Sadie Sink, best known for her role on Stranger Things, reveals how her work on The Whale influenced her role as Max Mayfield. Stranger Things is a Netflix original series that first began in 2016, and has gone on to become one of the most successful Netflix series of all time. Sink’s character Max entered the show in season 2, when her family moved to Hawkins from California. Since then, Sink has been a lead role on the series, and she is set to reprise her role in the upcoming season 5, which is expected to premiere sometime in 2024. More recently, Sink starred alongside Brendan Fraser in the A24 psychological drama The Whale, which will debut in theaters on December 9. In the film, Sink plays Ellie, the estranged daughter of Fraser’s character Charlie, who is a grieving and binge-eating professor. The Whale premiered at the Venice International Film Festival in September to immense critical acclaim.
In an interview with Backstage, Sink detailed how her work on The Whale influenced her Stranger Things role. Sink says that playing Ellie was a unique challenge, and that working on the film felt like « boot camp. » Sink goes on to say that she had a much better understanding of Ellie by the time the film finished wrapping, and that she wanted to have that same level of character-exploration with Max. Read Sink’s full comment below:
« It was really important that I had that experience, because I pushed myself as an actor further than I ever had before. When I returned to ‘Stranger Things,’ it was like I’d come back from boot camp or something. There was a shift; something clicked. It gave me a level of confidence that has stuck with me since. I was pleasantly surprised, when it came to filming some of those scenes, that it wasn’t hard to get into her head at all. It was such a release for Max to have those moments because those sides of her have been simmering in the background for a few seasons. »
What To Expect From Max In Stranger Things Season 5
Sink also says that working on The Whale made her appreciate taking on more challenging roles, and that she doesn’t want to play characters that don’t challenge her in some way. Sink says that because Ellie was grieving, her character was « so aggressive and violent at times that it was hard to justify and empathize with her, » but that the point of The Whale was to find humanity in harsh characters. Sink took that with her into Stranger Things, where season 4 saw Max still dealing with the grief of watching her step-brother Billy dying before her eyes.
Especially with season 4, Sink very much wanted to consider how Max’s trauma affected her character – and it’s that very trauma that made Max the perfect candidate for Vecna. The season finale saw Max just barely surviving Vecna’s attack after Eleven revives her, landing her in the hospital blind and with many broken bones. Sink revealed that her ideal season 5 storyline for Max would focus heavily on moving on from her traumas, as her healing in season 4 was harshly interrupted. Season 4 also gave glimpses at Max’s relationship with Lucas, which Sink said she would also like to explore, as letting Lucas into her life again signifies a willingness to heal.
Though Stranger Things’ final season 5 won’t premiere for at least another year, Sink is as committed to Max as ever before, especially with the desire to explore more of Max’s traumas. With so many theories on what season 5 may hold for Max, from Max being possessed by Vecna, to Max sacrificing herself to save her friends, there is certainly no shortage of development to be had for her character. No matter how the series will come to an end, Stranger Things fans will have The Whale to thank for Sink approaching Max a little different in season 5.