Beyond Stranger Things s01e03 Episode Script

Mad for Max

1 Who knew that Hoosier jock  Steve Harrington had it in him to become a big brother to all the kids, especially Dustin, teaching him valuable lessons in love, courage, and hair care? We're going to dive deep into the evolution of Steve, Dustin, and Dart, the junkyard battle, and more, right now on-- -[laughing.]
-Oh, I have it.
I have the candy now.
Right now on Beyond Stranger Things.
And, as always, I'm warning you, spoilers ahead.
You're welcome.
You guys have eaten a lot of candy, and we're just getting started.
[theme music playing.]
Joining me now at the table to continue our ongoing discussion of Stranger Things 2, we've got, uh-- He plays Dustin.
Gaten Matarazzo is with us.
-And Steve.
-Uh, Steve, Joe Keery is with us.
Uh, we've got executive producer and director of many episodes, Shawn Levy is with us.
And the show's creators, the Duffer Brothers, Matt and Ross.
Thank you guys for all joining us at the table here to discuss everything about -this wonderful sequel to Stranger Things.
- Yeah.
Obviously, Steve and Dustin played a very key pairing in sort of the trajectory for both characters in their evolution, which is what I'd like to start with.
-Do sometimes these pairings surprise you? -Yeah, I mean, absolutely.
-It wasn't planned.
This wasn't? This-- No.
It was not planned.
-How did it happen? -[Matt.]
It was something we discovered.
When we first pitched the season, there was no Dustin and Steve, uh, bromance.
The story sort of takes on -this life of its own.
- [Jim.]
And we realized that Dustin needed help, because none of his friends were around.
And then we also realized that Steve was just left, you know, alone by Nancy, and-- [Matt.]
Had a very depressing story line.
There was nothing-- -Yeah, and he-- -[all laughing.]
He was moping I was like, "Can't just cut to Steve moping in his room.
" That would get real-- No, he-- He got his heart broken a lot in the first few episodes.
We love Joe and we did want to give Steve more to do this year.
And then, we were like, "Well would it make sense for Dustin to call Steve? Could he reach that point of desperation?" 'Cause he'd have to be really, we feel, pretty desperate to make that move.
-[all chuckling.]
We fell in love with this idea when we came up with it.
We were like, "I think that'll lend to some-- some great moments of bonding.
" Especially 'cause these are two characters that, you know, had-- were both a little heartbroken.
-So we thought they could help heal each other, and we got excited about that idea.
And it was just so-- We have so many versions of these scenes of how they came across one another.
And somehow we ended up with the idea that Steve was gonna be bringing flowers, and that could be the cross.
-Do you still have that bat? -Bat? What bat? The one with the nails.
-Why? -I'll explain it on the way.
-Now? -Now.
I have a vivid memory of getting the first outline that described this duo.
I at least remember thinking, "These two together are gonna be gold.
" How did you feel about this union going into it? -It's awesome.
 Very excited.
-Yeah, excited.
It's also just fun to work with somebody who's like, um, just-- At least your character is from a totally different world -than my character.
So -Totally.
It's hilarious.
although we're going through something that's similar, we both kind of bring a different thing to it.
-Know what I mean? -It's hilarious.
Because this is also key for, I'll call "the evolution of Steve," you know, and where you probably thought he was in, uh, Stranger Things, and now where he is in the sequel.
All of season one, he was a really bad dude-- -[Jim.]
Eighties jock character.
-Eighties jock in the pilot script, and then-- then once we found Joe, he started to evolve a bit and became more charming and likable, to the point where when we were doing-- writing season one, we just realized that we wanted to give him more of an arc, we didn't just want him to end on this negative note of Nancy "the slut" Wheeler.
So that was a last-minute change that he went back in that house, and helped save the day.
-[creature snarling.]
-[creature roars.]
-[creature hisses.]
These are two of the best examples of actors informing characters.
You know, we're dealing with 13 major characters, and so some are more fully formed than others.
Then, I know Dustin and Steve were two that began really as just stereotypes.
They were almost like placeholders, until we met Gaten, and we were like, "That's interesting.
" Dustin-- How can you write for Gaten? I mean-- -You can't create the character Gaten.
-[Gaten laughs.]
- [Matt.]
Gaten is There's only one.
-That's why he was the first kid we cast.
-Really? -[Shawn.]
He didn't know.
-He didn't? -[Joe.]
You didn't know? -I didn't know I was the first.
-That's really cool.
He wasn't-- It wasn't-- We saw the tape, everyone agreed this kid is gonna be in the show.
He's gonna be Dustin.
Um I have absolute power.
Say it.
But he had to come in and act with the other kids.
I think Gaten was all nervous and stuff.
-I was.
-Didn't realize there was no one-- -You had no competition.
-I kind of realized it-- When I went to LA, I walk in the room, I'm I'm almost crapping my pants, man.
I was so scared.
I walk in and I meet Finn.
I sit down next to Finn, who's also nearly crapping his pants.
And so, I look over at him, and he looks over at me.
I'm like, "Hi.
" He goes, "Hi.
" [laughter.]
-Then you knew.
-We start talking, and then we knew.
We start talking for a bit.
Um End up going in together, doing the scene.
We had a good time.
Because your fateful union takes place, uh, outside a house Uh, as we go to the houses, we see a wonderful story being told of the politics that are happening, as far as Reagan and Mondale and the election that sets in '84.
-Uh, was that fun to decide which house had what, uh, allegiance -to what political side? -Oh, yeah.
I don't think there was a huge discussion that the Wheeler house would be Reagan.
-Right, right.
Also 'cause it was such a landslide back then.
Also, we immediately were like, "Dustin's household, the Hendersons, are definitely gonna go with the underdog.
" -Mm-hmm.
-Hundred percent.
Loch Nora was a neighborhood next to us that was a wealthier neighborhood when we were growing up in North Carolina.
We figured there'd be a lot of Reaganites living in Loch Nora.
Anyway, it was a little bit of fun, and a little bit insight into -the characters' parents.
Into the Wheelers and the Hendersons.
-Totally plays into that.
Makes sense.
-Uh, I fell in love with his mom.
-[Gaten laughs.]
-I mean -Like-- -I know.
That first scene when you're looking for quarters, your chemistry with that mom -is like-- - [Gaten.]
It was funny.
I wanted to hang out with them.
- [Gaten.]
She was awesome.
Stupid penny.
-[cat meows.]
Watch it.
You almost hit Mews.
-Can I check under your cushions? -Dusty.
Mom, please, it's an emergency.
-Aah! -[groans.]
That cat, man.
That cat was funny.
Poor Mews.
-Poor Mews.
Rest in peace.
Rest in peace.
-Justice for Mews.
-Oh, no.
Justice for Mews.
-Oh, no.
Instant trend hashtag.
Hashtag "Justice for Mews.
" [Jim laughs.]
You sent her off-- You sent her off to look for it.
That poor woman's still searching.
-We can find her.
-We can find her.
I love you.
-Love you.
-All right, go.
All right.
Going back to the beginnings of this union and payoff, you have this character-building moment, literally on the train tracks.
We got a little Stand by Me.
You know, come on.
-Don't know what you're talking about.
-I've never seen Stand by Me.
-[all chattering.]
-You've never seen it? -[laughter.]
My bad.
I apologize for bringing it up.
I liked the scene on the train tracks, uh, I gotta say better than the first season's train track scene.
-Excuse me? -What? I'm just saying I did.
It's a healthy debate.
No, it is-- Yeah.
Me too.
-I liked the second season, because it felt a lot more, like, essential to the, like, development of the characters.
Also, the first one was almost kind of divided because Dustin and Lucas are up in the front, they're talking like, "Are we there yet? Come on.
" It was more aggravated, like, "Let's just keep going.
" Everyone was more anxious to see where they're going.
And in the second one, I feel like everyone's gonna be interested in that one scene.
And it looks beautiful.
It was a fun scene to shoot.
It really was fun.
I feel like seldom you get a-- It was like two and a half pages of dialogue.
It's an unusually long dialogue scene.
And it was like-- We got to really do the whole thing I don't know, probably about, like, -five or six times or something.
More than that.
It's so gorgeous.
And Andrew Stanton, who directed that episode, when we were going through it, it's like-- He has four totally separate, just wide shots, where you're just tiny people walking towards-- Four different shots.
-It's like Hall & Oates, but better.
-But better.
I think it's so gorgeous.
I think most of them are in there, and it's just it's just a stunning location.
You know, and I'm just curious, did the computer generations sort of pick up for the sequel? -[Shawn.]
Oh, yeah.
-Comparatively to--? That's what my recollection feels like.
-Yeah, it's next level.
-As I watched it.
The whole post-production office is just filled with uh, visual effects people now, a whole new experience from before.
There was just one guy that was only there part-time, so it's like-- -You serious? -Yeah, no-- Also, in season one, we weren't intending to use it at all, because we wanted it to be -[Matt.]
all practical.
A guy in a suit, and that affected the design of the Demogorgon and everything.
So it was a dude in a suit on these mini stilts.
Mark, all like-- -And he's lubed up from top to bottom.
- [all chattering.]
-Lubed? -Lubed up with viscous-- -Classic Saturday night.
I got it.
But, like, he got really slippery.
We're shooting scenes where he has to come through the wall, -he's, like, flailing.
Um -[laughing.]
-That's awesome.
-Very quickly we realized -practical isn't always gonna work.
Got it.
And on season one, we started-- We kind of went 50-50, practical versus digital.
Going into season two, because the boys had way more cinematic vision for Stranger Things 2, we knew the visual effects was gonna be just a way more central player -[Jim.]
- [Shawn.]
in the sequel.
I wanna ask you about the junkyard scene.
You're obviously in the middle of, let's just call it, nothing.
In other words, there's nothing around you.
Season one, all the stuff was interacting with him in the suit.
So when I'm hitting the guy at the end, I'm actually hitting a guy in a suit.
Well-- -But, yeah, this time-- Yeah.
-This time it was totally different-- -I was gonna say-- It's perfect, because I asked them to let me see this.
Oh, sweet! -[Gaten laughing.]
-That's the real-- -That's the real one.
This is the real one.
-This is-- -We have one with safe nails.
-This is for real.
Be careful with that.
-No, totally.
I've been swinging and having fun with it.
Yeah, that's for real.
-No joke.
-We did not hit Mark with that.
Uh, I wanna go-- As we sort of evolve this, uh-- Steve, obviously we go into this -basically pummeling fight with Billy.
Oh, my God.
No one tells me what to do.
-[Steve yells.]
-Whoo! Your face always ends up -looking so battered.
This year-- Oh, this year I had that tissue stuff all in my nose, and then all that and-- -It looked great.
-Looked great.
Nothing was worse than the contact from the first season.
That hard, huge contact, that was the worst.
Do you think that the part of this, -this fight is sort of a change in power? -[Matt.]
You know, he takes this responsibility pretty seriously, -in terms of taking charge of these kids.
He was always, from the beginning-- We wanted him on a collision course with Billy.
We wanted one of those moments of, like, this is a guy-- And Stephen King does this really well, where, like, this is a character who is not a murderer, but you could see him accidentally taking something too far.
-And you could see this ending up with Steve being permanently brain-damaged.
-You hear those stories.
- [Jim.]
And so we wanted it scary in that sense.
That was the idea of the Billy character, to have a human villain that is on the edge.
That scene, finally, late in the season with Billy and his dad What did we talk about? [Billy grunts.]
where you take this character who is villainous -and just, really loathsome -Yeah.
and then you, in some way, -give a glimmer of why he is that way.
And it complicates your feelings about it - [Jim.]
- [Shawn.]
in a great way.
-That scene was one of my favorites.
- [Matt.]
He's still a terrible person.
- [Matt.]
And evil.
But it's interesting about, like, where-- -The question of where does it come from.
-It's context.
Yeah, yeah.
You're learning it from somewhere.
-It's in no way excusing the behavior.
It's more like an exploration of where does this-- -Where does this come from? -Hate can get passed along.
-It really can.
-We wanted to see how that worked.
But no one got hurt.
-Well, they hit that plate over your head.
-No, no.
-Well, yeah, but that wasn't his fault.
No, no.
I'm just saying-- It's scary sometimes when you do these stunts.
-For sure.
That stuff's always really fun.
-Did they use that shot? -[Matt.]
We did.
They had a breakaway plate that Dacre hit over his head, and maybe just-- Sometimes it hits in the wrong spot.
-Joe got a little dazed.
- [Joe.]
Just zinged me, sort of.
And that's the one they used? -[Matt.]
I didn't wanna do it again.
-No, no.
I meant -[Matt.]
We used it.
That sense memory, you see it and go, "I remember that.
" And it's real.
It's a good split-second of plate shattering.
-It was worth-- -I don't know if you think it was.
-I think so.
Little bit of damage.
-I'd do it again, yeah.
-And how was working with Dacre? -[Joe.]
He's not here, so say whatever you want.
[Joe chuckles.]
He's like-- He's a charming -[Joe.]
beautiful Australian.
Power Ranger.
-Is he a Power Ranger? -[Matt.]
He was.
-He's the Red Ranger.
-He was? We think the Red Power Ranger is the big-time Power Ranger.
He's the leader.
The lead.
But the way Dacre can be so insanely charming and winning in real life, and then when he was getting in scenes with Joe, -he went dark.
Turns it on.
It's good.
It's great to work with.
-You know? -[Jim.]
Uh, I wanna go back to sort of your goodbye to Dart.
It's me, its me.
It's your friend.
It's Dustin.
It's Dustin.
What's really great about that scene is that, like Again, like you were saying with the stereotypes before, how Dustin was going to be that-- that nerdy dork geek who's got the glasses, and he's kind of a coward and just like, "Eh.
" He's kind of like-- He's very socially awkward and stuff.
I mean, of course you overcame all that, but he's never really had that true, ginormous moment of bravery and, like, self-- like, kind of almost self-sacrifice.
-Could've been self-sacrifice.
Because even in the first season, he's like He protects his friends and stuff, but it's always kind of like-- He's always physically scared.
And, uh, I was just glad that I had a scene like that.
Like, where you're heroic.
That's one of my favorite shots, is you knew when he first roars, and then you immediately step-- This was something you just did.
You immediately stepped in front of everyone and do that and push them back, protecting everybody.
And the callback of the nougat-- Like, the nougat-- He's like the defender of the awesomeness of nougat.
3 Musketeers is one of my favorite candy bars.
It's in my top three.
It's top three? -It's top three.
-What are the other two? -Charleston Chew and Reese's Fast Break.
-You didn't even have to think about that.
-Reese's Fast Break? Reese's Fast Break, Charleston Chew, 3 Musketeers.
-Oh, boy.
-That was our first idea.
Like, a boy and his monster, -you know, with Dustin, for season two.
- [Shawn.]
What started off, -you playing a scene with a marble.
-Little marble.
In your palm.
But he helped out so much.
Shawn helped out so much, and he played music.
I could not have done the scene without him.
I really couldn't, it was awesome.
Playing music on set, sometimes it's a good visceral way to give actors a sense of what you're looking for.
I first started using it in whichever episode -when Holly is following the lights.
- [Jim.]
And that girl was, like, three.
Holly was really, really young in season one.
Words are kind of useless with an actress that young, so I just started playing creepy music on set while we did those shots to give her the feeling of it, in a way that my words probably couldn't, and, uh I did it also when Brenner was carrying Eleven down the hall in season one.
Played music.
We used a fair bit of it.
I tend to do that in the episodes I direct.
Andrew did that, too.
Andrew, too.
The junkyard scene, like a lot of-- Remember he'd play Close Encounters? I remember when I was walking out of the thing, he was playing music for the parts without dialogue.
It helps a ton.
-I wanna sort of bring this journey about Dustin and Steve to a head, going to the Snow Ball.
You knew this duo was gonna work comedically.
- [Shawn.]
Right? Like early on it was very clear, "Oh, this is gonna be comedy gold.
" But then by the end of the season, -it works emotionally.
And that's a really hard thing to pull off, a pairing that is both funny and moving.
-I feel like you guys pulled it off.
That scene at the end when I approach Stacey, I feel like that all this happened because of Steve.
Like He gave me all the advice about girls and the hair and everything, and then I approach her so confidently, and then I feel like a part of it-- -[Shawn.]
Very confidently.
- [Gaten.]
Very confidently.
And then when she says, like, "Get out of my face," I feel like he's taken aback, like, "Oh, crap, I'm not Steve Harrington.
- [Gaten.]
"I'm not Steve.
I'm not--" [Ross.]
In that moment, when you're just alone after you've been rejected a couple times I remember we were zooming in on you and the music was playing, and our dolly grip, who's a tough guy with a Mohawk, -I look over, tears.
No! -Mohawk-- -I was like, "Gaten got him, man.
" That look you give is just heartbreaking.
I think a lot of people probably watching the show identify with the moment of, you know, reluctantly going to a dance and having nothing to do.
Standing kind of in the corner.
-That happened-- -A really hard moment.
-You want-- -[Ross.]
You want Nancy-- -I don't think I had a Nancy to go - [Matt.]
You know, to go, like, "It's gonna be okay.
" I don't think I've told you this, but our cousin Joanna It was cool.
She won't remember this.
Had a similar conversation with me, where it's like, "It's gonna be fine.
" Why did Joanna not tell me this? She's like, "I've got good advice for one of you, okay?" Everyone has that anxiety growing up of feeling like you're gonna be left behind.
Or you're being left behind in certain areas, certainly.
Especially socially, I was always behind.
In fact, we were held back in kindergarten for this very reason.
Because-- One of you? -[overlapping chatter.]
Both of us.
-We were both held back.
What? -Because of awkwardness? -Glad I'm putting this out in public.
Was it-- [Matt.]
They thought we had trouble interacting with other children.
-Because you just hang out with-- Why? -Wow! [Ross.]
Why hang out with anyone else? You have your best friend.
We liked the same toys, we had the same-- And they're like, "In this world, you have to communicate with others.
" [all laughing.]
-You're like, "I don't think so.
" -That's stupid.
-So, naturally, we're directors.
I think it's hard.
Everyone struggles with that.
You're freaked out.
Are other people getting ahead of you? And figuring this stuff out.
And why is this taking me so long to figure out how to deal with people? And so-- [Joe.]
That's a really nice part about this season.
We established in the first season, like, each character, so this is more about, just like, how everyone is changing.
Everybody seems to really go through something.
-I feel that way about my character.
I also-- Season two is obviously bigger and the threats are darker, and it's more cinematic, but it feels-- It's got that Stranger Things DNA, which is in some ways kind of an anthem for the outcasts.
Everybody in our show, everybody these guys created -is a little bit broken.
- [Jim.]
A little bit on the margins.
- [Jim.]
And self-doubting.
And the show kind of raises everyone up and says, "You're all gonna be okay.
" It's like even the people-- Like Billy's character.
Even the people you think are in the cool circle, -they're hurting.
- [Shawn.]
Yes! Which is my favorite aspect of the show.
I think with your char-- with Steve, I like this idea that, for a while, it was like you had-- you were king of this world.
And what you're realizing this season is that that you're not.
There's always gonna be this-- Billy's the new king.
You're realizing as you're coming out of high school, which I'm This wasn't me.
I wasn't popular like Steve was.
But that realization this is coming to an end, what it-- What's left? You're an outsider like everyone else.
I love the idea that, A, this became a therapy session, 'cause I feel like we've said a lot of beautiful things.
-I mean, Gaten's now crying.
-You're allowed to cry.
This kindergarten revelation is rocking my world.
-Because it's true.
-Shouldn't have said that.
No, it's okay.
-You have to, because I do feel like-- Because that type of life experience is what feeds into your writing, which feeds into the characters, feeds into them, giving that birth and finding new things.
It's good that high school was miserable.
You talk about finding the humor, uh, and then balancing that, and those moments seem easy, but they're easier when you have -all of this dramatic stuff behind it.
Knowing the consequences of what they're both going through and where they're gonna end up allows these characters to have a Stand by Me m oment that is just about hair.
When your hair is damp-- It's not wet, okay? -When it's damp -Damp.
you do four puffs of the Farrah Fawcett spray.
-Farrah Fawcett spray? -Yeah.
Farrah Fawcett.
You tell anyone I just told you that, and your ass is grass.
You're dead.
-You understand? -Yeah.
And I am sitting here among some beautifully-coiffed gentlemen.
Uh I am not envious.
I made a choice to get rid of my hair.
You must have a wonderful hair process.
Much like-- Why are you shaming me? -Because of course that's true.
-I know! None of this is an accident.
-So, yes-- -Did you learn from--? [laughing.]
I had a very complicated, contrived dishevelment.
long before I met Steve Harrington and the Duffer Brothers.
Teenage Shawn Levy had some Steve Harrington-scale hair.
Maybe even bigger.
I had the mullet for, like-- I wasn't wearing a wig or anything.
Like Dacher got to, at the end of the day, take his off and have a regular haircut, but I had, like, a mullet.
-Like, a legit mullet for six months.
-A beautiful thing.
I actually got used to it.
Cutting it off at the end of the season, I felt like I was getting -you know.
Your power was taken away.
How about you? You got a hair process? -[Gaten.]
I never did.
-No? Before, when it was [mimics poof.]
everywhere, uh I would just towel-dry it, and then I would [chuckles.]
I would just towel-dry it.
-I love that we -[all chattering.]
We could've ended this episode with depth and substance, but we're gonna bring it to the surface -[Jim.]
-and talk about just frivolity.
Thank you for being here with me.
This was such a fun discussion.
It really has been, uh, and will continue to be a great discussion of everything Stranger Things 2, because it's a really wonderful, wonderful sequel.
Uh, hopefully you know what happens next .
You're gonna see me sitting right here, wearing the same exact outfit that you're getting used to by now, but with some brand-new guests and more questions on Beyond Stranger Things, starting any minute now, as soon as you choose, which you can do immediately.
-Or tomorrow.
But anyway-- Oh, God.
I want hair again.
[all laughing.]
[theme music playing.]

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