11. Winona Ryder was the first choice for the role of Joyce Byers
After the ’80s, Winona Ryder’s career slowly simmered down, save for a few guest roles here and there. But when it came to Stranger Things, she was the first choice for the show. In fact, the Duffer Brothers understood the sentiment that she was missed. Despite only enjoying a few good roles, the movies she did appear in were iconic.
According to Matt Duffer:
"“Our casting director, Carmen Cuba, it was her very first idea for any role in the show. I just remember getting an email: “Hey, what about Winona Ryder?” And so we were excited about it because you’re looking for someone who you miss. And Winona is someone who we really missed. I mean, she hasn’t been around that much for the past 10 years, but then she would pop up in things, and then you remember how much you miss her. And we figured that if we missed her this much, I bet a lot of other people miss her. You know, and then we sent her the script and amazingly she responded to it. It clicked really, really quickly with her. And, now, we cast her when we had just one script written, so at the time actually the Joyce character was a little different. I mean she was sort of this cursing, smoking, tough Long Island mom. So when we cast Winona, we did alter the character a little bit and I think Joyce became a lot more interesting because Winona has a very, you know, sort of specific energy about her.”"
In hindsight, it’s clear that nobody could play the role better than Winona Ryder. Nobody plays a wide-eyed frantic mother quite like Winona. #WinonaForever