‘Stranger Things’ Star Millie Bobby Brown on Winning Over Her Biggest Critic

EmmyWrap Magazine: “The show must have been good if my brother saw it,” this year’s youngest Emmy nominee says

Millie Bobby Brown
Ryan Pfluger

This story on Millie Bobby Brown of “Stranger Things” first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.

“Stranger Things” arrived on Netflix in July of 2016, at a time when every new show is streamed and binged in a weekend and it’s hard for anything to stick in the pop-culture consciousness. Created by the Duffer brothers, Matt and Ross, the show initially had little media attention and not much star power.

But simply out of curiosity, people clicked and discovered a richly imagined, funny, creepy and classical sci-fi TV show. Like the ’80s movies it resembles, “Stranger Things” slowly, through sheer word of mouth, became a viewing staple.

The show’s 18 nominations include three for acting, and this year’s youngest nominee is supporting-actress Millie Bobby Brown, a 13-year-old U.K. native who plays the mysterious and supernaturally gifted Eleven. The morning of the show’s premiere — which Brown didn’t dare watch — she had just 24 followers on Instagram. When she checked the next day, it was over 3,000. Three months later, she had 1 million.

Even more important was a fan in her own family. “My brother doesn’t watch any of my work. He just doesn’t care,” Brown said in a phone interview with TheWrap. “He called me and said, ‘Millie, I watched the show and it’s amazing.’ I wasn’t expecting that. The show must’ve been good if my brother saw it.”

Brown, who would be the youngest Primetime Emmy Award winner ever, frequently demonstrates the grueling emotional range playing Eleven requires. You see it in her nervous feeling of confidence as she looks at herself in the mirror or when she’s bellowing at the top of her lungs as she disintegrates a mysterious beast called the Demogorgon.

“Eleven was a very hard character to play mentally and emotionally and almost physically,” Brown said. “It’s emotionally draining because you have to feel it. You have to feel that your papa is leaving you, or you’re missing [your friend].”

Brown is currently shooting her first movie, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters,” a role she said she got because “Stranger Things” showed she could “act with her face.” But she is amazed at the production’s slower pace compared to TV. She’s right now doing interviews for a movie that won’t come out until 2019, when she turns 15. “I’ll be watching it back and be like, ‘Wow, I was such a baby,’” Brown said.

When talking with Brown, you get a sense of both her youth and her maturity. On the talk-show circuit, she’s effortlessly charming, and far more talkative than Eleven. But while she didn’t “fan girl” out when she appeared with the “Stranger Things” cast at Comic-Con, she can’t contain herself as well as her male co-stars.

“Most of the boys on the show can hold their own and can act really professional about it,” she said. “Not me. I will scream. I will die. I will be screaming at someone, ‘I love you so much! I loved you on this show and this show!’ Looking back, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, Millie.’”

But Brown, who started acting before she was 10, said she has already acquired some wisdom. “I don’t do my job for attention,” she said. “I do my job because I love it. It’s like a vacation.”

Read more from the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.

EmmyWrap Down To The Wire COVER 2017