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Stranger Things' Jamie Campbell Bower Reveals How He Developed Vecna's Physicality

Throughout its first three seasons, Netflix's "Stranger Things" introduced all sorts of evil beings from the Upside Down, the parallel dimension that's constantly finding ways to spill into Hawkins, Indiana, and wreak havoc on the small town. However, the Demogorgons and Mind Flayer aren't nearly as disturbing as Season 4's Vecna, a humanoid entity that reaches into the darkest parts of his victims' minds, torturing them with their worst memories before horrifically murdering them.

Between his ghoulish appearance and penchant for stalking and murdering depressed and guilt-ridden teenagers, Vecna represented a uniquely intimate kind of monster and the first in "Stranger Things" that seemed to have an agenda, which included passing judgment and holding grudges as he saw fit. But these aren't the only things that make Vecna terrifying. 

The actor behind Vecna's makeup, Jamie Campbell Bower, infuses the character with a fluid, dramatic physicality that makes him even more unnerving. In a conversation with Looper and other outlets, Bower explained the lengthy, meticulous process he went through to develop Vecna's physical bearing and bodily movements.

The effects makeup helped Bower determine how to move

Jamie Campbell Bower started to focus on Vecna's physicality very early in the process of preparing for the role. "As far as I remember ... we did the first cast for the suit sometime in the beginning of 2020," Bower shared. "I saw some 3D renders that [makeup effects department head] Barrie [Gower] had gotten ... it was all starting to click and come together."

First, Bower worked on perfecting Vecna's hand motions, which were informed by the work the effects teams had done on the handpieces. "The first thing that Barrie actually showed me was the animatronic hand and how that was going to move. That was first of all — the physicality of the movement itself was something, the practicality of that." Bower revealed. "Then came when it wasn't on ... I sat there, looked at my hand, and imagined my fingers coming out ... extending upwards."

Next, Bower worked on the way Vecna's head would move and how he'd walk. "Then ... came the head, and there's probably about that much more on top of my head, because it's quite thick ... so there's a height difference as well," Bower observed. "It was about pushing the top of my skull up through the top of the prosthetic piece."

Bower combined his movements to work with the makeup

While incredible makeup helped define Vecna's look, Jamie Campbell Bower knew he couldn't just move like a person wearing a costume; he needed to embody the creature the effects department had turned him into.

"The walk was something that I was always very interested in — how I would hold myself, how I would move my fingers as I was walking. I spent a lot of time walking around downtown Los Angeles ... very slowly and moving my fingers," Bower said, "and [with] a stillness as well. A stillness was something that I found was very grounding, and I always saw Vecna and Henry as this very grounded character. He's not wild, although there could be moments of him exploding ... It was about making sure that I would place my feet in the right way, pushing the energy out of my own body, through the prosthetic and then out of that."

Ultimately, Bower's work came together to define Vecna's monstrous physical presence. "It's about being grounded, understanding how my arm's going to move, how my head moves, and then overemphasizing in the face so that it comes through the prosthetic, which is not a natural thing. I would [typically] try and be less rather than more." Bower summed up. "It was a whole thing."

Every episode of "Stranger Things" Season 4 is now available on Netflix.