Bill Skarsgård says his Count Orlok look in Nosferatu is 'very sexualized'

"Boy Kills World" US Premiere
"Boy Kills World" US Premiere / Dia Dipasupil/GettyImages

Robert Eggers' upcoming take on Nosferatu is one of this year's most anticipated movies, and a big part of that is thanks to the cast, which includes Bill Skarsgård as the terrifying monster Count Orlok.

During a recent profile piece for Esquire, Skarsgård revealed some thoughts on his rendition of the iconic character, originated by Max Schreck in the 1922 silent film.

Skarsgård doesn't think people will even recognize him in the film. But that would hardly be the first time that's happened for this talented Swedish actor who famously played a beloved rendition of Pennywise the Dancing Clown in Andy Muschietti's adaptation of Stephen King's IT.

The 33-year-old actor has become adept at disappearing into his roles, for better or worse. When becoming Count Orlok, he told Esquire that the role "took its toll" and felt like "conjuring pure evil." Once he wrapped the project, it took him time to "shake off the demon."

Max Schreck
Vampire / Hulton Archive/GettyImages

In the original 1922 film, itself an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic gothic horror novel Dracula, Count Orlok is a terrifying and monstrous vampire who feeds on the living and becomes obsessed with a woman named Ellen Hutter, played by Lily-Rose Depp in the 2024 film. Nicholas Hoult will play Ellen's husband, Thomas Hutter.

Describing his and Eggers' interpretation of the character, Skarsgård admits that his rendition has a "sexualized" element.

"He’s gross. But it is very sexualized. It’s playing with a sexual fetish about the power of the monster and what that appeal has to you. Hopefully you’ll get a little bit attracted by it and disgusted by your attraction at the same time."

"Attracted by it and disgusted by your attraction" sounds apt. Plenty feel that way toward Skarsgård's Pennywise and many more who generally appreciate a monster you can simultaneously be weirdly attracted to. Venom, anyone?

Based on the Esquire piece, it sounds like Skarsgård has impressed many of the directors he's collaborated with over the years. Muschietti praised his Pennywise transformation, and Eggers noted that he "became" Count Orlok during one of his makeup tests. That it was even "eerie to see in the footage."

Before Nosferatu hits theaters on Christmas Day this year, you'll be able to catch Skarsgård in another hotly anticipated film, a remake of The Crow, releasing in theaters on August 23. He also recently starred in the violent action-thriller film Boy Kills World, now available to rent or buy on demand.

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