Growing up on Stranger Things

Teenage stars (from far left) Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink, Noah Schnapp and Gaten Matarazzo in Tokyo for a fan event, ahead of the premiere of the third season of Stranger Things next week.
Teenage stars (from far left) Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink, Noah Schnapp and Gaten Matarazzo in Tokyo for a fan event, ahead of the premiere of the third season of Stranger Things next week. PHOTO: NETFLIX

Teenage stars of the Netflix sci-fi horror series say working together on set has made them close in real life as well

Ahead of hit science-fiction horror Netflix series Stranger Things' season 3 premiere next month, four of the show's teenage cast members flew into Tokyo for a fan event.

Caleb McLaughlin, Sadie Sink, Noah Schnapp and Gaten Matarazzo showed up in the city's Akihabara district to take selfies and sign autographs at the Japanese summer festival-themed event attended by 300 lucky fans.

The young American actors greeted their fans in Japanese, bantered and played a slingshot shooting game at the event, which had food stalls, a photo booth and an arcade room.

Speaking at the event, Schnapp, 14, says of their bond: "We're really lucky we're so close in real life and it shows on TV and we have a lot of fun on set.

"We've gone to Six Flags, which is an amusement park in America, we have sleepovers, we hang out, we play pranks on one another, we throw food at one another - we're always laughing."

In the series, he plays Will, whose abduction by supernatural forces kick-started the series in 2016.

The drama, set in a fictional American town in the 1980s, has been both a critical and popular hit.

Matarazzo, 16, who plays Dustin, says: "I think (the show) is for everyone. You have adults who are nostalgic about the 1980s who love it and kids who love watching other kids in shows that are not necessarily targeted at children."

The show's widespread popularity has catapulted its young stars to overnight fame.

McLaughlin, 17, says jokingly: "Well, I'm famous now."

He adds: "I get to do things like travelling here and meeting fans. And I have a platform to spread awareness about things I think are important."

The cast was joined on stage by Japanese actress Yuko Oshima and comedic duo Speed Wagon, who asked Sink, 17, about her kiss scene with McLaughlin at a school dance in the previous season.

Sink, who joined the cast in season 2 as Max, says: "It was actually very rushed when we filmed it. And because we were doing the same take, the same song kept playing over and over again. It was not as great as it seemed onscreen."

So what can they reveal about the upcoming season?

Sink says it is her favourite one: "This season is where everyone is growing up and changing, that's something they have to deal with too."

• Stranger Things 3 premieres on Netflix next Thursday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2019, with the headline 'Growing up on Stranger Things'. Print Edition | Subscribe