Who Are The Duffer Brothers? &#039Stranger Things&#039 Creators On Netflix&#039s Summer season Hit

Netflix’s surprise summer season Tv hit, Stranger Things, is full of scares and 1980s nostalgia. NPR’s Ari Shapiro talks to Matt and Ross Duffer, the comparatively unknown brothers behind the show.



The surprise Television hit of the summer is a show that looks like it could have been produced 30 years ago.


SHAPIRO: “Stranger Things” is a suspense horror show on Netflix. It is set in 1983 about a modest town exactly where a boy goes missing 1 night.


DAVID HARBOUR: (As Jim Hopper) Ninety-nine out of one hundred instances – kid goes missing, the kid is with a parent or a relative.

WINONA RYDER: (As Joyce Byers) Nicely, what about the other time?

SHAPIRO: There is a mysterious government lab, a monster and boys riding about town on bikes. If you are hearing echoes of “E.T.” or “Goonies” or any number of other beloved ’80s classics, that is not a coincidence. When the show’s creators Matt and Ross Duffer pitched “Stranger Factors,” they didn’t use a storyboard or a written synopsis. They told me they assembled a trailer made of snippets from ’80s films.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I feel it was about 30 diverse motion pictures. A lot of them were from the ’80s, but not completely from the ’80s – motion pictures that we reduce together to kind of tell the story of the show. But it was cool because then we – you know, we had, you know, a lot of shots from “E.T.,” but we scored it with, like, John Carpenter synth music.

So I consider it helped us figure out what the show was going to really feel like, and I feel it helped Netflix, you know, and other firms and producers recognize what we wanted to do with the show.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: To us truly this stuff – it didn’t really feel like this hodgepodge. It all felt like a complete when we all put it with each other and we put the music more than it. And I think the cause is that all these, you know, the Stephen King stuff, the John Carpenter stuff, the Spielberg stuff is all just about these little towns and these quite ordinary folks.

SHAPIRO: Matt and Ross Duffer are twins. They have been born in 1984, a year right after the show was set. “Stranger Factors” is the very first show they’ve ever created. And since they did not know any much better, they broke a lot of guidelines, like casting youngsters as the leads. In the very first episode, 4 boys played Dungeons &amp Dragons in their parent’s basement, a scene not all that various from the Duffer’s personal childhood.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) A shadow grows on the wall behind you, swallowing you in darkness. It is practically here.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #two: (As character) What is it?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #three: (As character) What if it’s the Demogorgon?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #four: (As character) Oh, jeez, if it’s the Demogorgon.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) It’s not the Demogorgon. An army of difficulty that is charged into the chamber.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character) Troglodytes?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Told you.


SHAPIRO: Quite soon a new girl appears, the weirdo in the woods. She’s got a shaved head and uncanny powers. Also, she barely talks. The Duffer brothers cast an eerily intense 11-year-old to play her named Millie Bobby Brown.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: What was interesting is by the finish of this shoot, this 11-year-old girl – I’m going up to her and going properly, how do you feel, what do you want to be doing? – you know, like I was treating her like she’s, like, a 41-year-old Shakespearean actor.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Well, and also because she’s very – which is something else that most child actors don’t have – she’s extremely aware of the camera.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: But at the exact same time, she’s like a little…

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: She’s nonetheless 11.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: She’s nonetheless 11.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: A single day she showed up on set and she’s just covered head to toe in glitter. And she’s like I don’t know exactly where this glitter came from.

SHAPIRO: (Laughter).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: And it’s like I am not getting this dilemma with any of my adult actors covered in glitter.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I mean, that – I mean, yeah that was a genuine deal. It was like 40 – that was a 45-minute delay. That is a – that was…

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: It really is quite – I do not know if you have attempted to get glitter off a person, but it is really difficult. And yeah, so we fell behind.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: So she’s nonetheless a child.


SHAPIRO: (Laughter) It genuinely delayed your production schedule since she came in covered in glitter?


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Yeah, 45 minutes in the morning, which is a – and you actually have a restricted quantity of time with little ones. So as funny as it is to talk about now, it was not funny.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: No. We’re like why are you sparkling? You’re, like, in “Twilight.”

SHAPIRO: (Laughter).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Yeah, you are not a vampire in “Twilight.” You know, what’s going on?

SHAPIRO: The obsession with this show is a lot more intense than I believe something I have ever observed. What was your, oh, my God, what have we done here moment?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: You know, the 1st issue that genuinely messed me up was the – there was the – Stephen King tweeted about it.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: And then I was like what? I mean, that to me was – due to the fact that didn’t – no one particular else had tweeted truly at that point. And, like – and he – you know, he naturally is 1 of our idols and was such a huge inspiration for us and an influence on this show, and that sort of messed me up. I – you just do not believe about it reaching these people. Yeah, it was insane. It was insane. I mean…

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I imply, even beginning Friday morning, you know, simply because the point is released, you know, at midnight.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: Individuals had completed the show.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: So many individuals had currently finished and have been tweeting all these great items about it. And then it just kept – via word of mouth, it just began to grow far more and much more and much more. And so even on Twitter what begins as a, you know, a handful of tweets turns into far more and more and far more and it just kept increasing. And then – you know, and then you commence seeing all this fan art on the web.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: The fan art.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: And amazing fan art and that is when we began realizing that – you know, and all this love for Barb, of course. And that’s when we…

SHAPIRO: Oh, I want to talk about Barb. Here’s the issue about Barb, she’s a extremely minor character on the show. A nerdy teenager, the fairly girl’s ideal friend on the sidelines.


SHANNON PURSER: (As Barbara Holland) Nance, seriously he invited you to his residence. His parents are not house. Come on, you are not this stupid.

NATALIA DYER: (As Nancy Wheeler) Tommy…

SHAPIRO: And yet when I asked on Twitter what people wanted to know about “Stranger Factors,” I virtually drowned in a tsunami of fervor for Barb.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: For us, it’s easy to relate to her since high college was a – it was terrible for us. And I know it was for a lot of folks, appropriate? You either enjoy it or hate it, and we hated it. And so I feel there’s a lot of men and women that really feel like they had been on the outside looking in, like Barb.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I feel the other reason men and women genuinely connect to her is due to the fact no 1 casts any individual like her. I mean, she looks like somebody you might genuinely go to college with.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Yeah, our teens have, like, acne and it’s like – it was, like, wonderful. I’m glad we didn’t – to me it really is important to attempt to maintain that and make it feel as genuine as possible.

SHAPIRO: To some folks, the show apparently felt a tiny too actual. In “Stranger Factors,” a Department of Energy facility gets up to some nefarious activities. And a couple of weeks ago, the true Department of Energy decided it necessary to set the record straight.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I really like that the Department of Energy issued a public statement that they’re not evil. That was like – that’s my preferred thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: Out of thousands of scientists, none of them are evil. But it’s, like…

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I bet there’s 1 evil 1.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: There’s one particular – (laughter) someone in there is evil. In a thousand folks, someone’s not a good guy.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Someone’s up to no great.


SHAPIRO: That is actually one particular of the bullet points in the DOE’s slightly tongue-in-cheek weblog post, quote, “national laboratory scientists are not evil.” Other headlines from the weblog post consist of, the Power Department does not mess with monsters and the Energy Division does not explore parallel universes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: And also I enjoy how they pretend like they know how an interdimensional monster functions.

SHAPIRO: In the planet of “Stranger Issues,” Matt and Ross Duffer really do know how an interdimensional monster operates – in excruciating detail. The twins wrote a 30-web page document describing what is actually going on in this planet, with answers that the eight-episode show by no means totally reveals.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: We want to try to produce a mythology that has specific roles and a back story, and at least to us we realize. And then again, even if we’re not doling all that out to the audience in this, you know, first season or perhaps in other seasons, we still want to know that we have this solid base, and that we know the answers to it.

So it does not – I do not want – I want the audience to really feel like they’re secure, that we have these answers. And if we’re not providing it to them, we’re not giving it to them for a reason.

SHAPIRO: Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer, thank you so considerably for your time, and congratulations on the massive achievement of “Stranger Items.”

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Oh, thank you so significantly, yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #two: This was so fun. Thanks for speaking.



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