It took a shaved head and Netflix’s “Stranger Things” to turn Millie Bobby Brown into a household name and Hollywood’s latest darling. But the 12-year-old actress wasn’t just good at portraying her character, Eleven. She’s good. Period.
Master of horror Stephen King noticed her already back when she was starring in an eight-part mini-series for BBC America entitled “The Intruders.” In the show, Millie played an old, psychotic man whose soul was trapped in a child’s body to perfection. During a guest stint for “NCIS,” she played a sociopathic, murderous little girl. In “Grey’s Anatomy,” she guested as the disembodied voice of a trapped child who needed to perform emergency surgery on her mom while surgeons gave her advice how to do it over the phone.
It’s safe to say that Millie is no stranger to strange roles. Eleven’s character, a silent, telekinetic government experiment on the run from her evil Papa (Matthew Modine), is perhaps her strangest one yet. Despite the role catapulting Millie to fame, the star says she can walk around Hollywood and still be anonymous.
“My hair’s grown so I don’t look like Eleven, and I don’t say, ‘No, Mike, or goodbye,’ so I’m actually just me. Plus, I’m British and I wear prescription glasses.” says Millie during Super’s interview with her.
Millie was in Manila recently as one of the headliners of AsiaPOP Comicon (APCC), where Netflix treated “Stranger Things” fans to meet-and-greet, autograph, and photograph sessions with her, and the fans came in droves. Eleven’s trademark costume—blue jacket, pink, smocked dress, athletic knee socks, box of Eggos—was easily the most recognized and most popular cosplay outfit during APCC (next to Pokémon Trainer Ash Ketchum). Grown men walked around in pink dresses and with shaved heads, and one six-year-old little girl even shaved her head to pay homage to her new favorite heroine.
Millie the actress is so far removed from the tortured character she plays on the series. She’s vivacious and bubbly, a girly girl with sparkly shirts and French-tipped nails. A girly girl who really thought shaving all her hair off for a role was no big deal.
On her decision to post the video of her getting it all shaved off, she says, “I really wanted them to go on my journey of how it actually felt; I was completely fine with it. There’re kids out there who have no choice, who have alopecia, cancer, terrible diseases, and I thought, why not inspire people to think it’s cool to have shorn hair? Why not embrace it?”
Despite “Stranger Things” being a series you can watch at your own convenience, thanks to Netflix’s watch-anywhere, anytime model, it became an unparalleled viral hit, earning raves from critics and celebs alike. Millie’s Eleven is such a fan favorite that everyone’s favorite bitching bad Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) offered to adopt her. Says Millie, “Yeah, I’d consider it. We said that we’d go to lunch, he’ll bring adoption papers, I’ll bring my suitcase, and my parents were like, ‘Can we just have you on weekends?’ OK, fine.” She’s still not used to the fact that she is a star in her own right, getting starstruck by celebrities who follow her on Twitter.
“Everything’s been so overwhelming, even the ones not from celebrities, my fans in general; the press have been amazing and so supportive, it’s really been incredible. I’m speechless. I’m now friends with Maddie Ziegler (Sia’s famous Chandelier girl), I’ve watched her since I was tiny on ‘Dance Moms,’ I saw her on ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’ and I was like, ‘I can’t believe it’s you!’ and she’s like, ‘I can’t believe it’s you!’ She followed me on Twitter and it was the best day of my life.”
It’s hard to remember that she was starring in what was essentially a period drama (“Say it ain’t so!” cry the true ’80s kids), but Millie really
drove the generation gap spike down hard when she went on set for the first time and asked what a record player was. “It’s a stick and it’s got a circle in it, and they were, ‘Right, that’s a vinyl.’ I got one for Christmas. So I’m very into ’80s stuff now.”
Millie and her costars prepared for their roles by watching ’80s flicks like “The Goonies, “Stand By Me” and “E.T.,” and they all loved it.
Despite inhabiting Eleven’s skin for eight episodes, Millie has a confession to make. “Do you know I’m still kind of processing what it actually means? Like The Upside Down, I still don’t even get it. I’m like going to everyone on set, ‘I don’t think I understand it though.’ They’re like, ‘Everybody else does, why don’t you?’ I want to! But I don’t. I know what The Upside Down is, but I mean, the void? It’s my mind? Me and Winona (costar Ryder, who plays Joyce Byers) were like, ‘I don’t understand.’ We’ve given up.”
This probably explains why, when Millie was asked what Eleven was probably doing now while in The Upside Down, she answers, “She’s with Joyce’s dog, she’s grooming the dog in the void, and she’s having a mani-pedi with the demogorgon, stuff like that.”
Watch “Stranger Things” by downloading the Netflix app and signing up for an account.
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