Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard is now a gaming influencer

Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard is now a gaming influencer

Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard never thought he'd have "influencer" on his résumé, but here he is.

The actor, 20, is the latest celebrity to join the PlayStation Playmakers program alongside the likes of LeBron James, John Wick: Chapter 4's Rina Sawayama, and comedian King Bach. As he explains to EW in an interview, he's going to be posting video of himself playing PlayStation games and creating an online experience for fans.

"I'm really doing it because I just really like playing video games and I really like PlayStation," he says, noting how "it's really the only system that I've played."

Wolfhard discusses joining PlayStation Playmakers, his love for HBO's The Last of Us, Stranger Things' final season, and his directorial debut Hell of a Summer.

Finn Wolfhard
Finn Wolfhard

Danielle Levitt Finn Wolfhard

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did this whole PlayStation Playmakers opportunity come about? How'd you first hear about it?

FINN WOLFHARD: I first heard about it through my agents at CAA, and I heard that there were murmurs of something to do with PlayStation. I immediately was like, "Please can I be a part of that?" 'Cause I'm a huge PlayStation fan. It's really the only system that I've played.

What are the responsibilities of being part of the PlayStation Playmakers? What does that all entail for you?

For me it's just about basically playing these video great video games and putting out little clips of me playing them. It should feel like everyone's kind of hanging out and playing together.

So you're kind of like a gaming influencer, almost.

Yeah, I guess so. I never thought that I'd ever have "influencer" beside my name. I'm really doing it because I just really like playing video games and I really like PlayStation. I think I've said "PlayStation" about 50 million times, but they truly did not tell me to say it this many times. I'm just really am excited about it.

Do you remember what your first PlayStation console was?

Yeah, it was a PS2. My uncle had it. He lived with us. Me, my older brother, and my uncle would play Final Fantasy X together. I was not old enough to grasp what a great game I was playing, but it was the first game. So it was that and then Ratchet and Clank and Jak and Daxter. All the old Insomniac stuff. Going through the history of all the consoles is so fun. It's super nerdy, but you get to hear all the different chimes. I remember like, uh, we went to my like, friend Malcolm Craig's house in Whistler up in [British Columbia] and his grandparents had a PSOne. It was in storage. It had Spyro on it, and we plugged it in and you could hear the chime of the PSOne. It's super cinematic and crazy and everyone just freaked out.

Sony transforms Finn Wolfhard into a Guardian from 'Destiny 2'
Sony transforms Finn Wolfhard into a Guardian from 'Destiny 2'

Sony Interactive Entertainment Sony transforms Finn Wolfhard into a Guardian from 'Destiny 2'

What kind of games are you playing these days?

I'm replaying The Last of Us — Part 1, since the show's come out. And God of War. My brother and I were playing that for a long time together. Those are the main two right now that I've been playing, but there's a few other games that I'm obviously looking forward to playing. I'm excited to play the new Spider-Man game.

PlayStation has been adapting a lot of their games more recently. You're an actor who also plays video games. Is that something you keep tabs on? What roles you could play in the gaming adaptations that are coming out?

Absolutely. Not for roles, more just as a fan of what's going on. I feel like The Last of Us is honestly the quintessential cinematic TV show based on a video game — whatever you want to call it. I think it's incredible. It's a thing people say, the nail in the coffin is when people try to make video games into movies. But people are starting to really do insanely well. First of all, it's amazing source material. So you start with that and then you go from there and build out.

Are you keeping any opportunities to act in these video game adaptations on your radar, or are you waiting until Stranger Things is done?

I think we'll see. I'm open to anything. I definitely am excited to finish Stranger Things and see what's out there after.

[Series creators] the Duffer Brothers had announced that they're going to press pause for the moment on filming the last season of Stranger Things. Does that give you a lot more time to play games these days?

Yeah, we're pressing pause until the strike is figured out. It's insane to say, but, yeah, it gives me more time to play catch-up on a bunch of games I haven't played yet. There's an insane amount that I haven't played in the last little while. I haven't even played The Last of Us — Part II yet, so I have to play that.

Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, Charlie Heaton, and Eduardo Franco in 'Stranger Things'
Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, Charlie Heaton, and Eduardo Franco in 'Stranger Things'

Courtesy of Netflix Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, Finn Wolfhard, Charlie Heaton, and Eduardo Franco in 'Stranger Things'

How are you feeling now about the fact that Stranger Things is approaching its final season? Is it something that you're looking forward to or is it a little bit daunting?

I think it's a little bit of both. I'm incredibly excited to finish up the show. I think I'm really antsy to start because I just I'm a fan of the show first and foremost. So I'm excited, obviously, to just see where every character's journey takes them and everything like that. And then shooting it, I've tried not to think about it or process how sad it's gonna be, obviously, but it's gonna be a graduation of sorts for all of us, for the cast and a lot of the crew, too. A lot of the same crew has been working on it since the first season. So, it's gonna be amazing and pretty heavy, but really fun always.

I've also been told that you recently finished filming Hell of a Summer, which marks your feature directorial debut. Can you set up a little bit of what that film is about?

It's about a group of camp counselors setting up a summer camp. It centers around an older camp counselor in his mid-20s who used to be the boy wonder and now is too old to be a counselor. It's a slasher movie where people start dying and everyone blames it on him. It's about the group, the ensemble of teenagers trying to survive tonight.

What was that experience like moving into the director's chair?

It was definitely incredibly daunting. I was lucky to have a partner with me, Billy Bryk, who I share a lot of sensibilities with and felt very comfortable with and had written this with. But since I was maybe 10 or 11, I've been watching tons of movies, I've been watching behind the scenes on movies, I would stay after work on set to watch all the directors and learn from them and how sets work. So I felt a little in my element at some points. At some points, I felt completely terrified and like I was flailing, but we had a great cast and crew. It was great. It was all the things, right? It was a small movie in the middle of nowhere in Canada, and it was incredible and hilarious. It was one of the best experiences of my life.

You're definitely on the younger side when it comes to breaking into filmmaking from acting.

That's what financiers said too. That's what everyone said when we tried to get money for this movie. They're like, "You're a little young to be directing a movie." I'm like, "Yep." But you're absolutely right.

Billy Bryk and Finn Wolfhard in 'Hell of a Summer'
Billy Bryk and Finn Wolfhard in 'Hell of a Summer'

Aggregate Films Billy Bryk and Finn Wolfhard in 'Hell of a Summer'

What were your impressions about financing and all of these things that you didn't have to worry about on the acting side?

Well, I think it's [about] having enough self-awareness. Every day on set we'd just start laughing 'cause they're like, "Oh my God, they gave money to two kids to make a crazy movie!" Not to downplay it, I'm incredibly proud of it, but it was a crazy thing. A lot of the crew were young as well. But I think knowing what we're getting ourselves into... This is our first feature. We're really young, we're gonna mess up a lot, and we're gonna make mistakes. Let's just ride the wave and be as communicative with everyone as possible and make everyone feel a part of the team. It was really informative. I learned more on that set about myself and about other people and about running a set and working with different personalities. I learned more in those three weeks than I have my whole life. I'm really lucky that I got to have that experience, especially with the people that took us on — 30West and Aggregate Films. They put a lot of trust in us, and we've put a lot of trust in them, which is all we can ask for at this young of age. But we'd like to let the film speak for itself. I don't think age defines filmmaking in any way. I think everyone has stories to tell, and if you have the chance to do it, then do it.

I also heard that you and the Aubreys have new music coming out this summer. What can people expect from that?

I have a new single with the Aubreys. There's a single coming out in July with a video. We haven't released music since our record in 2021, and we've been writing for so long. So we're just gonna release the single and see what people think, and keep writing. But I'm really excited for people to hear, and maybe to potentially play some little shows this year and next year.

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