What happens when a young boy disappears? His mother starts talking to Christmas lights, his friends go crazy and the residing police chief goes on a solo gung-ho mission to uncover the truth about the town’s strange happenings.
Netflix has a major knack for producing winning shows and this is particularly evident with Stranger Things. The masterful show was actually green-lighted to be produced within 24-hours of The Duffer Brothers pitching the idea to the popular streaming service. Originally named "Montauk", Stranger Things is inspired by the Montauk Project, which were real psychic experiments performed by the US government between 1971 and 1983 in Montauk, Long Island.
Think of Stranger Things as a kind of cross between human experiments set in the 80’s mixed with The Goonies, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Aliens and of course, It.
Casting the kids also wasn’t an easy task as the Duffer Brothers auditioned exactly 906 boys and 307 girls before settling on our all-time favorite cast: Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven, Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin, Finn Wolfhard as Mike, Caleb McLaughlin as Lucas and Noah Schnapp as Will.
Friends don’t lie and all of these messed up facts about the Stranger Things kids are 100% true.
15 Millie Is Completely Deaf
Millie Bobby Brown is a starlet of many talents. Well before Stranger Things made her star power shoot upwards, Stephen King had actually sung her praises in 2014, tweeting: “Millie Brown, the girl in INTRUDERS, is terrific. Is it my imagination, or are child actors a lot better than they used to be?”
She has known since she was eight years old that acting is her true calling, but her skills go far beyond morphing herself into intense characters on-screen. On top of being able to seamlessly adapt her English accent into an American one, she is also a model, a fashion icon in the making, a rap aficionado and an excellent singer (despite having never taken singing classes).
Shockingly, Millie actually revealed recently that she’s completely deaf in one ear, but that hasn’t stopped her from reaching for the stars: “I just started to sing, and if I sound bad I don't care, because I'm just doing what I love”.
14 Charlie - Addict And Secret Love Child
Whoa, whoa, whoa, there's a lot going on with Charlie Heaton! Although Charlie Heaton is in his 20’s, he does play the 16-year-old Jonathan Byers in the show, so it’s only fitting that he would be included in this list.
On his way to the Stranger Things season 2 premiere party, Charlie Heaton was actually denied entry into the United Stated because trace amounts of cocaine were found in his luggage by drug-sniffing dogs. He luckily wasn’t arrested, but he was promptly sent back to London, forcing him to miss the party. Nothing is conclusive about the story, but it's still major sketchy that even trace amounts were found, especially given some of the pictures that can be found of him on the web.
That's not all though. Almost at the same time, it was also revealed that the 23-year-old has a secret love child with his ex-girlfriend Akiko Matsuura. Turns out that she got pregnant in 2014 while they were both in a band called Comanechi.
13 Dacre Auditioned In A String
Prepare to be amazed. Knowing that the role of Billy in Stranger Things season 2 would be perfect for him, Dacre Montgomery absolutely went above and beyond to make sure that he landed the much coveted role.
He explained his ballsy move, saying: “I made a little short film, with an opening score and title credits and I read both of the scenes I was given...I danced in a g-string to 'Hungry Like The Wolf'. I'm a fan of going against the grain. That audition could have gone one of two ways. I could have never worked in this industry again, but someone, somewhere, saw something.”
Saying he is a fan of “going against the grain” is definitely putting it mildly, but you definitely need to search for Dacre’s insane audition tape on the web yourself. It’s 100% worth watching until the very end. The very last statement he makes in the video where he says: "The name is Billy. Nice to meet you" just goes to show the tremendous power that positive affirmations can have.
On the other end of the auditioning spectrum, Finn Wolfhard, who plays, Mike, actually auditioned from the comfort of his own bed as he was sick at the time.
12 Millie Is Treated Like A 41-Year-Old
After the shocking fall from grace of Harvey Weinstein, followed by Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Matt Lauer and all the others, one would think that anyone would be particularly choosey about their words, especially in reference to a 13-year-old girl. Such isn’t the reality we live in though.
After stepping out to the Stranger Things Season 2 premiere in a black leather dress, a shoulder-length bob and a dab of make-up, Millie began being described by many as having “grown up right before our eyes”, along with other variations of this sentence. As Mara Wilson so eloquently pointed out in her article in Elle magazine, “A 13-year-old girl is not ‘all grown up".
Just recently, W Magazine also named her one of the “Sexiest TV Stars”.
But realizing the damaging effect that headlines can have are only half the battle. Even the Duffer Brothers themselves have stated that although Millie was just 11 during the filming of the first season, they treated her like a “41-year-old Shakespearean actor”. It was only when she came to set covered head to toe in glitter that they remembered her true age.
11 But Millie Isn’t The Only One
Stories of young girls and adult women being sexualized in Hollywood are frighteningly a dime a dozen and boys aren’t immune to this dismaying trend either.
Ali Michael, a 27-year-old model, faced harsh criticism after tweeting a picture of Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike, with the caption: “Not to be weird but hit me up in 4 years @finnwolfhardofficial”.
The tweet didn’t sit well with most fans, who harshly accused the model of sexualizing the teenager and prompting her to apologize the very next day: “It was completely and absolutely a joke but I understand that people have been offended by it,” also adding ‘It was wrong to joke about and I apologise. I do not want Mike from Stranger Things to call me. I hope this clears things up.”
Finn was later quoted saying: “Oh that was nuts. That was gross.”
10 Is Will Byers Gay?
This is hands down one of the most controversial questions and claims to come out in response to Stranger Things. Note: Major season 2 spoiler ahead.
Some would say that the possibility that Noah Schnapp’s character Will might be gay got somewhat swept under the rug in the second season of Stranger Things. For anyone who has already moved onto the second season, it should come as no surprise that Will now plays a major role in the series. Unlike in the first season, he’s alive and present in the correct dimension.
The heavy insinuation in the first season that Will Byers might be gay has had fans majorly obsessed with the idea.The fact that he might be isn't messed up, but what is messed up is that this conversation is even happening on the level that it is. Rather than asking if Will Byers is gay, the better question should instead be: why can’t he be?
9 Caleb’s Inappropriate Favorite Game
Kids are no strangers to video games. Many grow up avid gamers and can outplay most adults. But what about the fact that one of Caleb McLaughlin’s, who plays Lucas, favorite game is Grand Theft Auto V. On the surface, it doesn’t sound all that noteworthy, but what about when you consider the fact that the game would have come out when he was just 12-year-old?
It’s true that lots of 12-year-old play video games and many start playing even earlier than that, but GTA V is specifically rated M, “for mature players 17 and over”. It’s also actually rated 18+ in other parts of the world.
The game itself is a masterpiece, but there is something to be said about the amount of violence and sexual content is unavoidable and is deeply entrenched into what this game is all about. On the plus side, his other favorite games are a little more appropriate: Destiny and NBA 2K.
8 It’s All Sadie’s Fault
Note: Again, if you don’t want a spoiler, then this point should be skipped entirely.
In the final episode of the Stranger Things’ second season, Max and Lucas share a kiss. It’s a sweet moment, but one that is incredibly ruined by the scene's gross truth.
During an episode of Beyond Stranger Things, Sadie Sink, who plays Max, voiced her shock at learning that she would have to do an on-screen kiss on the spot without any time to prepare for it. She explained: “One of you, I think it was you Ross, you say, ‘Ooh, Sadie, you ready for the kiss?’ I’m like, ‘What! No! That’s not in the script … that’s not happening”.
But their reaction to the backlash didn’t sit well with fans either. When asked about it, Ross Duffer stated: “You reacted so strongly to this. I was just joking, And you were so freaked out that I was like well, I gotta make her do it now. That’s why I’m saying it’s your fault.”
Eek, telling a teenage girl that it’s her fault that the kiss happened is certainly cringe-worthy, especially in the current storm of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood.
7 Barb Had To Quit Her Job
Despite her short screen time, Barb’s character on Stranger Things has reached a cult-like status that is quite shocking to say the least.
Note: Huge spoiler ahead, so stop reading if you haven’t finished season 1 yet.
The cult of Barb is a very really thing on the web among Stranger Things fans, as is #WeAreAllBarb. The internet fell particularly in love with her role as a doomed sidekick. She was only seen in a couple of scenes until her disappearance at Steve’s party and subsequent dragging into the Upside Down and yet it didn’t stop fans from trying to reach beyond their screens and trying to quite literally grab ahold of Shannon Purser, the actress behind the mom-jeans wearing character.
As Stranger Things had been her very first acting gig, she went back to her day-job after filming wrapped up. But soon as the show exploded in popularity, Shannon was forced to quit her job when eager fans began calling the theater in troves, hoping to catch her during her working hours.
In an interview with Glamour, she was quoted saying: “I didn’t get recognized a whole lot at first, but all of a sudden it just started happening. People would look at me out of the corner of their eye, deciding whether or not they were going to come up to me! But they’re always super kind about it and have only nice things to say about the show. I’ve taken a few pictures. It’s totally surreal, and something I never expected.”
6 Gaten Is Addicted To Creeping People Out
It’s no coincidence that there is a scene in the very first episode of Stranger Things in which Dustin, played by Gaten Matarazzo, is mocked and called “Toothless” by bullies. Dustin says in reply: “I told you a million times, my teeth are coming in. It's called cleidocranial dysplasia.” He also then proceeds to do the “arm thing”, which Gaten actually loves doing in real life to creep people out.
Turns out that Gaten was born with this disorder, which affects the development of his bones and teeth. As you can imagine, he had a hard time breaking out in Hollywood prior to Stranger Things, stating: “It was always because of my lisp, me being shorter, and having the teeth issue meant writers couldn’t write in my disability in the show because they had already written the scrip.”
But if the Duffer Brothers could write it in, then surely could writers from other shows? In fact, his disorder didn’t stop him from being the very first kid to be cast on the show either.
5 Finn’s Classmates Are Scared Of Him
Canadians are known for being extra nice and saying sorry for everything, but as with anywhere else, bullying is still a very real problem in schools. In fact, bullying is something that nearly all the Stranger Things kids have experience with, but in particular, Finn Wolfhard.
He hasn’t spoken up too much about it and that’s probably because he still attends the same school that he went to prior to becoming famous through his roles in It and Stranger Things. When asked about how much fame has changed his life during an interview with Vulture, Finn said: “The bullies at my school are kind of afraid of me now. Which is great.”
In of itself, that statement doesn’t necessarily mean that he was bullied, but when asked about bullying in a different interview, he admitted that the way he used to deal with it was by telling someone else.
4 Gaten Didn't Handle Puberty Well
Even before shooting the first season of Stranger Things, producers were worried about the immense time crunch they were under as a result of working with kids, who grow up really fast.
Working with kid actors can be challenging and this little fact is the most evident with what happened to Gaten Marazzo. Automated dialogue replacement (ADR) is very popular in the filming industry and is basically the process of re-recording dialogue after scenes have already been filmed. It’s a very standard process and one that is usually seen as a “necessary evil” as it can either improve sound quality or clarify certain scenes.
However, Gaten Marazzo was completely unable to do his ADR as his voice deepened by as much as four octaves! The producer explained: “His voice has already dropped quite a bit, to the point where we couldn’t even do ADR with him. We had to pitch it way up. It’s dropped. He’s grown.”
3 Finn's Refusal To Stop
Do celebrities have a right to their own privacy? This is an issue that pops up quite frequently, but what about in the case of underage celebrities? The surfacing of two videos taken by fans recently had the internet up in arms over the issue. In one video, fans are heard calling Finn “so rude” as he refuses to approach them. In another, he just completely ignores a throng of fans hoping to get his autograph.
It’s definitely messed up that anyone would get upset that a kid would refuse to stop for anyone. It got so bad that even Game of Thrones’ Sophie Turner had to step in, tweeting:
“Damn… seeing fully grown adults wait outside the ‘Stranger Things’ kids’ hotels etc , and then abuse them when they don’t stop for them is super weird A. What adult in their right mind waits for a CHILD outside their hotel and B is then is offended when the CHILD doesn’t stop.”
She wasn’t the only one as Shannon Pursuer also came to his defense, tweeting:
She added: “And I'm an adult. I can't imagine being inundated with all this attention at his age. It's intimidating.”
2 Twins Had To Face Monster Despite Fear
What twins you may wonder? The ones who played Holly Wheeler of course! As it’s not too uncommon for twins to play the same role in a TV show or movie, the very adorable Holly, Finn’s little sister, is played by Tinsley and Anniston Price. They are the very same twins who also played Judith in the fourth season of The Walking Dead!
As cute as Tinsley and Anniston are, there is something to be said about how utterly terrified Holly looks in almost every scene. It’s easy to assume that the three-year-olds were just acting, but fact of the matter is that most of their scenes were actually unscripted, such as the scene where she get upsets with Dustin and is seen sinking into her chair.
The twins were also absolutely terrified of the “monster”, despite the crew’s efforts of reassuring them that it was just like the monster from Monsters, Inc… yeah, even three-year-olds know better than that!
1 Sadie’s Vertical Challenges
After auditioning a couple of times for the role of Max in the second season of Stranger Things, Sadie Sink was extremely close to being sent back home and not because of her acting. The producers almost didn’t let her read for the part at one point as they were worried that she was too tall in relation to the other cast members. She remembered telling them: “I’m like, just let me read. I just want to read the new material.”
And luckily they did! On her next read with Caleb who plays Lucas and Gaten who portrays Dustin, the producers realized that the boys had caught up to her in height.
Another thing that you might not know about the rising star is that she is also a vegan. Being vegan isn’t all that uncommon, but it is when you consider that it’s a choice that she made when she was just 14 after meeting Woody Harrelson.
Sources: Vulture.com, Buzzfeed.com, RollingStone.com, HuffingtonPost.com, TheSun.co.uk, VMan.com, USMagazine.com, ThisIsInsider.com, Looper.com, PopBuzz.com, Nme.com, Glamour.com, and EOnline.com.