‘Stranger Things’: Robert Englund Reveals the Role He Lost Before Playing Victor Creel
Stranger Things Season 4 introduces Robert Englund as the older Victor Creel. But according to the legendary actor, it wasn’t the first role he wanted to play in the horror series. Englund recently revealed he auditioned for a part in season 3 of the Netflix hit. But ultimately, that role went to another veteran actor.
Robert Englund is best known for playing Freddy Krueger
Englund is an American actor who began his career at a young age, performing in various school productions. As a college student, he trained with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and went on to perform in regional theater.
In 1983, Englund landed a recurring role as Willie in the sci-fi TV miniseries V. He reprised the role for the sequels — V: The Final Battle and V: The Series. The actor also appeared in films such as The Fifth Floor, Dead and Buried, and Galaxy of Terror.
Despite being a classically trained actor, Englund took on the role of Freddy Krueger in Wes Craven’s 1984 horror movie A Nightmare on Elm Street. He portrayed the character in all seven installments of the franchise and is now considered a horror movie legend.
Robert Englund failed his ‘Stranger Things’ Season 3 audition but calls Victor Creel ‘a much better fit’
In Stranger Things Season 4, Robert Englund plays the old, imprisoned version of Victor Creel. But in a recent interview, the actor revealed he initially tried out for the part of Mayor Larry Kline — a role that went to The Princess Bride star Cary Elwes. According to Englund, the reason he didn’t get the role was likely because of how he played it during the audition, Collider reports.
“I probably went the wrong way with the character or something, and I really wanted to be on the show,” Englund recalled. “I know that they said to me, ‘Read it like the mayor from Jaws.’ I immediately thought of the plaid jacket and sunglasses and kind of a corrupt Southern thing, and that’s probably not what they wanted at all. But when they said the mayor in Jaws to me, that’s what I saw in my mind’s eye, so I probably canceled myself out with that audition.”
Englund was admittedly “disappointed” that he didn’t get the part. But somehow — either through his agent or casting director — he was asked to read for Victor Creel for Stranger Things Season 4.
“I crawled into my bathtub with an old bathrobe on, and my wife sat on the toilet seat and filmed me with her smartphone. And I sent it in, and I got a pretty quick response,” the 75-year-old actor recalled. “I was really grateful when they contacted me again for season 4, and that’s a much better fit.”
‘Stranger Things’ Season 4 pays homage to ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’
Stranger Things Season 4 is far scarier than previous installments and has more of a horror film feel. According to the show’s creators, brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, that terrifying tone draws inspiration from Englund’s A Nightmare on Elm Street movies.
“We’re always trying something different each season to make sure the show is evolving,” Matt Duffer told Netflix. “And that comes naturally in a lot of ways because our kids are growing up. It’s funny, I can’t even actually call them ‘kids’ — they’re basically young adults now.
“We thought this was a good year to put them in what is basically a horror film,” he continued. “What the teens are dealing with, especially in the Hawkins storyline, is a full-fledged Nightmare on Elm Street-esque horror film. A lot of that has to do with the new villain this year, a more humanoid-looking monster in the vein of classic supernatural serial killers. That’s another huge defining factor for this season.”
Hopefully, viewers will see more of Robert Englund when volume 2 drops. The final episodes of Stranger Things Season 4 hit Netflix on July 1.