From tweens to teens: ‘Stranger Things’ cast chart their growth

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Actress Millie Bobby Brown was all of 12 when she starred as Eleven, a young girl with psychokinetic abilities, and Noah Schnapp played Will Byers first when he was 11, in “Stranger Things” back in 2016. They have all grown up with the show — not just in age, but also in experience as actors.

It’s been three years since the first season of The Duffer Brothers’ science-fiction horror drama show streamed on Netflix. Now as the third season is out, the teenage cast took a stroll down the memory lane, recalling how their acting has improved since the first scene they shot for the show.

“I was very young when I started the show. I was new in this field. Now when I watch first season and compare it to the current season, it feels great to see that I have evolved as an actor and can perform well,” Schnapp told IANS here.

Schnapp credits the show’s senior actors for helping him along the way.

He especially praised Winona Ryder, who plays his on-screen mother in the show, for boosting his morale and confidence before shooting any difficult scenes.

“Seniors helped me a lot. Winona has a major role in my growth as an actor. She taught me how to act. Whenever I got nervous for some scenes, she used to sit beside me and advise me on how I can do better. I have learnt so much from her,” he said.

Winona also took proper care of the children’s health on sets.

“She pampers us a lot. While shooting, she ensured that we were eating on time. She even used to carry huge water bottles for us on the sets. She takes care of everyone. It feels good when you work with such supportive and inspiring people,” Schnapp added.

Popular senior actors from “Stranger Things” include David Harbour and Sean Astin. Schnapp said it was like a dream come true sharing screen space with them.

The young artiste said: “They have a lot of cinematic experience. People consider them icons. It was a privilege getting to work with them. Seeing how they act, how they deliver dialogues… I have learned so much from them. They are like my support system. Be it ideas or advice, they are always there to help.”

Caleb McLaughlin, 17, best known for his role of Lucas Sinclair in “Stranger Things”, feels a huge change in his approach to acting over the past three years.

“Now I look at things differently. Now I like to get into the depth of the character. With time, my acting has also changed. I figured out how to place correct emotions at the right time,” McLaughlin said.

Created by Matt and Ross Duffer, the horror show is set in the fictional town of Hawkins. It follows the story of four friends Will (Noah Schnapp), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) as they form an unlikely alliance with Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) to save their town from alien invasion.

How was it for them to work with The Duffer Brothers?

Sadie Sink, 17, who was introduced as Maxine “Max” Mayfield in the second season of the show, says it was a “golden opportunity” for her to get directed by the twins.

“It was a great experience working with such creative minds. I was a little nervous before shooting. But when I started working, I found they are really fun people. They never made me feel intimidated,” Sink said.

Schnapp agreed, and said The Duffer Brothers gave them full freedom.

“Sometimes they even asked us for our inputs in the scenes. The best part about them is that they treated us like adults only. They made us comfortable everytime. They have trust in us which made me do my best.”

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