Jamie Campbell Bower

 
Following his latest key role and remarkable performance in Stranger Things, the British triple threat reflects on this newfound spotlight and the art of storytelling.
PHOTOS: Jess Farran
TALENT: Jamie Campbell Bower
STYLING: Charlie Ward
SET DESIGN: Elaine Winter
GROOMING: Sandrine Van Slee at Art Department
LOCATION: Young Studios
WORDS & PRODUCTION: Jasmine Perrier at Studio J•T•P
SPECIAL THANKS: The Oriel Company

This feature is a standalone and exclusively available as a solo story in digital and print worldwide
Click HERE to order your exclusive solo print booklet featuring one talent and 20+ pages of INTERVIEW and PHOTOS, or head over to ISSUU to flip through this story digitally

For those unfamiliar with Jamie Campbell Bower, his rise to stardom did not happen overnight. If you were around in the 2010s, you couldn’t miss him, whether it was on the big and small screen, on stage, or in fashion magazines. Then, he managed to continue his evolution as an artist and human half out of the spotlight. It was with that perspective that he focused on harnessing his creative energy and inner wisdom within music and film. “I think through the experience of both environments, you find out what works for you as an artist and what doesn’t. It’s important to take those lessons with you and to learn from your mistakes.”

Today, the London native is at the forefront of the attention with his portrayal of one of the most intimidating and multilayered villains in the supernatural world of the Duffer Brothers. Despite the magnitude of the Netflix show, the actor was rather focused on the job than worried about the outside reaction of people. “Not to toot my own horn, I was just trying to be as present as possible in that moment and to work with the team to make the best possible thing,” he says. Since the season four premiere in May, there has been an interesting phenomenon of people rediscovering the actor who has the ability to make any of his characters enjoyable to watch. “On a selfish level, it’s always humbling and delightful when people enjoy your work,” he laughs. “In my experience of making art, when we make something that feels good to us, it is going to feel good to others.”

Humility and benevolence are undoubtedly part of Jamie’s values. “Working on [Stranger Things] is very beautiful because all of us, cast and crew alike, we give each other as much love and support as we can. I’m not playing Vecna anymore, and it’s just all love. It’s always been all love.” He remembers his first day on set in Atlanta, hanging out with one of the crew members. “I turned around to Nick, our camera operator, and said, ‘Hey man, I’m so grateful to be here. If there is anything I can do for you, just tell me. This is a family and I’m honored to be here.’ I am, was, and forever will be filled with gratitude. Life and art can be so fragile, and when I remind myself of the gratitude that exists within me, the fulfillment is tenfold.”

 

It was one of a kind acting experience for Jamie who had to dive deep into several complex personalities, but he went from angelic to demonic seamlessly. However, to get into character, he explains the extent to which he had to get lost. “As you beautifully put it, getting lost is exactly what was necessary [because] when I lose the idea of self-control, this real, beautiful exposure comes. There were things that would pop up that came from the experience of this person, and that was always quite odd. I’m reticent to say what they are because obviously, the character is not doing particularly kind things. But I can still remember the feeling and it was a very interesting space to be in.” With the emotional depth he emitted in Henry Creel, 001, or Vecna’s scenes, it is not surprising to learn that after “Cut!” was called, the actor needed five minutes to sit down, have a cigarette, and take a deep breath to step out of character. “Those moments were always very interesting and enlightening, but sometimes a bit scary. I needed to make sure that I was not talking to anybody else and impacting them in a negative way,” he says. 

The multitalented artist is drawn to darkness beyond the screen. From 2015 to 2020, he fronted the critically acclaimed alternative rock band Counterfeit, before trying out his vision as a solo artist when the group split. “The music that I’m working on at the moment is loosely based on ‘Dante’s Inferno’ and what exists beyond our concept of reality and living.” Two years after venturing out on his own, he unveils “Run On” featuring King Sugar, as a reimagining of Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” To mark the occasion, the song premiered on the same day as Stranger Things with a music video that he co-directed with Callan Banham-Bradshaw. “We made that video for 350 bucks. This one is [about] this beginning idea of death and what comes after death. I’ve always had a desire to be as involved in the process as possible because music is more than releasing a song and putting it on Spotify.” 

Throughout his musical journey, Jamie strives to be his most authentic self and tell stories he is passionate about on his own terms. “When I’m making music, the idea of surrender is really important because moments of real beauty can come out of it.” Similarly, he attaches great importance to being present in the moment and giving his collaborators free rein over the creative process. “I love being able to see an artist struggle and then pull themselves out of the struggle because it builds this level of confidence within themselves that one always knew was there, but they didn’t necessarily know that it was happening.” He recalls one of those moments that led up to the final product of his latest sound. “Mikey [Demus], who plays guitar on that last thing that we released, spent about three hours trying to figure out this very weird technical part. I saw him doing this and I knew that it was what he wanted to try. So, I just left it to him, he backed himself into a corner, and I saw this happen. I was like, ‘This is perfect. Can we try one now where you just play from the heart, think of B. B. King, think of Buddy Guy, and go for it?’ There is something very beautiful about that inspiration in the moments of necessity.” 

As he begins this new chapter promisingly, the multifaceted artist reveals that he would love to add another string to his bow and direct a feature. “It’s the thing that I’m very passionate about at this point in time. I just want to continue to be creative and push myself, and to live, learn, grow, and feel.” But for now, you can see him in the last two episodes of Stranger Things 4 which are another true testament to his ability as an actor. Before hanging up, we all hear a ringtone announcing a call from a co-star he worked with on his last film. “Oh my goodness, sorry,” he laughs. “That was a terrible way to end the interview.”

Stranger Things IS NOW STREAMING on Netflix

This feature is exclusively available as a solo issue featuring one talent and 20+ pages of interview and photos
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