Photography Eddie Wrey. Styling Max Clark. Noah wears all clothing Fendi autumn/winter 19/

noah schnapp: "this season of 'stranger things' is going to be bigger than ever"

Noah Schnapp is one of the most famous 14-year-old kids in the world, and he’s about to get even more famous as the the third season of 'Stranger Things' rolls back onto our screens.

by Douglas Greenwood
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28 May 2019, 11:51pm

Photography Eddie Wrey. Styling Max Clark. Noah wears all clothing Fendi autumn/winter 19/

This story originally appeared in i-D's The Voice of a Generation Issue, no. 356, Summer 2019. Order your copy here.

By now, Noah Schnapp has learned to bat away bait for Stranger Things spoilers better than a player for the New York Yankees. “We all know that we would get killed if we said anything!” the 14-year-old actor laughs. “I still get a little nervous before every interview, because I have a bit of a big mouth and I’m usually the one that says something I’m not supposed to.”

To be fair to Noah and his coterie of young co-stars (among them the Emmy-nominated Millie Bobby Brown and her on-screen beau Finn Wolfhard), there is little that could have prepared any seasoned actor for the hushed secrets and hysteria that stemmed from the cult Netflix show. It arrived on our screens back in 2016, courtesy of 80s nostalgia diehards the Duffer Brothers, to almost no prior fanfare: a show about kids in small-town America banding together to find a missing boy, lost in a strange, sci-fi fantasy. But what was once its hardest selling point — a dark show harnessed by pre-teen leads — eventually became its blessing. Its young stars are now some of the most recognised people on the planet.

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Not least Noah, who has become a star — a Fendi ambassador — despite spending the vast majority of his time on the first season burrowed away in the Upside Down as the show’s spectral figure and centrepiece, Will Byers. As far as coming-of-age characters go, Will was the isolated and fascinating point of everybody’s interest: part plot mechanism, part person and with a story clouded in mystery. It might have taken him a while to get out of that alternative universe (pretty much the entirety of the first season), but once he did, he found his feet and became a series mainstay. Now, as he wraps up work on the show’s third season, he’s finally been given the freedom to spend time with his on-set friends and co-stars in front of the lens. “It was really exciting for me because it was clear that this season was going to be bigger than ever,” Noah gushes. “We filmed a lot of scenes together as a group which was really nice, because we didn’t get to do that as much last year.

“Having made the best, lifelong friends, and to be able to learn every day from the most amazing actors is something I feel really lucky about. All I have to do is watch them do a scene and I get something out of it every time.” It’s given him the chance to fully appreciate the role that changed things for him. After all, few young stars find themselves in such close proximity to esteemed Hollywood actors like Winona Ryder on set, or working with source material that fans would commit crimes to get their hands on ahead of time.

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Considering the vast majority of Stranger Things’ stars were plucked out of relative anonymity, it’s easy to forget that Noah is a dab hand at the rubbing shoulders with Hollywood royalty thing. A year before he wound up on the Duffer Brothers’ radar, he was working with Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks on the Oscar-nominated Bridge of Spies, and had voiced the iconic Charlie Brown in 2015’s The Peanuts Movie. A brooding espionage thriller and candy-sweet family film respectively, they proved that Noah was never one to be boxed in. He’s keen to move on from that, though, and has his sights set on slipping into the skin of a fictional serial killer at some point in future.

After months spent working in a high-spirited and peculiar sci-fi world, Noah’s next turn sees him delve into more adult waters. In the forthcoming Waiting for Anya, he plays a young shepherd who, with the help of a widow played by Anjelica Huston, smuggles Jewish children across the border of southern France and into Spain to save them from the Nazi regime. It’s a huge switch up in subject matter for Noah, but one he’s been looking forward to. “It was really exciting for me to be cast in a big war drama,” he says of the film, which is based on a book by War Horse author Michael Morpurgo. “I loved the idea of playing a character that was living in the Second World War,” — a new backdrop, but one that continues his trend of channelling people and places of the past — “and I also got to shoot in France. We were based in the remote mountains near the border of Spain for over a month, and I lived in a house that had a farmhouse with goats, and chickens.”

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But for every moment he’s not on set — be it a faux suburban America or wartime Europe — Noah Schnapp is still very much a 14-year-old high schooler: a “science nerd” who loves maths and biology (“I work hard to get good grades”, he stresses). With his sights set on heading to the west coast, away from his native New York, to go to college one day, you get the impression that, if he wanted to, he’s studious enough to drop the acting gig tomorrow and be set up for life; being a stratospheric, so-called “child star” hasn’t inhibited his ability to be a normal kid. “I don’t know how I’m going to feel when I’m older, and if I’ll still want to act,” he says, “but for now, I love it, and am probably at my happiest when I’m on a set.” He flits from one life plan to the next; never settling, keeping his options open. “You never know where life takes you!” he laughs. In that sense, it seems he’s taken a leaf out of little Will Byers unpredictable path — from Hawkins to the Upside Down and back again — and applied it to his own promising and passionate career.

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Credits


Photography Eddie Wrey
Styling Max Clark

Grooming Daniela Magginetti at Close Up Milano. Photography assistance Mehsach Roberts.

Styling assistance Louis Prier Tisdall. Production manager Ali Younis.

Noah wears all clothing Fendi autumn/winter 19.

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.