In a recent interview with People, Stranger Things’ actor Gaten Matarazzo (Les Miserables: The Broadway Musical) shared that filming season four of the Netflix hit under COVID-19 protocols has slowed things down immensely. “It’s definitely a slower process than usual,” the Dustin Henderson actor told People “which is really saying something because we take our sweet time making the show anyway.”
Strangers Things was just one, of innumerable, productions that had just barely gotten underway in March before the entertainment industry shutdown as a result of COVID-19. Ten days after the cast and crew arrived in Atlanta and attended their first table read, they had to return to their respective homes for an indefinite hiatus.
While quarantining with his family in New Jersey, Matarazzo took a food running job at a local restaurant to fill the time during Stranger Things’ hiatus. Meanwhile, the show’s writers finalized the scripts for season four.
“I think it’s maybe been a blessing for the writers,” Natalia Dyer (Yes, God, Yes) said of Stranger Things’ production hiatus “because they had the time to just sit down, think and create” (The Hollywood Reporter). Dyer described the fast-paced work environment of previous seasons, where scripts were still being completed alongside shooting.
In comparison, Matarazzo said of the post-COVID production that picked back up in November: “it’s not as steady paced or as consistent as I think any of us would like it to be” (People). However, the slow down period in between March and November allowed time for the writers to add a ninth episode into season four and showrunners, The Duffer Brothers (Stranger Things, Wayward Pines), to contemplate the show’s eventual ending.
Matt and Ross Duffer told The Hollywood Reporter in August, that the upcoming fourth season of the coming-of-age science fiction adventure would not be the show’s last. However, little is known about what this upcoming season will have in store.
— stranger writers (@strangerwriters) June 18, 2020
Matarazzo told US that season four has been the scariest yet and David Harbour (Stranger Things, Hellboy) has previously stated that it’s his personal favorite season for character Sheriff Jim Hopper. “You’ll see a lot of your favorite characters doing the thing that you love them for,” Harbour teased People about season four “but you’ll also see them twist it and turn it into other colors and other flavors”.
Stranger Things is not only a technically ambitious production, it features an ever-growing ensemble cast with recent additions including Robert Englund (The Nightmare on Elm Street) and Jamie Campbell Bower (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street). For this reason, Matarazzo ensures that the slowed down pace of production is, ultimately, for the best. “I think the most important thing is that when we’re working, we’re all staying safe” Matarazzo concluded with People.
Robert Englund aka Victor Creel is a disturbed and intimidating man who is imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital for a gruesome murder in the 1950s. pic.twitter.com/QsuaGTVqDf
— Stranger Things (@Stranger_Things) November 20, 2020
Even with the slowed production, Stranger Things is speculated to return to Netflix late this year or early 2022, according to Screen Rant.
Image Credit: Raymond Flotat