For the Child Stars of Stranger Things, Fame Hasn’t Changed a Thing. Almost.
Since Stranger Things debuted in 2016, the core tween-and-teen members of the cast have handed out peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches during a live Emmys telecast; celebrated ecstatically on national television when they won the Screen Actors Guild Award for best TV drama ensemble; met President Obama, who, according to actress Millie Bobby Brown, told them they were “cool”; appeared before thousands of screaming fans at Comic-Con; been celebrated on social media every time one or more of them does virtually anything semi-adorable; and seen their series get nominated this year for a slew of Emmys, including one for Brown’s performance as the telekinetically powerful Eleven. (The Stranger Things kids will not be on Emmy PB&J duty this year, America.)
Ask the members of this gang of six — that would be Brown, 13; Finn Wolfhard, 14; Gaten Matarazzo, 14; Caleb McLaughlin, 15; Noah Schnapp, 12; and now Sadie Sink, 15, who joins the cast in the forthcoming second season as a skater girl named Max — what feels most different about their lives now versus a year ago, and they’ll mention how often they get recognized in public or how many new followers they’ve gained on Instagram. But otherwise, they insist their day-to-day is mostly the same.
“It’s definitely been affected by the show a big bunch, but it’s not different,” says Brown. “I’m still the same person.” (For the record, during this interview, Brown requested a can of Coke to drink. She did not, however, crush it using her mind.)
“A lot of people consider us famous, but I think we all hate the F-word,” says Matarazzo, who plays Dustin, the one with the infectious grin. “All we are is people doing our job, and our job happens to be in the public eye a lot.”
As improbable as it sounds, given the toxicity that often results from mixing youth with sudden celebrity, the members of the Stranger Things cast come across exactly like their characters on the show: as good, grounded kids who genuinely like and support one another.
During production of the second season of Stranger Things — which took place over eight months in Atlanta starting last fall, under what the cast admits was a lot of pressure to replicate season one’s success — the six actors regularly messaged one another in a group chat they named “Stranger Texts.” They rarely brought their phones to set, though, opting to spend their downtime engaging in more old-fashioned pursuits. “We play cards, we play Monopoly, we play games in the school trailer,” Brown says. “As soon as we’re working, we’re kind of like those ’80s kids again.” They often hung out together off-set, too, taking day trips to Six Flags and trick-or-treating as a unit, which, since they were in costume, mostly enabled them to go unrecognized. “This one kid was like, ‘Are you the cast from Stranger Things?’ ” Brown recalls. “And I was all like, ‘No, I’m Harley Quinn.’ ”
Even outside of filming and their various publicity commitments, the kids stay in touch — though, as is typical in any group dynamic, some one-on-one relationships are closer than others. Brown and Sink, for example, immediately connected as the only two girls of the group and planned a late-summer vacation together with their families. If there’s any latent jealousy between any of them, it’s not apparent. Schnapp — whose character, Will, is absent from much of season one after getting sucked into the Upside Down, the show’s disturbing parallel universe — was sometimes sidelined from the onslaught of media attention in the first season. When asked if that was hard for him, he simply says it’s been nicer in season two, now that Will has a more front-and-center role in the story. Then his castmates immediately jump to his defense.
“Noah wasn’t a part of a lot of the press stuff” last season, says Wolfhard, who plays Mike. “I remember we were super-bummed when we heard that he wasn’t coming to The Tonight Show. But now it’s all cool.”
“And now we have Sadie,” Schnapp says, careful to make sure no one feels left out.
“We really are best friends, I feel like,” says Matarazzo, and Sink jumps in to say: “It’s not an act.”
At least one thing has changed for these kids, Wolfhard concedes. Back home in Vancouver, Canada, he says, “The bullies at my school are kind of afraid of me now. Which is great.”
*This article appears in the August 21, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.
Category: Stranger Things
In Stranger Things’ first season, friends Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) teamed up to find their missing chum Will (Noah Schnapp). Now, with Will safe back at home—though new friend Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) has vanished—things will be a bit different for the group in the aftermath of what they previously faced.
We spoke with the Stranger Things cast in our TV Insider Studios during San Diego Comic-Con 2017—including new addition Sadie Sink, who plays tomboy Max—about working together on the Netflix hit.
Though Stranger Things season 2 is still months away, Netflix is making the wait a little easier for us by offering up its stars for magazine features and TV interviews early. The four main boys of the crew are on the September cover of Nylon Guys, for instance, but what we picked up from their interview was really about the girls of the show. It seems the addition of new girl Max, played by Sadie Sink, was great news to breakout star Millie Bobby Brown.
“She’s a skater, sort of a punk girl, and she slowly becomes part of the group,” Finn Wolfhard (Mike) told Nylon. In a parenthetical, the writer says Brown was “relieved” to have another girl on the set, according to creators Matt and Ross Duffer.
When Sink’s character was first announced, Variety reported that she was “a tomboy with a complicated history and a serious streak.” At San Diego Comic-Con, she explained to Entertainment Weekly that Max just moved to Hawkins from California.
In the Stranger Things season 2 trailer, we can see a glimpse of Max, looking either sullen or uneasy as she slouches in her desk at school.
As little as we know of Max, we know even less of how Brown’s character Eleven will make it back to this side of reality, so it’s impossible to say what kind of scenes the two young actresses will have together. Even if they have none, we can guess doing all that press with one more girl around must be nicer. (No offense to Nancy or Barb, of course — we’re talking core kids’ crew.)
In an interview with Access Hollywood at Comic-Con, Sink described what it was like to join the tight-knit cast.
“It was a little bit daunting at first but we all clicked automatically,” she said. “We all bonded over some little thing. It really worked out perfectly that all of our personalities just really, really clicked, and I’m so lucky to be working with all of them.”
I added this video to the site over the weekend on our SDCC Master Post with all the photos and videos of Millie from the convention, but I thought I would share it again for those who have missed it. It looks so good! Enjoy!
I will be adding all the videos and photos of Millie from San Diego Comic Con in this post throughout the weekend so it’s all in one location. Thanks to my friends Sara, Mary, and Carol for a few images.
I will add images and videos as they surface.
2017: July 22 – SDCC – Panel
2017: July 22 – SDCC – Sirius XM
2017: July 22 – SDCC – TV Guide
2017: SDCC Photo Session (Portraits)
2017: SDCC Photo Session (TV Line)
2017: SDCC Photo Session (ET)
2017: SDCC Photo Session (EW)
2017: SDCC Photo Session (BuzzFeed)
2017: SDCC Photo Session (Press Conference)
Click Below For Videos!
Although Game of Thrones has been one of the highest-nominated series in recent years, other dramas didn’t have to worry about competing against the HBO show this time around: The drama wasn’t eligible this year because its sixth season premiere (which is on Sunday) is after the cutoff date.
The category instead included fellow HBO series Westworld — which picked up 22 total nominations — along with AMC’s Better Call Saul, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, NBC’s This Is Us, and Netflix’s House of Cards, Stranger Things, and The Crown.
As for comedies, mainstays like HBO’s Veep and ABC’s Modern Family received the Outstanding Comedy Series nod with ABC’s Black-ish, HBO’s Silicon Valley, FX’s Atlanta, and Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Master of None. Saturday Night Live, too, had a good weekday, tying Westworld with 22 total noms.
The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert, will take place on Sunday, Sept. 17, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live nationwide on CBS.
Best Drama Series
Better Call Saul
The Handmaid’s Tale
House of Cards
This Is Us
Best Supporting Actress in a Drama
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Ann Dowd, The Handmaid’s Tale
Chrissy Metz, This Is Us
Thandie Newton, Westworld
Samira Wiley, The Handmaid’s Tale
As movies increasingly play to a global audience with an endless stream of superhero blockbusters, the television landscape is becoming more varied—and more compelling. But in addition to award-winning movie stars who have made the turn to the small screen, like Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgård, who both starred in Big Little Lies, there are television’s breakout stars, as well. No one embodies this better than Millie Bobby Brown, who plays the otherworldly Eleven on Netflix’s Stranger Things. Now 13, Brown is one of the hottest rising stars in the world. Here, the young actress talks about how her life has changed since the premiere of Stranger Things, who she has a crush on, and what’s next.
Did you always want to be an actress?
Yes always. I wanted to be a singer when I was three. I just started like humming, and I was really bad, and then I just started to like train myself. And then when I went to an acting school I realized I wanted to act as well. I started auditioning when I was 8 years old and I’m now 13.
Were there any movies or shows that inspired you?
Let me think there’s so, so many – I love the musicals. Musicals had everything I loved in them. They would have singing, acting and dancing. High School Musical was a big part of my childhood. Like I just watched it every single day and got toys, like of the microphone, of them singing. I was obsessed.
And now you’ve met Zac Efron
I did yes. I met Zac Efron at a project I was doing for Calvin Klein.
What were three the songs you loved to sing when you were younger?
“Valerie” by Amy Winehouse.
Did you also do, “Rehab”?
That one my dad would not allow. Amy Winehouse is my go-to, and Rihanna was pretty big at the time, too. “Diamonds,” “We Found Love.” It just kind of like got me going in the morning when I had to go school.
What was the first audition you remember getting?
It was a Publix commercial. I went in there and I had no idea what I was doing. I just was like okay, “Hi my name is…” I was really boring. And then I had to hold cupcakes and say like, “Mom can I please have some chocolate chip cupcakes,” or something like that. And the guy actually grabbed my face, and then grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the audition and then said, “Where is your father?” “Where is your mother?” And started looking at all my parents, all the parents and my dad was like, “Uh, I’m her dad.” He was like, “She’s got the job, she’s got the job.” And I was like, “Okay, okay.” And like immediately I got the job. I was immediately happy and I was just very content and blessed. Like immediately I knew that I was just born to do this.
And did you do school plays, as well?
Nope, I have never done a school play in my life. I would love to do a show on Broadway or you know, but I’ve just never gotten the chance or the opportunity to do it. But I had like I have done many auditions for Annie and, Matilda. I had to learn all the songs and then they’re like, “We don’t want you.” So it was like, “Okay well at least I know the songs.”
I thought you would be brilliant as Matilda. And what was the audition for Stranger Things like?
The audition for Stranger Things was, it was like a hurry-up, no it was like a wait-hurry-up. I had no idea what I was auditioning for. It was just a roller coaster, I had no idea what I was doing. They gave me script, I read the script, they asked me back four times for an audition and then I Skyped with the directors and we talked about ’80s movies and E.T. and _Stand by M_e, Poltergeist, and I immediately fell in love with these directors and they were so young and I was so surprised by how like they were just geniuses.
And you had already seen Poltergeist?
Yeah, I watched all the movies prior, so it was pretty easy to relate to them. And then they said, “Would you like to come out to L.A.?” So I flew to L.A. for a screen test with one of the other cast members, Finn Wolfhard, and the next day I got the job.
Did you know anything about the character before the screen test?
Well, one of the directors came up to me and said, “Bzzzzzz” over my head and I didn’t know what he was talking about. I was like, “Okay he’s crazy. We clearly know which one is crazy.” And then the director was like, “Are you ready?” And I was like, “For what?” And then they said, “To cut all your hair off.” And I was like, “Oh okay. Um, all right.” And then the next day I got the job and I was like, “You know what I’m going to cut it, that’s it.”
That was a big decision.
Yeah, but it’s only hair and at the end of the day, people don’t give it really a chance to make a decision to lose their hair and I did, so I wanted to embrace it and inspire people like Charlize Theron. I just thought, “Why not let’s try something new.” And it’s a different place, [it filmed in] Atlanta and I’ve never been there and, and I have no hair and I got called a “boy” a lot and I got called “John” a lot and I just accepted it. It was very fun and it was a different experience and very unique, but I enjoyed it a lot.
What was it like for you after the show started airing?
I was back in England and then I went to the premiere. The premiere was kind of crazy. Everybody was like, “The show is really good” and I was like, “Okay,” like I don’t know what you’re talking about, this is just a little show in Atlanta, Georgia. And then three days later my whole life changed. My followers went up to a million and I was on you know magazines. And I never be, I never thought I’d be able to do all this stuff, but like when I go home every night I just remember the times where I would like walk on the street and everybody just sort of freak with the no hair. You know, nobody knew who I was. Them times were that like that, that times were good, but nothing like it is now and I’m just so grateful for everything I have and my family are still with me and we’re still going strong.
Is it odd to go back to shooting the show?
Yes it’s very odd. We’re all the same from the first season. We all act the same. We’re always learning something new. You know, I’m so young and still I have no idea what things are. So it’s like I’m not thinking I know it everything. Like I’ve experienced so many things. I’ve been in fashion shows and shoots all the time, but I still get nervous and I still feel anxious.
You’re great at a party.
I love parties! Noah kind of just lets me do the talking so I’ll just go in front I’ll be make say “Hi Ryan Gosling nice to meet you. I’m Millie.” [Laughs] And they would just be like, “Hi,” and I’m “These are my castmates.” So it’s like easier for them.
Who do you have a crush on other than Zac Efron?
I mean, I don’t really know there’s so many people you could have crushes on. What is a real crush people? You know? What crushes you? Because if you really, if you define the word “crush” it’s a negative word.
I think it’s a positive word.
Is it a positive word?
Yeah. Well your heart feels crushed.
I don’t know. Your heart feels crushed.
So, who do you think?
Leonardo DiCaprio. In everything. In general I just I love him. I think he’s a great actor.
Aren’t you too young for Titanic?
No, no, no I think everybody has seen Titanic. Have you seen Titanic? You’ve seen Titanic.
Of course I’ve seen Titanic.
Everybody has seen Titanic. You know who is my woman crush?
Paris Jackson. Because she’s awesome. She’s got great style. She’s a great person. Love the hair. She’s awesome and she plays the piano.
Really? Have you met her?
Yes. That’s why. She’s like my sister, but she’s awesome, yeah.
So what are you doing next after the show? Do you have other, not after today, but are, do you have other movies, TV, documentaries, song festivals lined up?
Yes. I’m going todo my first ever movie, which is Godzilla. So it’s really exciting.
Have you seen Godzilla?
Yes. Not the originals, though. The originals like you have to get on a special website, so I watched the last one with Bryan Cranston it was so good.
And are you going straight from this movie or you go back to England in between?
Straight from this movie I’m going to be I think I’m just going to be doing a little press for the show. And we have the whole Emmys thing… I’m so excited. I think the most important thing for the Emmys right now is what I’m wearing. That is actually one of the priorities.
And what are you wearing?
Oh I have no idea. Mostly probably Calvin Klein by Appointment, so I think it’s going to be that, but overall I’m super excited.
The TCA Awards recognize outstanding television programming in the 2016-2017 season, honoring actors, producers and programs in a variety of categories, including news and information, youth, reality, drama and comedy.
For the second consecutive year, HBO is in the lead with 12 nominations; FX has 11; Netflix has 10; NBC has seven; Hulu has four; ABC and PBS have three; Amazon, Disney and Showtime each have two; and A&E, AMC, BBC America, CBS, CNN, ESPN, and TBS finish with one.
“This was truly a landmark season for diversity in television, and the TCA nominations reflect this. Our members have chosen a variety of series that celebrate and represent a wide spectrum of performances,” said TCA President Amber Dowling. “With so many great programs—both new and returning—it was a real challenge for our members to whittle these nominees down. We’re excited to see which programs and performers make the cut as voting now gets underway to determine the TV standouts of the 2016-17 season.”
The winners will be announced at the invitation-only presentation on Saturday, August 5, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Read the full list of nominees here.
OUTSTANDING NEW PROGRAM
“The Crown,” Netflix
“The Good Place,” NBC
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu
“Stranger Things,” Netflix
“This Is Us,” NBC
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMA
“Better Call Saul,” AMC
“Stranger Things,” Netflix
“The Americans,” FX (2015 & 2016 Winner in Category)
“The Crown,” Netflix
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu
“This Is Us,” NBC
PROGRAM OF THE YEAR
“Big Little Lies,” HBO
“Stranger Things,” Netflix
“The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu
“The Leftovers,” HBO
“This Is Us,” NBC
I’ve added 80 high quality photos of Millie and the Stranger Things cast at the FYC event a couple days ago. She and the cast looked darling. I’ve also added a scan from Variety magazine thanks to my friend Mary. Enjoy!
I’ve added photos of Millie from Deadline magazine. Thanks to my friend Mary for these.