Things keep get­ting Stranger

Young Cana­dian ac­tor’s ca­reer tak­ing off thanks to su­per­nat­u­ral Net­flix se­ries

Montreal Gazette - - YOU - VIC­TO­RIA AHEARN

Van­cou­ver ac­tor Finn Wolfhard is cer­tainly no stranger these days.

A year af­ter star­ring in Net­flix’s sci-fi/su­per­nat­u­ral hit Stranger Things as Mike Wheeler, the friend of miss­ing 12-year-old Will By­ers, Wolfhard says his life has been “def­i­nitely crazy, in a great way.”

“I get rec­og­nized on the street and stuff, which is cool — but it’s also weird,” said the shaggy haired 14-year-old, who will ap­pear with sev­eral Stranger Things cast mem­bers at Toronto’s Fan Expo Canada, which runs to Sept. 3.

“I don’t think my per­son­al­ity has changed at all, but my over­all life­style is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent.”

In­deed, Wolfhard’s star has risen dra­mat­i­cally in re­cent months, with pro­files in ma­jor publications, pro­duc­ers book­ing him for more gigs and celebri­ties ex­press­ing their love for the show.

“Meet­ing Ryan Reynolds was re­ally cool, and Blake Lively,” Wolfhard said, not­ing he and Reynolds bonded over their Van­cou­ver roots at the Golden Globes.

“They were re­ally, re­ally sweet. Jonah Hill is su­per cool. I just did this com­edy short with the director Jeff Baena and his long­time girl­friend is Aubrey Plaza, so we were all hang­ing out in the last two days and now we’re just all re­ally good friends.”

Then there was the Screen Ac­tors Guild Awards, where Stranger Things won best per­for­mance by an en­sem­ble. Wolfhard was stand­ing be­side cast mem­ber David Har­bour as he gave a po­lit­i­cally charged speech that drew a stand­ing ova­tion.

Star Wi­nona Ry­der’s look of con­fu­sion on stage dur­ing the speech in­spired many memes.

“We thought that David was go­ing to talk, but then he pulled out a piece of pa­per and we were like, ‘Oh, he has a speech,’ and it was su­per amaz­ing and all the ac­tors were freak­ing out on­stage,” said Wolfhard, not­ing Em­pire star Taraji P. Henson was also cheer­ing them on in the wings.

“But Wi­nona just couldn’t hear. She heard, like, half the speech and then when we got off­stage she was like, ‘I was mak­ing these weird faces be­cause I couldn’t hear any­thing.’ ”

Sea­son 2 of Stranger Things de­buts Oct. 31 and is set in 1984, a year af­ter an Up­side Down world rocked Hawkins, Ind., along with se­cret ex­per­i­ments and a psy­choki­netic girl played by Mil­lie Bobby Brown.

“All of our char­ac­ters are deal­ing with the back­lash of last sea­son, be­cause no one can re­ally be the ex­act same way they were af­ter trau­matic events like that,” said Wolfhard.

“So we’re also try­ing to fig­ure out what ex­actly is go­ing on with Will and what ex­actly is go­ing on with the Up­side Down, what lurks be­neath it, I guess, what else is there. Is there an­other pas­sage to it?”

The Up­side Down world was an ac­tual set, not cre­ated with green screen tech­nol­ogy, he said.

“I can’t say too much, but we went into these tun­nels,” said Wolfhard. “It was this giant, giant built set that you could walk through and it was re­ally awesome.”

Shan­non Purser’s char­ac­ter Barb, who died in sea­son 1, has be­come a fan favourite and will be in­cor­po­rated into sea­son 2 in some way.

“I can’t say any­thing about her com­ing back, but I can say there will be, as ev­ery­one says, ‘jus­tice’ for her,” said Wolfhard.

The cast didn’t ex­pect that Barb would be­come so pop­u­lar, he added.

“Barb, she was meant to die on pur­pose to keep the story mov­ing and to de­velop the char­ac­ters, and so we thought noth­ing of it,” said Wolfhard.

“Ob­vi­ously, we knew that Shan­non was an amaz­ing ac­tress, but we knew that that was sort of the end for Barb. We didn’t ex­pect that.”

Wolfhard will next be seen in the film It, which is based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel. He’s also voic­ing a char­ac­ter for the up­com­ing an­i­mated se­ries Car­men Sandiego.

I get rec­og­nized on the street and stuff, which is cool — but it’s also weird. I don’t think my per­son­al­ity has changed at all.


Finn Wolfhard, left, with Jae­den Lieber­her, in a scene from the hor­ror re­make, It, which is based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel.

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