Stranger Things has gained critical acclaim and grown a large fandom in a remarkably short period of time. The show chronicles some strange events involving children. Much like the Harry Potter franchise, this opened the door for some new, young talent to emerge onto the acting scene. Gaten Matarazzo is one of those bright new stars, and he’s gaining attention for much more than his acting.
Matarazzo has cleidocranial dysplasia, which affects the growth of his teeth and bones. As he notes in the interview, he only has baby teeth — the rest are fake — and he was born without collar bones. He also said he was declined from over 100 roles and it took him two years to secure his first role because of his genetic disorder. However, in a total display of maturity and class, Matarazzo is not bothered by this. He is proud to bring awareness to cleidocranial dysplasia, “I have a really mild case and a lot of people have it much worse than I do. I feel like putting it into the show is really raising awareness for it, and I’m lucky that mine was very mild. But now that it’s in my genes, which it usually is passed down through genes — it wasn’t for me, it just happened. So now that it’s in my genes, I have a 50 percent chance of passing it down in my genes and it could be much worse for them.”
Matarazzo did not get hired for this role based on his disorder- he got hired based on pure talent. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Daniel Radcliffe exclaimed his excitement about the young actors of Stranger Things, stating, “Oh my god. Okay, can you, like, just tell them that I think they’re amazing and also just say, like, that as a person who started out acting really young, how are they so good? (laughing) I wasn’t that good when I was a kid. Have the decency to be less good at acting, please, when you’re so young.”
If Harry Potter himself is praising these kids, it’s safe to say we can expect even bigger (and stranger LOL) things from them.