In case you haven’t been keeping up with the latest television shows, the popular Netflix series Stranger Things unveiled its second season a month ago. Fans have already binge-watched the sci-fi phenomenon to no end, but the craze is still going strong on social media.
If you’re anything like us who are still hungry for more Stranger Things, here are some fast facts that you probably didn’t know about the hit show!
1. The show was initially called “Montauk”
Creators Matt and Ross Duffer originally wanted the show to take place in a beach town at Long Island, New York called ‘Montauk’ but they switched locations when they realized it would be difficult to shoot in Montauk during the colder months. This was the chosen location because the series is inspired by The Montauk Project – the alleged government experiment in the 80s that involved the kidnapping of kids from Long Island.
2. The Duffer brothers auditioned 906 boys and 307 girls for the children’s roles
They made each kid audition by reading lines from the film, “Stand By Me”. Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin, was actually cast after the show creators watched his first audition tape. “When you see someone like Gaten, and he pops the way he does, you’re just like, ‘This kid, we’re putting him in the show, 100 percent,” Matt Duffer shared with the New York Times.
3. It took a four-and-a-half meetings to get Winona Ryder to play Joyce
“We actually talked very little about the show or the character of Joyce, we were mostly just getting to know each other,” the Duffers told Entertainment Weekly. Ryder joined the show the following day. Here’s a bonus fact about Joyce: her hairstyle was inspired by Meryl Streep in Silkwood.
4. In the original script, Nancy, Jonathan and Steve used the Christmas lights to find the monster
The initial sequence was changed when one of the writers pitched the idea of Joyce using the lights to communicate with Will. “Seeing Winona react with joy, then terror, then hope to a glowing ball of Christmas lights is now one of our favorite scenes from the show,” the Duffers told Entertainment Weekly.
5. David Harbour wanted Hopper to wear a hat as tribute to Indiana Jones
Harbour even asked if he could have a giant boulder roll after him in the show. At which point, the Duffers weren’t sure whether he was kidding or not.
6. Matthew Modine helped create his character, Dr. Brenner
Being a recurring character on the show, it was particularly tough for the Duffers to write Dr. Brenner’s character as he doesn’t appear very often. But being the skillful actor that he is, Matthew Modine helped form his character and bring it to life. “He informed it, and I’m really happy with where we wound up with him at the end, with something that was discovered during the course of shooting,” Matt Duffer told Empire.
7. The Duffers pulled a prank on Noah Schnapp’s mother by using Will’s body
“We immediately took Noah’s mom aside and led her into a dark closet where we had propped up this frighteningly realistic corpse of her son. She was startled at first, and we felt like maybe we crossed a line. But after the initial shock, she loved it. Before long, she was taking pictures with her child’s fake corpse and texting the photos to all her friends,” the Duffers explained on EW. It’s safe to say that Will has a pretty cool mom in real life too.
8. It takes some serious effort to give the series a vintage vibe
The colorist of the show added scanned 80s film grain to each frame, which definitely gave the show a vintage feel. A homage to classic films, the opening sequence is also inspired by motion graphics designer, Richard Greenberg (who designed titles for Alien, Superman, and The Goonies).
9. The Upside Down’s real name is “The Nether”
Millie Bobby Brown revealed in Beyond Stranger Things that they got so used to calling it the “Upside Down” on set so much that it stuck. It was the same situation in season 2 where the Shadow Monster was supposed to be called the “Mind Flayer”.
10. The Demogorgon is an animatronic
It actually scared the kids on set, including the twins who played Holly Wheeler and Millie Bobby Brown’s little sister who was on set. Someone told the children that the animatronic came from Monstropolis on Monsters, Inc. to calm them down. Bonus fact: the movement of the ‘petals’ on its head never repeat. “They had a life of their own, moving in unpredictable and bizarre patterns”, the Duffers told EW.
11. Dacre Montgomery danced shirtless in his audition tape for season 2
The Australian actor grooved to “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners and wore a G-string. “I was thinking, either I’m never going to work again or somebody somewhere is going to see one thing in me and they’ll give me a chance,” Dacre told GQ. How did the creators react? They loved it and even called it “the most bonkers” audition tape they’ve ever witnessed by far.