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Q&A: ‘Stranger Things’ cast discusses how new season is turning things Upside Down

Newcomer Eduardo Franco joins returners Charlie Heaton, Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp and Finn Wolfhard in the first volume of season four of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” (Courtesy of Netflix)

"Stranger Things"

Created by the Duffer Brothers

Netflix

May 27

By Vivian Xu

May 26, 2022 2:59 p.m.

This post was updated May 30 at 8:27 p.m.

Hawkins is only getting stranger from here.

Premiering Friday, the first volume of the fourth season of “Stranger Things” picks up several months after the third season’s Battle of Starcourt – this time with the supernatural force-fighting entourage split between California and Indiana. With the return of familiar faces such as Byers siblings Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Will (Noah Schnapp), as well as the introduction of new characters such as California stoner Argyle (Eduardo Franco), the motley crew is once again defending Hawkins, Indiana, from the looming forces of the Upside Down.

Heaton, Schnapp and Franco spoke with the Daily Bruin’s Vivian Xu about understanding relationship strains caused by distance, grounding science fiction in reality and integrating new characters into the world of Hawkins.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

[Related: Q&A: Cast, crew of ‘Metal Lords’ discuss adolescent representation in film]

Daily Bruin: In this new season, both Will and Jonathan deal with newfound ups and downs of relationships with Mike and Nancy, respectively, that stem from distance. How did you see these fluctuations fitting in with their overall character development arcs when it comes to growing up and maturing?

Charlie Heaton: Where we started off at the end of last season, at least with Jonathan and Nancy, there was this promise for them to be together and that distance won’t come between them. But the reality of that is much different, especially in the ’80s, with how to keep contact and then what that (distance) does to your character and your person. If you’re feeling distant from the person that you care about, there’s this rejection and kind of like, ‘How do you deal with that and what path should I choose?’

You see this doubt in the relationship creep in for Jonathan. He’s definitely struggling, and that’s something we definitely see in the beginning. It’s what I love about the show. You have this huge sci-fi story, but what’s always been amazing is how grounded the characters are in reality and that was fun to get to play with.

Noah Schnapp: The characters are so grounded in reality. That’s what makes our show so special – it’s so easy to connect to, so relatable for so many people. I’m sure that many of our young fans watching this show (can relate to) Eleven and Will in high school, navigating that (environment) and experiencing bullies and looks and stares and watching out for each other. It’s just nice to be able to connect and feel that for the show.

[Related: Q&A: Rebel Wilson discusses ’90s nostalgia, new creative role in ‘Senior Year’]

DB: Jonathan and Argyle are like two peas in a pod, and there are several scenes where you’re riffing off of each other. How did you construct the chemistry behind the scenes to get that repartee on screen?

Eduardo Franco: It was all very organic, very natural. We didn’t really sit down and workshop a lot. If anything, we just ran lines and off camera, whenever we were hanging out and playing video games, we found our own little chemistry. It really happened pretty naturally, and it just helped out when it came time to shooting something. Whatever he thought was funny, he would try, and I’d be like, ‘Hell yeah, do that,’ and vice versa.

CH: It was very organic. Coming in, he (Franco) brought a real playfulness to it. There was so much room to play around and make stuff up. For Jonathan as well, it was a nice shift in place to get to play him in this larger, comedic sense. It was very natural, and we both helped each other a lot. Off camera, he’d (Franco would) try and crack me up, and we’d come up with a joke, and we’d overdo it and then keep overdoing it.

EF: However much time we could waste, it was basically what we were trying to do.

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Vivian Xu | Daily Bruin senior staff
Xu is a senior staff writer for Arts & Entertainment. She previously served as the Arts editor from 2021-2022, the Music | Fine Arts editor from 2020-2021 and an Arts reporter from 2019-2020. She is a fourth-year neuroscience and anthropology student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Xu is a senior staff writer for Arts & Entertainment. She previously served as the Arts editor from 2021-2022, the Music | Fine Arts editor from 2020-2021 and an Arts reporter from 2019-2020. She is a fourth-year neuroscience and anthropology student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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