Child actors don’t often get an easy ride when it comes to the critics - their abilities often stand out, and not in a good way - a poor child actor can really ruin the believability of a film or TV show.
However, in Stranger Things, it’s totally the opposite. It’s the child actors that make the show so brilliant - they’re the heart of the story, and are all excellent in their roles. Finn Wolfhard (Mike) and Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven) are already breakout stars, while Gaten Materazzo (Dustin) and Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas) are the show’s source of humour - without them, Hawkins would be an even darker place.
There’s also Noah Schnapp as Will of course. He spent most of Season 1 trapped in the Upside Down, but in Season 2 he’s back, and we can expect to see a lot more of him this time around.
Given the huge commercial success of Stranger Things - no other Netflix Original is so ripe for merchandise sales, just look at Topshop right now - it’s only fair that these kids get to take home decent pay packets. Are we bitter that these 13 and 14-year-olds earn the same in two episodes that most of us do in a year? Maybe we should be, but they’re incredibly talented and bring us joy, so I’m not complaining.
The Hollywood Reporter reports (that’s what they do, after all), that Wolfhard, Brown, Materazzo and McLaughlin all made $30,000 (just under £23,000) per episode in Season 1, and are collecting the same package for Season 2. This means that in total, from the combined 17 episodes, they will each earn around £390,000 before tax.
On top of that, they are each believed to have been given a bonus of ‘less than six figures’ when Netflix realised what a huge smash the show had become. It’s not a bad life, huh.
The cast is currently signed up to a six-year contract, though it’s reported they will renegotiate to earn more money ahead of the upcoming seasons.
There were initial hopes to shoot Seasons 3 and 4 back-to-back right after Season 2, so as to avoid any awkward growth spurts and dropping of voices the kids might go through, but the Duffer brothers reportedly shot down this idea, saying the show’s writers could not turn out quality episodes that quickly.
Stranger Things 2 drops on UK Netflix this morning at 8.01am. A lot of fans have been scared that it might not live up to the expectations of the first effort, but a series of brilliant trailers have given us hope.
Also - and prepare for a little humblebrag here - I got to see the first two episodes at a special premiere screening last night, and they were both excellent. The show is 100% as good as it was last time around, and I can’t wait to guzzle the remaining episodes up in roughly seven hours flat.
Binge yourself into the upside down this weekend. You might not earn as much as a bunch of 13-year-old children, but hey, you still deserve it.