THE MAK­ERS OF STRANGER THINGS

India Today - - LEISURE - —with Suhani Singh

Twin broth­ers Matt and Ross Duf­fer, the brains be­hind Net­flix’s hit sci­ence-fic­tion hor­ror show, Stranger Things, talk about their “Barb-like” high school days, meet­ing the ex­pec­ta­tions of their de­mand­ing fans and about end­ing the show when the time is right.

Q. Stranger Things is set in a small town in In­di­ana. Did you imag­ine the show would res­onate with au­di­ences the world over?

Well, you never know how these things will res­onate, but that was cer­tainly the hope. We think the idea of the or­di­nary meet­ing the ex­tra­or­di­nary res­onates uni­ver­sally. It’s ex­cit­ing for any­one to imag­ine them­selves getting swept away from their nor­mal lives and into a crazy ad­ven­ture.

Q. The show cel­e­brates its love for the nerds and the underdogs. Were you nerds in school?

We were ab­so­lutely nerds in high school! While most kids were into sports, we were mak­ing movies and act­ing in plays (al­though we were ter­ri­ble ac­tors). In gen­eral, our high school experience was very...Barb-like.

Q. The syn­op­sis of the lat­est sea­son men­tions how the Hawkins crew has “to fig­ure out how to grow up with­out grow­ing apart”. Is that a re­flec­tion on your three-decade-long part­ner­ship?

It doesn’t re­ally re­late to our part­ner­ship, but it cer­tainly is taken from life experience. We re­mem­ber go­ing into high school, only to dis­cover that a lot of our friends had “moved on”. They were now hang­ing with cool new friends and play­ing sports while we still wanted to play video games and make movies. We wanted to tap into that feel­ing with sea­son three— that your friends are drift­ing away from you.

Q. Last sea­son demon­strated how sig­nif­i­cant

Stranger Things is to Net­flix. The scale was big and im­pres­sive. Is there an added sense of pres

The Duf­fer broth­ers, cre­ators of Stranger Things, say the show will go on, but only till its nat­u­ral break­ing point

sure to make the new sea­son work?

We’ll never feel as much pres­sure as we felt with sea­son one, when we didn’t even know if any­one would watch. Hon­estly, it’s a bit re­lax­ing having a built-in fan base. At the same time, those fans all have ex­pec­ta­tions and hopes for the sea­son which is a lit­tle nerve-wrack­ing, but you can’t worry too much about it or you’ll paral­yse your­self. We just try to make the best show we can and hope that it will res­onate with our fans.

Q. The se­ries show­cases your love for 1980s pop cul­ture. Is your aim to make au­di­ences ap­pre­ci­ate the smaller things you feel are slip­ping away?

We al­ways wanted the show to be as au­then­tic as pos­si­ble. But that credit here re­ally has to go to our pro­duc­tion design team—es­pe­cially Chris Tru­jillo, Jess Royal and Sean Bren­nan—who work tire­lessly to make sure even the small­est de­tail is right. For in­stance, in the mall this year in the show, you could walk into any one of the stores and every shelf was filled with pe­riod cor­rect items. They did stun­ning work.

Q. The show has so many char­ac­ters and you keep in­tro­duc­ing more. How do you de­cide who gets more screen time? Does au­di­ence re­sponse con­trib­ute?

We al­ways like to add a few new char­ac­ters be­cause they im­me­di­ately shake things up. It forces our char­ac­ters and sto­ry­line in new and ex­cit­ing di­rec­tions. Also, if an ac­tor in a smaller role re­ally pops for us—for in­stance, Priah Fer­gu­son (Erica)—then we nat­u­rally want to write more for them. The ac­tors in­spire us just as much as any plot idea.

Q. Do both of you know when to let go of Stranger Things?

As far as how long the show will go on, we’re still working out those de­tails. But it’s important to us that we end the show when the nar­ra­tive dic­tates we end it. We don’t want to end the story abruptly, but we also don’t want to push it past its nat­u­ral break­ing point.

THE COOL ‘NERDS’ Matt (left) and Ross Duf­fer

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