When the coronavirus hit the globe harder than a college freshman at a high school kegger, a lot of things changed. The bigger and more important alterations came in the way most of us lived our daily lives: Hand sanitation that would give Howard Hughes significant pause, wearing protective masks while out in the public, maintaining social distancing of six feet, separation from friends and family out of an abundance of caution. These were the biggies for many of us. Another seismic change was in the world of arts and entertainment, as many ongoing productions in film and television as well as stage were brought to a grinding halt as Actors and Key Grips and Directors were all given their temporary walking papers in an attempt to put a button on a very scary global pandemic. One of the many projects that was put in carbonite over the last few months was season four of the insanely popular ongoing series, Stranger Things, which was precisely three weeks into production when the creepy guy with a scythe and a dark robe came-a-knockin,’ necessitating a pause in filming. Months later, the intrepid Stranger Things family is still waiting for the all clear to sound so they can get about the business of chronicling the new adventures of Eleven, Mike, Dustin, Lucas and Steve.
That wait might finally be nearing its end. Netflix, the parent company of Stranger Things, just announced the resumption of filming of one of their shows this August, The Witcher, which may be an indicator that more of the companies stalled productions will fall quickly in line behind the Tomasz Baginski directed favorite.
The Duffer Brothers – brothers Matt and Ross – sat down recently with the Molly Ringwald of entertainment news (classy, well informed and liable to wind up with a guy named after a major appliance) – Deadline – and had this to say about the extended lull in production: “We did three weeks of shooting when we shut down, pretty much along with the entire industry.”
One thing that has not shut down during the pandemic is the growth spurts of the core cast of characters: Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin) turns eighteen in September and Finn Wolfhard (Mike) and Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas) already look old enough to read for an edgy Gus Van Sant film about street hustlers in Portland, a whole other sort of Stranger Things. Will the three weeks already shot be relegated to the Deleted Scenes section of the inevitable Season 4 Blu-Ray release? Will a complete reshoot be necessary, or am I completely shortchanging movie magic in the form of editing wizardry, script continuity, post-sync Automated Dialog Replacement and good old fashioned suspension of disbelief? ‘Surely,’ my movie savvy mind insists, ‘Mike won’t feature in an episode clean shaven and the next moment turn around and have a twelve o’clock shadow and gained a good couple of inches, sounding for all the world like Peter Brady in the Dough Re Mi episode of The Brady Bunch.’ These are the sort of things that generally keep me awake at night, Gentle Readers.
Although there is no definite word from the Duffer Brothers regarding their study of Chris Knight’s 1972 tour de force performance in relation to the new season of their show, they were quick to lay out the skinny on other neat and pertinent things dealing with The Upside Down and Hawkins, Indiana.
In a show notable as a true haiku to the pop culture of the 1980s, the Duffers promise that Season 4 of Stranger Things will not shy away in featuring at least two iconic actors from the era that brought us Bigfoot & The Muscle Machines and Crispin Glover. “It’s a really fun way to get to meet one of your icons, you know? Write a part for them and see if they want to do it…these actors we grew up watching so it’s amazing and surreal,” teases Matt Duffer.
Although playing it fast and loose on who these thespians will be, might this humble reporter suggest a Christian Slater guest stint along with a Corey Feldman cameo? Slater was everywhere in the 1980s and has already proven to have uber chemistry with Stranger Things star Winona Ryder (if you haven’t already seen the film Heathers then you haven’t lived). And Feldman, well, what more can really be said about this survivor of vampires (Lost Boys) and machete wielding, hockey masked serial killers (Friday the 13th 4-5)? Other names come to mind to and I’d name them if I didn’t suddenly feel as if I were casting a 2020 version of The Love Boat.
Vents has its crystal ball firmly planted in The Upside Down and we’ll update this article with any morsels of Stranger Things shooting news as they present themselves to us. Until next time readers, stay Jake (Ryan, that is).