“You look like Freddie Krueger!” Gaten Matarazzo says to me as I enter the Stranger Things suite at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Sydney.
It’s the end of the day and the very delirious cast are sitting on the floor having a yarn like real besties. Because they actually are, you can just feel it when you’re in their presence.
Being compared to a horror villain is one of several interview firsts that would happen to me throughout our time together. The other one being that we conducted the entire chat on the floor. I mean, why not? Stranger things have happened.
Gaten (Dustin), Sadie Sink (Max) and Priah Ferguson (Erica) have flown in to Sydney for the Stranger Things event at Luna Park and while they’re in town, I got to chat with them about all the wild stuff we’ve seen so far in Season 4 Volume 1 and what’s still to come in Season 4 Volume 2.
Settle in, folks (ideally in the floor!).
Gaten (far left) Priah (middle) Sadie and moi.
Hey guys! Let’s dive right in: What was it like reuniting after a two year break?
Sadie: It was so great. I think everyone was just really grateful and appreciative to be back and working on something together. COVID was a rough time for everyone so the fact that everyone was willing and able to come back to work and give Season 4 to the fans is just amazing.
Gaten: Just to have it done is a breath of fresh air. A big old sigh of relief!
Did you film both parts of the season at once?
Sadie: Yeah, we didn’t even know it was gonna be split into two parts!
So when you guys got back together, was it kind of like the first day back at school? Did you run amok or was it straight to business?
Gaten: Oh, we always have fun!
Priah: I feel like it was straight to business though. There was some sort of order, of course. We did miss each other, but when the cameras are on it’s like, let’s do this.
Did you stay in touch during the break?
All: For sure!
Sadie: We didn’t even really have to [try and stay in touch] at this point.
What was your reaction when you picked up the Season 4 script and saw what was to come?
Sadie: It’s crazy, reading the scripts is always different. It feels different on paper until you’re in the moment doing it and then realise ‘Oh wow, this is really cool!’
Gaten: The table reads are the closest we get to seeing the show for the first time. We have the same experience that the fans get when it’s released. It’s always cool seeing who you’ll be sitting next to because it’s always a good indication of who you’ll be spending time with this season.
Volume 1 was wild! Which moment freaked you out the most? I think I already know yours, Sadie.
Sadie: Yeah… Vecna. That was crazy. Seconds before we were rolling was the first time I got to see Jamie [Campbell Bower] in his get-up.
Gaten: I only saw Jamie once on set. He had gotten ready for a 3D animation scan and he was just sitting there with his top half done up but legs completely human. And he was just drinking coffee and talking with an American accent. He likes to really sit in the character. We hadn’t met each other and I was just like: “How are you?” And he’s like: “Exhausted!” It was just the funniest thing. He was sitting in like a soccer mum lawn chair in the hot Atlanta sun, it just looked miserable.
Where else but Stranger Things would you have that, right?
Sadie: And the fact that we’d just see Jamie as Vecna and we’d be like, “Oh yes, this is normal.”
And what’s been your freakiest moment so far, Priah?
Priah: Watching it all is kind of freaky. Anything that Vecna is in, I’m a little scared of it. When I’m reading it I have my own image of it but watching it all come together is something else.
The cast at the Stranger Things event in Sydney. (Credit: Netflix)
Obviously you guys can’t spoil too much, but what can you tell us about Volume 2?
Sadie: Volume 1 is just setting up for Volume 2.
Gaten: It’s so long and it’s so much of a season. Volume 1 feels like it was just as long as any season we’ve ever made.
Sadie: Honestly, you guys aren’t ready… There are scenes that I wasn’t in that I really wanna see!
I have to ask: Are you sick of Kate Bush yet?
Sadie: No! I’m not sick of it. I want to hold onto it for as long as I can. When I first heard the song I wanted to experience and see what it would be like just to listen to it all day so I just put it on repeat and I listened to it God knows how many times, but I just can’t get it out of my head. And the Chromatics did a cover of it and I’ve been listening to that too.
Gaten: It is a better song than “Neverending Story.”
Sadie: It is.
Gaten: It’s a profoundly better song! So that’s great for you.
What do you get asked the most about the show?
Sadie: Usually just about other characters. They’re like, “Is he nice?”
Priah: Yeah I get that a lot!
Gaten: I got a lot of questions asking about you.
Gaten: Yeah! Straight up.
Sadie: What do you say?
Gaten: She’s the worst… Nah. It’s always from people who I forgot I gave my number to in middle school.
Priah: I actually get a lot of questions about Finn [Wolfhard]!
Gaten (left) Finn (middle) and Sadie (right) in Season 4 Volume 1.
Erica is a fan fave! Do you relate to her? What’s your favourite line?
Priah: Yeah, I relate to her in some ways. I definitely have my sassy moments and that’s fun to play. And my favourite line? I really love the Lady Applejack moment.
Nice! There’s a lot of crazy fan theories about how it’s all gonna end. Stuff like, ~it’s one big Dungeons and Dragons game~. Have you heard of that theory?
Sadie: No? That’s crazy!
Gaten: I have, it’s really cool. They think the whole thing is just the campaign from day one playing out and these characters have just been created. Like, Nancy is still there. But most of these characters are just influences from the world around them but they’ve just put people they know into it. So like, Max is somebody they just made up.
Sadie: That’s a crazy theory!
Gaten: But to have five seasons of a show and then just go womp womp, it never happened!
It was all a dream! The ultimate cliché! And final question before I let you go: Stranger Things has given us so many incredible characters. Who’s your fave?
Sadie: We all really love Murray this season.
Priah: Yeah Murray! I think all the characters have something special about them that makes them them.
Gaten: I always love how there are characters you won’t see often, then they’ll be in it more. Like with Joe [Keery] in Season 1, I actually don’t even think Steve was supposed to make it out alive from the first season and now he’s a fan favourite.
So true! Anyway, thanks so much for chatting to me guys. Enjoy Australia!
Stranger Things Season 4 Volume 1 is now streaming on Netflix. Volume 2 is coming July 1.