One of the majro stars from ‘Stranger Things’, Gaten Matarazzo has opened up about the one big difference between filming season four and the Netflix show’s previous instalments.
The actor, who plays Dustin Henderson in the hugely popular sci-fi series, revealed that due to production schedules, he and the rest of the cast and crew typically start shooting each chapter before showrunners Matt and Ross Duffer have finished writing all of the episodes for the season.
In the latest season, however, the Duffer Brothers have managed to complete writing the entirety of season 4 before production on the episodes began, thanks to the production break brought on by the pandemic.
Speaking to Collider recently, Gaten explained that Stranger Things starts usually filming with only five or six episodes written, and the show will take a few weeks’ break later in the production schedule while the Duffer Brothers begin “non-stop panic writing”.
Not this time though, as the delays brought about by the global pandemic have meant that they’ve had “no excuse” to not have the season completed.
“When we went in for our first table read which was February of 2020 we expected to go right into filming and it was gonna be the same situation, they were gonna start with episodes all the way up through 5 and we were probably gonna do the same hiatus, but COVID hit and we only had like six episodes and so they were like, ‘We might as well finish’,” Gaten explained.
With production on season 4 now back up and running and the whole season already written, Gaten added that it’s made a huge difference on set, as the Duffer Brothers are now just focusing on directing.
“I think they’ve been able to relish in directing in their day-to-day,” he continued. “There’s nothing else distracting them other than what we’re gonna do today while we’re directing.
“I asked them, ‘Do you guys sleep at night?’ They’re like, ‘Literally, we dream about directing this show. We go to sleep and we have dreams that we’re just directing this show’ – it takes up their entire minds when they’re making this.
“So I think it’s a good thing because now they can take their focus off of what the show is going to be about, and just focus on how they’re going to deliver. And I think it shows.”
Having wrapped its Lithuanian leg back in February 2020 – which will presumably focus on David Harbour’s Jim Hopper after he was kidnapped by Russian officers – Netflix was forced to postpone production in the US due to COVID-19.
Filming finally resumed in Georgia in September 2020, with several cast members including Matarazzo, Natalia Dyer (Nancy Wheeler), Sadie Sink (Max Mayfield), Joe Keery (Steve Harrington), Maya Hawke (Robin) and newbie Levon Thurman-Hawke being spotted on set.
As for when filming will finish – and when the new episodes will finally premiere – that’s still up in the air.
“There’s very few dates that are reliable,” Gaten explained. “It really is more of a guesstimation on when we’re gonna be filming next, when we’re gonna be wrapping up, when release is gonna be, all that jazz because we still don’t know on day-to-day if we’re gonna be filming next week.
“I should be filming next month for a bigger chunk than I’ve had in a bit, but even though it’s coming up in about two weeks from now, I still don’t know an exact date. So because of that, there’s really no way to figure out when we’re gonna be wrapping.”