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Netflix’s ‘Stranger Things’ Casting Team Thought Sadie Sink Was Too ‘Old’ To Play Max … at 14

Sadie Sink as Max and Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in Netflix's Stranger Things.

Sadie Sink revealed that she had to “beg” for the role of Max Mayfield after Netflix’s Stranger Things casting team initially thought she was too old to play the character, despite her being just 14 years old—playing a 13-year-old character.

Sink has starred as Max in the series since season 2. In her first season, she is a young girl who has moved to Hawkins with her step-brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery) and their parents. She quickly catches the attention of the Hawkins boys, especially Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), for boasting the highest score on an arcade game. Once she’s officially in their group, she becomes involved in their investigation of the supernatural events in Hawkins.

By season 3, she has bonded with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and is dating Lucas. Her storyline changes drastically, though, when her brother is killed by the Mind Flayer. In season 4, which premiered on Netflix on May 27, 2022, Stranger Things poignantly explores her grief. Overcome by grief, which is exacerbated by her complicated relationship with Billy, Max has broken up with Lucas and begun to isolate herself. As the season continues, we find she is struggling with guilt and regret, and wishes she could switch places with Billy.

As a result, she becomes a target for the season’s villain, Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower). Knowing what he does to his victims, she prepares for her death. However, at the last moment, she is drawn back to reality by music and fights her way out of the Upside Down. Afterwards, she willingly makes herself a target of Vecna, baiting him so her friends can attack him. This time, though, she only barely survives Vecna’s attack and remains comatose at the end of the season. Her performance is so powerful, particularly in “Dear Billy,” that many fans have called for her to receive an Emmy nomination.

Stranger Things casting team thought Sink was too old for Max

In an interview with Fashion Magazine, Sink revealed the surprising reason she almost wasn’t cast as Max. When she auditioned for the role, the casting team had reservations about her because of her age. They felt she was too old for the role of Max, at the age of 14. This led to her having to beg to move forward in the audition process and prove herself. The casting team relented and had her audition with Gaten Matarazzo (Stranger Things’ Dustin) and McLaughlin. The next day, she got the role.

While it’s understandable that actors and actresses generally have to fit into a certain age range, it is still pretty odd to think that 14 is too old play a pre-high schooler. By season 2, the majority of the main kids were roughly 12–13 years old in the show. Meanwhile, Sink wasn’t even the oldest of the group, with McLaughlin being nearly half a year older than her—not to mention Charlie Heaton and Natalia Dyer portray characters in the series who are about 10 years younger than their real-life ages.

While the Stranger Things casting team was likely just being thorough, it’s pretty clear Sink wasn’t too old to portray Max. Fortunately, the casting team ultimately made the right decision to cast Sink, as she truly owns her role as Max.

(via: People, featured image: Netflix)

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Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.