PRODUCTION. STRANGER THINGS
outset, but what of Stranger Things ? An undeniable jewel in the Netflix crown, and with three seasons already out in the wild, all with their own predefined aesthetic, surely he would have some degree of creative restriction? “We didn’t inherit lighting diagrams or rule books from seasons past – there was inherent trust that you are going to continue in the spirit of the show and what’s already been established visually,” explains Heymann. “From reading the scripts, I knew we were using new locations that we could define the look for. One of the first things we did was develop lookbooks to tease out how the overall mood, tonality and colour palette for these locations would appear. But the sets that had been used before – like the basement where the characters play Dungeons & Dragons – you want to respect that and not have too much of a departure. “Without a doubt this is the darkest, most adult season to date,” he continues. “In Season 4, the story expands beyond Hawkins. You have the California storyline with Joyce, Jonathan, Eleven and Will, which we wanted to have its own look and feel – warmer, pastels, sunnier – but also a harshness that felt threatening. Then you have the Russian storyline where Hopper is, which is darker, low-lit, moody and very cool. It leans into the
blues, but also with old-school practicals, like uncorrected fluorescents and sodium- vapour lights. “Hawkins was very colourful in Season 3, particularly the Starcourt Mall, but in the wake of where everything left off, it’s now a much more sombre tone. Even if we were shooting scenes in the school, we made it as dark as possible, turning off many of the overheads to bring in shadows and silhouettes. Similarly, Max is living in a trailer park with her alcoholic mother. We tried to make that gritty, so it looked like 8 Mile , with uncorrected fluorescents and dirty colour temperatures. We also shot handheld in the trailer park – an approach which hadn’t been used in the show, providing a unique sense of immediacy.” Further new ground was trodden in the choice of cameras and lenses. Previous seasons had been shot on different flavours of Red – the Dragon for Season 1, Helium for Season 2
“We didn’t inherit lighting diagrams or rule books from seasons past – there was inherent trust that you are going to continue in the spirit of the show and what has already been established visually”
Did you know? Charlie Heaton, who plays Jonathan Byers in Stranger Things , also starred in Heymann’s first feature film As You Are . Heaton was in the middle of casting for Stranger Things during shooting, and wasn’t allowed to shave his hair for the feature once he landed the part.
COLD CASE Chief Jim Hopper’s explosive end to Season 3 now sees him in the chilling surroundings of a Soviet prison
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