Billy’s redemptive arc from Season 2 to Season 3 of “Stranger Things” has been one of the more fascinating storylines to watch on the Netflix series. First introduced in Season 2, Billy arrives in Hawkins as a menace to our heroes, bullying his way through town, but we soon learned of his abusive father and his difficult childhood. This is key to some of the final moments in Season 3, and Dacre Montgomery focused on character’s psychological journey on a human level rather than dwell on the more supernatural elements involved. “You have this person that’s possessed by this unknown mostly supernatural force but it’s all leading to diving into my character’s emotional journey, physical journey,” Montgomery says in an exclusive new Gold Derby interview. Watch our full interview with Montgomery above.
Throughout Season 3, Billy is possessed by the Mind Flayer, the malevolent force from the Upside Down. In order to play Billy in that different kind of mode, Montgomery keyed into the human psychological component beyond all else. “I treated it more like a split-personality disorder, something that you cannot control that’s rooted in reality as opposed to a fictional kind of supernatural sci-fi concept,” he discloses. While this made Billy a primary antagonist of the third season, Montgomery notes that because of where everything was leading, there was “a lot of preparation around humanizing the villain.” The ending of Season 3 involves Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) unlocking a memory from Billy’s childhood with his mother that triggers him out of his haze and leads him to save the day. Of that redeeming moment, the actor suggests, “I think he’s trying to salvage something out of that and also pay respect to this distant memory or experience with his mother.”
Being in “Stranger Things” these past two seasons has been revolutionary for Montgomery’s career, especially with Billy’s arc being so positive in the end. “It has changed my life in a lot of ways,” Montgomery admits. “I think there was such a huge response to that character and maybe what that character represented for a lot of people who were that age in that time period, so I’m vicariously living through their experience of this antagonist in their life, or maybe a lover or whoever it would’ve been to them at that time.” As he looks forward to future juicy roles and artistic endeavors, he is seeking out experiences that fulfill him, even it means taking only two or three projects in the same number of years. “I’m always trying to think of the next step, the next creative evolution of Dacre.”
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