Warning: This article contains spoilers from Stranger Things season 3.
You probably recognize Maya Hawke’s voice. The 20-year-old actress, who plays Robin on Stranger Things 3, sounds exactly like her mother, Uma Thurman (dad is Ethan Hawke). “I know, it’s crazy,” says the actress of their vocal similarities. “People always write and talk about how we look alike, and we don’t really look that much alike, but we do sound a lot alike. It does happen all the time.”
Hawke talked to EW about landing the biggest role of her career as the sarcastic Scoops Ahoy employee and her great chemistry with co-star Joe Keery.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you get this role?
MAYA HAWKE: I totally auditioned. Basically, I was a fan of the show. I’d seen both seasons. I watched them with my mom and brother and my family, like a really fun enjoyable scary thing for the whole family to gather around and scream together.
And then I had a general meeting with the casting director, Carmen Cuba, who I just love. And then later I had another general meeting with Shawn Levy, and then when the new season was being written, there was a part in it and I got to audition for it. I flew to L.A. and I did some chemistry reads with Joe Keery, who’s just so wonderful and hysterical and lovely and then it was history. Then I was flying to Atlanta.
You and Joe have such a natural rapport. Was that immediate?
We just developed a good energy going and it was just playful and funny and kind of laid back. The great thing about Joe is he really doesn’t take himself too seriously. Like he walks into a room, he’s like, “Hmm that ice cream scooper could be funny. That mirror could be funny to look at. That door could be funny to slam.”
How did you feel about spending basically the entire season in sailor suits?
I happen to really like my sailor suit but Joe didn’t like his. But I really liked mine. I love blue. And I love stripes. And I like high waisted, so like, really my costume that was supposed to humiliate me was my regular style. I loved my sailor suit.
You and Joe are tied together for an entire episode. What was that like?
Basically, when you read it you’re like, “Oh that sounds great.” And then you’re doing it and you’re like, “Oh I can’t get up to pee. I’m just really tied to this chair and it just sucks.” So the things you think are going to be fun are never the things that are fun. And the things that you don’t think, you don’t even notice, are the things that end up being the most fun. I think we were tied to those chairs for like six or seven hours.
In the same scene, you have to act insanely high. How did you keep up the giggles?
We both just really did heroin. I’m kidding. I’m kidding. We just kept trying to make each other laugh. Kept trying to find new ways to find the scene funny, and it was actually really hard because we were both trying to figure out what kind of high we were. What were we being poisoned with?? And so we were both trying to find it together and make sure we were both having the same reaction to drugs and so it was kind of a complicated thing.
Did you have to learn Russian for this role? Or did you have that in your back pocket already?
I had to study how to pronounce Russian words and understand certain Russian symbols. Could I go to Moscow today and get around with the locals? Absolutely not. But could I repeat the phrase that I had to memorize? Absolutely.
And the Starcourt was an actual mall?
Yeah. It was a real operating mall. There were like Atlanta people wandering through, shopping at J.C. Penney. But there was a whole side of it that we entirely refurbished. Totally decked out to look like the ’80s, had everything you could think of in your ’80s mall. The Gap was a goldmine.
What was it like stepping into a dynamic with Joe and Gaten Matarazzo who had already worked together?
I think because Gaten [who plays Dustin] and Joe’s relationship has been forming throughout the two seasons, it wouldn’t be like stepping in with Finn [Wolfhard, who plays Mike] and Millie [Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven]. They kind of are still discovering their dynamics within this season. I think it gets so much deeper, and so much richer in this season than it has been in the other ones. And then Priah [Ferguson, who plays Erica] was there, and so we were all kind of figuring out the chemistry of our new group. You know, it’s super hard to enter a TV show when it’s already been going because the environment, socially, is already set up. And you feel like the new kid in school. But we were kind of separated into our own reading group, as they say.
We were in a new environment. They had a new mission. There was a new place, a new job, a new location, and so there were other new things, other than me, that kind of allowed it to be shaken up and we all had to find our own new chemistry together as a group.
Have The Duffers told you anything about season 4? Could Robin be back?
I would absolutely want to come back.
Did you parents watch any advance episodes?
No. They haven’t seen the new season yet. They’re going to have to watch it with everybody else.
For more with Maya Hawke on Robin’s major reveal, stay tuned to EW.com this weekend.
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