‘Stranger Things 2’ Producers on Shooting the Snow Ball and Why the Show Lacks Deleted Scenes

     November 3, 2017

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Spoilers for Stranger Things 2 follow below.

If you’ve finished Stranger Things 2, then by now you’ve witnessed one of the show’s best sequences ever: the Snow Ball. Indeed, Season 2 of the Netflix series culminates in a John Hughes-tinged middle school dance, during which our various characters wrestle with emotional and romantic stakes rather than fighting off a demodog or giant shadow monster.

While the Snow Ball sequence is a highlight, it wasn’t exactly easy to shoot. Collider’s own Steve Weintraub recently spoke at length with Stranger Things executive producers Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen about the show’s second season, and the two revealed that when it came time to shoot the Snow Ball, everyone was exhausted:

“In both seasons, by the time we get to the finale the crew, the cast, and the Duffers are running on fumes. So the hours are crazy, people are grumpy or dead on their feet exhausted, and they’re all kids. So the big kind of drama of shooting that was the kisses, neither of which were scripted. It became a whole thing of, ‘Oh today’s the big kiss day!’ The kids would mercilessly tease each other.”

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Image via Netflix

Indeed, both kisses that happen in the finale came about on the spot, and Levy says that Finn Wolfhard resigned himself to warning Millie Bobby Brown and the camera operator when it was time for him to go in for the kiss, so they’d catch it on camera:

“There’s a story actually, we talked about this on the aftershow [Beyond Stranger Things] where Finn, when he was coming in for the kiss—and you can kind of see it because the steadicam was 360’ing and our steadicam operator was wheezing, it was like Take 20 and if you’re on the back of a head you don’t see the kiss and you’ve gotta go again. So Finn got in the habit of going, ‘I’m coming in, I’m coming in,’ [before the kiss]. So as romantic and sacred as the Snow Ball is, there was a lot of off-camera silliness.”

But don’t expect to see that silliness in a blooper reel. Levy revealed that the show’s creators have decided to purposefully shy away from showing off any kind of gag reel or outtakes:

“We don’t share bloopers because we’re willing to pull back the curtain on the show, but we don’t want to demystify it in quite that way. It’s not a comedy. Obviously mistakes happen [but] I don’t think we’ll ever release bloopers.”

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Image via Netflix

Levy and Cohen also talked about the show’s lack of deleted scenes, with Cohen pointing out this is one way Stranger Things is not like a feature film:

“While we talk about how these seasons are movies, when a movie’s in post you really do shed a lot of scenes and repurpose and retool things on almost every movie. And on this we’ll sit down a couple times and give notes and modify a bit, but very little is cut, if any. There’s probably a lot of episodes that have been shot where no scenes are cut.”

Indeed Levy added that the Duffer brothers also don’t like to write scenes that aren’t plot-driven, which also impacts the show’s lack of extraneous material:

“It’s really, really interesting because in a given two-hour movie there’s usually at least half an hour of scenes that get cut. On Stranger Things, both seasons, because the Duffers write and rewrite and rewrite they just like hammer this material so rigorously before it ever shoots that everything has a purpose. They also don’t believe in scenes that aren’t plot necessary. So you’ll notice there’s very few scenes—even like a delicious treat like Billy flirting with Karen Wheeler, it serves a purpose; he’s trying to get information from her. So because the Duffers like all scenes to anchor into plot and necessity it means there’s very, very, very few deleted scenes.”

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