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‘Stranger Things’ Bosses and Star Respond to Controversial ‘Forced’ Kiss

Stranger Things Kiss Sadie Sink Duffer Brothers
Netflix

More and more, the young Stranger Things cast faces challenges of mega-stardom and the questions they raise. One recent controversy took aim at the Duffer brothers reportedly pushing star Sadie Sink into an unscripted kissing scene, though both Sink and the Duffers now downplay any serious conflict.

You’re warned of light Stranger Things 2 spoilers from here on out, but the series’ young cast naturally find themselves apprehensive of romantic scenes with their co-stars, something Season 2’s “Snow Ball” finale featured in triplicate. The scene also gave us a first kiss between Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Max (Sadie Sink), which Sink claimed in the Season 2 after-show made her significantly nervous (h/t Bustle):

I get there, the first day of [filming the] Snow Ball … one of you, I think it was you, Ross, you say, ‘Ooh, Sadie, you ready for the kiss?’ I’m like, ‘What! No! That’s not in the script…that’s not happening.’ So the whole day I was like stressed out, I was like, ’Oh my god, wait, am I gonna have to’ … And it didn’t happen that day, but then the second day of filming the Snow Ball.

Creator Ross Duffer exacerbated the scene’s discomfort, responding to Sink “You were so freaked out that I was like, ‘Well, I gotta make her do it now’ … that’s what happened, that’s why I’m saying it’s your fault.” That’s definitely not something any director should say to a young female star uncomfortable with a scene, though Sink gave a much more lighthearted assessment of their dynamic to The Wrap:

I mean, of course I was nervous because it’s a first kiss, right? But I never objected to [it] or felt pushed into anything … I always felt comfortable and the Duffer Brothers, they do the best job. And always create a comfortable space. And if I felt uncomfortable with anything, I wouldn’t have done it.

The Wrap does curiously note that Sink’s publicist shut down follow-up questions of whether her response was coached, though the Duffers offered a more candid assessment during an event at Chapman University (h/t Polygon):

Matt: We’re just teasing them. No they all love it.

Ross: They’re 13-year-old kids and there’s a lot of drama going around with the kissing on both boys and girls. I don’t know. We had a lot of fun. They all enjoy it.

Any apparent discomfort with the scene hasn’t affected Stranger Things 2’s monster viewership (nor has its equally-debated seventh episode), but it’s of increasing alarm how often fans and creators need reminders that these stars still deserve the protection and sensitivity of youth.

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