‘Stranger Things’ executive producer explains how Robert Englund wound up in the show

Image via Netflix

Robert Englund’s bombshell appearance in Stranger Things had been planned for some time and wasn’t simply “stunt casting,” according to the show’s executive producer Shawn Levy.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Levy described how Englund, who’s best known as Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, organically came to play Victor Creel.

“Victor was always in the script, and somewhere early on in conversations with Carmen Cuba, our casting director, and Matt and Ross [Duffer], we all decided this would be the perfect cameo for him, not only because he’s a great actor and perfect for the part, but because so much of season four is inspired by Freddy Krueger and by the ideas at play in the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise.

“So, it just felt right. Sort of like Sean Astin is Bob — it’s not stunt casting when it’s good casting. It’s stunt casting when you put someone famous in a part that they’re not well suited for. But you watch that sequence with Victor Creel in Pennhurst Asylum, and it’s an incredibly captivating sequence because Robert is a great actor playing a part that is tailor-made for him. The fact that there’s also this layer of pop culture wink is bonus points, but not the reason we did it and not why this scene works. That helps when the stunt casting is also perfect casting.”

Moreover, he divulged the origin of the explicit Freddy Krueger allusion that appears in season 4.

“I have a bunch of favorite shots that I did this season. But one of my personal favorites was this idea. I rewatched Nightmare on Elm Street right before I shot, and I came into work and said, ‘Let’s take some kind of tool and grind away at the top of the table in Victor Creel’s cell, and I’m going to open on a shot of his fingers just scratching the surface of the table as a little bit extra Freddy nod.'”

Watch Englund play Creel in season 4 of Stranger Things on Netflix, the first volume of which already dropped and the second which will debut on July 1.