Gaten Matarazzo has a lot to say. First appearing on our screens six years ago as Dustin Henderson, the goofy kid with the oversized trucker hat in Netflix’s Stranger Things, he’s proceeded to become one of the show’s most beloved characters.
We catch up with him just days before the second part of the show’s fourth season is about to air. It’s early on a Tuesday morning, and the actor is already in hair and makeup to kickstart a day of junkets in New York to promote his latest Broadway show, Dear Evan Hansen, and the release of his upcoming film, Honor Society.
Speaking about the film — a teen-rom com, which features him as the lead’s love interest and his Harvard rival — Matarazzo says: “Michael’s cool – and a lot different from Dustin which is really, really fun.” More different still for the now 19-year-old is starring in Dear Evan Hansen, “I’m crapping my pants on a daily basis thinking about it. It’s interesting to play a character where the themes of the show are really important and really sensitive.”
But with its conspiracy theories, musical numbers and new (imaginary) villain line-ups, it’s Stranger Things that we really want to talk about. HUNGER reached out to the show’s fans to hear all of their weirdest questions, and Matarazzo delivered…
Did you know the ending of the upcoming Part 2 or was it kept a secret from you?
Oh, I know the ending of four, absolutely. But I know what it like for Game of Thrones, they didn’t tell a lot of the cast the stuff they hadn’t worked on personally, which is crazy but also makes sense. But, no, we were in the loop for all of it, which is great. Then again, when it comes to season five – I know nothing at this point.
If you were in the Upside Down instead of the “fantastic grown-up four” – what gate would you enter from and where do you go first?
Not gonna go to the water again, because drowning on top of going to the Upside Down just seems like a lot to deal with. So, I guess I’ll go with the one in Eddie’s trailer. Actually, I’m gonna subtract that because to get through the gate at his trailer, you have to do a pull-up and I can’t do that. So, I’ll swim instead.
Vecna is here in your head Dustin. He has got a hold of Steve and Eddie too – and he is asking you to choose – who would you save?
No, I’ll sacrifice myself. This is just a fancy way of asking who was my favourite? I’ll say, Steve, just because there’s history there.
Will Eddie turn out to be the traitor?
I’m not supportive of Eddie being evil, it’s just he wears scary clothes and listens to metal music, but he is soft. He is a sweet, sweet boy on the inside.
What about Miss Kelly? The guidance counsellor who wears all the clocks — they look like keys reminiscent of Vecna’s creeped-up grandfather clock…
Oh my god. Well, that would be quite the turn for her character, so I’ll be in support of that just because that would be the twist of a lifetime when that happens.
What would be the song they save you with? And you can’t say ‘NeverEnding Story’.
Well, I wouldn’t have picked it because I think I would just collapse into myself. What am I gonna pick? Who knows? It’s always changing – I never have consistent music tastes. And today – being put on the spot… I’ll pick ‘Tom Sawyer’ by Rush – just because that’s the one song I can think of at this very moment.
Are there more Dusty Buns and Sussie duets coming?
I think it would just like cross into the metaverse ways to intensify – but who knows, I would love that.
If you could add another villain to the line-up, who would you want to add?
Voldemort? No Darth Vader. Because that would be crazy. Imagine him coming out of a portal with a lightsaber doing the Rogue One hallway scene… Star Wars references are kind of what I do with my life all the time.
Who is a better friend – Mike, Will, Lucas or Dustin? And why?
I would have said Dustin before season three, but he goes off and does his own thing. And that might be a testament to the other guys not being great friends, but I’m gonna say Will – because he’s the only one who has been devoted to keeping the friend group intact.
Who do you ship – Nancy & Steve (St-ancy) or Nancy & Jonathan (Jon-cy)? OR Nancy & Robin?
Oh, there is a Nancy-Robin option? That’s pretty fun. Honestly, I have always been Team St-ancy. They are making a comeback. I knew it.
What was the biggest plot twist in season 4 part 1 that you didn’t see coming?
That none of it’s actually happening, and it’s just this crazy D&D campaign that the boys from season one are in the midst of creating.
Stranger Things Season 4 Part 2 is available to stream now on Netflix.