The perfect scene partner! While reflecting on filming season 4 of Stranger Things, Brett Gelman revealed that having Murray team up with Joyce — without Hopper — offered a unique professional highlight for him.
“It was surreal not having David [Harbour] there. At the same time, the positive side of that was getting to have all of this one-on-one time with one of my acting heroes [Winona Ryder],” Gelman, 45, exclusively told Us Weekly ahead of the show’s return. “One of the people who taught me how to act by watching them as I was growing up.”
The comedian noted that Ryder, 50, was an influential part of his own career, adding, “We are really close in age, but she was a famous movie star very early on. So, I grew up watching her and being inspired by her. Getting to act with her and become friends with her and getting to know her more than I already had in season 3 was a complete dream come true for me.”
Murray’s season 4 arc focuses on him reuniting with Joyce after she receives a message that Hopper may still be alive. Throughout the first volume, which started streaming on Friday, May 27, the twosome travels to Alaska before making their way to a Russian labor camp where their friend ended up after the explosion in Starcourt Mall.
According to Gelman, getting to play his eccentric character over the years taught him some important lessons. “Nothing is easy when you are doing anything. Acting is so beyond easy or hard to me. It is like a mess and preparation yet at the same time it is focused,” he shared with Us. “I know that it is like we are playing contradiction games here, but that really is the truth about it to me. It was just really fun to get back.”
The Illinois native praised Stranger Things for allowing him to bring some humor to the sci-fi series. “Part of doing this show is very much living a childhood fantasy of playing a character in a world that I sort of grew up watching. Getting to do that myself is just amazing. To get to be funny in this kind of cantankerous and anxiety-ridden way,” Gelman said. “Murray is very complex and complicated.”
Gelman also elaborated on his character’s tumultuous history with the people of Hawkins, Indiana. “I think that he learns a lot about simplicity from the people of Hawkins too. Because they are like bumpkins. They are so dumb,” he joked, before adding, “Down deep I think he knows that they are really intelligent people and that intelligence at the end of the day doesn’t matter. What matters is decency and courage. I think that is something he believes as well.”
Season 4 of Stranger Things is now streaming on Netflix.