Part of what makes Netflix's new show Stranger Things enticing is the chemistry between the younger characters. The horror series debuts this Friday on the streaming service, after a star-studded premiere earlier this week in Los Angeles. Winona Ryder captivated everyone's attention, but it was amazing to see how the pre-teens interacted with each other – and with her. It's clear that their bond remains strong outside the set. 

"Winona is great, she’s a really nice lady, she takes the time to talk to you," young actor Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair) told me at the premiere.

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"When I see her she’s like 'do you need anything, do you need water?' She’s really nice on set. Some days it was cold, and she would ask if I needed a heater," he adds. Caleb had never heard of the board game Dungeons & Dragons before being cast as Lucas. He also learned a lot about the music, fashion, and hairstyles that ruled the 80's (he was born in the 2000's). 

Back to the 80's

Set in 1983, Stranger Things takes us back to an era where kids would ride their bikes at night and use walkie-talkies to talk with each other.

It's something none of these young actors lived through. "I actually realized what a record player was over there. I was on set and was like 'what is that thing that’s spinning?'," said 10-year-old Millie Brown. "I got one for Christmas. I like that sort of era, I loved working that time period on the show," she said.

Fashion wise, being a kid in the 80's wasn't as weird as being a teenager. Joe Keery, who plays teenage heartthrob Steve, really had to dig in to understand what that time was all about. "I watched a bunch of 80’s and Tom Cruise movies," he revealed.

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"I didn’t know a lot about the music and kind of dove into what was coming out the year of the show, what this character realistically would’ve been listening to, and I was into a lot of the music I found." 

Working with a legend

Joe Keery, who had been working mostly in indie movies, was fascinated by Winona Ryder. "She’s fantastic, legendary," he gushed. "She’s such a curious performer, always asking questions, and looking around the set," he said.

"And David Harbour as well, he's such a confident guy in his acting. So it was an interesting pair to watch, doing these really dynamic scenes with each other. It was great and I feel like I learned so much. I was trying to suck it up as fast as I could."

Millie Brown, the only girl in the group, hugged Winona when she arrived at the premiere. "She’s great, she’s ultra professional. I loved working with her," Brown confirmed. "She gave me a lot of advice: just to stay humble and stay grounded.

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I love hanging out with her. I used to go to her trailer and be like 'come on, let’s get some food in together, a veggie burger'," she recalled.

For Winona Ryder, this was something completely new. Earlier in June, I had the chance to talk to her about the show and she admitted it was a bit tricky at the start. But she fell in love with Stranger Things, and the fact that this is Netflix makes a difference. "I had to go watch a lot of what was on and understand it a bit more," she admitted.

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"At the heart, this show is a human story," Keery said. "It’s about this group of kids that really care for their friend. It’s funny, it’s kind of scary at times," he added. "People really connect with these not perfect human characters, but it is really scary. I think it will give some kids some nightmares."

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