He was just 11 years old when he started playing Will Byers. Now 17, Noah Schnapp is back today in Stranger Things for season 4. He tells us what it’s like to grow up alongside such a phenomenon…
It’s been three years since Season 3 of Stranger Things. More than ever, we have the feeling this year that the children of Hawkins have really grown up, right?
Completely. We grew up with our characters on the show. It’s a bit like Harry Potter in a sense. We see it, we too, that we have all changed a lot since season 1… But at the same time, it’s nice to know that there is a version of me, at 11, which is archived on Netflix (laughs)!
Our review of Stranger Things season 4
Does it feel weird to see you again, 6 or 7 years younger?
It’s quite surreal as an impression I must say! I was so much younger… I think the directors would have wanted us to stay small like that forever… We sometimes have the feeling that they cling to our past childhood and that they would have preferred we don’t grow up. That they would like us to come back years later being exactly the same age… Except that it doesn’t work like that (laughs). Fortunately, I grew up on this set surrounded by other kids like me in the cast. It helps.
You have changed. Will has changed. How do you see the character today?
It is true that he has evolved. He started out as a very shy kid who was afraid of everything. And then he went to the Upside Down. He was possessed. He was traumatized. From there, he got stronger. It is clearly different. He has matured and we see it in this season 4, in the way he adapts to his new environment, in California, far from his gang…
Speaking of maturity, this season is much darker than previous ones. Sometimes it looks like a real horror movie. Did you feel it too?
Yes and no. In fact on the set, we play in front of green screens and tennis balls (used for special effects, editor’s note) so it’s complicated to be really scared on set. Now, when I watch the finished episodes, I must admit that I close my eyes at times. Because it’s really scary and I’m not a big fan of horror movies personally. Afterwards, I still saw Freddy, the Claws of the Night ! It’s funny to see the cinematographic references that the authors have put, from one season to another. We went from Stand-by-Me where the Goonies in season 1 at Elm Street in season 4… It’s really cool.
The whole band is dislocated in this season 4. We imagine that it must have been strange not to tour with the others this year?
It was kind of weird not being together anymore. Not knowing what was happening to them on the other filming locations. Even if everything makes perfect sense on screen, when all the plots come together… Afterwards, with Millie (Bobby Brown), we begged the Duffers to stay together as much as possible… So that was cool. But hey, the cast is huge, so concretely, we can’t all be in the same place at the same time…