Having grown up on '80s classics like The Goonies, Stand By Me and all things John Hughes, when I heard that Netflix was releasing a new show that was reminiscent of these movies I was a wee bit skeptical. But after watching the first season 12 times (yes, at an estimated 45 minutes per episode, I have clocked in about 72 hours of staring at my TV) you could say that I'm a bit obsessed. While many things in this show are impressive, including the stellar cast (Winona can do no wrong), the nostalgic '80s vibe and the captivating story-line, nothing impressed me more than Millie Bobby Brown's acting abilities. The child actors of my time included Macaulay Culkin, Cory Feldman and the Olsen twins and while they were all incredibly talented in their own ways, they all (in my opinion) pale in comparison to Millie Bobby Brown. Here are 15 reasons why Millie Bobby Brown is pretty much the best child actress of our time.
15 She landed the role of Eleven during a blind audition
Oh, what I would give to be a fly on the wall during Millie's Stranger Things audition... She auditioned for the role using “dummy sides” which is a fancy Hollywood term for mock scenes the production team uses to gauge the actor’s ability without giving any of the plot away. She knew virtually nothing about Eleven going into the audition. The only reference she had from the mysterious Duffer Brothers was ET, since they thought there were many similarities between Eleven and ET (being brought up in a lab and possessing psychokinetic abilities, Eleven might as well be from a different planet). They also told Hollywood Insider that they, “really wanted that Close Encounters feel with Joyce and stuff, or Jaws, where it's like these people that don't really believe in the extraordinary coming encounter with that, and that's where you get the sense of wonder with the Christmas lights and all that.”
14 She has an extraordinary commitment to her character
We’ve all heard about method acting, right? Where the actor will basically live as their character in order to give a more believable portrayal. It’s a very advanced way of rehearsing and even some of the most experienced actors aren’t willing to go that far for their characters. But Millie’s commitment is commendable. The Duffer Brothers just happened to forget to mention that Millie would need to shave her head in order to get the part during her audition. While she might not have been able to develop psychokinetic powers during her down time, she did go out and shave her head to help get into the role. Very few actors have that kind of dedication to their characters, never mind actors who are only entering adolescence.
13 She managed to give a stellar performance with very little dialogue
One of the most impressive things about Millie’s acting in Stranger Things is her ability to tell an entire story through facial expressions. Having spoken less than 300 words throughout the entire season, Millie was able to communicate her character’s feelings almost exclusively through body language. That ability would be impressive for any actor to do but absolutely amazing for a 12 year old. During an interview with SciFiNow Millie said, ““I really give credit to the Duffers because they really envisioned what they wanted for that character. I didn’t have to speak much but I really had to portray through my face and my emotions what my character had to do.” Kudos to the Duffer Brothers, because we cannot get enough of Eleven’s death stare.
12 She experienced her first kiss on-screen
First kisses are an awkward affair for anyone. But the awkward factor only goes up when you are a 12 year old experiencing your first kiss in front of a camera, which is exactly what Millie did with co-star Finn Wolfhard ( who plays Mike Wheeler). Millie told Interview Magazine, "At the end of the day, it's only acting, and it's something you have to do, and I would do anything for the show. I cut my hair, I kissed Finn. It was definitely strange. It was, like, my first kiss, so it was kind of weird. But then, like, when I'd done it, I thought, 'Wow. It makes sense for the storyline. Finn reacted quite well and I didn't. I felt really bad afterwards". If she reacted badly, it certainly didn’t show!
11 She has strong relationships with her co-stars
To me, what makes a show great is the chemistry between the actors. Especially when it involved kids. Kids have the amazing (albeit, sometimes embarrassing) ability to show their dislike for a person through their expressions. But it also works in reverse. You can always tell when a kid gets along with another kid. Millie told Interview Magazine about her love (and sometimes annoyance) for her male cast mates, "I am the only girl, and the boys have their squads. They have their group, and it's definitely difficult because they're boys and talk about boy stuff. They talk about girls and video games. I definitely need to talk about normal things a girl would talk about. They're like my big brothers. They annoy me, but we are very, very close."
10 She's no one trick pony
Her amazing talent for acting is not the only thing she has listed on her CV. She is also training to box (including Thai boxing and Jujitsu) and has some impressive singing skills. In fact, she has been singing for longer than she has been acting. She also told Interview Magazine, "I started singing before I started tweeting actually. It was always a passion...I started singing and then I got into acting. Singing is something I love to do. I feel very confident doing it," she said. "I haven't been allowed to release my first record yet, and my dad goes, 'Understand the meaning of music.' And I was like, 'Okay, Robert.'" She might not have an album out yet, but I’m sure it’s in the works. Maybe she’ll pay homage to Stranger Things and name her first album, “Upside Down” or “Eleven”.
9 She has a genuine connection to Eleven
In order for a show or film to be successful, the audience has to really feel like the actor knows their character. They need to have a clear image of what their character’s like and adapt their own personality to their characters’. On the outside, Millie and Eleven’s personalities are quite different (Millie being vivacious and ambitious whereas Eleven is ethereal and rightfully frightened). But Millie definitely knows Eleven through and through. She told WM Magazine, “If you got to know her, I think she’s just very caring and protective. And that’s the only trait I could really relate to with my actual self. I’d probably say I’m very strong. If somebody says something horrible, I’m like, ‘Okay, whatever.’ With Eleven, people call her the weirdo and she really doesn’t care. She’s very badass and I think when I can be, I will be.”
8 She has awesome taste in fashion
Being a well-known actor definitely comes with some perks. One of them being that when award season rolls around, they will have some of the biggest fashion designers beating down their doors. That being said, they have access to some seriously awesome clothes. Designers who work with child actors though, definitely have their work cut out for them. They can’t have them looking too childish or too mature; it needs to be a perfect balance. And they have definitely achieved that balance thus far, creating gorgeous pieces that compliment her elvish features. On the outside, Millie rocks a fun, quirky style and takes some amazing photoshoots. She just has such an energy about her, it seems to leap right out of the photos. I’m kind of obsessed with her post-punk photoshoot with Interview Magazine…
7 She is dedicated to her craft
One of the gambles you take when employing a young actor is whether or not they will be dedicated to your project. Because kids change more often than Rhianna’s hairstyle, it’s hard to gauge whether a kid will be in it for the long run or just until the next offer comes in, leaving you stranded with an unfinished product. Fortunately, Millie is passionately dedicated to everything she works on. She is constantly trying to improve herself for the sake of her craft. She also has some pretty incredible perseverance for a twelve year old, having pushed through countless auditions despite being turned down. A source told The Telegraph, hours before she auditioned for Stranger Things, Brown had a dispiriting meeting with a British casting agent. She left in tears after being told she “too mature and grown up”. Luckily, that seemed to put her in the right headspace when she did audition for Stranger Things because when they asked her to cry, she did it without any hesitation and with pure emotion.
6 She definitely has a bright future
Unfortunately, some child actors are "one hit wonders". They seem to peak and then either crash or drop out of the business completely. But not Millie Bobby Brown! After having one hell of a year working on Stranger Things, she just seems to be climbing higher and higher. The young starlet has joined the cast of Warner Bros major blockbuster Godzilla sequel (Godzilla: King of Monsters, to hit all major theatres on March 22, 2019). And, although it has not yet been confirmed, she has been seen on set of The Avengers: Infinity War alongside the directors, The Ruffo brothers. A picture that has been circulating the internet of Millie on The Avengers set have referenced her as a “guest director”. But with Strangers Things season 2 and The Avengers both filming in Georgia, my guess is that The Avengers may have added a fresh face to their cast.
5 She wants to join the cast of Star Wars
As a long-time Carrie Fisher fan, I have extremely high expectations for anyone who may be cast as a future Princess Leia. But if that someone turns out to be Millie Bobby Brown (cast as a young Princess Leia), I know that those expectations will be met. Because that is one of Millie’s dream roles. She told the audience at the Rhode Island Comic Con, “Princess Leia. If they made- I think they are making another Star Wars- I would love a role like that. Because I want to do something far from Eleven or Madison. While she would definitely have some pretty big shoes to fill (and a huge fan base to please), I’m quite certain that she would blow it out of the park!
4 She has pure, natural talent
Even the most aspiring actors spend years perfecting their talents by attending expensive acting schools. And even then, sometimes it isn’t enough. You need a certain spark that comes to you naturally. And Millie most certainly has that spark! She was bored one day and asked her father to take her to an acting school, just to try it out. Sixty dollars later, she was hooked and decided that she wanted to pursue it professionally and met with an agent. She told Dazed, “The agent was like, ‘You need to go to LA.’ So I said to my dad and my whole family, ‘Can we move to LA?’ They were like, ‘Sure!'” And just like that, Millie found her calling. And the rest is history.
3 Her performances are consistently great
Before she was Eleven she was Madison O’Donnell on BBC’s Intruders. Like Stranger Things, Intruders is creepy but SO good! She plays a 10 year old girl named Maddie who, after living a fairly normal life Maddie suddenly becomes plagued by nightmares and headaches after meeting a mysterious man on a beach. After that, she seems to act erratically and runs away from home. That’s when things start to get a little bit Invasion of The Body Snatchers. But trust me it is worth a watch. Especially because Millie is fabulous in it and shows off some insane acting skills. Oh, and you get your fair share of Millie’s signature death stares that we have all come to know and love. She has also had small roles in Grey’s Anatomy and Modern Family as well as ABC’s Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
2 She idolizes her co-star, Winona Ryder
It’s no secret that their resemblance is uncanny, so it wasn’t all that surprising that Winona Ryder (who plays Joyce Byers on the show) and Millie became such fast friends on the set of Stranger Things. Whenever the boys (Finn, Gaten, Caleb and Noah) started to grate Millie’s nerves and craved some female company, she told W Magazine, “I would just go to her like, ‘Ugh, the boys are getting on my nerves today!’ And she’d be like, ‘Got it — come sit.’ And we’d eat cheese." And their friendship seemed to take off from there! The two have been spotted attending fashion shows together and (according to Refinery29) for Millie’s birthday, “Noni” (the nickname Millie calls Winona) gave Millie a replica of her own Claddagh ring as a symbol of their friendship.
1 Her lips are sealed
If there is one thing kids truly have difficulty with, it is keeping secrets. And with a hoard of “Strangers” (Stranger Things fans) demanding just a few details about the upcoming season, the fact that Millie hasn’t leaked any precious information is quite impressive. We have gotten a few clues from the trailer (released on Superbowl Sunday) but not enough to form any concrete theories about what is yet to come to the town of Hawkins. Many have speculated, but Millie isn’t giving us anything! When Dazed asked if she knew what would happen to Eleven in season 2, Millie played coy by answering, “I don’t know, I have no clue”. Thankfully, it has been confirmed that Millie will be returning to the show and will, no doubt, continue to knock our socks off.