Sadie Sink On Fear Street, Stranger Things, And Hitting Her Stride
By Annie Zaleski
As soon as Sadie Sink
connects with MTV News on a recent Monday, it's mere hours before the in-person premiere for Netflix's Fear Street
trilogy. Later that night, the actress — who's perhaps best known for portraying Max on Stranger Things
— could be spotted in Los Angeles State Historic Park wearing a black bandeau top, wide black pants, and hefty boots. On the phone, although, the Texas native reveals that this very morning, she realized this screening was exactly two years to the day soon following the premiere for Season 3 of Stranger Things
Much has changed for Sink while in this time. She turned 18 (and is currently 19), graduated high school, and made some key decisions about post-grad life. Nevertheless one of the most transformative things she did was film Fear Street Part Two: 1978
, the second piece of a horror-slasher film trilogy loosely based on R.L. Stine’s books. The film is released Friday (July 9) by way of the Netflix, while the opening movie, Fear Street Part One: 1994
was out on July 2. (The third and concluding installment in the series, Fear Street Part Three: 1666
, is due July 16.)
Where Fear Street Part One: 1994
followed a crowd of teens growing up in a cursed small town, Fear Street Part Two: 1978
takes place in 1978, at a rural summer camp for teenagers with pure evil lurking beneath its wholesome exterior. Sink plays Ziggy Berman, a camp outcast who finds herself battling not just the snotty popular crowd, however sinister supernatural forces that have plagued residents of nearby towns for centuries.
While outwardly tough and tomboyish, Ziggy has a wealthy emotional interior, owing to a turbulent family member life. That potential for depth appealed to Sink. As soon as I was looking over the script, at first glance, you could check her off as a very aggressive and intense character who's irritated at the world. All of those things are true,” she says. “But what was critical to me was to go and find moments that she was a little softer, and the moments that showed more of her vulnerabilities."
to make Sink for the role, Fear Street
trilogy director Leigh Janiak planned the actress watch several slasher movies, including Friday the 13th
. ("I think I got through some of these, because they're very scary," she says lightly.) And while Sink sees the parallels between Fear Street Part Two: 1978
and these classic horror films, "for the most part, I took it for what it was," she says. That's one reason Fear Street Part Two: 1978
feels so fresh: Sink wasn't beholden to clichés, nevertheless free to embrace her own spin on the horror genre.
The actress has some previous experience with supernatural stories, as she appeared in 2019's horror-thriller Eli
, portraying a teenage girl with a spooky secret about her true identity.
Although, her acting resume tends toward theater (her first big break came in the 2012 Broadway revival of Annie
) or more honest dramatic roles. Case in point, she notes portraying Ziggy Berman also involved far more stunt work than she had done in the past, and was a much more physical role; among other things, she had to build up her stamina since so several scenes involved running.
"They require you to just really throw yourself into it and be out in the elements and really be in the moment, you leave everything out there," Sink says. "I became a lot more comfortable, you know, screaming on camera and doing things that feel so unnatural and stupid some days Surprisingly, filming a horror film isn't all fear and anxiety, however: "There's this energy that's so fun on the horror-movie set," she adds. "And although, some days, it's actually pretty tense and scary once it needs to be, for the most part, weirdly it feels a little more lighthearted than once you're doing something that's more dramatic."
That vibe has a lot to do with the approach of Janiak, who previously helmed and co-wrote 2014's similarly suspenseful Honeymoon
and who directed all three Fear Street
films over one summer. "I'd wanted to work with Leigh for a while," Sink explains. "And in the lookbook that she put with each other, and sitting and meeting with her and hearing her talk about the films, she had a really strong and clear vision for all three of these Soon following the films wrapped, Sink's instincts were proven right — not just about Janiak's work ethic, although also her personality.
"She's probably the coolest person I know. On set, she was very encouraging and understanding. She made it a really fun environment. The wonderful energy that she created on set really translated into the film. We were just having so much fun, and as soon as watching the 1978
movie, you visualize that. The cast bonded so well with each other. It felt like a fantastic, fun summer-camp experience."
The retro feeling (and retro music) of Fear Street Part Two: 1978
is reminiscent of Stranger Things
at times. Yet, the actress sees distinct contradictions between Ziggy and her beloved Stranger Things
character Max, a skateboarding and arcade game enthusiast who has also weathered family member and personalized challenges in a town plagued by weirdness. "Max still has this innocence about her. And I think she really appreciates being a kid and being free and everything," Sink says. "Ziggy is very misunderstood and wants to be seen as an adult because she's educated in back of her years. So the role is certainly more mature than my work than I've done on Stranger Things
. It was stepping into something different."
Yet in spite of the fact that the 2020 pandemic lockdown interrupted production of the latest Stranger Things
season, Sink notes the cast picked up filming again without missing a beat. "It's a wonderful season,” she says. “And the scale of it is just so massive this year. I think folks are really going to adore it." It helped that Sink made the most of the break, and actually used the downtime to be closer to Max. "If anything, I just had more time to read by means of the scripts and connect with her even more this season. [I've been] playing the same character since I was 14, and you also get to know her really well. You're able to slip in and out of character. Nevertheless throughout the pandemic, I was missing set and missing the scripts, and, and I missed Max a lot, too."
The 2020 lockdown ended up being formative for Sink for plenty of other reasons, as well. She build onto her love of writing and took up journaling throughout the long stretch of time at residence. Turning 18 also meant she effectively is currently imagined an adult in the eyes of the acting industry, which removes schooling requirements and limitations on working hours. "It was a big change," she admits. Although I was so prepared to get back to work that it didn't even faze me."
For the moment, Sink also determined to forgo college and concentrate on her career, nevertheless she "can certainly visualize myself going one day" in the future. As soon as I younger, it looked like, 'Oh, certainly, I'm going to college,'" she says. "And then you actually get to that point and you're like, 'Wait, I don't know if this is the correct idea. I think that could be also much for me now And if I've learned anything from the pandemic, it's [to] take it one day at a time. You can't predict the future. So that's what I'm doing now, I'm playing it by ear."
In the meantime, Sink is keeping busy: additionally to filming Stranger Things
, she recently wrapped a drama called The Whale
(with Darren Aronofsky and Brendan Fraser) and is also starring in the upcoming film Dear Zoe,
in the role a teenager navigating by way of the aftermath of her younger sister's death. "It's been a busy year for now. I sort of went straight into the fire from doing absolutely nothing for eight months, and then having a pretty stacked schedule. This summer, I'm hoping to relax and do absolutely nothing for a little bit bit."
Sink definitely deserves the break. "All these big changes were happening in my life, I had a lot of personalized growth, I think. And I came out of the pandemic being so grateful for work and being able to be on set and being able to safely surround myself with faces that I'd missed so much."
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