The following feature appears in the September 2017 issue of NYLON Guys.
Finn Wolfhard just couldn’t resist. Despite needing to be camera-ready for his NYLON photo shoot, the 14-year-old star of Stranger Things decided to suck on a blue Warhead anyway, and now he’s paying the price. “All these sets have candy on them, and I can’t help myself. It was a mistake,” he admits, sheepishly trying to scrub the cerulean stain from his tongue with a miniature toothbrush. To his right, Gaten Matarazzo wears a gray T-shirt that reads, uh oh! did my sarcasm hurt your feelings?, a slogan worthy of Dustin Henderson, the lovable wisecracker he plays opposite Wolfhard on the hit Netflix show. Matarazzo, also 14, is getting his trademark tangle of curls straightened, much to the delight of Noah Schnapp, who, at 12, is the youngest in this group of breakout stars that has helped make Stranger Things the most obsessed-over show in Netflix’s boundless roster of original series. Missing is Caleb McLaughlin, the energetic 15-year-old who plays Lucas Sinclair, but he’s on his way over in a black car, having just arrived from Los Angeles, fresh off an appearance at the BET Awards.
It’s the first time the boys have been together in several weeks, and none of them can pinpoint exactly when they were last in the same room. Ever since Stranger Things became a cultural phenomenon last summer, they’ve been swept up in a whirlwind of red carpets, talk shows, and fan conventions. And as the premiere of the sci-fi and horror fantasia’s top-secret second season nears, this summer has been overtaken by a flurry of promotional duties. Next week, while most kids their age are cooling off in pools or testing out the latest in roller coaster technology, Matarazzo and McLaughlin will be at Denver Comic Con, signing autographs and posing for selfies with wide-eyed fans. A few weeks after that, all four will find themselves inside the hallowed Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con, where they’ll premiere the thrilling trailer for Season 2 to rapturous applause.
But on this day, even though they’re technically at work, the boys still find time to goof off. They are, after all, best friends—like brothers, even, they say—and there’s a lot of catching up to do, memes to be shared, and jokes to be cracked. “We used to call Noah ‘Señor Biebs,’” Matarazzo offers at one point, due to Schnapp’s Season 1 bowl cut and its resemblance to the former haircut of a certain Canadian pop star. “He hates it!” he says, just before he sticks his finger into Schnapp’s ear (playfully, of course).