Shawn Levy: Stranger Things Season 3 Will Get Darker Than Expected

He really was pretty great. Often young actors don’t always get their due in these roles. Millie has, but in general, it’s so hard for them to break through, I think.

Yeah. It is. And you know, the amazing thing about Noah and the way his family has raised him is, he didn’t blink. He knows how solid his work was in season two. And it’s been acknowledged by fans, it’s been acknowledged by his fellow cast members, and certainly by us as his directors and producers. And he’s just a very solid individual. I guess the only other moment is I remember as soon as I read the scene where Hopper [David Harbour] was digging in the pumpkin patch, and I knew I was directing that scene, I went out to the pumpkin patch and I said, “You know what?  There’s going to be like a six-minute window where the sun is set in those woods. And we’re going to be at that perfect, fleeting moment of dusk. I want to shoot that scene and get everything we need in those six minutes.”  So, every time I watch that sequence, Hopper against a cobalt blue sky, digging in that ditch and flinging mounds of dirt right at the camera as we push in, skimming the earth on a Technocrane, it just makes me very happy in a complete nerd director way.

That’s awesome. So, despite it not debuting for close to a year, Netflix recently released a teaser for season three. It appears the show’s going to take more of a turn to explore more of lighter side of Hawkins with the whole ’80s mall aesthetic as the centerpiece. Was that intentional or is that just a misdirect?

That would be part of the store. but not at all representative of the season. There’s no question that, as you saw in that infomercial, Starcourt Mall is a part of season 3. As is summertime. So season 3 has a really healthy dose of poppy, bright levity and cultural fun. But I can only promise you that season 3 eventually goes places that are darker, and unquestionably more action-packed, than we’ve ever gone before.

That’s fun.

It would be a mistake for anyone to think that season 3 is the summer of fun and lightness because it’s a whole lot more than that.

Oh, that’s good. So, I’ve got two more questions for you before I let you go. One is, you know, the last time I talked to you, you had said that, as with most people who have shows on Netflix, or movies that stream on there, they had not told you any real sort of data. But I’ve heard rumblings that they’re starting to sort of tell filmmakers and producers a little bit more than they had in the past. I’m curious, do you know anything more about the audience or the numbers regarding about who watches “Stranger Things” on Netflix that you didn’t know after season one?

I can honestly tell you no. I can tell you that there are other metrics that give us glimmers of our popularity as far as social media traffic and trending. Obviously merchandise, promotional partnerships around the world. So, there are other indicators of our cultural footprint. But straight up, full truth is that I know not a single detail more about viewership numbers now than I did two years ago.

David-Harbour, Emmy, Stranger-Things

I have a friend who released a film with Netflix and they brought him in and they basically did something where they were like, “Well, compared to this, and to this, to this…” So, I thought maybe there was a chance.

I mean, interestingly, I’ve heard indications of that in regards to some of their movies, but I don’t make movies for them, yet. And I can just tell you that the TV executives are as circumspect with viewership numbers as they’ve always been.

Speaking of movies, you’ve got two films in the pipeline that you’ve been attached to direct. “Uncharted” and a remake of “Starman.” Are any of them closer to shooting than the others?

I mean, as of right now, the closest to the starting line is “Uncharted” in that it’s a massive title. We now have a very good script and we have our star in Tom Holland. That is now subject to schedule and additional casting. But I would say as of right now, that seems to be the most near horizon. And it’s a movie I’m very excited about. And I will tell you, you know, Stranger Things has been, on a day-to-day, every single day, basis, every bit as gratifying as any movie I’ve directed. It’s just, not only the popularity of the show and the outcome, but as I just experienced while directing season 3, it just remains inspiring on a daily basis, in a way that few movies ever are. So, you know, it’s definitely keeping me more than busy while I wait for the right movie and the right moment to line up on the feature side.

“Stranger Things” season 2 is available on Netflix.