Interview: Finn Wolfhard on STRANGER THINGS
Stranger Things is Netflix’s latest original television program to be greeted with rabid fanfare and it’s not very hard to see why. From its loving homage to ’80s films (notably director Steven Spielberg’s genre films of the era) to its inspired writing by creators Matt and Ross Duffer (billed on the show as “The Duffer Brothers”) to its impressive cast, led by Winona Ryder, the show has got it all.
As enthusiastic fans of the show we were delighted to sit down at the cushy Montecito restaurant with 13 year old Canadian Finn Wolfhard, whose character Mike Wheeler is pivotal to the show.
Scene Creek: I read that your audition was essentially just chatting ’80s films with the Duffer brothers. Which films did you talk about and which film are you most passionately vocal about?
Finn Wolfhard: Yeah, the Duffers Skyped me and we just talked about movies, which was really cool. From there they asked me to go to L.A., and that was it, yeah. The Goonies is one of my favorite movies ever and I could go on and on and tell you how much I love it. Or Jaws, that’s another one too.
SC: From the very beginning of the show there’s a naturalistic sense of realism around the boys and how they’ve grown up together and matured together. How did you establish that intimacy and camaraderie with your castmates?
FW: Well from the beginning we became real-life friends and now we’re really best friends for life. The creators and directors had a big part in that too. They’re like big kids themselves and they helped solidify the bond between us all.
SC: The beating heart of the show is your character’s innocent affection for Eleven (played by Millie Bobby Brown). What sort of preparation was involved with her in order to achieve that feeling on screen? Was that awkward for you since it was your first on screen love interest?
FW: Well we knew what we were getting ourselves into and we were immediately very comfortable with each other. It wasn’t awkward at all actually because she was really cool and cool to work with.
SC: There are a number of strong female characters on the show, from the aforementioned Eleven to Nancy, your sister (played by Natalia Dyer) to Karen, your mother (Mad Men‘s Cara Buono) to Joyce, your best friend’s mother (played by ’90s screen Queen Winona Ryder). What did each of the actresses teach you?
FW: Natalia and Cara are such incredible people and amazing actresses. I learned so much about acting from watching each of them and Winona on set. It was incredible to sit back and watch them act. Now it feels like we’re all a big family. Natalia is like my big sister and Cara is like my new Mom, it’s crazy. And watching Winona in scenes was so surreal and I learned so much from her.
SC: What is the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you?
FW: One day I was in my house and I heard pots and pans banging in my kitchen. So I went into the room and the clanging stopped, but when I turned around it started again. It was really creepy! My brother was in the house at the time too so I ran to him. This was before I started filming the show so I drew on that experience when shooting some of my scenes.
SC: Have you heard anything about Netflix renewing the show for a second season?
FW: I’ve just heard that people are into the show and really liking it but I haven’t heard anything official yet, no. We all got praise from Stephen King and Guillermo del Toro and we were all majorly geeking out about that. Once I do hear something from Netflix I will definitely let everyone know though!
Stranger Things season one is currently streaming on Netflix Canada.