More than a song: Sadie Sink on Max’s ‘Stranger Things’ fate

When Sadie Sink (“Fear Street Part 2: 1978”) was cast as Max Mayfield in season 2 of Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” the character – who Sink describes as a “strange” but “effortlessly cool” player with a “closed” demeanor – she embodied what the show values ​​most: a nerd.

There are glimpses of the difficult family life of Max and his cruel half-brother, Billy (Dacre Montgomery), in his introduction to “Stranger Things”, and she develops a sense of belonging in the infinitely strange town of Hawkins. , Indiana, in Season 3. But it’s ‘Stranger Things 4’, now streaming, that offers the most profound insight into the character to date – ushering in a traumatic chapter for the “fierce” young skateboarder, who could cost life.

Set in 1986, just months after the death of mugger Billy in the Battle of Starcourt Mall, the fourth season of the Duffer Brothers hit, which blends teen drama, horror, sci-fi and 1980s nostalgia, finds Max dealing with not only fantastical creatures, but also his own demons.

“Season 4 is where we really dive into the immense pain she feels over Billy’s death and the grief she’s dealing with,” Sink told The Times via videoconference. “It’s really rooted in the guilt she feels over Billy’s death, and she’s kind of put a lot of that on herself.”

Sink is pleased with the decision to explore Max more than ever this season, including his “innermost thoughts” and his “vulnerability.” Worse still, she has to deal with the fallout of Season 3 in one of the worst places for a nerd: high school, where Max’s most important relationships are in flux. Her former boyfriend, Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), is now a sportsman on the basketball team. Pals Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) are more obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons than ever, having fallen under the sway of an older boy at the Hellfire Club. And Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) with psychokinetic powers are thousands of miles away in California. Max becomes a loner again, isolating herself from others and making herself more susceptible to the series’ new villain, Vecna.

Max’s mind becomes a literal battleground between her and Season 4’s central antagonist. difficult position to become a leader in episodes 8 and 9,” Sink teased.

Sadie Sink’s Max is isolated from her friends in “Stranger Things 4,” which makes her especially vulnerable to the central antagonist.

(Photo by Netflix)

“Everyone has different coping mechanisms, and for some, opening up to others is really helpful,” says Sink. “I think it might be useful for Max, but it doesn’t work that way for her. It’s easier to avoid the conversation altogether, and that’s what she’s done in the past: suppress some of the scary emotions. (She channels her feelings into music instead, inspiring a renewed interest in Kate Bush’s classic “Running Up That Hill.”)

As a result, Max also reflects on the dangers of avoidance and isolation – both when it comes to sanity and fighting monsters. “It catches up with her in a way where the feelings get so dark, and suppressing those feelings ends up hurting her even more,” Sink said. “Isolating yourself from the people in your life who care the most and would be willing to help the most places you in an even more dangerous state of mind.”

And while she has a little help from her friends, it’s Max’s willpower that allows her to defy the forces against her. “Stranger Things 4” may focus on supernatural obstacles, but Max’s story arc represents the very normal human experience of dealing with the loss of someone she had a complicated relationship with and then dealing with. the consequences.

“It wasn’t so much that she really liked [Billy] and cared about him,” she says. “He was a big part of her life and her death, her absence, shook her family and caused a domino effect [of] horrible things that have happened since his death.

Like others dealing with loss, Max asks a lot of questions to make sense of the situation, which Sink herself has channeled into understanding the character’s development. Believing it was important to reflect Max’s internal struggle, Sink kept a journal to chronicle the character’s thoughts and feelings throughout the season and get to the heart of what she was going through. “For a few minutes every night, I would watch a specific scene and write about it from Max’s perspective,” she said. “Which is a common thing you do in drama school growing up.”

A departure from his roots in musicals such as “Annie”, “Stranger Things” knocked Sink out of his element; in particular, adapting to acting in front of the camera was “intense”. But she’s not just a “Broadway girl,” she said, and overcoming her fears about transitioning from stage to screen has connected her to Max in unexpected ways.

“Max’s storyline this year feels really real, and I hope (or not) people resonate with it and see a bit of themselves and maybe be inspired to persevere like her, given the odds of his family dynamics. [and the] even crazier supernatural elements that aren’t as relatable,” Sink said. “Extreme circumstances where you feel like there’s no hope, but you keep moving forward, like Max does.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: