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‘Stranger Things’ Star Maya Hawke Floored the Duffer Brothers From the Beginning: ‘She Felt like One-in-a-Million’

We asked the Duffer Brothers to write an obituary for Maya Hawke, one of the 53 people who made our New Power of New York list, for Variety’s most recent issue. Click here to view the complete list.

“Janeane Garofalo in her youth.” We initially presented Robin in “Stranger Things” in this manner. But that was pretty much all we had. That and two brief scenes in which Steve Harrington and Robin distribute ice cream. Simply put, we were unaware of what made Robin unique and what made her enjoyable. Until Carmen Cuba, our casting director, gave us the three-word response, “She’s Maya Hawke,” that is. Who? We enquired. … believe me, she urged.

After six months, we’re still filming in that ice cream parlor when Maya approaches us and asks, “So… Do you guys just write about me? Well, kind of, yeah, was the response, which made us laugh. Because of Maya’s peculiarity?

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She is much more interesting than any fictional character we could ever create. She is hilarious, quick-witted, frank, and just awesomely weird.

Her energy is a cross between that of a playful, enthusiastic teenager and an experienced Hollywood actor who has done it all. She is just so distinctly Maya, and because she felt like one in a million, we became obsessed with capturing and disseminating her essence. (However, we’re sure Maya would like us to point out that, in contrast to the character of Robin, she is not a strange runner. She moves like a typical human, thank you.)

It was satisfying to learn that the rest of the world shared our attraction to Maya. It has been equally rewarding to see her career take off. Her stellar performance in “Do Revenge” and the release of her stunning new album, “Moss,” in just the past few months alone have solidified her status as a well-known singer-songwriter. Who knows what will happen next? We only know that she will keep us all amused for a very long time and that she is here to stay. How are we so sure?

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