SPOILERS FOR STRANGER THINGS SEASON 4 AHEAD.
The first volume of Stranger Things 4 has been out for a while now, but since there's a big twist around the main villain Vecna, I figured I'd offer a little space for you to avert your eyes in case you either haven't seen the latest batch of Netflix episodes, or you still haven't reached the Volume 1 finale.
OK good enough. Jamie Campbell Bower plays Vecna, and according to a Vanity Fair interview, it took him seven hours to get in the full costume. Thanks to a time lapse video released by Stranger Things' official Twitter account, we can see what Bower's transformation into Vecna looked like:
A few things: First of all, that screenshot thumbnail of the video with Vecna on his phone is hilarious. Secondly, it's amazing that Bower had the discipline to not rack up too much screen time over this entire seven-ish hours. To have to sit there for that long in stillness and try to maintain focus on the eventual task at hand as an actor must be wildly challenging.
Perhaps most important: I don't know how this dude went to the bathroom. They must've figured it out, because Bower goes for what looks like an iced coffee once he's pretty much in full costume. Coffee goes directly through my body. Mild diuretic my ass. Bower is a braver man than I'd be in this situation.
Vecna turns out to be a terrifying antagonistic force, with a layered, fully-formed backstory. With two episodes still remaining in the season, I can't wait to see what's in store. It's flat-out crazy that Bower can emote, be so menacing and have so many different layers to his character come across under all those prosthetics and heavy makeup, which also limit his overall mobility. The folks responsible for getting Vecna put together have accomplished a truly stunning technical achievement, and I still can't believe the vast majority of Vecna's appearance is done practically.
I hadn't seen Bower act in anything since Sweeney Todd. Thought he was strong in that. I know he's been in a lot of other things over the years, but he was still maybe just off the radar enough for me to not think, "Oh of course he's the main villain" when news of his casting dropped. Combine that with how well-executed his story was, and it wound up as the defining chunk of Season 4 so far.
Bower delivers one of the longest monologues I can recall in any medium and somehow pulls it off sensationally in the seventh and most recent episode of Stranger Things 4. It's packed with all kinds of nuance, emotions, and doesn't come across as the flat, shortcut-y exposition dump it could've been in a less capable actor's hands. He ultimately reveals how he was Dr. Brenner's "001" at Hawkins Lab before a fateful confrontation with Eleven blasts him into the Upside Down, setting the stage for his Vecna form.
Volume 2 of Stranger Things 4 begins streaming on Netflix July 1. I'm ready to enter that Project Nina isolation tank to hibernate until then. I also hope Jamie Campbell Bower is feeling alright after so many hours in a makeup chair, because holy shit, that's intense.