Stranger Things 4: Sadie Sink on Max, Survivor's Guilt & Losing Eleven

Despite Sadie Sink's Max remaining socially detached initially from Team Hawkins at the beginning of the fourth season of Netflix's Stranger Things Volume 1, she becomes far more of a focal point once we learn that she's an early target of Vecna. The actress spoke recently about how Max is coping with the loss of Billy (Dacre Montgomery) during the third season and how she's suffered from survivor's guilt ever since.

Stranger Things 4: Sadie Sink on Max, Survivor's Guilt & Losing Eleven
STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield, and Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

"I've been with this character for the most formative years of my life. So I really know her very well at this point. But we never get to tap into this kind of vulnerability on the show that often, because it's so fast-paced that there's so much happening," Sink said about how Max is coping with Billy's death. "So having a storyline that taps into some of her more emotional sides and showcases some vulnerability — which we don't really get to see in the previous seasons — that was super exciting. In terms of preparation, so much of the season had to do with internal thoughts and the thoughts that eat away at you. You don't share with anyone. So in order to understand that a little bit more and get into her headspace in that way, I would journal here and there, just write entries as her. What I wasn't planning on but what ended up actually really helping me in getting into that mindset was the isolation of lockdown. After lockdown, I had turned 18, so when I went back to shooting, I was living on my own. It was a new experience, and I was alone for a lot of the time. I think it helped me. In a weird way, there was a connection between me and Max this year with me living on my own and Max living in this intense isolation."

stranger things
STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson, Maya Hawke as Robin Buckley, Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield, and Joe Keery as Steve Harrington in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

In the season three finale, the Byers moved away from Hawkins taking Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown) with them, taking away one of Max's dearest friends. "Yeah! I think what was so wonderful about Max and Eleven's relationship from Season 3 is that Eleven is obviously unlike most girls that you see," she said. "Max is also unlike a lot of girls that you see, so they kind of found each other and they just worked really well together. I like to think it was one of the first female friendships that Max has ever really had. So for that to kind of disappear, I think was just really awful timing. Max could have benefited from having someone like Eleven, who she probably would have felt comfortable opening up to. Eleven probably would have benefited from having Max while she's navigating this new environment and bullies in her world. Having someone like that to push her through it would have helped. They both could have helped each other a lot."

Stranger Things 4: Sadie Sink on Max, Survivor's Guilt & Losing Eleven
STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson and Sadie Sink as Max Mayfield in STRANGER THINGS. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

For more on how Sink broke down Max's relationship with Billy, her mother, what might be in her personalized letters to her friends when she thought her death was imminent, David Harbour and Taylor Swift, you can check out the Variety interview here. Stranger Things 4 Volume 2 premieres on July 1st.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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