Millie Bobby Brown so entranced audiences in the role of Eleven in the breakout, Netflix hit Stranger Things, that it might be difficult for some viewers to see the actress in any other role. However, to do that would be to wholesale dismiss one of the finest and versatile actresses we have today. While her credits may not be lengthy, this Emmy winning performer has already accomplished more at 13 (she’s 17 now) than many thespians achieve in a whole career.
As special of a role as Eleven is, it’s also part of a special show in Stranger Things. As much as people love it and want to glean more information about where the show is going (splitting the characters up at the end of last season was a stroke of genius, by the way), it certainly isn’t going to make legions of fans not notice that Brown is returning to the character of Madison Russell in the much hyped Godzilla vs. Kong. So lets take a brief, but interesting, stroll down memory lane into some of the other characters Millie Bobby Brown has so memorably embodied.
Once Upon A Time In Wonderland
In a cast that includes everybody from John Lithgow (as The White Rabbit) to Iggy Pop (as The Caterpillar), Brown does some solid (if not brief) work here as the Young Alice who goes on amazing adventure once she enters the rabbit hole. Initially set in Victorian times, this show moves through different periods to offer a different look at the Alice In Wonderland story. Brown captures the innocence and naïveté that Alice has before “going down the rabbit hole,” but she also possesses a quality that lets you know she isn’t going to be deterred on her adventure. She wants to figure things out and ultimately return to a more normal setting. This show only ran for one season and Brown would eventually trade the adventures of a Alice for the Upside Down. However, in her 2 episodes on this show she left an indelible mark that would ultimately be realized a short time later.
On the face of it, Netflix’s Enola Holmes might seem like an odd film for Brown to do especially on the heels of Stranger Things. When you actually watch the show it becomes increasingly apparent why the actress took this role. Brown plays the teen sister to the most famous detective ever, Sherlock Holmes. Early in the story, their mother (the always grand Helena Bonham Carter) goes missing and Enola soon takes up the cause of finding her. This actually puts her on a collision course with brother Sherlock (played by Henry Cavill), and eventually brings Enola into the mysterious world of Lord Tewkesbury (Louis Partridge). As you can guess there’s a lot of quick twists and turns in this story, and Brown does a terrific job of carrying this two hour film. In addition to this, she also seems very comfortable in the milieu of 1800s England.
Playing the role of Rachel Barnes for an episode, Millie Bobby Brown was 10 years old when she appeared on this long running show from 2003. The episode is titled “Parental Guidance Suggested” and the plot sees Barnes (Brown) helping Gibbs (Mark Harmon) obtain information about her dead mother. Initially, it looks like the killing is the work of terrorists. As Gibbs works the case he soon realizes that there are even bigger players in the woman’s murder. Now, Brown might’ve only been on this show for an episode but it’s quite clear that even at that stage of her nascent career she had the goods. Holding her own with a show that boasts multiple seasons for any actor is a tough hill to climb. That Brown did it at such a young age probably gave the Stranger Things creators reason to believe that she could certainly handle (and elevate) their material.
Brown appeared on this show for one episode titled, “I Feel the Earth Move” during Season 11 in the role of Ruby. In the show her mom had gotten sick after there’s an earthquake. Ruby then spends the majority of the episode talking with Dr. Owen Hunt (Kevin McKidd) until she and her mother are eventually given the help they need. Considering that she was only 11 when she played this part, Brown really has to be given credit for so deftly handling such material. It’s one thing to play the role of a scared child. It’s another to play the role of a child trying to save a parent. All of this is handled with ease as Brown showed here and of course later in her career. There’s a mysterious quality to Millie Bobby Brown. This is no doubt due to how well she played the role of the Eleven on Stranger Things. However, she brings so much gravitas at 11 and a very nuanced performance, that it really is fairly miraculous to see her act in this episode of the ABC hit.
The best part about Millie Bobby Brown being on this show is that we see her in a comedy. Don’t get me wrong, projects like Stranger Things and Enola Holmes featured funny moments that were naturally built into the material. At the same time, if you want a good laugh I don’t think that you would put on either of those things. Again, Brown was only on this show for an episode and, to be very honest, she’s not in the episode for very long. However, if you like Modern Family and Millie Bobby Brown, why wouldn’t you want to be a completist and see her shine here? On this episode in Season 6 titled, “Closet? You’ll Love It”, she plays a young lady who has her bike stolen by none other than Manny (Rico Rodriguez). As I mentioned, this is a quick scene and it’s not like you’re going to see something brilliant happen, but it’s a quick notice for fans of the actress that she can play just about anything.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
As Madison Russell in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Millie Bobby Brown did fine work dealing with such a massive franchise that has been around since 1954. In this film, Brown plays the daughter of Dr. Mark Russell (Kyle Chandler). Amidst their relationship (as well as the dynamic that mom, Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga), brings) we come to find out that Godzilla is back and this beast is actually going to team up with Mothra to battle the infamous Ghidorah (as well as the legendary Rodan). Honestly, the CGI is the thing here but that doesn’t mean that Madison Russell (or any) character has been left by the wayside. There is an interesting family dynamic between the Russell’s that plays out over the course of the film. Steeped in loss from previous family event, Brown is at the center of all this as her precocious character essentially reawakens her families purpose in life. Again, the actress was more than up to the task in this film and it stands to reason that in Godzilla Vs Kong she is going to get a bit more screen time along with her CGI counterparts.
Of all the roles talked about on this list I saved Millie Bobby Brown’s magnificent turn as Eleven for last. Why? Well, aside from the fact that just about everybody knows Brown from this role, anybody reading this article already probably knows the story of Stranger Things. This tale of the sleepy town of Hawkins, Indiana being home to crazy experiments that deal heavily in both the paranormal and parallel universes, is now the stuff of groundbreaking television lore. Brown, initially with a shaved head, played a very mysterious character who we come to find out was a victim of such experiments. This says nothing of the mysterious appearance of Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) that leads a group of adventurous teens down the rabbit hole of this town’s greatest secret. While the story has ultimately shifted away from Brown as we move through the seasons, she is certainly still one of the main stars and truly plays her role with incredible sharpness and strength. The best part as that we, literally, get to see Brown/Eleven grow up in this real/cinematic world and its makes for another layer of intricacy that Brown is extremely well suited to handle. Stranger Things is a cultural touchstone. It’s the kind of project that Brown really brought a lot to, and one can only wonder how she will play her role in Godzilla vs. Kong as well as whatever else comes her way in the future.
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