Happiness is a Warm TV

‘Stranger Things’ creators reflect on storming Normandy at Jordan Lake on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’

The Duffer Brothers, who grew up in Durham, on the set of the first season of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things.”
The Duffer Brothers, who grew up in Durham, on the set of the first season of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things.”

We can’t get enough of anything having to do with Matt and Ross Duffer, the creators of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things” who grew up in Durham.

Not only have the Duffer Brothers, as they are commonly known, sprinkled numerous references to their North Carolina childhood in the second season of the show, which landed on Netflix on Oct. 27, but an interview that aired Tuesday on NPR’s “Fresh Air” has the brothers talking more about growing up in Durham – about how they made short films starting in third grade, sometimes just for fun and sometimes for school projects for themselves and for classmates.

The Duffer Brothers, born and raised in Durham, drop quite a few Durham-area references in the Emmy-winning hit sci-fi series “Stranger Things” that they write, direct and produce.

“We flirted with popularity in high school, which was when people realized that our videos, if used for a class assignment, would get you an automatic A,” Matt told interviewer Sam Briger.

“It took me a few months to realize I was just being used,” Matt laughed. “They would only hang out with us while we were making the film for them. And then once they got their A, I would never hear from them again until they needed another video.”

For a WWII history project in high school, Ross said a “cool kid” called one day and asked him to film the storming of Normandy at Jordan Lake.

It’s the scene that opens the Steven Spielberg film “Saving Private Ryan,” which was enormously popular in the late ‘90s and early 2000s. Ross describes adjusting the color and shutter speed on his camera, and then shaking the camera as the kids “with squirt guns and rafts” ran around. Then he ripped the audio from “Saving Private Ryan” in editing, he said.

“If you put that with a shaky camera of kids, suddenly this thing came alive. For ten years, history class still showed that project. I’m sure maybe now they’ve stopped,” Ross continued. “But that was the catalyst . . . after that every weekend we had to film a movie for people.”

The twin brothers also talked about how they didn’t have many friends in school and how they struggled socially because they were so close to each other, and also about the casting of “Stranger Things,” how they wanted “more monsters” for the second season and what it’s like working with kid actors.

It’s really worth a listen. Check it out at the NPR Fresh Air website.


When terrifying supernatural forces once again begin to affect the town of Hawkins, they realize Will's disappearance was only the beginning. And so the adventure continues October 27, 2017 on Netflix.