Duffer Brothers Q&A: ‘Stranger Things’ creators
“It was not a commercial play on our part at all,” says Ross Duffer about “Stranger Things,” which he created with his brother Matt Duffer. “We had just come off ‘Wayward Pines.’ We felt like we sort of understood the TV world. We said, let’s try to write this thing, let’s write what we want to see and at that time we were hoping that someone would be maybe interested in making it.” It turned out Netflix was interested, and audiences were very excited to see it. Watch our exclusive video interview with the Duffer Brothers above.
Inspired by 1980s pop culture including the works of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King, “Stranger Things” premiered in July 2016. Its eight-episode first season told the story of a boy who goes missing and the family and friends who go searching for him in the Upside Down, a parallel world with a frightening demon referred to as the demogorgon. There’s also a girl known as Eleven with telekinetic powers who has been subjected to experiments that are connected to the mystery of the monster.
Eleven is played by Millie Bobby Brown, who has become a breakout star of the series. “I remember we were filming her being dragged down the lab hallway in one of the flashbacks from episode two, and she’s crying and screaming,” Ross Duffer says of watching the young actress work. “I remember everyone in the crew sharing looks: oh my God, this girl is something else. It’s that level of not just talented, but freakily talented.”
Brown won a SAG Award along with the rest of the ensemble cast of the series. “Stranger Things” was also nominated for two Golden Globes, two Writers Guild Award, a Directors Guild Award, a BAFTA Award, and it won the Producers Guild Award for Best Drama Series. It even picked up a pair of Grammy nominations for its score soundtracks. “I think it was ‘Game of Thrones’ that kicked that door down,” says Matt Duffer about receiving awards attention for a sci-fi/fantasy series. “To be able to do something in genre, something with monsters or robots, and have it be taken somewhat seriously, five or ten years ago it seems impossible to imagine.”