Finn Wolfhard’s life changed forever when Netflix’s smash hit Stranger Things made its debut on Netflix this past summer. The show featured a young group of children as the main characters led by Wolfhard in the role of Mike Wheeler, a 12-year old nerd who loves movies, science, dungeons and dragons, star wars toys, walkie-talkies, and ham shack radios.
As we all know, fame can severely affect a child negatively if the child doesn’t have the right guidance behind them helping to navigate the toxic industry of Hollywood. While speaking with Oyster Magazine, Wolfhard was asked how his friends have handled his recent rise to fame and the actor revealed it is his them who have kept him grounded in normalcy in his recent rise to superstar status.
“I think they’re handling it as well as I want [them to]! I don’t want them to be freaking out, because I try to be as normal as possible when I come home. It’s sort of great because my friends are a dose of reality, like, “Shut up, just come play video games with us. Stop being so self-centred.” And I think I need that. They all watch the show but they’re fine with it. They know I’m just a nerd [laughs], I’m just doing my job and they get that, which is very cool.”
Wolfhard isn’t just an incredibly talented actor. He’s a movie buff with aspirations to become a director later in life. On set, Wolfhard learned from everyone involved with the show but most of all the directors, The Duffer Brothers and Shawn Levy:
“I took a page from everyone’s book. I took a lot from Caleb because he’s a very good dramatic actor, and Gaten’s a good comedic actor because he just goes with it. But I think I learned the most from Shawn Levy and the Duffers. Shawn was our executive producer and the director for episodes three and four. I’m very interested in filmmaking and I’d love to direct. There are some sets where you can’t even go to Video Village [an area on set with portable monitors] and watch your own tape, which sucks and there’s not enough freedom, but that’s the job. On our set it was very supportive. After I’d done my scenes they’d be doing a scene with either Winona or Natalia [Dyer, who plays Mike’s sister Nancy] and they’d let me come back and learn the ropes of directing.”
When Stranger Things began, everyone knew they were watching something special as they were introduced to a group of kids ten hours deep into their Dungeons and Dragons campaign. What stood out was the extraordinary chemistry between the four. Not only did they seem to be best friends, it felt as if they had already known each other for years when in reality they had only known each other for a couple of months prior to filming.
“It was so cool because Caleb, Gaten and I, we all made friends. We instantly bonded and the first scene we shot was the first scene in the show, which is the D&D scene. I think that was the most fun and memorable scene to shoot, because it was like we’d known each other all our lives, even though we’d only known each other for, like, two months. It was very cool how we all came to set and just jumped in.”
At the heart of Stranger Things was the budding romance between Mike and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). The two managed to capture the innocence and purity of two kids falling in love at such a young age. Fans of the pair went wild on the internet, dubbing the fictional couple “Mileven”. Wolfhard talked about how their professionalism allowed for the two to feel so comfortable with each other as they were put in what had to be some very awkward situations for their age:
I think Millie and I are very comfortable with ourselves, which is really cool. We had a bond from the beginning, because I think Millie said one time that she’s crazy and I’m the straight man, but it’s sort of the opposite in Stranger Things because she completely downplays it; she’s amazing in it. I think we both knew that we were just doing our jobs and acting.
Watching Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler was a special experience for me. It’s one thing to watch a television show or a movie and identify with a character, but watching Mike made me feel like I was seeing myself as a kid. I grew up in the nineties and while my friends and I didn’t play D&D, it was still pre-internet, pre-9/11, when the world moved at a slower pace and felt much safer. I was a pretty big dork back in middle and high school and I rode my bike everywhere, even after my friends had moved on to go-peds before we started driving. When I was these kids racing their bikes at night, or riding them to school, I was instantly transported back to my own childhood.
To read the full interview including Wolfhard’s take on his “weird” generation head on over to Oyster.
The young star is also featured in the winter issue of Dazed Magazine where he discussed how natural it was for him to throw himself into the eighties having already been a fan of eighties culture and cinema prior to booking the role in Stranger Things. He’s a cool ass kid.
Wolfhard will next be seen in September of 2017 in the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s It as the motor mouth Richie Tozier. He is also currently shooting Stranger Things 2, which should hit Netflix sometime around the release of It.