Carmen Cuba Interview: ‘Stranger Things’ casting director
“It has become incrementally challenging” to cast “Stranger Things”… “due to how popular the show is and how popular the kids are,” reveals Carmen Cuba. Despite this, “We stick to the same foundation of looking for actors who feel authentic in the world and who, in some cases, bring some ’80s pop to it.” The veteran casting director spoke about her work on Season 3 while appearing at Gold Derby’s Meet the BTL Experts panel, moderated virtually by managing editor Chris Beachum. Watch our exclusive video interview with Cuba above.
That edict has served Netflix’s nostalgic sci-fi series well, as did Cuba’s own personal connection to the material. “The project was initially called ‘Montauk,'” she recalls, and as a child she spent many summers in that New York beach hamlet while growing up in the ’80s. “So I was very connected to the spirit of those kids to begin with, because I really saw myself and my cousins in them.”
It also helped that “I have children who are the same age as those characters, so I was very closely observing what real kids were like. I was just looking for the most authentic and singular kinds of kids, and obviously that’s easier to say but harder to do.” Luckily Cuba and The Duffer Brothers, who created the series, “are very symbiotic, especially when it comes to kid casting.”
Cuba has won two Emmys for her work on “Stranger Things” and “Behind the Candelabra.” She has also been a Casting Society of America nominee for “Logan Lucky,” “The Florida Project,” “Stranger Things,” “Narcos,” “Looking” and “Magic Mike” and won for “Behind the Candelabra.”