Billy Hargrove (and his glorious mullet) is back for season 3 of Stranger Things.
Australian actor Dacre Montgomery, who plays the volatile bully in the Netflix series, told E! News his character takes an even darker turn this season.
"That uncontrolled, unhinged side that we get to see this season of Billy was a lot of fun," Montgomery said while in Sydney. "The scale of everything was just incredible."
The 24-year-old star encouraged fans to stick with Billy until the end of season 3, even though they won't always love his behaviour along the way.
"I think they're going to hate him more and more and more until the payoff at the end of the season," Montgomery said. "I can just say the payoff is worth it. Hold out until episode 8 because it's so worth it. I'd love to see the reaction. That's the most I can tease."
Set in the summer of 1985, the next chapter of Stranger Things follows Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and the gang (played by Finn Wolfhard, Noah Schnapp, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Sadie Sink) as they juggle adolescence while fighting strange forces of evil (some old, some new).
This season, Montgomery spent more time working alongside 15-year-old Brown—and learnt a lot from her during shooting.
"She's an old soul. She's got a lot of maturity for her age and I admire that, definitely. She's super committed in the scenes," the Perth-born actor told E! News. "It gets very emotional between us towards the end of the season and I felt like she could really meet me at that level."
For Montgomery, committing to the role of Billy not only involved digging deeper emotionally but also spending five painstaking hours in the hair and makeup chair each day.
"All the little cuts and bruises and scars and stuff that I get over the season that have to be put on every day, it starts to become part of you. Every day you spend two hours getting them off," the Power Rangers star said. "When you finish—as you can see I've got no hair on my arm there—because I've just spent months and months of shaving right in that spot."
Since joining the drama series in season 2 as the step-brother of Max (Sink), Montgomery has only left set once with his mullet still attached.
"The only time I've ever left set in two seasons was between a stills shoot and set to shoot an actual scene," he told E! News. "We went and we had a burger and I was with my mullet, covered in cuts and bruises, bleeding, and we went and sat at the bar at this burger joint with all these metalheads and had some fat double beef burgers. I blended in. We went to the right place, it was great!"
But he did get recognised while travelling in his car between sets.
"I remember driving and this woman on the highway just looking up at our car," Montgomery told E! News. " She's like, oh my god, what's going on? Because I think she recognised me, but then I'm also covered in blood, period costume, but I'm driving a car down the highway in the middle of the day on like a Tuesday. So random. I would have given anything as a kid to see someone in a show that I had been watching doing that."
Stranger Things 3 premieres July 4 on Netflix.