Jamie Campbell Bower was such a convincing villain in his Vecna suit – which took seven hours to get into the makeup chair – that he actually made Millie Bobby Brown cry real tears of fear while filming one of the scenes from Season 4 of Stranger Things.
Bower revealed the details in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, and it’s pretty juicy. But first, if you need a quick refresher on Bower’s character, he actually has three different roles – and we learned another fourth role that Vecna secretly played the whole time in the latest episode. .
First, he plays Vecna: the slimy, mean villain who breaks people’s limbs and gouges out their eyes. Vecna who was banished backwards when Eleven attempted to kill him after slaughtering all of Dr. Brenner’s (Matthew Modine) other test subjects at Hawkins Lab. And that brings us to Bower’s other character – 001, Dr. Brenner’s very first human lab rat. But before he was 001 or Vecna, he was Henry Creel, the spider-loving little boy who sent his father, Victor Creel, to jail for murdering Henry’s mother and sister. Of course, it was really Henry who committed these murders, and he continued that signature style of murder as Vecna.
But Bower’s secret fourth role is more figurative than literal. We learned in the last episode that Vecna had been controlling the Mind Flayer since Season 1, and whenever Will Byers felt that Voldemort-style slippery sensation on the back of his neck that let him know what the Mind Flayer was up to, he truly hears Vecna’s dastardly thoughts. To be clear, Bower just joined the Season 4 cast, so the reveal that Vecna really was the Mind Flayer the whole time puts everything into context.
Okay! Now that’s all covered, let’s get to the juicy part – Bower’s terrifying effect on his stage partner, Millie Bobby Brown.
“The stuff at the Snow Ball is at Hawkins, in high school. And then the stuff in the Mind Lair was on set in Atlanta. The reaction you see from Millie in episode nine when she’s hanged is genuine and honest,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
You know the part where Eleven is crying and trying to get out of the clutches of Vecna’s tentacles in the last episode of Season 4? Yeah, Bower says Brown was crying real tears during that scene.
“She was terrified and panicked. And Caleb [Heymann], our DP, was very smart and saw that she had this reaction at the start of rehearsal and decided to film her first. It’s so pure and beautiful,” Bower said.
“It was nice to have this battle, this epic battle so to speak, but it’s a long one. It’s so much longer than in the finale of volume 1. There’s this back and forth of power sharing. And each actor has his own way of being his own character.
The season 4 finale ended with Vecna injured but not dead; Eleven reunited with Hopper; Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) dead; Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) in a coma; Hawkins is largely destroyed and particles from the Upside Down are snowing all over town, creating what the gang will face next season when they presumably try to kill Vecna once and for all. But we’ll have to wait for the release of the fifth and final season to find out how this story really ends.