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Top 10 Stranger Things Facts

VO: Matt Campbell
Top 10 Stranger Things Facts Script written by George Pacheco You love it. We love it. But how much do you really know about this fabulous throwback to 1980s sci-fi, fantasy, and horror? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Stranger Things Facts. For this list, we’ll be ranking the most interesting and notable facts about “Stranger Things,” its creators The Duffer Brothers, and the cast and characters that have captured the imaginations of kids and adults alike. Special thanks to our user mattwatchmojo for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Stranger+Things+Facts.
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Transcript
Script written by George Pacheco

You love it. We love it. But how much do you really know about this fabulous throwback to 1980s sci-fi, fantasy, and horror? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Stranger Things Facts.

For this list, we’ll be ranking the most interesting and notable facts about “Stranger Things,” its creators The Duffer Brothers, and the cast and characters that have captured the imaginations of kids and adults alike.

#10: Netflix Bought the Show Within 24 Hours

Sometimes, you just know a good thing when you see it. This was exactly the case when Netflix first saw “Stranger Things,” as the streaming media giant snapped up the show for an eight-episode debut season within 24 hours of hearing the pitch. Producer and co-director Shawn Levy assisted The Duffer Bros. in pitching their idea to Netflix as a dyed-in-the-wool genre show, indebted to such directors as Steven Spielberg, yet possessing a darkness all its own. The rest, as they say, is history, as “Stranger Things” became a runaway success almost immediately.

#9: The Boys Auditioned by Reenacting “Stand by Me”

The Duffer Bros. auditioned a staggering amount of child actors before narrowing things down to their main cast for “Stranger Things” – over 900 boys and 300 girls to be specific. But none were actually made privy to the real plot of the show. For example, Millie Bobby Brown knew very little about her character “Eleven,” and performed her audition with “dummy sides” – scenes that are used to test an actor’s ability without giving too much away about the plot. Meanwhile, the boys were called upon to reenact scenes from the classic Stephen King adaptation “Stand By Me,” which itself parallels “Stranger Things” with its young protagonists and heavy, coming of age narrative.

#8: Millie Bobby Brown Shaved Her Head Because of Imperator Furiosa

A lot of actors are dedicated to their craft – so dedicated, they may make some drastic changes to their personal style. But 12-year-old actress Millie Bobby Brown hadn’t expected to. Apparently there was no mention of a haircut during her initial Skype call with The Duffer Bros. It was only when they first met in person that the “Stranger Things” creators informed Brown that she’s have to shave her head for the role of Eleven. Although Brown’s mother initially objected, the Duffers managed to get Millie to agree to that buzzcut by showing her a photo of Charlize Theron’s character Imperator Furiosa in “Mad Max: Fury Road.” With, that, Millie was transformed into the telekinetic kid we know and love.

#7: Steve Harrington’s Character Arc Was Tweaked

Anyone who likes 1980s cinema knows that the teen villains generally stay jerks right until the end without much redemption. Not so with Steve Harrington. And the Duffer Bros. have actor Joe Keery to thank for this trend-bucking decision, as the duo was so impressed with the young man’s likeable personality that they actually tweaked his character’s story arc to make him more developed as a love interest for Nancy. Sure, it isn’t often that the local bully sees the error of his ways and starts running with the right crowd, but this is just another great example of the depth “Stranger Things” adds to its characters.

#6: The Demogorgon Wasn’t Completely CGI

The Demogorgon was one of the central antagonists of “Stranger Things,” and possessed a fearsome presence on set, thanks to the fact that the special effects department combined modern CGI with some very convincing practical effects. The Demogorgon itself was portrayed by a man named Mark Steger, a body-based performance artist who wore a partially animatronic suit for many of the scenes. The end result was so effective, in fact, that the young twins who played Holly on the show were terrified of the Demogorgon. The production team had to calm them down by comparing the monster to something out of Pixar’s “Monsters Inc.”

#5: ‘80s Influences Galore

Younger audiences may not be able point out all of the references to 1980s culture and cinema, but older “Stranger Things” fans will likely welcome the opportunity to revisit some of their favorite styles and tropes. The Duffer Bros. pulled stylistic and conceptual references from such diverse artists as Stephen King, John Carpenter, and the aforementioned Steven Spielberg, and also asked the cast to watch films like “Stand By Me,” “Poltergeist,” and “The Goonies” for inspiration when it came time to shoot. But, what’s more, there was also a technical homage: though it was shot digitally, “Stranger Things” utilized a layer of scanned grain in post-production to lend it the feeling of vintage film stock.

#4: A Fake Trailer Was Cut to Test the Soundtrack

You already know the Duffer Bros. were highly influenced by directors like John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg, but this inspiration wasn’t only limited to how “Stranger Things” looked, but also how it sounded. The show’s creators wanted to use a synthesizer-based soundtrack to highlight the show’s 1980s setting and style, but also to differentiate it from Spielberg and the traditional, orchestral accompaniment found in such films as “E.T.” So, the Duffers put together a fake trailer with scenes from over 25 of their favorite movies to test their musical idea. The result? Dark, John Carpenter-esque drones won out over sweeping strings and horns to create the final product of “Stranger Things” musical universe.

#3: Gaten Matarazzo’s Voice Changed During Filming

Working on a film or television show takes time. And while it’s all fine and dandy not to get a haircut for a few months, when kid actors are involved, some other factors come into play that can’t be controlled. Actor Gaten Matarazzo was going through puberty during shooting, and had to record additional dialogue for his role as Dustin. This process, also known as “dubbing,” is often done during the post-production work to clean up scenes, but in Matarazzo’s case, his voice had changed so much, that it no longer matched up with what had already been shot for his character!

#2: Conspiracy Theorists Surmise Real Life Elevens Might Exist

“Stranger Things” was no stranger to rewrites, but it was actually almost called something else: Montauk. Seem random? It’s actually a reference. Supposedly, Camp Hero in Montauk, New York plays host to a series of secret government projects. Conspiracy theorists have claimed that these projects involved anything from time travel to what is deemed “psychological warfare,” or the attempt to intimidate another person using whatever means necessary. Preston Nichols, author of “The Montauk Project” series of novels, claims to have repressed memories of his own involvement with the project. Some of what Nichols describes seems pretty close to what ended up in the show... like a creature coming into the real world from the mind of a patient.

Before we reveal our strangest pick, here are a few honorable mentions!
- S U R V I V E, the Show’s Soundtrack Composers, Were Found Online
- Young Cast Bonded Prior to Shooting Via Group Chat
- Chief Hopper’s Trailer Reportedly Cost the Art Department $1

#1: There’s a 30-Page Explanation of the Upside-Down

Fans loved watching the twisted, bleak, and unique visual flair The Duffer Bros. brought to their “Stranger Things” netherworld, “The Upside Down.” This otherworldly dimension was still very much a mystery by the time season one ran its course, however, leaving plenty of room for questions and interpretation from the audience. But The Duffer Brothers have more up their sleeves. They actually wrote a thirty-page document that explained both the Demogorgon and The Upside Down, but purposefully kept much of it under wraps during the debut season. Future seasons promise to reveal more info about this realm of darkness and monsters, and we can’t wait to find it out.

Do you agree with our list? Which “Stranger Things” fact do you find the most fascinating? For more Eggo-eating top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com!
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