It’s been a few weeks now since Netflix premiered their sleeper hit of the summer, “Stranger Things.” Much of the focus regarding fan reactions have been paid to the child actors in the series but it’s a safe bet that “Stranger Things” wouldn’t be “Stranger Things” if Winona Ryder wasn’t cast as Joyce Byers.
The story here follows a town’s reaction when a boy goes missing and Ryder plays the mom “whose heart is shattered.” It’s the first time audiences have seen Ryder in a role like this on the small screen and it’s a genre the actress expresses a huge interest in.
“Joyce is a single parent,” Ryder explains in the featurette. “I know a lot of women like that who are really good people but … they struggle.” If the story through the kids’ eyes are flavored with exploration, hope and wonder, it’s Joyce’s story that mirrors the darkness and desperation of the realities of losing a child.
“Joyce starts off this season freaking out because her son is missing,” says EP Shawn Levy. “Shortly there-after, she gets indications that there is a supernatural, paranormal presence in her home and a possibility that her son is alive. But, somewhere she cannot see. And somewhere she cannot get to.”
“The thing about Winona is that she’s completely fearless,” explains co-creator Matt Duffer. “She jumps in all the way 100%, and that’s what you need for the Joyce character.” Levy continues explaining the complexity and emotional nuance needed to pull of the Joyce character and Winona Ryder was on the top of that very short list.
“She’s dynamite,” says David Harbour (Chief Hopper). “She’s like a live wire. I mean, she’s someone who brings it every take.” There are times in the eight-episode season that Ryder feels a bit too amped but, as Levy explains in the clip, she’s the one with the heightened stakes from the get-go.
“Everybody thinks she’s out of her mind but she’s actually kind of onto something,” Ryder continues.
Just where will the story take Joyce, Will and the rest of the cast of characters? We’ll have to wait to find out what else lurks in the Upside Down as “Stranger Things” is rumored to return for Season 2.