Becoming one with Vecna. Jamie Campbell Bower has been candid about his Stranger Things journey — including the challenges that came with turning into the season 4 villain.
After the first half of the season hit Netflix, Bower opened up about how little he knew during the audition process. “I first got two sets of [script] sides, one from Primal Fear, and one from Hellraiser,” he told Variety in May 2022. “I had no idea what this character was. I wasn’t sent any material from the show.”
According to the actor, watching the series put the mysterious character into perspective for him.
“I went crazy for, like, two days. In my apartment, I put a picture of Will Byers [Noah Schnapp] 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,” he continued. “I stepped back from it after two days, and was like, ‘That feels kind of good.’ So I took a picture, and then I printed out all the pictures and put them in this little folder — and then I got a phone call saying Matt and Ross [Duffer] wanted to meet.”
From there, Bower showed the creators the vision he had for the role. “They were like, ‘This is literally perfect. Everything that you’ve gotten here is perfect. Your references are perfect. The inspiration is perfect. Do you mind if we show you some more visual references that we have and what we’re thinking, and tell you a little bit more about the character?’” he recalled. “I think, by that point, they knew I wasn’t completely insane.”
Two months later, viewers watched Vecna’s reign of terror reach its peak when he opened several gates into the Upside Down throughout Hawkins, Indiana. The shocking Volume 2 finale hinted that Vecna wasn’t finished attempting to take over the world. At the time, Bower noted that he was able to gain empathy for the character after playing him throughout season 4.
“Am I able to view him as a villain? I’m certainly able to view him as as a point of conflict. But in terms of, like, is he evil or villainous? I mean, I understand him, and I love him. And I relate to him,” he detailed to Variety in July 2022. “I just got a pain in my eyes as I was saying that — maybe I should shut up! Like, I understand him, and so I’m always gonna be on his side.”
Scroll down for everything Bower has said about bringing Vecna to life: