The Wildest Takeaways From Jamie Campbell Bower’s New ‘Variety’ Interview

"In my apartment, I put a picture of Will Byers in the middle, and then all the other characters around it, and then sort of made this Claire Danes-esque from ‘Homeland’ mind-map of who I thought this person was."

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It’s fair to say that Jamie Campbell Bower’s performance in Season 4 of Stranger Things has blown everyone’s minds.

Mysteriously, though, when Netflix announced that Bower would be joining the crew in Season 4, he was given the name ‘Peter Ballard’, slapped with the ominous description: “A caring man who works as an orderly at a psychiatric hospital. Tired of the brutality he witnesses day after day, will Peter finally take a stand.”

– Spoiler alert: Big spoilers for Season 4 of ‘Stranger Things’ lurk below –

But the ‘Peter Ballard’ thing ended up being a placeholder: the first episode of Season 4 revealed that Bower had actually been cast as Henry Creel, aka One, aka Vecna: Dr. Martin Brenner’s very first psychic powers kid.

Profiled in Variety last night, Bowers was finally able to open up about the process he went through while preparing to become Vecna, and we pulled out all the juiciest bits for your swift consumption.

He Made A ‘Stranger Things’ Mind Map

In the new interview with the actor, Variety reveals that Bower — like the rest of the world — was initially given limited details about his new character. After his first audition, he says he was still only offered a tiny bit of information about his character, which he used to try and work out who on earth he would be playing.

“I went crazy for, like, two days. In my apartment, I put a picture of Will Byers in the middle, and then all the other characters around it, and then sort of made this Claire Danes-esque from Homeland mind-map of who I thought this person was. I stepped back from it after two days, and was like, that feels kind of good,” he says.

He Turned His Office Into A Spectacle Of ’80s Gore

Variety also reports that the pandemic gave Bower additional time to be really weird and by all accounts, lose his damn mind. The profile reports that to get into the horror genre, he adorned his office with paraphernalia from horror movies like Nightmare on Elm Street, Dracula, Hellraiser, and other scary stuff from the ’80s, to fully immerse himself in the genre.

He Wandered The Streets At 2am

“For Vecna, there’s this deep, deep, deep resentment,” Bower explained. “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.”

“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. I would find myself doing some pretty wild stuff. 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.”

His Transformation Took More Than Seven Hours

Surprisingly, Bower’s appearance as Vecna was more down to makeup artistry than it was CGI. “The vines are real vines on his costume”, Variety writes. “The only thing added in post-production is the movement within them.”

Turning into Vecna apparently takes seven hours of makeup, during which Bowers revealed he would stay very still and of course, silently get into character. “I came in character, wearing the character, so I’m sitting in the makeup chair very still, not really talking to anyone. Music is a big help for me. I find it to be a very visceral experience,” he revealed.

“I had a few records that I was just constantly spinning on repeat as I’d been building the character I’d had on anyway, so there was that, sort of, subconsciousness that was coming through.”

He Sat In The Dark 

Apparently Jamie would request an extra 30 minutes after his hair and makeup was done to sit alone in the dark.

“It was totally pitch black. I’d sit in there between the takes and go for it,” he revealed. “It was it really interesting. About halfway through, I started to become quite afraid of Vecna.”

Stranger Things Season 4 is now on Netflix.