"Unless you see a body, the character's not dead"
Matthew Modine has revealed he is “absolutely” still keen to return to Stranger Things.
Modine starred in season one of the Netflix hit as Dr. Brenner, the manipulative director of a research lab who forced Millie Bobby Brown’s Eleven to participate in his mind power experiments spying on the Russians.
Dr. Brenner appeared to be killed by the Demogorgon in season one, but an orderly told Eleven and Kali (Linnea Berthelsen) in season two that he is still alive. The third and most recent season of the show features a shadowy glimpse of an unnamed American in a Russian jail cell, and some fans have suggested that it could be Dr. Brenner.
“I love that the fans are trying to figure out where Dr. Brenner is, because we’re all wondering, you know, is he in the Upside Down? Did the Demogorgon drag him away? Is he going to re-emerge?” Modine told NME in response to this theory. “And the show’s creators, the Duffer Brothers, have said that unless you see a body, the character’s not dead. And obviously we never saw Dr. Brenner’s body.”
After noting that Stranger Things has recently “started filming again in this new COVID age, which complicates everything in film production”, Modine confirmed that he would “absolutely” reprise his role if asked to do so by the Duffer Brothers.
The actor also explained why he wants to believe that “Dr. Brenner isn’t as bad as some of the fans think he is”.
“What did he do that’s so bad?” Modine asked rhetorically. “I’ve watched the show, and I don’t think Dr. Brenner ever killed anybody. [Whereas] Millie Bobby Brown – Eleven – killed two interns in the hospital and killed the people in the hamburger shop. Then she flipped a van – and you’d imagine this probably killed the people who were in that van.”
Modine continued: “She’s broken a kid’s arm, she’s knocked a girl off a skateboard with her mind. You know, maybe all it is is that Dr. Brenner knows how powerful Eleven is and his concern is this: what happens if she gets in the hands of someone that’s truly evil?”
Modine also discussed what attracted him to his latest film, the stirring drama Miss Virginia. Based on a true story, it follows a determined working-class mother, Virginia Walden (Uzo Aduba), as she teams with re-energized Congressman Cliff Williams (Modine) to lobby for more choices when it comes to her son’s education.
“I think education is one of – if not the – most important things we can give our children,” said Modine, himself a father-of-two. “What happens in Miss Virginia is that [Uzo Aduba’s character] sees the public education system is a problem, and that it actually costs less to go to a private school than what is invested for each child into the public education system.”
He continued: “What she’s fighting for is the right to say, ‘Let me take the money that you’re spending on [my child’s] public education and let me spend it on a private education that’s better for him.’ It’s a very simple story, but [the characters] really have to fight hard for what they want.”
Miss Virginia is available on streaming platforms from today (October 5)