Friends and Stranger Things co-stars Sadie Sink and Finn Wolfhard talk growing up on set and on screen, and playing angry A24 teens in their new movies The Whale and When You Finish Saving The World.
Topics covered include COVID scheduling nightmares, wasp infestations, being the youngest person in a room, the gift of time, playing characters desperate for connection, Sadie's memories of auditioning for The Whale in an empty theater with Brendan Fraser, the trope of the angsty teen, Finn getting talked down from on-set panic attacks by Jesse Eisenberg, shedding child actor habits, imposter syndrome, school lessons in the Stranger Things camper van, failing at Lent, the frat origins of Vineyard Vines, and the importance of nurturing a rich inner life.
Finn Wolfhard: Hi, I'm Finn Wolfhard.
Sadie Sink: Hi, I'm Sadie Sink.
Finn: We're on the A24 podcast.
Both: We both have A24 films.
Sadie: Look at us.
Finn: Yeah. Look at us.
Sadie: What is your film?
Finn: Yeah. I did a movie called When You Finish Saving the World, which Jesse Eisenberg wrote and directed. What's yours?
Sadie: My film is called The Whale, which Darren Aronofsky directed.
Sadie: When did you film it?
Finn: I filmed it in 2021. It was a really weird process because it was right when COVID was happening, cause when we were shooting Stranger Things 4, they were trying to figure out if I had time to do it. This is back even in 2020 ish. And it got to the point where just my schedule was so crazy that they were starting to cast other people. Not cast other people, like audition other people because they needed to do that. And then eventually COVID happened. A year went by and for whatever reason the schedule opened up and you guys were shooting in Atlanta first. And then they blocked off that we shot in New Mexico last. So they were like, oh, you have all this time. So I ended up being perfect. Not to blame the global pandemic on this movie that I did.
Sadie: But the timing couldn't have been better.
Finn: The timing was amazing. Wait, you filmed yours in the winter?
Sadie: Yeah, 2021. February. And I had the same... I had a similar experience. It was like I was actually filming in Atlanta and then this came along and Darren casted me, but he wanted me to have... He wanted first position on The Whale. So essentially they needed Netflix to release me for three months. And I thought that wasn't going to happen.
Finn: Was it a whole three month shoot?
Sadie: Yeah, or I guess there was buffer time because Covid.
Finn: That's amazing.
Sadie: But three months I had to be free. And thanks to Matt and Ross, I think Darren called Matt and Ross.
Finn: And they were like, oh, we got to do it. Yeah. They're all those film nerds, they have to say yes.
Sadie: But the Duffers have always been so good because they know how much time the show takes and they still want us to build careers outside of it.
Finn: Yes. No every time I've ever had a conversation with them, they've been over the moon supportive about everything that I've wanted to do outside the show. I've been pretty lucky. You were telling me because we saw each other at TIFF. And it was one of those moments where we hadn't seen each other in a long time. And so we hung out after the party and it was just a group of us and a bunch of also younger actors or just people our age. And I was like, by the way, we can leave if you want... Because it's the night of the premiere or whatever. You have your whole table for your team or whatever. And you're like, no, please stay. I haven't seen kids my age in like months.
Sadie: It had been a while. But that's something that's been so different about doing The Whale press than Stranger Things press because we always have each other when we're promoting.
Finn: To like riff off of or whatever
Sadie: Yeah, exactly.
Finn: Yeah. Yeah.
Sadie: And with this, it's been still very fun. But I'm always the youngest, or me and Ty are always the youngest people in a room. So it was very nice that night to have a familiar face and some young energy.
Finn: It was fun. It was a really nice night. I remember you told me that night with Ty, you guys were like, yeah, it was freezing because it was the dead of winter in upstate New York, right?
Sadie: Yeah, it was rough. And we were staying in this—
Finn: Manor or something?
Sadie: Yeah. It was me, Brendan, and Ty, and we all were staying in this Victorian house that had been converted into apartments. My heat frequently would go off. So the poor thing, we were layering up and putting sweaters and coats on and going to bed in that. But I don't know why we filmed in Newburg and the actual apartment, the sound stage was in a motorcycle museum.
Finn: That sounds—
Sadie: Very bizarre.
Finn: Yeah, super, super Darren Aronofsky.
Sadie: Yeah. I think he wanted to make us slightly miserable.
Finn: Uncomfortable. Yeah. Yeah. I remember Ty was just... It was after the movie and his tie was down and he was just had a drink, whatever in his hand. And I just was talking to him, was like, "Hey man, so how was it filming the movie?" He just was like, " Man, it was tough." I was like, "Why?" "Because my heat broke and all I did was play video games when I got home because..." Basically the work was so fun, but the actual location we were in was like tough—
Sadie : Oh, miserable. It sucked. I had a wasp problem at one point.
Finn: In the dead of winter you had a wasp problem?
Sadie: Well, no, because we started in the dead of winter and then we ended in—
Finn: The summer.
Sadie :Beginning of spring. And then once spring hit, yeah, wasps were just everywhere. So it was like my side hustle. I just get home from work, but the day wasn't over yet. I had a catch and release mission.
Finn: You had to jar them up, you had to put out the sugar water.
Sadie: The window, all of it.
Finn: That's cool that it was three months. Because in my head it's like that just shows that Darren is such a, I don't know, his directing, he wants to make sure he has truly enough time.
Sadie: Oh, yeah.
Finn: Because I guess when you're making, from what I've seen or just learned over the course of just acting for the last few years is just time is so awesome. Time for filmmakers, time's just amazing. And then as actors, we're always like, why is this taking so long? But in reality, it's actually helping in the end. Every time for Stranger Things, when we're on month eight, I'm like what's going on?
Sadie: Month eight. That's really—
Finn: Month eight is like, what is this? What are we doing?
Sadie: What are we still here?
Finn: What happened in month six?
Sadie: I don't know, I'm still...
Finn: We got us to eight.
Sadie: Month eight. And you're putting on the same jeans every single day.
Finn: The jeans, my legs have gotten bigger because I've grown. So now my jeans shorts are like... I'm popping out of my jean shorts.
Sadie: But that was always—
Finn: And my butt is popping out. I have—
Sadie:That was a season three problem, right?
Finn:Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, yeah. We were in that mall in Gwinette. I met someone the other day who was like, "I'm from Gwinette." I was like, "What?" He was like, "I'm from across the street from that mall. I used to go... That's my childhood mall." And I was like—
Sadie: Star Court Mall.
Finn: Yeah, sorry. This was for Stranger Things, the mall in season three. But where we shot so much of the thing and it became kind of the bane of our existence where we would drive an hour from the city and then shoot in this basically kind of abandoned mall where they found a dead body in. They found a dead... Do you remember that?
Sadie: That's right. In the back working—
Finn: Yeah. Where the Dairy Queen was.
Sadie: There's like staff room or something.
Finn: Yeah. Yeah. I thought it was behind–
Sadie: Not while we were filming.
Finn: No, no, no, no.
Sadie: No, no. This was years before.
Finn: But there was a dead body that was found three years before in a Subway. The back of a Subway, because someone was missing. And so I think we got it for really cheap.
Finn: Netflix... No, I'm kidding.
Sadie: I wonder if it's still there too.
Finn: What, the dead body?
Sadie: No, the mall. Did they ever–
Finn: Oh yeah. No, it's still there. People can go.
Sadie: Oh, interesting.
Finn: Yeah. Yeah. But that's all public. The dead body thing is pretty public. That's public information. You can look it up. You can look it up.
Sadie: Well, it's got to be.
Finn: You can look it up.
Finn: If it's not, I don't know, edit it out.
Sadie: Well, now you know.
Finn: Yeah, I don't know. I feel like that the character you play in The Whale is like... I love that she's not hiding how resentful she is because she doesn't care. She has nothing to lose whatsoever. So she just comes in already so upset.
Sadie: So upset and just so honest. I feel like that's the one thing that Charlie, Brendan Fraser's character, that's what he's looking for.
Sadie: And that's what he appreciates most in a person. So he certainly finds that in Ellie.
Finn: It's a pretty amazing push and pull relationship every time you can see your character starting to fall for him. And then immediately be like, wait, no. Anyway, you have to remind yourself. Do you think it's a learned thing from your character that she can't admit or wants to have a relationship with him?
Sadie: Oh, no. She doesn't want it. I think she goes to that apartment... I mean, her father hasn't spoken to her in 10 years, and as far as she's concerned, has never reached out or tried to or anything. And so I think she goes to the apartment and she's got a mission and she wants to completely destroy him.
Finn: But his life is already—
Sadie: Right. I think she has this armor that I think has just built up over the years of, I don't know, suppressing pain or something. And every time Charlie kind of breaks through to her, I just always pictured, yeah, it's the armor cracks a bit and then she's just got to mend it back up. And she does that with just really cruel actions.
Sadie: And rage.
Finn:Yeah. I remember... Well, there's a scene, there's the scene near the end, which is like I don't want to spoil anything, but just so beautiful.
Sadie: And I saw a lot of similarities between—
Finn: I know.
Sadie: Both our films.
Finn: I know.
Sadie: :It's like without spoiling the last shot of both of our films—
Finn: Are of a parent—
Sadie: A parent and a child—
Finn: Looking at each other.
Sadie: Connecting for the first time in the entire movie.
Finn: Yes. I think both of the movies weirdly have this theme where it's accepting each other, putting your own self-centered life, or your own thinking of what someone else should be and just accepting someone for exactly who they should be and who they have been the whole time.
Sadie: Right. And also, it's so interesting because in your film, the family in that it's very traditional and everything should be perfect and normal or whatever.
Finn: They have a nice home.
Finn: They're like... Yeah, they're completely, fully middle class. His parents are both academics. It shouldn't be as dysfunctional as it is.
Sadie: And then with mine, it's very dysfunctional from the outside.
Finn: Yes, yes.
Sadie: But I know for both of our characters, it's just this search for a human connection. And I feel like with yours, it's like he's looking for it in all the wrong places.
Finn: Yes, yes, yes. He's so desperate.
Finn: Well, the other thing is that he's very desperate. And to me it's his kind of narcissism. There's scenes where he's super... He's just talking about himself. But you realize through the movie, I think he's just completely has had no guidance whatsoever. The only way he knows how to talk is to talk about himself, because his mom has never given him anything, or his parents have never given him anything. So it's like, who's going to talk about me but me? And in his head, he's been doing this thing and working really hard and no one has seen it. I feel like he, through the movie, you realize he just wants to be loved and is—just cares about other people a lot, just in a different way from his mom. But yeah, trying to make that character I think likable. And multifaceted—
Sadie: I thought he was so likable.
Finn: Okay, thanks.
Sadie: So likable.
Finn:Because that's the thing is when you have that character, you could easily read into those scenes as being like, I don't know—
Sadie: Angsty. The angsty teen.
Sadie: Let's talk about the angsty teen.
Finn: Yeah, we're both angsty teens in this movie.
Sadie: And I feel like it's considered to be kind of overdone or tired, but I think the reason you see it so much in film is because it's such—
Finn: It happens.
Sadie: Because it happens, it's real.
Finn: I'll give it to you this way. I showed the movie to my mom. My mom was like, oh, it's you. I was like, oh god.
Sadie: I don't think—
Finn: No, but in a way—
Sadie: Certain parts.
Finn: No, definitely in a way. I think the way that for both of us, there's certain things in the character. I would say we're probably, hopefully the better parts of our characters and also some of the horrible parts as well. But not full blown, I hope.
Sadie: But yeah, I don't think—
Sadie: Yeah. No, no, no.
Finn: I don't think so.
Sadie: What was it like... Did you write some of the music or did you help?
Finn: I helped. Yeah. What's it called? They used really sweetly, they used a lot of my music that I wrote in person because it just matched to Ziggy's stuff.
Sadie: That's so nice.
Finn: Which I never knew if was a diss or not because Ziggy sometimes writes incredible songs and sometimes writes really bad ones. And so it's like, this really funny... I was like, so what is it exactly? I think it's probably somewhere in the middle, but no. And then am Emile Mosseri who did the Minari soundtrack and Last Black Man in San Francisco, he's amazing. And so Jesse wrote the lyrics, I wrote the melody for some of the songs and then would collaborate with Emile on the end song. The film, in my most ... I don't know. As a young person, we obviously ... We've been acting since we were ... I don't know. When did you start acting, nine or something?
Sadie: Yeah, eight, nine. We'll circle back and—
Finn: Yeah, circle back and stuff.
Sadie: …let's start at the beginning.
Finn: I started at nine and then it's just this crazy ... Out of my young career so far, that movie has been the most collaborative experience where I felt like I was given the keys in a way that I hadn't before, especially acting with Julianne. I thought it was going to be a thing because I was intimated, obviously, because—
Sadie: Well, yeah.
Finn: ... she's one of the greatest actors ever and I had to just do all my scenes with her. And she was like, the calm that I felt from her when I got on set that was just reassurance. I just got there and, when we started doing scenes together, I was like, "Oh, she totally trusts me to do what I want." It wasn't in any way controlling. She thought I was doing well, and so she didn't do anything.
Sadie:Thought you were funny.
Finn: Yeah, she thought I was kind of funny and I was like, "Oh, this is ..." And I think, also, she thought I was funny on accident, too. I would do things that she ... probably how a mom thinks their son is ridiculous. I think, in the same way, she found those things where it was like she kind of just let me stammer, if that makes sense. She gave me room to do what I wanted, which I was so surprised at because she didn't have to at all. She could've literally been like, "Walk right there," and I would've been like, "Yeah. Okay."
Sadie: Yeah, and would've listened.
Finn: Yeah. She could've asked me to join a cult, I would've done it. I would've done a lot, but yeah, that was really surprising and so cool.
Sadie: And her character is so ... Oh, my god. I was so frustrated with her for most of the movie.
Finn: It's so inappropriate. She's so inappropriate.
Sadie: I was creeped out for certain parts, but oh, my god, she's so good in it. It's such a different color on her.
Finn: She's so amazing, yeah, and she's such a great person.
Sadie: Were you nervous to—
Sadie: With the music, because I would be freaking out.
Finn: Yeah, the scene where I go onstage and sing that really funny ... the song Jesse wrote—
Sadie: The alumni?
Finn: Yeah, alumni one, yeah. That one is the ridiculous song. That was a day I remember I was really nervous because I was performing and it was in front of extras and stuff. I just felt really weird. The whole time, I was really nervous. The whole time, I was like ... because I knew in my head that it was the movie that, in my head, I was just like, "This is the movie thus far that I've connected with the most and this character that I've connected with the most." And for whatever reason, I just had a lot of pressure on myself to make it the best ... I don't know if you had that, as well.
Sadie: Well, yeah, that's interesting because that character just fits you like a glove, but knowing that, knowing it's like, "Oh, I'm so perfect for this role," it puts even more pressure on it to be really good.
Finn: Yeah. I also just think I connected so heavily with Jesse and I didn't want to also disappoint him either because he's such a hero. And so every day, I'd show up and be like, "Oh, I really hope I'm doing okay because I just care so much about this guy." When you were on set, did it take awhile for you to kind of… because you look so at ease the whole movie. You look so comfortable the whole movie, but I'm wondering, because doing those kind of films where it kinda feels like a very important thing, did it take awhile? Was it nerve wracking at first or was it—
Sadie: Oh, my god. Yeah.
Finn: ... confident?
Sadie: I was a nervous wreck, especially because I was such a huge, huge fan of Darren's. So I had really no idea what to expect. And I never really knew if I was doing a good job or not, but we had three weeks of rehearsals leading into it and I think, during that time, I had to be completely off book, which is not something that people typically ask you to do, but we had three weeks to just block everything out. And by the end of that rehearsal period, I just feel like I knew the character very well and I was able to just go into shooting really prepared. So that definitely helped, but no, I remember, my first interaction with Brendan and Darren, we did this table read a year before we started filming, right before COVID hit. And I hadn't read the script before. I think I skimmed it on the way to this theater, but he just called me randomly, or his team called, wanting me to do this reading for an untitled Darren Aronofsky project. So of course, I would be there. And I showed up and it was this very dark, weird theater in the East Village. And I just sat down and Brendan was there next to me and he had this big cowboy hat on, I remember.
Finn: Ah, yes.
Sadie: And we just did a cold reading of The Whale. And then at the end, Darren, I just remember him coming out of the audience, and he's backlit, and he just comes out of the light and he just shakes my hand.
Sadie: Yeah, scarf there, of course.
Finn: Looking very—
Sadie: Super artistic.
Finn: Yeah, artistic.
Sadie: Yeah. And then he just shook my hand and that was it. I was like, "Oh, god. I'm never going to see him again." That was—
Finn: Oh, really?
Finn: You thought it wasn't—
Finn: Because the whole movie just felt ... Well, I guess–
Sadie: It just felt too good to be true, I think.
Sadie: Because everything about the script, I was just like, "Oh, my god." It never felt that perfect before. I hadn't felt this—
Finn: Oh, interesting. Oh, that's why it's felt ... Okay. I thought you were saying that ... No. Okay. Now, I know what you mean.
Sadie: Yeah, but I felt that with Stranger Things once I first got the audition for that when I was really young. I was like, "If I don't get this, the world is going to end," that sort of feeling.
Finn: Yeah. Well, also, and then once you do get it, it's awesome, and then you get there and you're like, "Oh."
Sadie: "Oh, this isn't what I thought."
Finn: Yeah. And you have this weird imposter thing.
Sadie: Oh, totally.
Finn: I remember I got with Jesse, I remember, with the stuff, yeah, in that little, I guess, that little café where everyone's doing their poems and stuff like that in the movie. We were shooting those scenes and I remember coming to set and I just pulled Jesse aside and I was like, "Hey, can I talk to you?" He's like, "Yeah." I was like, "Hey, man. I'm feeling really anxious and I don't know what to do," because I was worried I wasn't going to do a good performance or whatever. And he was just like, "Have you met me? Have you seen interviews with me? What are you talking about? I'm the most anxious person on the entire planet," basically ... And he told me this story that was so nice. Greg Mottola, do you know Greg Mottola? He's this director. He did Adventureland—
Sadie: Oh, yeah.
Finn: ... With Jesse and Superbad and The Daytrippers, which was his first movie. And he was saying that Jesse had a panic attack during a scene, during Adventureland. At that point, his anxiety had just started manifesting or whatever. And he got really anxious and Greg Mottola pulled him aside and Jesse said a very similar thing that I said to him. And Greg was like, "Hey, man. What you do, I don't understand at all. Acting, literally, I don't understand it. I think it's really incredible. And so you never need to apologize to me because I can't imagine what it's like to do something like that and not be freaking out all the time." He said he totally calmed down because someone just saw him and was like, "I get it. Don't worry about it." And then for the rest of the shoot, he just felt so much closer with the director. And then he told that to me and I just totally calmed down, but I remember, yeah, there was a few times. There was this big monologue that I have to say with my dad in the room where he asks me if I'm happy and I have that whole thing. And that now plays in a one take, but he did a bunch of coverage of it and I kept messing it up. And I was just like, "Sorry, sorry." He's like, "Dude, you know I could edit around this. Right? It's fine. Editing exists." And then in the end, he ended up using that one take that I did first, I think. Yeah, I don't know. He just was so ... I don't know. It felt nice to have another ... Even though he wasn't acting in the movie, it felt like he was because I think just, I don't know, he was just there with everyone and felt really present. Was Darren running in? What kind of director is Darren?
Sadie: Darren is—
Finn: Hands-on or?
Sadie: I think it depends. A lot of the times, he would just let me do whatever I wanted, but he was really good at just noticing every kind of little detail, every facial expression I would make. And if he saw something that I did that was different, he would be like, "Oh, wait. What was that? Do that again. Do that and do more of that," and he always ... So I think he's very hands-on and he notices everything and he really understands actors. I think he was saying in a Q&A the other day that he took a Meisner class or something awhile ago because he really wanted to—
Sadie: ... understand actors so that he knew how to direct them. And he said he'd take the class until he cried during a scene for the class. And so he did it one day and he cried and he was like, "Okay, I've got it. Done." But I think it really just shows how much he just really knows what's going on inside our brains, I think, and he sits right next to the camera with a monitor, right there.
Finn: He has the handheld—
Sadie: Handheld, just right there, right next to you. For me, I really love that.
Finn: Yeah, me too. That's great.
Sadie: I feel like, coming from the child actor space, which you definitely ... I don't know. Maybe you feel this, but for the longest time, I just thought, especially acting in film, I thought my job was just to kinda go and be a little puppet and stand on my mark and know my lines. And I'd come prepared and I'd know about the character and everything, but I just had to know how to take direction and that was acting. But it wasn't until, I feel like, really, this project with Darren, I really just shed all those child actor habits that I still had a little bit left over.
Sadie: Even on Stranger Things season two, I would watch you guys and how you guys interacted with each other, and you guys felt so relaxed on set, improv and scenes, and just really had this freedom that I think I didn't really understand, especially coming from musical theater where it's just spot on every night.
Finn: I understand that. Also, in a way, not in a way, we were totally spoiled, not in a way of, maybe some of us, at some point, were actually spoiled, maybe everyone probably was if you're a child actor, but I more mean spoiled in the way of ... That's not normal for child actors to be like, "Hey, can I try this line?" Like that's insane.
Sadie: Yeah, like, "Oh, Yeah. Can I start on the floor for this?"
Finn: Yeah, exactly.
Sadie: "Can I break something?"
Finn: Yeah. "Can I set fire to the set and then be fine?" Yeah, it's not normal in the same way we did the show when we were really young and then it did really well. And so, in season two, Netflix just let the Duffers do whatever they wanted. And for whatever reason, the Duffers trusted us enough to just do stuff. But yeah, maybe that's also why I was such an anxious wreck too on Jesse's movie, because it wasn't ... I had to be myself. I wasn't playing myself, but I think a lot of people will see similarities between me and the character.
Sadie: I feel like this character, it's more true to you than Mike, for sure.
Finn: Yeah, definitely. And I think the character's also super curious too. I think he's just genuinely trying to find happiness I think. And by the end of the movie, he sheds all of his arrogance I think. Not all of it, I mean, some people just have it. But I think he has a real arc. I love playing characters like that, where at first you don't want to root for them, and then by the end of it you're like, this person's actually a real human being and has been through stuff. And at the end it's almost like ... or I would say in the halfway point, you realize, he's this way because of her. What she's doing is actually, even though she is doing incredible work, running a shelter, she's also basically having an affair with another kid.
Sadie: Yeah. It was so interesting.
Finn: And it is also incredibly superficial as well at the same time, even though she's doing this incredible work, she also is completely a hypocrite. And my character is this person that makes her realize that at the end ... and vice versa. It's these two things. But for me, I always saw the character as, what's the word? A victim of just completely not being paid attention to. That's why he just has all this, “Oh, look at me, attention, blah, blah, blah.” And then by the end of it, you realize he's just a really sad guy.
Sadie: I know. And you really see it, the one moment that just made me so sad, and it was also just like a, “Oh, I see what's going on here,” your character's coming home from school or something, and you're yelling at her, you're like, “Hey, mom,” you're shouting. She's like, “I'm not going to shout, I'll wait until you're here.”
Finn: Right. Yeah. He's actually pretty loving. The only reason why he's ever mean is because he just has this defense. And it's the same thing with your character. Your character, I mean, her defense is—
Sadie: No, I feel like—
Finn: Well, it's depraved. And also, what's so interesting about that character is you don't know how much of it is learned. Do you know what I mean? You don't know how much of it is, what do they call that, when a parent raises you, it's nature versus nurture. You don't know how much ... That's what I think is so interesting about that character. And by the end of it, you're still ... not by the end of it, you actually realize through the look in her eyes that she's broken. And you know that the whole time.
Sadie: And especially with the scene with the mom too, once you meet Ellie's mom, then you're like, “Oh, okay, that's where she got that.”
Finn: Yeah, “I know what's going on.”
Sadie: But I think, yeah, there's lots of similarities between our characters, but I think Ellie has the potential to be a truly evil person.
Finn: Yes. That's what's amazing. That's what's so cool about the movie, because you really ... but you can't tell up until the Facebook part.
Sadie: You know. Oh, the Facebook is, yeah, that's dark.
Finn: You don't really know until the Facebook part where it's like, oh, she has the capacity to truly—
Sadie: Do some damage.
Finn: Yeah, yeah.
Sadie: I know. And I didn't really realize that. Because while I was playing her, and even the first time I read the script, I fully got her. I was like, she's sad, she's hurt. Charlie hurt her. But I think just from her perspective, obviously I'm going to see it in that way. So I never really thought of her as unlikeable. I thought of her as just really honest. And I felt like she was always justified.
Finn: Yeah. No, I feel the same way.
Sadie: But then I realized, oh, other people don't feel that way. My brother saw it and he's like, you're evil, I hate your character. And I was like, “What?”
Finn: No, but she's, look at all these nice sorts, well, that's how I feel about ... it's hard, it's hard to defend that. There's horrible behavior that I do in the film. But again, it's that thing, I worked with this amazing acting coach right before we started where I just had phone calls with her, she's Jesse's acting coach, and Emma Stone's acting coach, and her name's [Sandra] Seacat. And we just would have these conversations and we basically were just like, we came to the realization that he's just defending himself. If he's ever talking about himself or being arrogant, it's like, who else is going to talk about him but him? If he's had this whole life where no one is he ... all he's been wanting is, mom, look at this awesome thing I'm doing, you should be proud of me. And she's not talking about it. And he's also doing well at it. It's like, well, who's going to defend myself but me?
And so in his head, he's just his own biggest fan because he feels like he has to be. But in reality it's like he doesn't, because it should be enough that he's just doing it. That should be enough. That he's just showing up and doing it and going live and doing his job. That should just be enough to power him through the day without going to school and being like, “Hey guys, look, look at me, look at me.”
Especially with Lila too, I mean, Lila's just another ... basically it's the Oedipus kind of thing where he's kind of reliving, he's almost replaying his relationship with his mother. It's like a redo. He is like, okay, maybe I can get this girl's attention. She's very political. I can make her like me, love me. And then by the end of it, he totally screws it up.
Finn: Yeah, he fails. Yeah. I don't know. I don't know if you found this through acting in this. This is the performance in my head that I'll look back on and go, okay, that was the first role that I did when I was coming out of child acting and into adult acting.
Sadie: Yeah. Oh, totally. Totally.
Finn: You definitely feel that too, right?
Sadie: Yeah, for sure. I think it was also the first really complex character that I ever got to play.
Finn: Yeah, totally. Me too.
Sadie: And yeah, it's weird. I think I was 18 when we filmed it. I turned 19 during production. And it was also the first time I fully went somewhere on my own because before you have your parents with you. And I was living on my own when we were filming season four. But then for this, it was just starting fresh with new people and you're by yourself. And so, I don't know, it was just a real learning experience.
Finn: Change, yeah.
Sadie: Big change.
Finn: Huge change.
Sadie: And it was also so good that I was by myself for all of that because I got so lonely. And I think I needed to have that because for this character, it's like she's lonely. And also it just gave me nothing else to focus on. So I'd never really had an experience like that where it's just, most of the times that you're talking you're in a scene and that's the only time you're with other people, I just never had an experience like that. And by the end of it, I was just so sad to leave the character. Did you feel the same?
Sadie: It's like, I was so broken because I was like, “Ah, I'll never get to play her again.”
Finn: I remember the last conversation I had with Jesse on set is the last thing I filmed, and I had a few ... I was talking to Jesse and I was like, yeah, now I have a few months off before going back to work. He's like, that's amazing. What are you talking about? You have months, you could go do whatever you want. And I was like, yeah, totally. It's like in my head, I just was like, this is the only thing, ... it's like, it is ...
Sadie: Everything, this is just what I wanted to do for the rest of time.
Finn: This is it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's like, this is it. But then, I don't know, yeah, it's really weird. I think also in the way that I was pretty lonely as well. I mean, I had friends come in and out. And I was really lucky to have my best friend in the film, Billy Brick.
Sadie: That's right. Oh, I wanted to talk to you about that. Yeah.
Finn: Yeah. Who's just amazing in the film. And we were best friends before the movie, and so we got to be next door neighbors. And so we got to just see each other all the time. And it was pretty incredible. So I was very lucky for that. And to have him, and my dad. My dad was there as well.
Sadie: Where did you film?
Finn: In Albuquerque, New Mexico. And then I was back again for Stranger Things.
Sadie: You spent a lot of time there.
Finn: I did, yeah. It's crazy.
Finn: Shout out to Albuquerque. But yeah, I don't know, I think it ... Anyways. Well, I was going to say, because of—you couldn't really hang out with people, it allowed me to just obsess over this one thing.
Sadie: Yeah, no, totally.
Finn: And that helped inform the character too, because he's also obsessed about one thing as well. I don't know. There's a lot of parallels. But you were saying before that you started acting, when did you start?
Sadie: I started when I was, I guess, eight in theater. So my first role was Baby Angel Shirley.
Finn: Of course, Baby Angel Shirley, of course.
Sadie: Baby Angel Shirley in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, it was a community theater production. I had one line, it was, “I can't find my wings.”
Finn: That was good.
Sadie: Thank you. So that was my debut.
Finn: That's awesome.
Sadie: But I guess, that wasn't really a, I don't know, I guess my first real, not that that wasn't a real role, but the first time I just got to fully ... like mount to production was shortly after that. And I think I was still eight and my mom was—
Finn: Still eight.
Sadie: Still eight. And my mom was taking Mitchell, my brother, to go audition for this children's theater production of The Secret Garden. And you had to be 10 to audition.
Finn: Oh, cool.
Sadie: And I was still eight, so I couldn't. And on the car ride there, apparently I had somehow just decided on that car ride that if I didn’t audition for this, that the world as we knew it would just cease to exist. And so I was like, “Mom, please let me audition.” And she was like, “No, Sadie, you're too young and you don't have a monologue.” And I was like, “No mom, I do have a monologue because if you remember my time as Baby Angel Shirley—”
Finn: Right, “I don't have my wings.”
Sadie: Yeah. I would spend my off time watching the lead girl's performance and she had this monologue that she would give. So I memorized that. And the whole car ride there, I was proving to my mom, “Look, I memorized this, I have a monologue.” And so then she was like, “Fine, Sadie, I will ask.” And so she asked and they let me audition. And I got Mary Lennox, which was very exciting for me.
Finn: Amazing. I thought that the thing would be that you're like, I have a monologue. And then you're like, “I lost my wings.”
Sadie: “I can't find my wings.” And they're like, you booked it, you got it.
Finn: Yeah, exactly. Congratulations. Yeah, you got the part. That's pretty awesome. Was that on Broadway?
Sadie: Oh God, no. No, no, no.
Finn: Was it in New Jersey?
Sadie: This was a half an hour outside of Houston, Texas.
Finn: This was back when you lived in Texas.
Sadie: Oh yeah, this was Texas. This was the first thing I ever did really. But then it's interesting because this little production of [The] Secret Garden really just started everything because—
Finn: You commanded this ... Yeah.
Sadie: Sure. Whatever. I was eight. But there was a moment in it where I think I had to sing. And my mom was just like, “Oh, I think she can sing also.” So then that's when the musical theater thing happened. And then that's—
Finn: So you didn't go to singing lessons or anything, you just did it.
Sadie: No. At that point, no.
Finn: Oh, that's amazing.
Sadie: But after that I did, me and my brother. And then I played Annie for like, 10 years.
Finn: That's crazy.
Sadie: It's really weird. I think about how this all started. And I just don't know really how it happened. I really don't know. It's so confusing.
Finn: Yeah, I remember thinking it was so awesome that we had ... three of the main characters in Stranger Things were all Broadway kids. Because you had met Gaten and Caleb in passing, right?
Sadie: Right. I mean, yeah, we knew each other because I was in, yeah, I was doing Annie, Caleb was doing Lion King and Gaten was doing Les Mis.
Finn: Les Mis?
Finn: That's so crazy.
Sadie: That's so funny.
Finn: That's so funny. You guys are old character actors. Hey, good to see you. This is weird, yeah, thing. Yeah, I remember when you got on set, it was such a cool ... we were all so excited because it was like, oh, another person. And then for you it was probably terrifying. It was probably felt like Lord of the Flies, probably.
Sadie: Oh my God. Yeah. I guess, I was nervous. Especially, I mean, Stranger Things was huge.
Finn: Yeah, at that time it was like—
Sadie: Oh my God, it was the—
Finn: The new big thing.
Sadie: Yes. And I was just so excited. I was so excited. And then I got there and I'm like, “Oh my God.”
Finn: You're in a weird trailer.
Sadie: Yeah. And really I'd done a few little appearances on TV shows, but ... being in front of the camera was still kind of new to me.
Finn: Semi-new, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Sadie: And so, I was very nervous.
Finn: You wouldn't know it.
Sadie: Well, I was very nervous.
Sadie: But I mean, I think as soon as I got there, and like I was kind of touching on before, but like, you guys were just so free, and you were just having fun, and I think I just had to kind of shake that idea of just having to be perfect.
Finn: What I think also, I remember being... feeling like I don't... It's so weird, being the new... like going to a new school, going to everything, so I remember just wanting to talk to you all the time, because I just was like, "Oh, it's the new..." You know, whatever. So I remember, we shared that little school trailer all the time.
Sadie: Oh my god, the school trailer.
Finn: Yeah. Dude, oh my god.
Sadie: They were so—
Finn: If we ever write a memoir—
Sadie: I mean, like—
Finn: ... that school trailer—
Sadie: ... just to paint a picture, if we would take a paper towel, and wipe it on the ground, and it would just be completely—
Sadie: ... black.
Finn: Yeah, we had this school trailer that was like... For whatever reason—
It was an old lifeguard stand. Remember?
Finn: Yeah, yeah. For whatever reason, it was just this really old, basically camper thing, that had these doors that were... They didn't work. The doors also were like—
Finn: ... were like, this thin, and they were super light. Dude, yeah, so much of my life was spent in that—
Sadie: In that—
Finn: ... trailer.
Sadie: ... trailer, oh my god.
Finn: So many tears shed.
Sadie: So many tears.
Finn: And laughs, and goofs.
Sadie: Lots of... See, the thing about us is we have seen each other at our absolute best—
Sadie: ... and the lowest of lows.
Finn: ... the absolute lowest lows, yeah.
Sadie: Like, our absolute worst.
Sadie: Oh, for sure.
Finn: The first thing that comes to mind in my head is actually more of a... is not a drama-filled story, but it is a story of... Oh, I remember Gaten was like doing Lent, and he was like—
Finn: "You gotta give up something," and I was like... At that point, and... I was very into candy, as you remember.
Finn: And donuts, and so I just was like–
Sadie: Yeah, the donuts were good.
Finn: ... "I'll give up candy." And everyone was like, "No, you won't," and I was like, "Yes, I will." And I swear, like 40 minutes later, I caught myself eating... while I was working, eating Skittles, and Gaten walked in and started like... He fell on the floor, rolling on the floor laughing, pointing at me, like, "Ah, ha ha." I was like, "Oh, man. I suck." I remember just being like, "Oh, this is so embarrassing."
Finn: That was so fun. Because I look back, it was a lot of it was so crazy, but a lot of it was—
Sadie: Oh my god.
Finn: ... so fun.
Sadie: And I get so upset, because I feel like I just... I don't remember as much as I should, but I think when everything's moving so fast—
Finn: Yeah, yeah, you don't.
Sadie: But it's so hard.
Finn: I mean, there's definitely stuff that I've blocked out.
Sadie: Oh, for sure.
Finn: For any childhood, I feel like, you block stuff out.
Finn: But not in the way of, it's traumatic.
Finn: I just mean you block stuff out, just because it's, yeah, stuff is moving, and you probably don't want to remember cringey parts of your life.
Sadie: Oh, yeah.
Finn: There's parts of my life that, yeah, I mean, my god. Yeah.
Sadie: I know.
Finn: I feel like, yeah, all of our cringey... all of my cringey phases—
Sadie: You can look it up online.
Finn: Well, that's the thing. My friend... I remember I was looking with my friend, Colin, and he was refusing to show me pictures of him in high school, and I was like, "Dude, my entire puberty is on camera."
Sadie: Yeah. Yeah.
Finn: Like, "I grow up in front of a camera. Like, literally..." I was like, "So you can't be… You can't be self-conscious about that."
Finn: Yeah, I guess we were pretty not self conscious. I still have your hat, by the way.
Sadie: What hat?
Finn: It's a pink Vineyard Vines hat. Do you remember that hat?
Sadie: Oh my god, yeah.
Finn: Yeah. I still have your hat.
Sadie: That's okay.
Finn: I just started wearing it.
Sadie: You can keep it.
Finn: Yeah, I don't think I'm going to wear much Vineyard Vines these days.
Sadie: No, me neither.
Finn: I didn't realize it was kind of the frat brand then.
Sadie: It is. So, the town that my family somehow settled in in New Jersey was very, very preppy, and I was not preppy, and I remember going to school, and everyone was wearing Vineyard Vines, so I was like, "I need to get something Vineyard Vines."
Finn: Yeah, yeah. I remember, I was like, "Oh, cool pink hat," and you were like, "You can have it." And you just tossed it to me, and I was like, " Oh, sweet." I was like, "It has a whale on it? That's awesome." Then I went home, like home to Vancouver, and they were like, "What, are you in a frat, dude?" I was like, "Oh, this is from a frat?"
Sadie: I was sabotaging you.
Finn: Yeah, I know.
Sadie: I meant to do that.
Finn: Yeah, I was walking around with a pink dad snap... Walking around with a pink hat. I remember, yeah, I remember also, you... There was such an interesting intro that you had, too, where I remember it was the first week was like, you met everyone, we started doing fittings, you went to an Adele concert with Millie.
Sadie: Oh my god, yeah that's right.
Finn: Right? She was like, "We're going to an Adele concert."
Sadie: And I was like, "I guess we're going to an Adele concert."
Finn: Yeah, you were going to an Adele concert randomly. You just met Millie, and she was like, "We're going to Adele," and you were like, "Okay. Terrifying, but okay." You're like, "This person I never met before." And then, it was... Yeah, it was great. But I feel like it's really nice that... It's a very fun, full circle moment, that we can start something when we're really young kids, and then do something now that we're older.
Finn: Do something like this, I mean, like an A24 film. I feel like, I don't know what you've thought about... To me, from what I've talked... And I just saw Gaten a few nights ago, and we were just having the same conversation, of just how different our relationship to acting is going to be as an adult than it was to a kid, trying to... Because as an adult, you... As a kid, you can kind of make your whole life acting, and it's fine, and you can distract yourself. But then you realize, "Oh, maybe there's stuff I missed or whatever, like developmental stuff," or—
Sadie: Well yeah, I think about that all the time, because I feel like we had to kind of mature at an accelerated rate.
Finn: Rate, yeah.
Sadie: But because of that, I'm always like, "Hang on, I think I missed a few steps."
Finn: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Me too.
Sadie: I think there's some lessons I need to learn, or some experiences I need to have, or something.
Finn: Well, there's two... It's funny. You kind of have to juggle two things. You have to show up and do this job pretty well as a kid, and these are amazing opportunities, but at the same time, you have to grow up “correctly” at the same time. That's a hard thing to do. So I mean, yeah, going forward as an actor... I don't know if you've thought about just like… it's interesting seeing people kind of dismount into an adult career from being a child actor, and it going south, or going whatever. And I think we've been lucky to just be very self-aware, and having conversations about that kind of thing.
Finn: And we've also had pretty great families, and—
Sadie: For sure.
Finn: ... childhoods, and very supportive people around us, so we're the lucky ones, but yeah, more and more, I just think like, "Okay, how am I going to have a healthy relationship with my career, and at the same time, be a fulfilled person outside of that?" Because again, you have acting... And also, that's why in tabloid shit, you see so many actors go crazy, because it's just like they didn't have any... They don't even have conversations like this. It just is like they hide behind acting, because it's the easiest thing, or the easiest—
Sadie: Yeah, or it's almost like—
Finn: ... lifestyle or whatever.
Sadie: I feel like it's easy to put more effort into the version of yourself that you're presenting to the world.
Finn: Right, when it should be the opposite.
Sadie: Then you are in your—
Finn: It should be the opposite.
Sadie: ... in your actual self, so I don't know. For me, that was... I think I've been subconsciously doing this, and you as well, but it's just like… there's only so much that you want to give away. You just have to have stuff—
Finn: For you.
Sadie: ... for yourself, and also what's really important, is when it's times like these, where it's lots of press, and cool outfits, and you're traveling everywhere, and it's all so glamorous, but it's like, that's not your real life.
Finn: No, no, exactly.
Sadie: And that's certainly not what matters, and on your off time, when you're not working on a project, when you're not doing press for anything, when you're just Finn, when you're just Sadie, just keep it really boring.
Finn: Yeah, yeah.
Sadie: Just keep it so boring.
Finn: No actually, totally. That's exactly what it is. You have... That's why I like going back to Vancouver, because I just feel... Not that it's a boring place, but it just is like, you just go back, and you're there, and then you go there enough to get stir crazy, kind of, and then you go back.
Sadie: Yeah. And then you go back to work, but actual work, like acting on something.
Finn: Yeah, knowing that it's work, it's actual work, and it's fulfilling, and yeah, having a good life. Yeah, like you said before, it kind of should be the opposite thing, where you're almost... It's almost just as much work too, to have a rich, fun, fulfilling inner life or whatever.
Finn: And it's funny to be talking about that, but it's true. It's important. And I think it also probably will make our jobs even more fulfilling, knowing that we know that it's—
Finn: Fun, and also that we'd be fun without it too.
Finn: You know? But knowing that there's nothing really else, probably, that would make us happier than acting.
Finn: So, y’know.
Sadie: So, y’know, I think we're done.
Finn: Yeah, so go see our movies.
Sadie: Yeah, go see The Whale. Go see—
Finn: And go see When You Finish Saving the World.
Finn: And yeah, man. Thank you.
Sadie: Yeah, thank you.
Finn: Thanks for watching, and listening.
Sadie: Thank you, Finn.
Finn: Thank you, Sadie.