Things keep getting Stranger
Young Canadian actor’s career taking off thanks to supernatural Netflix series
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.
“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 in a scene from the horror remake, It, which is based on Stephen King’s 1986 novel.