Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink on Max, the Letters and Taylor Swift


Stranger Things' Sadie Sink on Max, the Letters and Taylor Swift

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains spoilers from Season 4 Vol 1 of Stranger Things currently streaming on Netflix.

Sadie Sinks Max is really going through it in Season 4 of Stranger Things. After losing her brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery) in the season 3 finale, the latest season begins with her being torn apart by guilt over what happened.

“She’s just asking herself all these questions and blaming herself,” says Sink diversity. “It’s not necessarily because she’s grieving the loss of her relationship, but because she’s convincing herself that somehow she’s responsible for all the horrible things that are happening in her life — and the domino effect that Billy’s death is having her family and everyone around her had her.”

On top of that, Max’s best friend Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has left town; she broke up with her boyfriend Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin); and she has visions of a real monster.

Here, Sink – now 20 – talks about how she got into the season’s head, shares her thoughts on what’s inside those emotional letters Max wrote to her friends, and reveals if we’re seeing more of Max’s mother will see.

When the season started, Max was not doing well. How did you unlock the darkness she walked through?

I spent the most formative years of my life with this character. So I know her really well at this point. But we never get to tap into that kind of vulnerability on the show that often because it’s so fast-paced with so much happening. So it was super exciting to have a storyline that speaks to some of her more emotional sides and shows a certain vulnerability – which we didn’t really get to see in the previous seasons. In terms of preparation, so much of the season has been about inner thoughts and the thoughts that eat away at you. You don’t share with anyone.

To understand this a little better, and that way to get into their headspace, I would keep a journal here and there, just entries as they write. What I didn’t plan for, but what really helped me get into that mindset in the end, was the isolation of lockdown. I had turned 18 after lockdown so I was living alone when I started shooting again. It was a new experience and I was alone most of the time. I think it helped me. In a strange way there was a connection between me and Max this year as I was living alone and Max was living in this intense isolation.

Obviously Max misses Eleven since she has these superpowers, but I have a feeling she must also miss the fact that she had a true boyfriend – and now all she has is her ex and all of his friends.

Yes! I think what was so wonderful about Max and Eleven’s relationship in Season 3 is that Eleven is obviously different than most girls you see. Max is also different than a lot of the girls you see, so they kind of found each other and they just worked really well together. I like to think that it was one of the first female friendships Max ever really had. For that to sort of go away was just really awful timing, I think. Max could have benefited from having someone like Eleven who she probably would have been happy to open up to. Eleven probably would have benefited from having Max with her as she navigates this new environment and the bullies in her world. Having someone like him to pull her through would have helped. Both could have helped each other a lot.

Dear Billy is such an emotional episode and so well done on your part. But Billy wasn’t a great guy – he was very problematic. Do you think she has completely forgiven him?

It’s tricky because he’s been causing the most pain in her life for a really long time. And they didn’t have a brother-sister bond or any committed relationship between the two of them. I think what’s really haunting her is the fact that she thinks it was kind of her fault — that she may have thought beforehand, “I just want him to go.” For him to actually go and she doesn’t do anything while when she sees him die she just asks herself all these questions and blames herself.

She had no outlet, and she had no one to tell her it wasn’t her fault. Nobody was there and nobody really understands it. So it’s a really lonely, lonely battle she’s fighting.

We got a glimpse of her relationship with her mother. Is this something we will see more of?

I’m not sure. Not in season 4. Every time we get a little glimpse of what the parents are doing on this series, I find it very interesting because in the first season the parents were nowhere to be found! They did not know what these children were doing in their normal everyday life at home. Every time we see a relationship between one of the kids and their parents, it’s really exciting to dive into.

For Max in particular, I find it heartbreaking to see the state her mother is in and how absent-minded she is from it all – Max does a really good job of hiding it. But not having a mother who is able to recognize the pain her child is going through because they are in so much pain themselves, it was kind of heartbreaking to see that dynamic.

Do you know what Max’s letters to her friends say?

I don’t! In my own free time and daydreaming, I have an idea of ​​what she’s probably trying to say to any particular person. I don’t know about the plans for Season 5, but I’m dying to know what’s in there. I want to have a scene where the letters are read. I think it’s so typical of Max that she literally looks death straight in the eye, but still isn’t able to tell anyone face-to-face how much he means to her, or have a genuine conversation with anyone to lead. The fact that she has to put it in letters and not even have to be around when they’re read, it was like, yeah, that’s how it adds up. But I’d love to see what’s in those letters.

David Harbor recently told me he knew the ending of Hopper’s story because he kept asking and saying he needed to know how to play it. Do you know how Max’s story ends?

No, but maybe I should use this line! I don’t know, I kind of like not knowing where her story is going and just being surprised when I read it because Max herself doesn’t know what’s going to happen to her. I think why should I? I really have no idea where they are going with anything. So I will be excited to read these scripts!

Finally, you starred in the Taylor Swift-directed music video All Too Well: A Short Film. How does Taylor Swift fandom compare to Stranger Things fandom?

I think the one thing they have in common is that both of their fandoms are so incredibly passionate and loyal. She’s been on Stranger Things since Season 1 and the age range is incredible. It’s like a worldwide phenomenon. And the same goes for Taylor Swift! They are really similar in many ways.

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