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Don’t test her — Winona Ryder knows her ’80s music. The Stranger Things star played both Joyce Byers and music supervisor on the Netflix hit, according to her co-star, David Harbour. In a newly published Harper’s Bazaar profile of the actress, Harbour said Ryder used her encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture to help make the music on Stranger Things as accurate as possible.
“It’s just kind of epic how wild her mind is and how it goes to all these different corners,” Harbour, who plays Jim Hopper in Stranger Things, told the outlet.
His onscreen love interest is so tuned-in to the smallest details that she even corrected Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer, as well as the series’ writers.
“She’d tell them, ‘This song actually came out in ’85, and you have it in ’83.’ She knew all of these minute, tiny details they didn’t even know, and they had to change things in the script based on that,” Harbour told Harper’s Bazaar of Ryder.
While she had her ear tuned to the music of the series, Ryder also had her eyes on her young co-stars. She told Harper’s Bazaar that she dished out advice for dealing with the spotlight at a young age, telling them it’s unusual to be on a show like Stranger Things that had such a dedicated fanbase so soon after its premiere.
“I want the kids to understand, this does not happen,” she told the outlet. “This is really unusual. And I’m always telling them, ‘The work is the reward!’ Because when I was that age, it was so hard to enjoy the fruits of my labor.”
Ross Duffer said Ryder specifically helped Millie Bobby Brown, who shot to fame at a very young age with her role as Stranger Things‘ Eleven.
“She’s talked to the kids about what celebrity is like and how the press can be and the anxiety and confusion that comes along with celebrity,” Ross told the outlet. “I think she’s really helped them. I know she’s specifically helped Millie a lot to work through that.”
He added, “And that’s something that no one else can help with, really, because so few people have experienced it. It’s not something I understand. It’s not something that, you know, even a parent would understand.”
Stranger Things Season 4 is now streaming on Netflix.