Sadie Sink interview: ‘Stranger Things’

“I was really excited and grateful to Matt and Ross for trusting me with this storyline,” admits Sadie Sink, in gratitude towards “Stranger Things” creators the Duffer Brothers. In Season 4 of the hit Netflix series, the actress’s character Max takes on a more central role as the season’s villain preys upon her grief. The young star was “over the moon” at the chance to dive into juicier material, explaining: “It felt like a big responsibility to carry such an emotional part of the show.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.

At the end of the previous season, Max witnesses the Mind Flayer kill her step brother Billy and the resulting grief takes a major toll on her. “She’s in a much darker place,” describes Sink, “and a place of depression and isolation.” The actress spent time journaling on her own to try and decipher how those feelings would manifest in Max. She says that throughout the season, she played with the idea that there is a darkness “haunting” her and eating away at the happy kid viewers knew.

SEE Shawn Levy interview: ‘Stranger Things’ director and executive producer

Of course, Max is also literally being haunted by Vecna, the “big bad” of the Upside Down who pursues Max like the grim reaper. In Episode 4, “Dear Billy,” Max believes she may soon die at the hands of this demon, so she writes a heart wrenching letter to her dead brother and reads it at his gravesite. “Reading the script, I was getting very emotional,” reveals Sink of this moment. “This is a character who doesn’t let anyone in,” she explains, so this private moment was a rare example of Max letting her guard down. “It felt like a big release.”

What follows this tender moment has elicited an enormous reaction from fans. Vecna finally springs his attack on Max, sucking her into the Upside Down where he confronts her in his hellish lair. “I was so horrified at what I was looking at. It’s just so real,” exclaims Sink of the practical makeup effects used in creating the creature. But she was thankful to have an actor to work with in that moment, considering how much of the set and effects were created digitally.

SEE Barrie Gower interview: ‘Stranger Things’ special effects makeup designer

“It’s really an empowering moment,” reflects the actress. “Just to see someone like Max, who is in a ton of pain, and like Vecna had told her, she wanted to give up.” But before Vecna can deliver a killing blow, Max’s friends are able to open a portal back to the real world. Their love and commitment to Max gives her the fortitude to fight back and escape. Sink loves that Max is being “resilient in choosing that for herself…it’s really special and a huge moment.”

Of course, essential to Max’s survival of this encounter is Kate Bush’s 80’s classic “Running Up That Hill.” A whole new generation has been exposed to the songstress ‘ ethereal music as it served as an emotional backdrop during this pivotal scene. Sink is part of that group, admitting she wasn’t familiar with the singer until she investigated the mysterious song mentioned in the script. “I listened to it and I was like: what is this? This is amazing. I love this,” she exclaims. “It felt like Max, it’s kind of like Max’s theme.” Given the amount of time the performer spent with this song, and the constant online conversation the scene in “Dear Billy” has created, Sink jokes: “I feel like Kate Bush is some kind of fictional character I’ve been creating in my head… I would love to meet her one day.”

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UPLOADED Jun 17, 2022 2:34 pm