Dragon Con: Stranger Things

Andrew & Kinsey with Shannon Purser
Andrew & Kinsey with Shannon Purser!

At Dragon Con, Andrew attended Saturday’s Stranger Things Q&A. The panel included Cary Elwes, Mayor Kline; Shannon Purser, Barb; and Mark Steger, Demogorgon. 

The show’s diehard fans came out in droves and there was not an empty seat in the entire room. 

Before the panel, the audience was treated to humorous, fake commercials on DragonConTV for products such as “Improvie,” a spray that fixes bad movies and “FeltLife,” a dating site for felt puppets. This was a unique and refreshing way to keep the audience entertained before the panel started.

Read the highlights from the panel below!

70780303_2405493859673283_4221783076205756416_n– At the beginning of the panel, the moderator accidentally said that the show takes place in Ohio rather than Indiana, causing audience members to turn to each other confusingly. Even though it got off to an awkward start, the rest of the Q&A turned out to be a delight as the actors shared tales from working on the show and other insight about their acting careers.

– Mark Steger was asked about how much of the Demogorgon was created by practical effects vs C.G.I. He revealed that roughly ⅔ of it was makeup and ⅓ was CGI. The final Demogorgon ended up looking almost identical to the Duffer Brothers original design, with only one additional petal being added to its mouth. The Demogorgon was influenced by monster movies such as “Alien” and “The Thing”. 

– When asked how he was cast as Mayor Kline, Cary Elwes spoke about how he and his wife were fans of the show before he was offered the part. Despite having a history starring in several horror films, Elwes still has trouble watching the genre and was freaked out when they watched the first season. However, he still loved being able to join the show and playing a corrupt politician.70628888_900383210347436_6437125463725834240_n

– Shannon Purser detailed how “Stranger Things” was her very first acting job. She auditioned during her senior year of high school while the show’s working title was still “Montauk.” During her audition, she had to stand in front of the Duffer Brothers and pretend that she was dying. She must have (dare I say it?) killed the audition, because she was offered the role of Barb later that night! 

– Since the name of the panel was “Stranger Things: What’s Scarier – Mayor or Upside Down?,” it was inevitable that this question would come up: Could Mayor Kline defeat the Demogorgon? Even Cary Elwes had to admit that the chances would be pretty slim, but not before jokingly saying “Drop your petal,” a twist on a line from a famous scene in “The Princess Bride” where he says “Drop your sword”.

– An audience member daringly asked what should be a rhetorical question: “Does pineapple belong on pizza?” The panelists decided to let the audience to decide. IT DOES NOT. 

– Since Mayor Kline had to be physically put in his place several times in Season 3, one audience member was curious about what it was like being hit by Winona Ryder. Elwes said they had to practice a couple times to make sure there were no injuries, as Ryder can be very tough. Luckily, the stunt men made sure he was taken care of. “Stranger Things” Season 3 served as a reunion for Elwes and Ryder who had previously starred in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” together in 1991. 

70904948_443875026335638_3327591561151119360_n– Shannon Purser revealed that experiencing the fans reaction to her character’s death was something incredibly strange to experience in real time. Being that she only filmed on set for a week and her part was fairly small, she assumed her character would be forgotten. Luckily, the internet revolted and she expressed how grateful she was that people connected to her character.

– When asked if he had ever been creeped out by a scene, Cary Elwes recalled working on “Saw” where he spent most of filming chained up in a filthy bathroom. He found the atmosphere to be very unsettling and kept a close eye on the crew member who held the only set of keys to unlock him. 

– Shannon Purser’s favorite scene to film in “Stranger Things” was her death scene. She spent much of it screaming at the top of her lungs, covered in slime and fake vines and loved being able to let loose emotionally. Even though he wasn’t shown on camera, Mark Steger stood to the side in the Demogorgon costume while they filmed. It was helpful for Shannon’s performance, but was also slightly uncomfortable because she could see his face through the costume as she screamed at him. The set they were filming on was built specifically for her death scene.


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