins CMT Calendar indie spanish LGBT Quiz Pirates cancelled TV series new york nbcuniversal space Emmys 2020 YA slasher Schedule BBC One comic book movies 20th Century Fox See It Skip It Paramount Plus Black History Month Comic Book Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TCA Awards E! Classic Film Valentine's Day vs. harry potter Thanksgiving young adult classics Reality Competition 2019 Film Festival Best Director Walt Disney Pictures Photos historical drama royal family japan Mary Tyler Moore Sundance TV 007 medical drama unscripted transformers The Witch El Rey stop motion Pet Sematary TV Nat Geo X-Men comics MGM Super Bowl Red Carpet Hulu discovery blockbusters Logo CBS trailers cops Christmas 94th Oscars monster movies Election stand-up comedy 71st Emmy Awards adaptation Tumblr TCA Warner Bros. toronto Lifetime Christmas movies FXX DC Comics Winter TV political drama singing competition Comics on TV independent versus Trivia book rt labs Amazon Prime Video