Dacre Montgomery Opens Up About His Transformative Role in Stranger Things

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Image: Dacre Montgomery as Billy in Stranger Things - Source: The New York Times Introduction In the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, Australian actor Dacre Montgomery delivers a remarkable performance as the troubled character, Billy...

Dacre Montgomery

Image: Dacre Montgomery as Billy in Stranger Things - Source: The New York Times

Introduction

In the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, Australian actor Dacre Montgomery delivers a remarkable performance as the troubled character, Billy Hargrove. From his possession by the malevolent Mind Flayer to his heroic sacrifice, Montgomery brings depth and complexity to the role. In an exclusive interview, Montgomery discusses his portrayal of Billy, his research on mental health disorders, and his experience working with his talented co-stars.

Embodying a Complicated Character

For his portrayal of "Flayed Billy," Montgomery immersed himself in research on bipolar disorder and split personalities. He wanted to understand how one personality could control others and convey that struggle through his physicality. Despite the possessed persona, Montgomery reveals that he worked to show glimpses of non-Flayed Billy in his eyes, emphasizing the character's humanity amidst the show's science-fiction elements.

Conveying Emotion Contrary to Physicality

Montgomery delves into the complexity of human emotions, likening it to the masks people wear in their daily lives. He draws inspiration from the concept of a "Public Brian" and a "Private Brian," highlighting the facades individuals adopt to hide their insecurities or cope with challenging situations. By visualizing his character as a rubber band pulled taut, Montgomery skillfully conveys the emotions beneath the surface.

Filming the Climax

The intense climax of Stranger Things required dedicated performances from Montgomery and his co-star Millie Bobby Brown. Over the course of three days, they repeatedly ran through the mall, exchanging emotionally charged screams until they both shed tears. Montgomery praises Brown's maturity and commitment, making their scenes together authentic and powerful. The emotional weight of their performances required constant maintenance, with their eyes frequently wiped down for continuity due to their tears.

Collaborating with the Duffer Brothers

In delving into Billy's past, Montgomery shares his collaborative experience with the show's creators, the Duffer brothers. Months before writing the script, they consulted Montgomery for his input and desires for the character's development. Montgomery expressed his interest in exploring Billy's biological mother, leading to a unique backstory that intertwined biblical references and a complex God Complex. The Duffers valued Montgomery's creative ideas, even when they seemed outlandish, fostering a truly collaborative environment.

Bringing Personal Experiences to the Characters

As a performer, Montgomery draws from his personal experiences to enhance his character's emotional depth. Having experienced bullying in school, he approached Billy's role by empathizing with the insecurities of those who had bullied him. Montgomery believes that by finding common ground, he can depict a more authentic and relatable character.

Embracing Opportunities Beyond Acting

While acting remains Montgomery's primary passion, he acknowledges the importance of expanding his interests. He recently pursued an interior design internship and shares his love for food and architecture. In fact, he dreams of opening a restaurant with his architect girlfriend. Montgomery understands the need to diversify his skills and interests, a concept he learned from a writer friend in LA who advises freelancers to "kill Wednesday." For Montgomery, this means embracing various pursuits and enjoying the journey between acting projects.

Looking Up to Role Models

Montgomery admires actors like Tom Cruise and Hugh Jackman for their sustained success in the industry. He also recognizes the entrepreneurial abilities of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who has found success both on and off-screen. Additionally, Montgomery appreciates actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, who maintain a sense of mystery and illusion by avoiding constant availability on social media. He aspires to draw inspiration from different aspects of these actors' careers while staying true to his own unique path.

Conclusion

With his stellar performance as Billy in Stranger Things, Dacre Montgomery has solidified his place in the entertainment industry. He embraces the challenges of embodying complex characters and draws from personal experiences to infuse authenticity into his roles. Montgomery's dedication to his craft and his willingness to explore diverse interests beyond acting make him a talent to watch in the future. As he continues to navigate his career, Montgomery's passion and versatility will undoubtedly lead him to new and exciting opportunities.

Image Caption: Dacre Montgomery as Billy in Stranger Things - Source: The New York Times

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