Stranger Things (2016) has certainly made a name for itself this year, with its surprisingly epic fourth season breaking records on Netflix. It also features some stand-out performances, with Joseph Quinn (Eddie Munson) and Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield) receiving praise from fans.
Another actor who gave an incredible performance in in Stranger Things 4, however, is Jamie Campbell-Bower, who plays the main antagonist Vecna/One/Henry Creel, a supernatural being heavily inspired by A Nightmare On Elm Street‘s Freddy Krueger.
Campbell-Bower, 33, appears in both human form and demonic form in the show (again, not unlike Freddy Krueger). The former involves flashbacks which take place at Hawkins Lab, where we see that Henry Creel previously developed a disturbing friendship with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown).
The latter, however, finds him residing in the “shadow dimension”, the Upside Down (and sometimes in the real world when killing his victims), in the form of the hideous “dark wizard” who has the same powers as Eleven, as well as other psychokinetic abilities such as telepathy.
As such, Campbell-Bower demonstrates his versatility as an actor, and is just as formidable and unsettling to watch in human form as he is as the supernatural being Vecna (yet another comparison to Robert Englund, you might say, who enjoys a small cameo in the show as Creel’s father).
While it’s very likely that Campbell-Bower will be reprising his role in Stranger Things 5, especially seeing as he did a “Michael Myers” at the end of the finale (his body mysteriously vanishes after being shot off a balcony), it’s clear that the British actor has a bright future ahead of him on the screen.
With that said, it’s easy to forget that Vecna isn’t the first dark wizard Campbell-Bower has played, as he portrays Gellert Grindelwald in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) and in the spin-off sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018).
The character was predominantly played by Johnny Depp in the latter film, with Mads Mikkelsen taking over in this year’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022).
Now, the Stranger Things star has revealed that he came close to playing another wizard. In an interview with the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast, Campbell-Bower talked about how he almost landed the role of Harry Potter himself, as well as another well-known fantasy icon.
Discussing his audition for the role of the Boy Who Lived, which of course ultimately went to Daniel Radcliffe, here’s what Campbell-Bower said:
“I was up for Harry. They came to my school to look for potential Potters or potential cast members and pulled me out of a bunch of people,” Campbell-Bower revealed. “I went to go meet Chris Columbus in London for the first [Harry] Potter and they asked us to prepare a joke. I had just heard this joke about the reason the fairy sits on top of the Christmas tree. It’s a really dirty joke because it’s about a Christmas tree being up someone’s bottom. And I told the joke in the audition. There was this air of silence after I said it. I said ‘Well, f***ed that up. Time to move on.'”
While he may not have landed the role of the Boy Who Lived, evidently the bungled audition didn’t result in him being black-listed from future Harry Potter movies, as he returned for the seventh and penultimate installment in the main series to play Gellert Grindelwald.
Campbell-Bower also admitted that he came to close to being cast as the hunky vampire Edward Cullen in the hugely popular Twilight movies, saying:
“They were really interested in me reading for Edward [Cullen]. They were like ‘the dedication Jamie brings to his roles, we would be interested in seeing him,’ and all of this and all of that. And it just didn’t work out at the time because it was around the same time I think Sweeny was being released that they were interested in seeing me. I think life was just so crazy and hectic it was just one of those things that never came to fruition. Then cut to movie two and they were like ‘Hey, want to come play a bad guy?'”
While that role made Robert Pattinson a household name, just like he did in the Harry Potter movies, Campbell-Bower wound up playing a villain in the later Twilight movies, playing Caius in The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (2011) and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 (2012).
Perhaps Campbell-Bower is simply destined to play the villain, whether in a TV series or a movie (he also recently confessed that he would love to play a James Bond villain one day). So here’s to hoping we see him play the actual Freddy Krueger in a much-needed reboot of A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984). Let’s just hope the Duffer brothers are also available.
As per the Netflix website, here’s the official synopsis for Stranger Things 4:
It’s been six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, our group of friends are separated for the first time – and navigating the complexities of high school hasn’t made things any easier. In this most vulnerable time, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.
Stranger Things 4 stars Joe Keery (Steve Harrington), Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers), David Harbour (Jim Hopper), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven/Jane Hopper), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson), Joseph Quinn (Eddie Munson), Paul Reiser (Dr Sam Owens), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair), Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler), Matthew Modine (Papa/Martin Brenner), Maya Hawke (Robin Buckley), Charlie Heaton (Jonathan Byers), Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), and Jamie Campbell-Bower (Vecna/One/Henry Creel).
Stranger Things 4 is currently streaming on Netflix. The Duffer brothers have compared the upcoming final season to The Lord of the Rings in terms of scale and scope.
Which other iconic character do you think Jamie Campbell-Bower could play, whether villain or hero? Let us know in the comments down below!