Strange things that happened on the set of Stranger Things

So, first of all, this article is going to contain a lot of spoilers for Stranger Things, or at least reference scenes that will spoil things. You can't say we didn't warn you. On the other hand, if you haven't seen Stranger Things yet, we'd like to congratulate you on emerging from a coma that lasted all of 2016. You won't believe who's gonna be president.

With that said, let's go behind the scenes, via interviews and tidbits dropped by the cast, to uncover some of the most bizarre and oddball occurrences on the set of the show. See you on the other side, or rather, the Upside Down side.

The isolation tank scenes were surprisingly real

Millie Bobby Brown (whom you'll hear a lot about in this article) plays Eleven, a child tormented by cruel science experiments that develops psychic powers. In order to focus her mind powers, her tormentors frequently inserted her into an isolation tank. These are actually real things, designed to cut off as much sensory stimulation as possible, with the expectation that the users experiences would come purely from their own mind. Many people experience wild visual and auditory hallucinations while using them.

As it turns out, the isolation tank scenes were as real as possible without literally being science experiments themselves. Millie is actually wearing a seventy-pound vintage diving helmet on loan from Sea Trek, under the supervision of Sea Trek Field Operations specialist Keenan Mayfield. Mayfield reports that "after the first time trying Sea Trek in the pool [Millie] immediately got out and screamed. I was unsure if she was scared or excited … but her scream was followed by a huge smile. She was thrilled with the excitement!" This isn't the last time in this article you will hear about Millie suddenly belting out a random scream.

Later in the series, the kids fashion another float tank using a kiddie pool in a school gymnasium. Turns out that the science behind that was actually true as well. It took 1200 pounds of salt to make the water dense enough to suspend Millie, but they actually got it to work.

The snow scenes had an unusual source for ice

Stranger Things takes place in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, so several scenes required a snowy setting. However, the show was actually filmed in Georgia, which doesn't exactly get snow. In order to create snow for those scenes, twenty tons of ice was shipped in … from Florida, which is literally the furthest you can be from anywhere that gets snow, and still be in the continental United States. Where'd they get it all, convenience store ice boxes? Maybe they got it from the Panthers. It's not like anyone down there cares enough about hockey to suddenly realize their team has no rink, or even that they have a team.

Charlie Heaton just could not pronounce Nancy's name right

Charlie Heaton is one of two British actors in the main cast, the other being Millie Bobby Brown. He plays Will's older, gloomier art photographer brother, Jonathan Byers. Part of the story arc involves the relationship between himself and preppy-girl-turned-gunslinger-badass Nancy, which proved to be challenging, because Charlie constantly struggled to pronounce the name "Nancy" in an American accent. Given that he screams that name around fifty times during the course of the season, this led to a lot of fun (for everybody but him, presumably) re-shoots. After all, nothing sucks the life out of a thrilling chase scene like "NAWWNN-CEYE!" being shouted time and again.

Eleven wasn't thrilled with the food

Two of the most iconic early-season images we get of Eleven are her with food: the diner scene, and her stealing Eggo waffles from a small supermarket. If the character was more like Brown herself, the menu might have been a little different. Speaking to Bon Apetit, she admits she would have personally preferred to steal a nice ham or a tub of chile con carne.

The diner scene, in particular, was tough. "I had to stuff my face with cold fries. They were so greasy," she lamented, "I had like three burgers and they were cold". To cope, she wound up spitting everything out into a bucket after takes. The scene in the kitchen with the ice cream was even worse. She was asked her favorite flavor and she replied light vanilla, but suggested they could use what would look best on camera. That was a mistake, as she wound up with strawberry, her least favorite flavor ever, and had to suffer through that.

For what it's worth, she really does enjoy waffles, but only to a point. She had to consume so many on-set, it became grueling and it was back to the spit bucket to leggo her own Eggos.

Will's dead body was played by a 30-year-old woman

One of the most shocking twists in the series occurs when they find Will's body, which drives a wedge between the kids who were hoping Eleven could help find him alive. Plus, it made his mother's insistence that she could contact him seem even more like she was just crazy. It left fans wondering where the series could possibly go from there.

For the shoot, they originally intended to use a foam replica body, like the one used in the morgue (more on that in a moment). However, the results didn't seem convincing enough, even with darkened wide shots and no close-ups. So instead, they nabbed an extra, who turned out to be a 30-year-old woman in a short-hair wig and Will's costume, and had her lay still in the freezing water at 3 AM. We hope she got paid extra, or at least got first dibs at catering.

Millie Brown only shaved her head because Furiosa did too

Eleven has a simple but very distinct look, featuring a buzzcut from her time in the laboratory. Both Millie Brown and her parents (but mostly her parents) needed convincing that this haircut wouldn't damage her potential for seeking other roles. Luckily, filming occurred around the time that hype was gaining for Mad Max: Fury Road, so images of Charlize Theron as Furiosa were passed along to Brown, as reassurance a woman could play a role like that, have hair like that, and still be taken seriously.

Set to the tune of Beyonce's "Pretty Hurts," Mille Brown posted a video of her hair being shaved for the role, earning tens of thousands of shares. Her mom brought out the camcorder, while her father walked out with tears in his eyes, unable to watch. After her head was shaved, makeup applied the "11" tattoo and Millie gave her best Furiosa scream at her own reflection, expertly cementing the character before cameras even started rolling.

Will's corpse has a "Weekend At Bernie's" moment

Stranger Things relied on a surprising amount of practical effects for a modern series. In the morgue scene, for example, where Sheriff Hopper realized the corpse found in the river wasn't Will, the directors actually actually ordered a full-size foam sculpture of the dead body of their cast members. Naturally, being the mature professionals they are, when it first arrived, the directors decided to have some fun with it.

Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, they admit that shortly after receiving the sculpture, they stashed it in a closet and told the mother of Noah Schnapp (the actor who played Will) that they had something to show her. She was, naturally, startled when presented with a realistic replica of the corpse of her son, and the directors wondered if they had maybe crossed a line (ya think?). But, after a moment, she loved it and wound up texting photos of it to other relatives. We're sure the holidays will be a bit awkward for everyone involved this year.

Millie Brown got a little too into killing people with her mind

Eleven is a very complex character. It's made clear she was horrifically abused, but that abuse helped her tap into deep, dark recesses of herself, to find terrible and awesome powers. This arc peaks in a flashback scene where she's about to be punished for refusing to kill a cat with her mind, but winds up killing the two guards assigned to her punishment.

In preparation for this scene, Mille Brown pondered over the exact mechanics that she would use, eventually exclaiming "I know what I'll do to click someone's neck! I've got it!" She was so giddy about the prospect that her co-star Matthew Modine, who plays the sinister Dr. Brenner, was visibly shaken, and apparently retorted "never say that again!"

Method acting is great, but when your approach creeps out the man portraying a monstrous, child-abusing mad scientist, maybe dial it back a bit.

The van flip scene was a disaster

The scene where Eleven flips an entire van is one of the most epic displays of power in the entire series. Like many of the other effects, this was done practically, with explosives under the van to launch it into the air while cameras rolled. They weren't even sure they could do it at first, but a parking lot test proved successful, sending the van sailing into the air. Unfortunately, when they tested it live, some of the explosives didn't go off, leaving the bus careening well off its mark.

Fortunately, the kids were nowhere nearby. The finalized shot in the show is a composite shot. Unfortunately, the unpredictably careening van annihilated one of their cameras. It took a lot of coaxing of their Line Producer to attempt a second shot after ordering a new camera, but the results were well worth it.

Millie Brown was asked to copy the body language of E.T.

Eleven, as a character, doesn't get a lot of dialogue. As far back as she can remember, she was raised and socialized in a laboratory environment, and has no idea how anything works in the day-to-day world. She knows a handful of words and concepts drilled into her by scientists, so she could communicate ideas, but she doesn't really have the capacity for conversation.

The directors, realizing that a role like this is hard for even a seasoned actor, suggested a workaround to help Millie perform her role in the series meaningfully. They asked her to study E.T., which also followed a mostly non-verbal protagonist. In particular, they wanted her to learn to imitate the facial expressions and body language of the alien. In addition, Millie brought to the table a variation of reactions to different characters, due to perceived trust level. This combination brought a further vulnerability to the character that, in many other ways, was both terrifying and otherworldly.

The abandoned bus scene got delayed because somebody wouldn't stop farting

The buildup to the final confrontation happens when Sheriff Hopper rescues the kids who are hiding from the scientists in an abandoned bus. It's an amazing scene that unites most of the protagonists together and gets them planning what to do next. However, by this point in the series, the actors who played the kids were getting a bit … loose with their focus.

Apparently, the whole crew had to abandon the bus mid-shoot because one of the boys farted it up so bad. Nobody admits who it was, but David Harbour (who played Hopper) also mentioned this anecdote in a recent AMA. It wound up leading to a pep talk the next day about how close they were to wrap up and needed folks to, well, stop farting around. Both figuratively and literally.

One shoot had to be delayed because Millie showed up covered in glitter

We realize that literally half this article is "Millie Bobby Brown is really, really weird," but you have to admit she definitely embraced her role as an oddball character. This last anecdote is something else, however.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the directors relate a story from early on in the series, where the shooting schedule had to be delayed. Apparently, Millie showed up covered head-to-toe with glitter, and nobody has any idea why. It wasn't required for that scene, or any other. Nobody knows where the glitter came from, or how she managed to get it all over herself — to date, she's not explained herself, either.

"I'm not having this problem with my adult actors," lamented Ross Duffer, "David Harbour isn't coming in covered with glitter." Although, honestly, we'd love to see that.