The 2018 GQ TV Actor of the Year reveals his character, the menacing Billy Hargrove, plays a major role in the forthcoming season of cult Netflix series Stranger Things.
Dacre Montgomery has just had the most fulfilling week of his entire career. “There was a 25-page scene we had to shoot in four days, I flew back to Atlanta just for it,” the 24-year-old actor explains. “All of my scenes are pretty much done now. I walked off-set and… to feel that fulfilled – as an actor and
a human being – it was incredible.”
We believe him, too. After all, Montgomery has had some time to reflect – he’s currently back in Perth, where he grew up and where he’s based when he’s not in Atlanta filming the third season of prodigious Netflix series Stranger Things. “I’m keeping healthy in my mind and my body,” he tells GQ.
“Of all things, where I’m sitting right now – here in Perth – allows me to keep healthy like that. It lets me have regular structure because there’s not any film industry here. There are no voices around me going, ‘Do this, do that’. I come back here to take stock. I think you need to do that or you can take it for granted. But in Perth, I don’t.”
As far as ascents to fame go, Montgomery’s has been meteoric in such a way that only a chiselled twenty-something playing a textbook bad boy on Netflix’s hottest show could be. When Montgomery joined the cast of Stranger Things, at the dawn of the groundbreaking show’s second season, stardom was basically a shoo-in for the young actor.
That’s not to undermine his talent. Montgomery’s portrayal of the villainous Billy Hargrove is confronting, visceral and a little uncomfortable to watch – three traits integral to every great villain. But his ability to engross himself in such a powerful character could also double as his biggest challenge.
Besides his role in the 2017 big-screen adaptation of Power Rangers, which received lukewarm reviews but made some $200m at the box office, Stranger Things was our first real introduction to Montgomery. It’s been a strong first impression. And as they say, first impressions count.
“I think about it a lot,” he says, when we bring into question life after Billy. “I’m thinking, ‘How am I going to match this character with other equally interesting characters?’ I think it’ll have to be something completely different. Something that will concrete me in other ways and show a more multi-dimensional act.” Continue reading “GQ Men of the Year Interview & Photoshoot”
Dacre is featured CR Men’s Book #6. Check out the interview and photoshoot!
From the big moment the actor Dacre Montgomery is introduced as Billy Hargrove in the second season of Stranger Things—stepping out of a Camaro in the parking lot of Hawkins High School to the perfectly unsubtle soundtrack of the Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane”—the 23-year-old from Perth, Western Australia, makes it clear he should be a star. Montgomery gives an undeniable performance as Hargrove, a sweet-faced villain-heartthrob with a mullet, a pendant earring, and a daddy complex, who colognes his crotch and laughs when he’s punched in the face. Even Montgomery’s audition tape for the role, which he shared with GQ, became a viral sensation for its committed intensity and shirtless ’80s dancing (in an off-camera G-string, it was revealed).
“It’s been great, man. I’m extremely grateful,” Montgomery says, calling from Perth, where he has spent the bulk of his time since just after the show’s premiere. “It’s been good to be home for the last five weeks, being in a calm space rather than the center of all of this amazing chaos in the States. I’ve been doing a lot of script reading and writing and exercising and having a lot of time for friends and family, trying to find the right next thing before we go into shooting season three.”
He is about to begin filming director Justin Kurzel’s The True History of the Kelly Gang, opposite Russell Crowe, about the 19th-century Australian outlaw bushranger Ned Kelly. Before Stranger Things, Montgomery’s breakout role was in the 2017 feature film reboot Power Rangers, playing fallen star quarterback Jason Scott, the Red Ranger. Both parts called on the graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts to consider his physique, if in different ways.
“I did Power Rangers last year and the workout regime was super intense—a crazy three hours a day and meal plans—which was probably the best condition I’ve ever been in. But for [Stranger Things], I took a step back,” he says. “I feel like guys in the ’80s weren’t super-shredded and health-conscious, so I just did a lot of boxing and my diet was not as good, which made for a more realistic kind of body. So I’m a bit chubbier around the edges.”
The disciplined Montgomery typically does some type of two-and-a-half-hour workout every day. “Watching it back I was a little bit self- conscious,” he admits. “Growing up, I was a very fat kid and I didn’t lose weight, or try to lose weight, until just before university, so there was a part of me that was very self-conscious that the whole world is seeing this pudgier version of me than was in Power Rangers.”
He recognizes that when a young person is overweight, there is often a piece of that experience that stays with them throughout their life, even if they’ve swanned and become a beautiful, validated, cut-up adult. “I’ll take that with me forever,” he says. “I wasn’t an attractive kid in school. Girls weren’t interested in me. I’m not trying to say it like it’s some big sob story, but it does inform who you are and your values and what you care about.”
Despite several Instagram posts during his Power Rangers regimen, Montgomery is not a proponent of shirtless gym selfies. “The photos of me that are online were shirtless progress shots that were taken by my trainers. But yeah, I don’t know,” he says and laughs. “I kind of had a big wig-out moment in L.A. I was included in this sexiest man column but it was like the abs column, with a bunch of others like LeBron and Bieber and they had all taken these gym selfies and I was like, I don’t know how I feel about this! But to each their own. And I wouldn’t get in the gym if I didn’t care about it a little bit even if I try to play it off right now as if I don’t.”
Speaking of Instagram, Montgomery takes a designed approach to his page. “I fully put way too much thought into it,” he admits. He sometimes employs blank white placeholder posts that—after his following ballooned to 1,800,000 as a result of Stranger Things—can receive nearly 60,000 likes, always a fascinating phenomenon. “It’s crazy,” he says and laughs. “I get messages from my friends overseas who will screenshot the white square and be like, ‘Dude, what the hell is going on?’”
But Montgomery is serious about design. He recently completed an internship with the L.A.–based celebrity interior designer Adam Hunter and has announced they will partner to open a restaurant in L.A in the next two years. He follows only one Instagram account, his own, for a project called Dacre Home or DKMH, which he is working to launch soon and is not yet ready to discuss. With precisely zero posts, the account has already accrued 18,000-plus followers.
“Stranger Things” star Dacre Montgomery arrived in Hawkins, Indiana, only to rile everyone and everything up — but what’s in store for his character in Season 3?
During TheWrap’s interview with the Australian actor, Montgomery was asked whether Billy will become a vessel of sorts for the monster in the third season of the hit Netflix show.
“That’s really interesting — you mean using my body as a host?” he responded. “I don’t know, I don’t want to speculate too much. I feel like the Duffers [co-creators Matt and Ross Duffer] are so great, that they’re going to have all kind of things up their sleeves. I’m excited to see where it goes.”
In Season1, Steve Harrington (played by Joe Keery) was the “bad guy” in Hawkins, but Season 2 finds him in a completely different — and far more likable — place. Meanwhile, Montgomery’s character, Billy, filled the role of the human antagonist quickly, an idea that Stephen King has incorporated into many of his works … a human villain who is just as bad as the supernatural ones.
“Billy is so emasculated by Steve or is threatened by Steve because he holds this alpha male role in the little bubble that is Hawkins,” Montgomery said. “I don’t think you can just be a bad person — I don’t think Steve is a bad person.”
Montgomery didn’t have to do much convincing to get the role of the character that donned an eccentric mohawk wig. Of course, we all remember that wonderful audition tape that made the rounds earlier this month via GQ.
“I just cared about something, and I cared about it a lot and I was trying to find something different,” Montgomery said.
The Duffer Brothers have confirmed a third and possibly fourth season of the hit supernatural show, and we can’t wait to see what Billy gets up to when the upcoming season rolls around.