Before Billy came to Hawkins, Troy was perhaps the most feared school bully on Stranger Things. Brought to life by actor Peyton Wich, Troy took part in two of the most memorable scenes from the first season of the Netflix series, including the now-iconic quarry showdown with Eleven. Daily Dead recently had the pleasure of catching up with Wich for our latest Q&A feature, in which he discusses his audition process for Stranger Things, memorable moments acting alongside David Harbour and the young actors in the first season, and working with Brendan Gleeson on the Stephen King adaptation Mr. Mercedes.
Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us, Peyton. How did you originally become interested in acting?
Peyton Wich: I participated in a variety of activities when I was younger, but I always quit. Nothing ever interested me. I would watch a lot of movies in my room and act out the characters. My parents were my first audience when I would come out of my room to “perform” for them. It was the love of the movies that made me declare to my parents that I wanted to be actor in film and television. They signed me up for acting classes for the next year.
One of your first experiences in the film world was being an extra on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. What interested you the most about being on that set?
Peyton Wich: I took the job as an extra so I could get a feel of what it was all about. I was very impressed with the guys that wore blue motion capture suits shooting assault rifles. The scenery on that set was absolutely beautiful. It was a great experience for me, being that it was my first set experience.
You left quite a memorable impression with your role as Troy on season 1 of Stranger Things. What was the audition process like for that series?
Peyton Wich: The audition process for Stranger Things took about three months. I originally auditioned for the role of Mike, then the role of James, and finally Troy. I then had a callback in Atlanta for Troy and a few days later found out that I booked it.
You had some great scenes on Stranger Things playing the bully of Mike and his friends. Two scenes in particular really stand out: the gymnasium scene when Eleven first uses her powers on you and the quarry scene when Eleven breaks your arm. What was it like working with Millie Bobby Brown and the other young actors to establish the genuine tension in those scenes?
Peyton Wich: It was great working with all of the kids. We had a really great time working together and I made some great friends. In the gym scene, Finn and I agreed that he would push me really hard so that the scene would look very real. And it worked! The quarry scene was really filmed on the edge of a cliff, so it didn’t take much to have tension that day. But we just acted our parts and when they yelled “cut,” we sat around and had hot chocolate to warm up. So, there really wasn’t any real tension.
On Stranger Things, you also got to work a little bit with Winona Ryder and David Harbour, who will play the new Hellboy. Did you learn anything about the craft of acting from Harbour, Ryder, or any of the other veteran actors on set?
Peyton Wich: I did have the opportunity to work with David Harbour in the police station scene. He is one of those actors that stays in character even when the camera isn’t rolling and I found that really cool. I did not have the opportunity to work with Wynona, but maybe someday in the future.
When you look back at your time on Stranger Things, is there a favorite or funny moment that stands out?
Peyton Wich: There are so many, but it was when I first met Gaten [Matarazzo], who plays Dustin. It was my first day on set and he came to introduce himself to me. He then said, “You know you have to pee your pants and hold a knife to my throat?” I didn’t have those scripts yet and thought that was so funny.
We didn’t see Troy in season 2 of Stranger Things, but I think it would be fun to see him pop up again in a future season. Would you be interested in reprising the role, and what do you think Troy would be like if we got to see him again?
Peyton Wich: Of course I would love to play him again. It would be so much fun, especially if Troy had some great character development! I would have him still be evil but this time more charismatic.
Another memorable role you recently played was Danny Wilcox in the Stephen King adaptation Mr. Mercedes. What did you enjoy about working on that project?
Peyton Wich: I enjoyed working with Brendan Gleeson on the set of Mr. Mercedes. I enjoyed his humor. He joked around about why I was really jumping the fence. Lol. Being in South Carolina was also an amazing experience. I’ve never been there before and we were able to take a few tours on my days off.
I read that one of your acting coaches is Jeremy London, who has been in many great projects over the years. What have you learned from London that has helped you with your performances?
Peyton Wich: I have been coached by Jeremy a number of times to prepare me for auditions. He has given me great tips for auditioning and helped me with a Russian accent once. That was very hard, but he helped with that so much!
When you’re not acting, what do you like to do to pass the time?
Peyton Wich: While not acting, I like to listen to music, play video games on my Xbox, hang out with friends, go camping, and of course, catch up on my sleep.
You have a lot of anticipated films coming up in the next couple of years. What can you tease about your upcoming projects, and where can our readers follow you online to keep up to date on all of your work?
Peyton Wich: I can’t really tease much about the projects coming up, but I can say I have some great projects coming up in 2018. Most of them are thrillers and were so much fun to work on. One is The Darkest Minds, coming to theaters in September! You can follow me on social media. Instagram (peyton_wich), Facebook (Peyton Wich) and Twitter (@PeytonWich). All of my projects are listed on IMDb also.