Stranger Things 4’s Vecna actor took 7 and a half hours to transform into the villain

1 June 2022, 13:02

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By PopBuzz

Can you BELIEVE Vecna is not CGI?! Here's how the actor transformed into the Stranger Things 4 villain. [Spoilers]

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I think we can all agree that Stranger Things 4 has just earned its spot atop the list of TV shows with the scariest TV villains.

Following in the footsteps of the Demogorgon and the Mind Flayer comes Vecna, a terrifying human-like, walking fleshy-skeleton man, with vines crawling all over his body, no nose, and a Freddy Krueger-like claw for a left hand. (If I saw him in real life, I would simply die on the spot.)

While you might be quick to assume that Vecna is mostly CGI, it’s now been revealed that the villain is actually “90%” practical and makeup effects.

Yes, that really is the actor underneath all of those creepy, slithering vines that form the body of Vecna. And yeah, he really did sit in the makeup chair for hours to bring the character to life in a practical way.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things 4 Vol 1!

Stranger Things 4's Vecna is 90% practical effects
Stranger Things 4's Vecna is 90% practical effects. Picture: Netflix

WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for the final episode of Stranger Things 4 Volume 1.

Do not read ahead if you have not finished episode 7 of Stranger Things 4!

WARNING: Stranger Things 4 spoilers ahead!
WARNING: Stranger Things 4 spoilers ahead! Picture: Netflix

In an interview with Variety, Jamie Campbell Bower, the actor behind the complex character that is Vecna/Peter Ballard/001, has now detailed the gruelling process it took for him to transform into the villain each day he stepped on set.

Turns out that all the vines on Vecna’s body are real vines that were placed onto Jamie’s body each time he portrayed the character. The only thing added in post-production was the movements within them.

Jamie Campbell Bower as Vecna in Stranger Things 4
Jamie Campbell Bower as Vecna in Stranger Things 4. Picture: Netflix

Jamie revealed that he’d start most of his filming days at 3am in order for the prosthetics to be applied. The full Vecna transformation then took the team around seven and a half hours to do each day. He’d film for 10 to 12 hours, and then spend an hour removing the whole thing once he’d wrapped.

And if you thought that Vecna shared somewhat of a resemblance to Game of Thrones' Night King, then you'd be right. The Duffers enlisted Barrie Gower, the mastermind behind the effects for GOT's terrifying Night King to bring Vecna to life as well.

Explaining the impact that Jamie dressed in full Vecna costume had on set and in scenes with the actors, the Duffer brothers told The Wrap that "there was this bit of a drumroll like ‘Vecna is coming to set.'"

Ross Duffer added that it paid off because all of the performances from the rest of the cast were enhanced by the fact that Vecna was actually standing right there: "Instead of acting across a tennis ball, or last year it was a beach ball on a stick, to have an actual actor two feet in front of you performing makes a huge difference."

In another interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jamie also confirmed that it was him doing the voice of Vecna, as well: "Yeah, that's me doing the voice under the prosthetics. It's all me."

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