Shawn Levy, the Executive Producer of Netflix’ Stranger Things, talked this week with Evening Standard about the show, including Winona and, of course, plans of a second season. Check some excerpts:
How should people watch Stranger Things – do you want people to binge it, or take their time?
I’ll be amazed if people have the fortitude to take their time with Stranger Things. If they can watch an episode every several days, we’ve probably failed.
We knew we were making this for Netflix, they were our first choice, they bought it on the first day of pitching. While it’s not necessary to binge it, we made, in our minds, an eight-hour movie. Take some breaks for nutrition and bathroom breaks – but we very much made these episodes so that they could be watched, if not full-on binged, in a concentrated period of time.
It’s so great to see Winona Ryder back on the screen – what made you choose her for the role of Joyce Byers?
It might be generationally appropriate to have Winona, but truly we cast her because we knew this was a harrowing role. We knew this role would require an actress going to dark places, and Winona has access to those depths.
She is a lovely, emotional, feeling person, and she dove into this part, even though she barely understood what streaming platforms were.
She’s such an absolute pro that once she got her head around the writing, getting her to the performance did not take a lot of work. She delivers, that’s what pros do. They prepare, and then they show up and deliver, and she is of that ilk.
Were there any parts she’s played in the past that made you think of her for Joyce?
You know, Winona’s got these eyes. They’re like giant pools of emotion.
Joyce Byers is the emotional centre of the series. Her pain and her anguish is like an anchor for the show. Winona, whether it’s Reality Bites or Edward Scissorhands, her eyes are so uniquely expressive.
We wanted to lean in to that, it’s why we really created a character that goes to dark, deep, emotional places, because we knew Winona could do it.
Would Season 2 continue the central mystery of Season 1, or would it put the characters in a new situation?
The latter. The main mysteries, i.e. what happened to Will Byers, is solved by the end of Season 1. Please don’t make me say more!
We don’t even know officially that we’ve got a Season 2, but we are very hopeful, and we built the show so that we can pivot right into a second adventure.