Moviehole got the chance to go to another amazing event as television and cable shows do early battle for the Emmy Awards! This time it was “Stranger Things” being showcased by Netflix at Paramount Studios, a beautiful studio lot with huge murals of Bruce Willis in “Die Hard” and Marilyn Monroe in ”The Seven Year Itch.”
Such a great setting got us more than ready to enter the special Paramount Theatre on the lot. Screened were two different episodes from season two, with a panel afterwards composed of Winona Ryder, Sean Astin, Shawn Levy (executive producer), David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Natalia Dyer, Millie Bobby Brown, Charlie Heaton, Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink and Joe Keery.
Debra Birnbaum (Variety executive editor) moderated a Q & A and started off by asking about the show and each actor’s character:
Levy explained, “It was a sleeper hit and now it’s a monster hit. When we made season one, no-one cared and we trusted our instincts.”
He added that now that the show had become such a big hit, they needed to quiet down any information coming from the set, so as not to have spoilers.
“Season two was bigger in scope and we explored what form would evil take,” related Levy. “There will be new alliances and new relationships.”
Keery felt that there was now a bigger arc to his character, “it’s a little more grown-up.”
As the girlfriend of Keery’s character, Dyer seemed to be happy that the Duffer brothers (Matt and Ross, executive producers) gave her an interesting arc of self-discovery through season one, and in season two she found the character taking more risks.
“Nancy comes out pretty strong, and I’m looking forward to see where that will go,” said Dyer.
As for Heaton, he felt that his character Charlie was an outsider but that “he is very confident in who he is. He takes the ‘man of the house’ role in season one, and in meeting Natalia he comes out of his shell a little bit.”
Sink added that as a new character, Max, she was excited to see where that would end up.
Related McLaughlin, “I felt people misunderstood who Lucas was, and you get to see his romantic side now, he wasn’t the ‘grandpa,’ he’s chill.”
Eleven’s popular character didn’t have a direct storyline, added Brown.
“I don’t know where I’m from, so that’s an issue. The Duffer brothers helped me with the character.”
Harbour thought he had the best arc of the show.
“Chief Hopper in the beginning is such a horrible person, he does the wrong thing often. Then he becomes a wonderful man,” explained Harbour.
“I play a beautiful, horrible bear. I really like people who make mistakes, I like his humanity.”
Astin said of his character, “Bob is not an ‘arc’ kind of guy. He’s a note; we try to play our note clearly. He wants nothing more than to take care of Joyce and be with her.”
Season one was harrowing and emotional for Joyce, Ryder agreed. Coming back to season two was a bit more complicated: “Like Kathy Bates had a line in a film, ‘Does everyone have amnesia?’” she said, cracking up the audience.
“Joyce likes David but it’s not fun to play perfect people, it’s more fun to play flawed characters. I think she’s really trying to give a sense of normalcy to Jonathan.”
Asked by Birnbaum what they wanted to see in season three, a few of the cast had some good ideas.
Brown wanted there to be a friendship between her character and one of the other woman characters, along with “some sense of fun.”
McLaughlin wanted more of the friendships to be shown, because “a lot of people want that.” Levy kicked in that the audience will see more of the Duffer brothers putting combinations of characters together in season three.
Afterwards the guests were treated to culinary treats like a fried chicken and mashed potatoes in a waffle cone – a fun family treat as there were many children there.
Moviehole is looking forward to more surprises from the “Stranger Things” series.