Stranger Things without Winona Ryder playing the desperate mom, Joyce Byers, looking for her son is just incomplete. Think about it, who would come up with the idea of Christmas lights to communicate with her son in the Upside Down? And that’s exactly what started the whole thing. Too many major plot points of the narrative wouldn’t even exist without her. We honestly cannot think of anyone other than Ryder’s Joyce breaking into a Russian prison camp to save Hopper.
In a recent episode of Krista Smith’s Skip Intro, the Duffer brothers shared what it took to convince the 80s star to join the Netflix Original.
The brothers were apprehensive about approaching Winona Ryder for a TV role
Calling themselves a not-so-hot commodity, the brothers admitted that they were hesitant to approach Winona when casting director Carmen Cuba suggested her name. Prior to Stranger Things, Ryder was Hollywood’s IT girl in the 80s. She starred in several blockbusters and hadn’t had a single TV role. Moreover, she wasn’t very active in the industry seven years ago. So they created a fake trailer, a pitch document that had varied pictures from John Carpenter movies back in those days, and a script before meeting her. After nearly four hours, the actress agreed to do the role.
Joyce wasn’t a very interesting character before the actress stepped in
The Duffer brothers confess that Ryder made the character interesting.
“Joyce wasn’t that interesting of a character until we cast Winona,” they said.
The brother went on to call Ryder a unique actress and admitted that they wanted to utilize her skills for their show. Given that the actress had become Richard Dreyfruss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the brother came up with the Christmas lights scene. Apparently, imagining Joyce in such scenarios helped develop her as someone more than just a mother who wants her kid back.
In fact, it was the case for almost all of the actors in the pilot scene. They credit the actors for delivering and making the characters their own.
Can you imagine anyone else being Joyce?