Stranger Things role for fan Cary Elwes

Actor Cary Elwes (left), who binge-watched Netflix's Stranger Things, will play a fast-talking mayor in the third season of the series.
Actor Cary Elwes (left), who binge-watched Netflix's Stranger Things, will play a fast-talking mayor in the third season of the series.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK • He binge-watched the show and now you can catch him in the show.

Today, Netflix's Stranger Things returns for another season of paranormal pyrotechnics and 1980s nostalgia. And as in the first two seasons, creators Matt and Ross Duffer have given a supporting role to a well-known actor from the era.

Cary Elwes, who plays a fast-talking mayor in Season 3, is still most recognised for one of the most beloved films of the 1980s: Rob Reiner's The Princess Bride.

Here are excerpts from an interview with the 56-year-old.

How did you get involved with Stranger Things?

It was the only show I binge-watched with my wife. I was not somebody who did a lot of bingeing. But that show was so gripping that we cancelled a lot of plans because we just could not stop watching it.

So when I got the call from the Duffers, I was very excited.

Have you ever experienced that kind of serendipity in your career before?

Coppola. (Francis Ford Coppola directed 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula.) Coppola is someone whom I dreamt of working with.

I had studied his work very carefully. So when we met, I think I talked his ear off for about an hour. He was very sweet about that. I have had a wonderful career really.

How secretive is the production of Stranger Things?

We discussed the character and explored his past and nuances in great detail. I was allowed to base the character on a number of politicians I like. They could tell me only what my character would be doing for this season and not any further than that.

With Stranger Things and Glow this summer, Netflix is going to be 1980s-dominated again. Why do you think people are so interested in that era now?

It is cyclical, I think. I think we have explored the 1970s and now it is time for the 1980s, which is not a bad time even if people have issues with it in terms of fashion.

There are photographs of some jackets I have torn up. On the whole, it was a great time for movies. It was a great time for music. By the way, the Duffers are very talented at picking songs for this show. So it is fun.

You have been in film and television a long time - how does the Netflix era feel different to you?

Netflix changed the business altogether. It came along and revolutionised everything. Its talent for picking content and picking talent.

It has a great knack for having its finger on the pulse of what is in the zeitgeist, this show being possibly the most important. It is very hands-off and that attracts more talent.

A lot of film-makers who have done network TV have felt like they had their vision stifled a little bit. Who doesn't want to flock to a studio where it leaves you alone?

Why do you think The Princess Bride remains so resonant, to the point it feels as if people talk about it more now than 30 years ago?

ill Goldman (who wrote the novel and film version of The Princess Bride) wrote a book, Adventures In The Screen Trade (1983), that says: "In Hollywood, no one knows anything."

And what he meant by that was that if they knew what a hit would be, they would make them all the time.

What I think Princess Bride had was that it was cross-generational... Whole families could watch it and find something in it; it was fun and it was about love.

It is silly at times. It is adventurous. It is the gift that keeps on giving.


• Stranger Things 3 is available on Netflix from today.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2019, with the headline 'Stranger Things role for fan Cary Elwes'. Print Edition | Subscribe