‘Stranger Things’ team backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

“STRANGER THINGS”

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

Here is what these SAG Award winners said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, and Caleb McLaughlin at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles.
“Stranger Things” cast members Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp and Caleb McLaughlin at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

How strange is it to have this award?

Caleb McLaughlin: Oh my gosh, it’s a blessing. I was sitting there. I was waiting for “The Crown,” “Game of Thrones,” all of the great competition that we had. And then I just heard, “Oh my gosh.” I just heard the “s,” and I knew it was us, and I just started jumping.

Finn Wolfhard: I’ll say something very quickly. I looked to Natalia, I looked to Millie. I was like, “Guys, I’m going to sleep. See you later.” And I laid my head on the rest. And then they were, like, “Stranger Things” …

Millie Bobby Brown: And it was actually funny because the Duffers, the [“Stranger Things”] directors, we thought we had no chance. It is so incredible to be in such an incredible category with so many talented, incredible shows that have worked so hard. I really want to thank everyone I didn’t get to say on stage because David Harbour just rocked it, but I just want to say thank you so much to every single nominee in that category.

Noah Schnapp: Mr. [Matthew] Modine actually told me that it’s like it’s already like winning when you get nominated, and then being able to win after being nominated is just the feeling, the rush; it’s just such a blessing.

Gaten Matarazzo: Yeah, it really is just a great opportunity to be here, and the great thing about it is that we’re in our first season. We are in our first season of this show, and we just won this award. And it’s the whole cast, and they called our name, and I’m like, “How the hell? Like what? You’re kidding me!” And Dave’s speech was just amazing, and I could listen to that a hundred times. It was just a phenomenal job. Thank you to just everyone and David Harbour. It’s exciting.

You’re all so young. What would you say to kids who aspire to be actors?

McLaughlin: I would say just keep striving for your dreams and never give up. Don’t believe anyone that puts you down. Just keep going because you’re your own person, and you have to just keep doing it. Just keep going.

Wolfhard: My answer to that would be keep trying. Every actor has been in the position, well not every actor. Some actors like us got lucky with this, but some actors don’t get lucky, and they work their whole lives to be on a show like this. I’ve only been acting for five years, four years. Some actors have been acting their entire life, because we’re not old. That sounded awful. Sorry. Not all on the older side. We’ve only been on this planet for 14 years. I would just say keep trying; keep auditioning for stuff.

Brown: I’ve always thought just go into an audition room thinking you haven’t got the job, and that’s really bad advice but to me that really works. And when I went into “Stranger Things,” I thought, “I really am not going to get this. I mean, there’s so many talented … 306 girls, I think, auditioned for Eleven.” And I’m just like, “It’s to be going the same audition as them,” so I just thought, “I’m going to get this.”

Schnapp: So my answer would be … everyone says this but it’s really true: Just never give up and stay motivated keep trying. One day you’re going to get it if you love it. Just go after it, because if you love it, put your heart into it and your passion. One day it’ll come.

Matarazzo: So mine is to say that tonight really proves that kids can be good actors too, because there are a lot of things that a lot of people give a lot of stereotypes saying kids aren’t good actors because they don’t have experience. But it’s not about experience. It’s about your will to do what you love, and it’s about your passion for it. It is about how much you really want to do this, because you can really just do amazing things, no matter how long you’ve been on this planet.

So if any kid out there that says they aren’t as good as someone because they’re older, they are wrong because age does not matter no matter how old you are. You can be a hundred years old in there [he points to his head] even if you’re 9 years old. That’s what I have to say. Any kid can do amazing things.

David, you got very emotional in your speech. How long did you take for you prepare it?

David Harbour: I didn’t expect us to win at all, actually, because we’re the newcomers, and there’s a lot of kids in the show, and it’s a strange show to give an acting award. I think I’m so proud of this cast, and I think it’s well-deserved. I think the work that these guys are doing is so extraordinary, but I did not think we were going to win. I did know that if we did win, I’m very bad at improvisation, as the rest of the cast can tell you. So I did not want to go up there with nothing to say, so I did write this speech.

And it’s gone through many iterations. I’ve had a lot of feelings and thoughts this last week, and I wanted to express it in some way that dealt with what we do through our art and also the craft of acting. And I feel like in our society now, it’s important to remember that acting is a craft, and that this is a guild, and it is something worthy of study, and it’s something worthy of hard work and dedication. It’s not about how popular you are; it’s not about how many “likes” you get on things. I see some trends in our society going a certain way, and I think acting is, at least for my life, has been a very important component about self-expression that is very worthy of a guild. And so I wanted the speech really to be about that.

Had you run the speech by your castmates? It looked Winona Ryder was hearing it for the first time.

Harbour: I didn’t see her reaction. Actually we were at dinner the other night, and it was Cara [Buono] and the teens and myself. And I was like, “Guys, I want to say this kind of crazy speech. Can I run it by you? And Charlie [Heaton] was like, “No, no you’ll ruin it. You’ll jinx it.” But finally we beat him into submission. And I did do it for them.

But it even changed last night, based on the protests that are going on at the airports and all this stuff that’s going down. I started to change it some more, but they did help me, and they did reassure me that it was an okay thing to say and that it wasn’t pretentious,  and that I could say it. So I was very appreciative of their feedback.