Linnea Berthelsen, 24, only started acting in her late teens, but after filming a self-made audition tape over the course of three days she was snatched up to be cast as the mysterious newcomer on the dark af 80s Netflix original series Stranger Things. Pause.
Move over Millie Bobby, here comes Linnea. We sat down with the Stranger Things newcomer to talk about her start in acting and the new season. Check it out below!
When did you move to the UK from Denmark? Did you move specifically for acting?
I moved to the UK from Denmark in 2015. Yes. I went to drama school in London, as I admired the British theatre traditions and training.
What made you want to come to the US?
I came to the US because I was cast on Stranger Things. I have been here a lot since I was a kid, and I always dreamt of coming here to work.
Would you say the acting industry is different in the US than other places around the world that you’ve worked?
YES, definitely. Every country is different. Everything is huge in the US. From the sets to the studios, and then there are so many creative people involved in production.
How old are you? Do you find yourself playing older or younger characters usually?
I’m 24, and even though I’m always being told that I look quite young, I find myself playing characters that are around my own age. When I went to drama school it was of course very different. You get to have a go at characters that are completely out of your normal age range. I played a granny more than a few times there.
Name three other passions you have.
Traveling, dancing and watching documentaries on ancient history or marine biology
How did you end up on Stranger Things season 2?
I received a self-tape audition through my Danish agent. There were three scenes. I started to create a character based on the material I received, and filmed the scenes over the course of three days. My self-tape audition was then followed by a conversation with the casting director, after which I did a screen test in Atlanta with The Duffer Brothers, the casting director and Millie. Shortly after, I received the call saying I was cast on the show. It was an extraordinary experience. It felt really fast and kind of surreal.
How hard is it to join a cast/show that was already so close and established? Or was everyone super welcoming?
Everyone was super welcoming. Honestly, I felt like a part of the cast very quickly. I had a lot of fun with the cast and crew on the show, and everyone was so helpful and nice.
How is Stranger Things’ sci-fi vibe different from other things you’ve filmed?
It’s very different from anything else I’ve done. I love sci-fi, so that in itself makes it really cool to be a part of. You arrive to set, and realize that the world they created is super detailed. It is truly amazing. Entering the world they have created is a dream as an actor. They give you so much to work with.
Do you have to fake anything on set, like talking to a green screen or something? Tell us about that.
Yes. We used green screen a lot on the show and it was such a great experience. We worked with an amazing special effects team and I learned a lot from working with them. You need to stay really focused and use your imagination when working in front of a green screen. It was a so much fun. Something that was really cool about playing the character is that she “fakes” a lot. She’s a person with whom you can never really know what is real and what is not. She also doesn’t know how to connect with other people but will play on fear and other emotions to get what she wants.
Do you have any advice for young girls/young women of color wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Curiosity and hard work. I think I would tell any young woman the same thing, regardless of her skin color. As actors, our job is to be creative and continue to bring options to the table in terms of great characters and ideas. Other people in the industry are getting paid to evaluate actors and decide what’s going to work for a certain project. It’s not in our power to make these decisions, but actors can inspire the industry to make bold decisions and think beyond ethnicity.
Favorite scary movie/TV show?
BBC’s Sherlock. Andrew Scott Moriarty is TERRIFYING. I LOVE it!
Favorite character on Stranger Things prior to being on the show?
DUSTIN! What a brilliant, original and fun character. I LOVE Gaten’s performance.
Fuzzy blanket or fuzzy socks?
Both — and a cup of tea!
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Photos by Jacqueline Kulla
Hair: Michael Duenas using Garnier at TMG-LA
Make Up: Shannon Pezzetta
Styled by Kourtney Fisher using Revice Denim and Juicy Couture