Winona Ryder experienced a career resurgence thanks to Stranger Things. Unlike many of her tween cast-mates, she was alive and thriving in the 1980s. Ryder played a key role in ensuring ‘80s authenticity while filming season four of Stranger Things. Here’s what happened.
Winona Ryder: ‘80s Star
Born to a pair of authors in 1971, Ryder was named for her hometown: Winona, Minnesota. The family soon moved to California, where Ryder became a prolific reader and victim of bullying. She was tormented all throughout high school, even as her career went off.
And “go off” it did. Ryder’s career exploded in the ‘80s, while still a teenager attending high school. Her debut came in Lucas, which caught the eye of Tim Burton. He cast her as the lead in Beetlejuice, an iconic film of its era and a box office smash. In 1989, she starred in the cult-classic Heathers. Ryder achieved even greater acclaim in the ’90s, but the ‘80s were where she got her start.
A Marvel On Set
A career of ups and downs led Ryder to Stranger Things. Calling the Netflix series a hit would be an understatement: it’s led to new generations of fans embracing Ryder. Her influence goes well beyond her acting as well. She’s something of a resident ‘80s expert on set.
In an interview with Harpers Bazaar, castmate David Harbour sings Ryder’s praises: “It’s just kind of epic how wild her mind is and how it goes to all these different corner.” Her mind never stops moving. Harbour reveals Ryder even points out historical mistakes that the Duffer Brothers missed.
“She’d tell them, ‘This song actually came out in ’85, and you have it in ’83.’ She knew all of these minute, tiny details they didn’t even know, and they had to change things in the script based on that,’ Harbour says. The song Ruder was probably referring to would be “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush. The 1985 single shot to the top five in the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time thanks to Stranger Things. You gotta hand it to Ryder for knowing what year these songs came out off the top of her head on top of all her other responsibilities.
What’s Next For Ryder?
On top of the fifth season of Stranger Things, Ryder has stayed busy with other projects. She teamed up with Dermot Mulroney in 2022’s Gone in the Night. There’s no way of knowing what will happen to a prestige series’ cast once the series ends, but we hope Ryder has her pick of projects. If not, she could always go on Jeopardy!.