Joseph Quinn had no idea what the plan was for Eddie Munson when he joined Netflix’s “Stranger Things” — but he knew he was excited to be part of a show he had watched from Season 1.
“I was told very little at the beginning,” Quinn, 29, tells Variety. “The Duffer Brothers told me that I would be in at least four episodes, but I wasn’t optioned for another season, so I thought maybe if I did all right, they might invite me back. That didn’t work, clearly! So they killed me, but that’s OK, I guess. I’ll dust myself off!”
Little did he know that the bad-boy “Hellfire Club” leader obsessed with heavy metal would become a fan favorite. He’d also have an epic performance that got everyone talking.
In the Season 4 finale, in order to distract the demobats, Eddie and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) plan a metal concert — and for a bit, it actually works. The scene consists of Eddie standing on top of his trailer in the Upside Down, absolutely crushing the instrumental version of Metallica’s “Master of Puppets.”
“I was lucky that I had learned guitar when I was younger, so I had the foundation. By no means was I a virtuoso, but when it came time to shoot it, I was able to get through it,” says Quinn. “We had a sort of black-belt heavy metal guitarist take us through the solo, because that wasn’t going to happen! I couldn’t do that, but I could do the rest of it, which is lucky. It was an amazing experience.”
Music supervisor Nora Felder confirmed that it was Quinn playing and that Metallica was very happy with it. “Joseph did take time to learn the guitar riff, and was actually playing along to a guide track,” she says. “Everyone thought he did a great job.”
It was also a special experience for those on set. “For a lot of the crew, it was the first time that we all felt like we were in a live music environment since the beginning of the pandemic,” says Quinn. “It was great fun to be able to do that with Gaten.”
While Quinn is 10 years older than Matarazzo, it wasn’t difficult at all to form a bond with him, which clearly came across on screen.
“It’s pretty easy if you actually like the person,” Quinn says. “He’s a lovely man, and a brilliant actor, and I really value that time that we got to spend together on those scenes building up to that last one — and the last one itself. It was a real privilege.”
Since the penultimate season of “Stranger Things” debuted last month, it’s been trending on social media and making a huge splash on Netflix. Eddie’s “Chrissy, wake up!” scene has become a very popular audio to use on TikTok. While Quinn tries to stay off social media, he has seen that.
“It’s hilarious,” he says, noting that he loves how passionate the audience is, because the cast and crew put in a lot of hard work for the intense season.
“Everyone’s stamina was put to the test; it was a very long shoot. That was the hardest part — just to stay invested emotionally and spiritually, stay in that world and connected because you don’t want to do anything half-ass. It was a really, really long time — and that’s a great problem to have,” he says. As for what the cast did in their free time, it was pretty simple: “We played a lot of Spy, me and the gang. Joe [Keery] and I drank a lot of La Croix, sitting around talking. We’d just try and make each other laugh and mess around.”
While Eddie’s current story is done, there’s always a possibility of seeing him in flashbacks in the fifth and final season. Quinn quips, “Here’s hoping.”