Here’s everything Jamie Campbell Bower did to become Vecna in season 4 of Stranger Things, from her voice to her makeup. The second-to-last season of the Netflix original Stranger Things is finally over, and Vecna, the main bad guy from The Upside Down, has been introduced.
The humanoid has been controlling monsters like The Mind Flayer, Demogorgons, and Demo dogs in the once-peaceful town of Hawkins, Indiana, where Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) lives. He has also been cruelly preying on the town’s teenagers, using their darkest fears as his weapon.
Jamie Campbell Bower’s performance as Vecna is so powerful and scary that he made his co-stars afraid of him on the set in real life.
In fact, Millie Bobby Brown cried the first time she saw Bower as Vecna, according to Netflix Life.
Fans of Stranger Things naturally want to know how Vecna, a very mean and intense character, came to life, and in particular, how Bower got into character. Here’s a look at how the actor became Vecna, from Bower’s own work as an actor to the achievements of special effects make-up.
Finding the Right Character
Bower’s journey to becoming Vecna wasn’t easy, and neither was his journey to getting the Stranger Things role in the first place. Bower told Variety in an honest interview that he didn’t know much about the character at first and that he was given scripts from Primal Fear and Hellraiser as audition material.
No one gave Bower any clues about the mysterious character he was trying out for, so the actor went to a lot of trouble to make a mind map for it. He remembers putting together a folder with ideas and references for his role, which he then gave to the Duffer brothers.
Bower says that once he got the part, he had to look deep inside himself to find the anger and resentment he needed for Vecna. He did a little bit of Method acting by walking around Atlanta at 2 a.m. and talking to himself. He also sat in a dark room between takes to get into Vecna’s head.
He even printed out pictures of Vecna’s victims and put a line through their eyes.
The Complex Artificial Parts
Just putting yourself in the character’s shoes wasn’t enough. A lot of work went into Vecna’s look so that the audience could feel how bad the manipulative big bad was. A 3D body scan was used to make the costume, which weighs about nine pounds.
It was made up of 18 parts, and the effects team had to put it together from head to toe every day. Bower talked about how long it took to put on the prosthetics in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
He says that it took at least eight hours to put on the latex costume and make-up. After the 12-hour day was over, it took two more hours to take off the suit.
Bower says that the bathroom breaks were the worst. By the time they were over, their fingers were chipped off, or their nails needed a quick touch-up.
How to Find the Right Voice
The last detail was to give Vecna the evil voice. In an interview on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Bower talked about how hard it was to find the right voice for the new bad guy on Stranger Things.
He remembers reading many reference materials from Hellraiser, especially from actor Doug Bradley (Pinhead). Before he found the right voice for Vecna, it took him about a month of practice.
When all the parts of the character were put together for the show, Vecna was as scary and convincing as he should have been. This was primarily due to Bower’s talent and dedication to the role.
It goes without saying that the makeup and special effects teams helped make Vecna look the way she does.
Stranger Things has broken another streaming record, so it’s safe to say that it was all worth it.