Creating the Cemetery Scene In ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4

If you haven’t already seen Stranger Things season four, warning, this post has spoilers!

I think I’ve decided that I’m not going to try and predict what will happen in the upcoming season of Stranger Things. People tried doing that for season four and they were totally wrong, so apologies for my last Stranger Things post!

The one thing that the online news sources got right was that Billy Hargrove made a special appearance in the episode titled “Dear Billy.” Fans will know that Dacre Montgomery’s character got killed off at the end of season three, but that didn’t stop the creators from giving Billy a cameo.

“With Max (Sadie Sink) chosen as the next victim of Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower), the new villain on the scene in Hawkins uses his psychic abilities to haunt her with visions of her dead brother, Billy (Romano, Entertainment Weekly).”

Dacre Montgomery was set to film the scene on set, but because of Covid, he wasn’t able to leave Australia. “It was rescheduled again and again and again, and there were lockdowns and protocol updates and more lockdowns and more stringent border restrictions,” said director Shawn Levy. “So with the clock running down, we had no choice but to have me direct over Zoom [with Montgomery] in Australia on a soundstage, while I had already shot the scene in a cemetery with Sadie Sink a year earlier.”

While Max reads a letter aloud in front of her dead brother’s grave, Vecna starts to take over her body and mind. She is transported to a dark cemetery and from behind her, she hears Billy call out her name as he walks toward her covered in blood.

“Montgomery’s performance was digitally inserted into the shot with Sink later on. ‘That sequence in episode 4 was one of the biggest Rubik’s Cube challenges of my directing career, figuring out how to put Billy in that cemetery with Max, without the ability to put Dacre in the same country as Sadie,’ (Romano)” said Levy.

While it was about a minute of screen time, it was good to see Dacre as Billy one last time. But who knows what’s in store for season five? I feel like that’s wishful thinking!

Dacre shared some behind the scenes videos and photos on his Instagram. “Feeling extremely fortunate to have been able to shoot these scenes during the pandemic in my hometown, Perth (in Australia),” he wrote, “what an absolute blessing to work with such an incredible local crew and [Levy] directing on Zoom!”

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