Interview: Bill Skarsgard and Maika Monroe talk Villains and IT: Chapter 3!

In VILLAINS, Bill Skarsgard (taking a break from terrorizing children in the IT films) and Maika Monroe (IT FOLLOWS, THE GUEST) play low-rent criminals on the run Mickey and Jules, who are headed to Florida to embark on Mickey's dream of selling seashells on the beach. (That gives you an idea how smart this pair is.) After a nearly-bungled gas station robbery, their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, forcing them to break into a nearby house in order to obtain a new set of wheels. As you might expect, this is no ordinary house, and its owners - played by Jeffrey Donovan and Kyra Sedgwick - are far from the wholesome folks they present themselves to be. What follows is a highly bizarre, darkly funny battle of wills between the two couples. Who, if anyone, will make it out of there alive?

With the film's September 20th release date looming, I had an opportunity to talk with Skarsgard and Monroe about their lovably dopey characters, working opposite Donovan, Sedgwick and the young girl who plays their "daughter," Skarsgard's thoughts on IT: CHAPTER 3 and more!

You guys have great chemistry in the film, can talk about working together and developing that fun rapport?

Maika: What was so nice about this project is that we had about a week and a half before shooting to hang out; we were doing rehearsals pretty much every day, and then at night we would go get a drink and hang out. In this movie, we're immediately thrown into these two characters' relationship, and you kind of immediately fall in love with them, so for us it was very important to figure out their story.

Bill: Yeah, it was great. Maika and I really hit it off, we got along so well offscreen, so getting to know each other and make each other laugh was really helpful. If that chemistry wouldn't have translated to the movie there wouldn't really be a film.

Do you create backstories for them beforehand, kind of chart how they got to where we meet them?

Bill: Yeah, for sure. You're introduced to these characters literally running away from one thing, towards something else. You could even picture a prequel movie about how Mickey and Jules met and what made them hit the road, rob a gas station, and in a naive, youthful way, go toward Florida to set up a seashell shop. There's a whole backstory that is not onscreen but is felt in the movie, everything from they have this bag full of money and drugs and it says "Rocco" on it, and the idea is they robbed a drug dealer named Rocco, stole his bag. I could kind of see this beautiful love story about how they met and ultimately make some maybe not so smart choices that result in them going on the road. 

What about your relationship on set with Jeffrey and Kyra, who are both so fun to watch and almost working on a different level, tonally, than you two. Did you spend much time with them?

Maika: It was great to have the time before shooting to rehearse, just because this film is so stylized and the directors really had a specific tone they wanted to hit. We were able to go over these really long scenes and get a feeling of where everybody was, and I think what made it so interesting was these two different energies from these couples. Perhaps this older couple sees something in this younger couple, maybe they used to be like them, and maybe Jules and Mickey are seeing a future where they could end up.

Can you tell me about working with the young actress who plays the older couple's daughter in the film; what was her experience like on set, because it seems like it could be a little troubling for her.

Maika: She was obviously incredible, and she was so wise for her age. Very confidant in who she was and she wasn't bothered by the material at all, so she was a badass, she was great.

Bill, is it nice trying to save a kid as opposed to trying to eat them?

Bill: [Laughs] Yeah, finally. My redemption. Even though Mickey sort of reluctantly agrees to this idea of saving her, the role is very different from things people have seen me in before, so playing this big lovable idiot was fun.

I was going to ask that, because the roles people associate you with, like IT and Castle Rock, those are fairly serious. It must be fun to tap into this goofier side.

Bill: Yeah, I had so much fun doing it. Coming off of Castle Rock, which I finished a couple of months before I started shooting this, was such a heavy, weighted, tormented character, I was like, "I just need a breather to do something more upbeat and light." Playing a character like this, where you get to play the comedic aspects of it in this over-the-top situation, made for a really pleasurable shooting experience, where you shoot a scene and you hear giggles behind the monitors, I must be doing something right. As opposed to gasps and screams. [Laughs]

Maika, did you have a favorite scene to shoot?

Maika: Oh man, that's hard, there's a lot of fun ones. The dinner scene, that was pretty fun. It was definitely challenging. We had a great time shooting that.

Bill: It was a scene where we don't really say much at all, so we got to watch Jeff and Kyra do this amazing back-and-forth, it was a lot of fun.

I also have to bring up the scene you have with Kyra in the bedroom, I won't spoil it in the article, but the two of you are fantastic in that scene. What was shooting that like?

Bill: It was a lot of a fun. It was such a weird scene. Even on the page it's like, this is really weird. And then seeing what Kyra does with it, it was like I didn't really have to act at all, my reactions are genuine. I was like, "what the fuck is going on here?" [Laughs] The whole dance sequence, and me hurting her feelings and then trying to win her back, it was just so much fun to do, and obviously Kyra is just killing it.

Bill, congrats on IT Chapter 2's massive success. Based on comments I've seen recently it sounds like you're down to play Pennywise again in the future; is that something you think could be in the cards, and could you picture yourself doing it again?

Andy and I have discussed ideas for what a third movie would look like. I don't think it's quite what people expect. It's something different. The first two stories are the book, and the second film is the end of that story. So we would do something quite literally off book. There are a few ideas floating around. I feel like I've done what I can with the incarnation of Pennywise as we know of him, so I think it would be a cool idea to change up a few things. So, without going into too much detail, there is a story that we're kind of excited about, but it's way too early to say. But we'll see, we'll see.

VILLAINS opens in select theaters September 20th.

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