Stranger Things star Natalia Dyer is protective of her younger co-stars on the Netflix hit. In a new interview with The Independent, the 25-year-old actress talks about the shocking success of the series and what the cast has had to contend with.
"Nobody knew if it was going to get picked up again after we finished filming season one," she admits. "There was really an air of, 'We might never see each other again.'"
Dyer reveals that the cast only received one day's worth of PR training before the series became one of Netflix's biggest hits. But aside from constantly trying to avoid giving spoilers to the media, one unwelcome form of attention has been the sometimes uncomfortable portrayal of the young cast. In February, breakout star Millie Bobby Brown -- who plays Eleven -- called out the "inappropriate comments" and the "sexualization" she's been subjected to before even turning 16.
Dyer agrees that the young cast -- which includes Finn Wolfhard, Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp and Sadie Sink -- has at times been oversexualized by the media.
"There are so many layers going on here," she says. "I generally feel like, to me, it's oversexualizing them. I feel protective over the younger kids even though they're not kids anymore, they're teens. They're all great people and all having to grow up in very crazy circumstances."
"As a private person, I just feel like, leave people alone -- unless you're talking about their work or what they want to talk about," she adds. "It's a very tricky and complex issue. [It's] a cultural issue, there must be a bigger concept behind it as to why. Just let people be the people that they are, without any judgement."
Dyer also talks about her sometimes uncomfortable interactions with the show's fans.
"It's lovely to meet fans, but it's very like, 'Oh my gosh, I just want to go to the grocery store and get some milk. I don't want to take a photo everywhere I go,'" she shares. "At first, it was jarring. There are fans everywhere. It's a difficult thing to navigate. It's been like five years since we started Stranger Things, and I've become more confident in how I handle situations. At first, I had quite a few bouts of anxiety just as the show was coming out because there’s this mentality of letting people down and not giving enough."
These days, her attitude has changed.
"I feel like my work is what I did," she points out. "I don't owe somebody a photo. I gave them my work."