'Stranger Things' star pushed into filming unscripted kiss
Stranger Things 2 was a brilliant follow-up from its debut season, introducing new characters, a decent balance of trivial moments among darker themes, as well as a more complex cast of antagonists (the shadow monster, demo-dogs and the handsome psycho jerk Billy Hargrove).
Our favourite characters grew up a little bit and – oops, I meant to give a spoiler warning earlier – this all culminated in the beautiful Snow Ball scene of the finale episode in which the budding romances are left to blossom on a glittering dancefloor with Every Breath You Take throbbing in the background. Eleven and Mike finally share a kiss, but only after the new middle-school couple, Lucas and Max, show them how to do it, pecking each other swiftly on the lips below the mirror ball and grinning forever afterward.
But while it elicited a reaction of "nawww"s and "adorable"s at the time, the kiss between Lucas and Max is now causing a bit of a stir on social media.
In a video from Beyond Stranger Things, the show's aftershow featuring different members of the cast and crew being interviewed by Jim Rash, we get some new insights into the scene. Rash turns to actress Sadie Sink, who played season two's newcomer Max, and mentions the Snow Ball kiss, asking "how was shooting that?"
Sadie immediately points a finger across the table at the Duffer brothers, the show's creators. She said it was their idea and claimed that the kiss "was not written in the script". To this the brothers got weirdly defensive, telling Sadie "it was all your fault". The host asks Sadie to clarify, which she does all while the brothers sit there grinning awkwardly and sipping from their mugs.
"I get there the first day of filming the 'Snow Ball' and I am walking in, seeing the decorations and stuff," the 15-year-old explained.
"One of you, I think it was you, Ross, says: 'Oh Sadie, you ready for the kiss?'
"And I am like: 'What, no, that is not in the script... that is just not happening'.
"So the whole day I was stressed out and I was like: 'Oh my God, wait, am I going to have to do it'."
16-year-old Caleb McLaughlin, who plays Lucas, appeared to be a little shocked by what Sadie was revealing and teased: "Was it that bad?"
She goes on to say: "I was thinking: 'Is it going to happen, is it not?' and it didn't happen that day but then yeah, the second day of filming the Snow Ball".
"You reacted so strongly to this," replied Ross Duffer, "I was just joking, and you were so freaked out that I was like well, I gotta make her do it now."
Sadie retorted with: "So that is why it is my fault?", before the Duffer brothers thanked her, saying they couldn't imagine the scene differently.
Apparently, it was the first kiss for both of the actors. That's daunting enough for any young teen, made even more awkward by the fact they were doing it in on camera, with a full crew watching, AND not to mention that they had their parents on set.
After seeing the clip, fans clearly felt a bit angry and uncomfortable about the whole thing, and took to Twitter to raise their concerns:
They pointed out that the 15-year-old's concerns should have been taken more seriously and dealt with in an appropriate manner, rather than teased out for the creators' own amusement or for the show's benefit. Although Sadie seemed to be okay with it all in the end, her recollection of the shoot and how "stressed out" she felt in anticipation of having to film the kiss didn't seem to be handled well at all.
Especially given her age, as well as the wave of stories being circulated at the moment in regards to sexual harassment in Hollywood, the fact that the Duffer brothers joked about Sadie's discomfort was not such a wise move.
Better be more careful next time guys – you've got a whole army of over-protective fans willing to fight you with nail-sprouting baseball bats if any of the precious Stranger Things kids feel threatened again.