Jamie Campbell Ball on the transformation of ‘Stranger Things’

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched “Season 4”, don’t read itStranger Things,” is now streaming on Netflix.

Jamie Campbell Bower Is an actor with a bit of a method – whether he calls himself that or not.

In Stranger Things season 4, he played the key role of Henry, aka One, aka Vecna. But when he auditioned for the first time, he was told nothing. In fact, he didn’t even receive the script. “I first got two sets of sides, one from ‘Primal Fear’ and one from ‘Hellraiser’,” Ball told type. “I don’t know what the role is; I haven’t received any material for the show.”

A huge fan of “Stranger Things” and creators Matt and Ross Duffer, he immediately recorded his audition on tape. Then he waited for a call – longer than usual because it was a holiday.When he finally heard, he was sent to “Masque” to show him Tiny A little more character.

“I was insane for two days. In my apartment, I put a picture of Will Byers in the middle, then all the other characters around, and then it was kind of Claire Dennis in Homeland A mind map of who I thought this person was. I quit it after two days and felt good,” he said. “So I took a picture and I printed all the pictures and put them in this little folder – and then I got a call that Matt and Rose wanted to meet.”

The meeting went well, and before closing, he asked if he could show them the contents of his folder. They say yes.

“I thought maybe they were just making fun of me. So I introduced this thing to them, and we flipped through it. After that they looked up at me and said, ‘Have you got the script? “I was like, ‘No, honestly, all I get is your mask, and both sides of the show,'” Ball explained. “They said, ‘This is simply perfect. Everything you get here is perfect. Your references are perfect. Inspiration is perfect. Would you mind if we show you more visual references we have and ours Thoughts, and tell you more about the character? I think at that point, they knew I wasn’t totally crazy.”

Duffers also told him Henry’s true identity during their discussion, which lasted about 90 minutes. Three days later, he received word that he had been offered the role. “Then there was more chaos,” he said with a laugh.

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Millie Bobby Brown and Jamie Campbell Ball in Stranger Things.
Netflix

In episode 7 of season 4, Henry’s full identity is revealed to Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) in a dark scene; Bauer has an extremely lengthy monologue, about 10 pages long, in which he Explains to El that he killed his family (Victor Creel was his father) and was placed in the care of Brenner (Matthew Modine). When Brenner found out how strong he was, he made Henry his first test subject – Number One – and later tried to recreate him, which eventually led to Number Eleven.

“I just went through it eagerly and built it, and it was a lot. I remember doing it during rehearsals and Millie just looked at me and said, ‘You’re a freak,'” he said.

The response became more intense. As the speech progressed, Henry became Weekner and Brown began to cry.

“She was scared, like, really scared, and she burst into tears when she saw Wekner and she said, ‘That’s not my friend. I don’t know who this guy is anymore. Where’s he going? now?'” Ball said, noting that as a character, he knew that was a good thing. But it was difficult and he really had to dig deep.

In fact, mental preparation—whether before an intense scene or during the day—can be just as draining as physical preparation. In episode 7, he shot a number of scenes against Brown and the young actor Martie Blair, who played a young 11-year-old.

“It’s scary and I’ll be honest with you. Especially when I’m Henry or Number One, there’s a lot of manipulation going on there,” he shared. “It’s an interesting dynamic to work with young people, kids, or younger people. It’s very strange and weird that something pops up in the brain.”

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Jamie Campbell Ball as One.
Provided by Netflix

The pandemic helped get into that mindset, he said, because it gave him more time mentally to actually go to a new place and do “a lot of weird stuff.” First, his office is filled with figurines and posters from the ’80s for “Hellraiser,” “Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Dracula,” and other key projects to delve further into the horror genre.

And then there’s real darkness.

“There’s a deep, deep, deep resentment for Vecna. It’s his fuel, so I really had to capitalize on that, and I don’t think I’m a resentful person. So , digging it out of my heart is quite a bit,” Ball said. “I mean, I don’t talk to people. I don’t talk to anyone outside of the world of Stranger Things for at least four days before I shoot anything. I would find myself doing some pretty crazy things “If anyone saw me talking to myself on the streets of Atlanta at 2 a.m., they would understand. I just caused a lot of outrage, especially with Vecna.”

For Henry, it’s all about behaving well over and over again – and then manipulating over and over again.

“I would write post-it notes and stick them wherever I lived at the time,” he told type“They say, ‘It’s all for you’ or ‘Be nice to her’ or ‘She’s just like you.’ I have mood boards, photos, all over the place, whether it’s from the show or outside, it’s built up of.”

Once it’s time to physically transform into Vecna, it’s quite a process. He estimates that while viewers might think it’s mostly CGI, it’s actually “90 percent” Bower. The vines are the actual vines on his costume; the only thing added in post-production is the motion inside them.

The transition takes about seven and a half hours, and his day usually starts at 3am. After about 10 to 12 hours of filming, he would go back to his chair and take it all off, which would take another hour.

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Jamie Campbell Ball spent more than seven hours in the makeup chair before transforming into Vecna.
Provided by Netflix

In the chair, Ball is very focused and quiet.

“I came in with the characters, wearing the characters, so I sat in the makeup chair motionless and didn’t really talk to anyone. The music helped me a lot. I found it to be a very visceral experience,” he said. . “I have a few records that I keep repeating because I’m building the characters I’ve always had, so there’s a subconscious that’s going through.”

In order not to let anyone know, he called a production assistant who had previously worked with Twilight and asked him if he could spend 30 more minutes after having his hair and makeup done. The filming started, and it was filled with one person.

After the PA figured out what he needed, they found a room where Bower could sit.

“It was total darkness. I would sit there between takes and go for it. It was really fun. About halfway through, I started getting really scared of Vecna,” he said. “I remember seeing Matthew Modine one day and he said, ‘Mordian, I’m scared of this guy. It was really weird. He was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s good! I was like, ‘Oh, thanks for your help, man!'”