"High school was terrible for us," Ross told The Daily Beast. “We both hated it and just felt very much outside the whole time, looking in." Relatable.
"…way back in the third grade with our other friend, who lived next to us in Durham," Matt told the New York Times. Their first movie was an adaptation of the trading card game Magic: The Gathering.
The thriller, starring Alexander Skarsgard, had a plot twist worthy of M. Night Shyamalan, and not exactly by accident—the brothers were big fans of the Sixth Sense director. Their film wasn’t a hit, but it got Shyamalan’s attention and the brothers were hired to write for the Fox show Wayward Pines, which Shyamalan produced.
The series was meant to take place in Montauk, Long Island, where conspiracy theorists believe the government experimented on civilians, including children, with the goal of creating new modes of psychological warfare. (Sound familiar?) You can read more about the paranormal rumors in The Montauk Project: Experiments in Time by Preston Nichols.
But it's set in a fictional Indiana town called Hawkins.
Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon were members of Survive, which is how the Duffers discovered them, according to the Netflix press site. According to Netflix, "Michael and Kyle both quit their day jobs in order to work on the show." Smart move.
The book was designed to resemble a Stephen King novel. "We literally took the Firestarter paperback and pasted a picture of a bike on top of it and changed the font to our font," Matt told Vulture.
"I think we sent them 14 or 15 different covers, not all Stephen King, but 90 percent Stephen King paperback covers, that we really liked," Matt told The Hollywood Reporter. "They came back with that font, and that was really close to what is in the show, and that got changed a little bit."
"…which I think is kind of cheesy," Matt told Vulture. "But everyone was like, 'You should really do it.' We were putting John Carpenter music over shots from E.T. and seeing how it worked. That’s where we developed the tone of the show."
"The first week, I think, we had 15 pitches, and it was all passes," Matt told the Times. "There was a moment where we’re like, ‘Oh, I think people aren’t getting it.'"
At least not as leads in a show "not intended for a kid audience." Wrong!
"Most kids, you can turn off their auditions after five seconds, because there’s nothing authentic about it," Matt told the Times.
He was sick!
"I’ve never forgotten it, because it was so intuitive," executive producer Shawn Levy told Variety. "That this little person had such fierce power—that’s what took me aback. That same day the Duffers and I knew she was the one."
"Everyone from Tennessee Williams to Sarah Paulson has warned of the perils of early success," he told Variety. "There’s a piece of me that’s very protective of her and feels that we should all let her be brave and brilliant and turn our eyes away and not give her so much attention."
"He’s hard on them," Matt told Vulture. "They have a really good relationship, but he likes to push them. I think it was really good for Millie to be around an actor like that, an actor who’s really going to challenge her to do stuff she’s not expecting."
According to Netflix, the art department bought Hopper’s trailer for $1.
Perhaps you saw the head-shaving video she shared last year? According to the Duffers, her parents didn’t love the idea but Millie herself didn’t mind.
According to Netflix's press site, in "Chapter 7: The Bathtub," 1,200 pounds of epsom salt were dissolved into the kiddie pool water so that Millie could properly float in it.
Some of the laboratory scenes required her to be in an underwater immersion tank, according to the Netflix press site. She was able to breathe by wearing a "Sea Trek helmet." The Duffers directed her through a small radio in her ear.
"It was a strange experience. Having 250 people looking at you kissing someone is like, 'Whoa!'" she told Variety. She’s not sure if it was her scene partner Finn Wolfhard’s first kiss. "He says I wasn’t, but I definitely think I was. I think he was just trying to be cool."
"When they met me they hadn’t fully written Dustin yet," he told Dazed. "…Then when I came along, they kind of morphed the role around me which was great."
According to the Netflix press site, it changed so much by the time the first season wrapped that he wasn't able to provide ADR (additional dialogue recording) for the sound team.
They were both in musicals around the same time—Gaten in Les Miserables and Caleb in The Lion King.
…in Annie. Yes, she knew Gaten and Caleb.
"Now they’re best friends," Matt told Vulture. "She’s like, 'Thank God for bringing in another girl, because I am so sick of these boys!'"
"She barely knew what a TV series was—she had never done one," Levy jokingly told The Hollywood Reporter.
Natalie Dyer and Charlie Heaton: lovebirds.
Perhaps you noticed the nod to Spielberg’s E.T. with Eleven’s blonde wig or the plot similarities to King’s Firestarter, a book about a girl with psychic powers. Maybe you noticed Mr. Clarke watching Carpenter’s The Thing? Fans have reveled in the references.