Getting their start somewhere! Before they were known as Stranger Things stars, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Caleb McLaughlin, Gaten Matarazzo, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton and Joe Keery were all cast in other roles. Whether they had multi-episode arcs or a minor movie role, the cast’s first-ever acting job just might surprise you.

Of course, when Millie — who plays Eleven in the Netflix series — nabbed her first role in 2013, she didn’t know she’d become a star a few short years later. Now, she’s getting to work behind the camera as well as an actress. Her first-ever producing credit came from the 2020 Netflix movie Enola Holmes.

“I’ve grown up in the public eye and, at times, it can be very challenging,” Millie told Vogue in September 2020. “As I’m working and doing what I love, I’m still finding myself, so having lots of people watch and criticize that can be overwhelming. But [producing Enola Holmes] changed my perspective. It helped me to not be afraid. This film gave me the strength to say: ‘I’m putting myself first in every situation.’”

She continued, “I was involved in the casting process and the writing. [The director] Harry Bradbeer and I spoke endlessly about what we wanted for this film — energy, emotion and eccentricity were the three things we lived by. Also, I was in an office. I’d never been in an office before.”

Millie’s costar Finn — known for his role as Mike Wheeler in the show — also has big dreams of working behind the camera one day.

“I only wanted to start acting because I wanted to be a filmmaker. I still do. I still want to be a director,” the Netflix star told the Irish Times in August 2019. “But I thought acting was the best way to get into the film industry, so I started acting when I was nine and I loved it and I’ve never looked back.”

While the kids are the focal point of Stranger Things, their older counterparts in the show — Natalia as Nancy Wheeler, Charlie as Jonathan Byers and Joe as Steve Harrington — also have their own acting origin stories.

“My goal pretty much was like, ‘If you could just pay your rent, then you’re doing great and that’s fine,'” Joe, for one, told GQ in August 2021. Then, he got the call about Stranger Things.

Scroll through our gallery to uncover the Stranger Things cast’s first-ever acting roles. 

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