Bringing a role to life. Stranger Things puts a lot of work into making viewers feel like they have been transported to a fictional town in Indiana during the ’80s — which includes transforming their actors into completely different people.
The Netflix series, which debuted in 2016, centers around supernatural events that take place in Hawkins after a door is opened in an alternate reality called the Upside Down. Even though many villains are introduced throughout the years, Vecna quickly becomes the town’s worst nightmare in season 4.
According to Jamie Campbell Bower, bringing the monster to life required him to spend seven and a half hours in makeup. The transformation, however, was just as much about the mental preparation as it was the physical.
“For Vecna, there’s this deep, deep, deep resentment. It’s his fuel, so I really had to tap into that, and I consider myself not somebody who holds onto resentment. So, digging that up from within me was quite a lot,” the U.K. native told Variety after the first installment of episodes dropped in June 2022. “I mean, I wouldn’t speak to people. I wouldn’t speak to anybody outside of the Stranger Things world for at least four days before filming anything.”
The musician recalled doing some “pretty wild stuff” to get into character as Vecna. “If anyone saw me walking around the streets of Atlanta at 2 o’clock in the morning talking to myself, they would understand. I was just bringing up a lot of anger, particularly for Vecna,” he shared.
The experience also brought out “scary” moments for the actor to deal with. “Particularly when I’m Henry or One, there’s so much manipulation that’s going on in there,” Bower added at the time. “To work with a young person or a child or somebody who’s much younger, that was an interesting dynamic. And the things that would sort of pop up in the brain were quite weird and odd.”
His costar Millie Bobby Brown also had her own process of becoming Eleven. After originally shaving her head for the role, the Emmy nominee opted out of undergoing such a personal transformation for season 4.
Stylist Sarah Hindsgaul broke down the process of creating a fake buzz cut for Brown, writing via Instagram in June 2022, “The most important is a tight wrap of her own hair so her head shape is as natural as possible with no bulk. For that we wetted her hair down and slicked it with a gel tight to her head placing her hair in a flattering manner.”
Hindsgaul continued: “Afterwards her head would be wrapped tightly in an elastic material and we would put her under the heat to dry for 15 min. I cut the wig down short, comb over scissors, after that, I buzzed it on an open 3/5 guard. This is by far the hardest wig challenge I have ever been given.”
The crew member praised Brown for collaborating on the process, adding, “Millie my love thank you the most for always trusting me, you have my heart forever and ever.”
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