In Stranger Things season 3, we got to know Mike and Nancy's mom, Karen Wheeler a little bit better. In the previous seasons, we learned that Mrs. Wheeler really does care for her children, even if she has no idea they've been fighting monsters from an alternate dimension. Remember when the kids thought Will died and Mrs. Wheeler invited Mike to go rent a movie, even an R-rated one? She also tells her daughter Nancy that she's open to chat about anything, following her discovery of Nancy's fling with Steve. But even though she really loves her family, by season 3, it's clear Nancy is frustrated with her marriage and family life, almost starting an affair with Billy, although she ultimately chooses her family. It's clear Karen has a lot going on emotionally. While watching the show, it almost feels like you personally know Mrs. Wheeler, thanks to the actress that plays her, Cara Buono. This isn't Cara's first big show. Here are some fun facts about Cara Buono.
1. Cara started acting when she was just 12.
She made her acting debut in a play called Spookhouse. For high school, Cara attended Laguardia High School, known as one of the best preforming arts high schools in NYC. She went to Columbia University for college, double majored in English and political science and finished in just three years.
2. Before landing her role in Stranger Things, Cara had a bunch of roles in indie films and smaller parts in classic TV shows, like The Sopranos.
Cara first delved into film in the 1992 movie, Waterland, in which Ethan Hawke also starred. Ethan's daughter, Maya Hawke, plays the role of Robin in Stranger Things season 3. Cara's better-known parts include her role as Dr. Faye Miller on the fourth season of Mad, her part as Kelli in the season finale of The Sopranos her part as Edith Banner in the 2003 Hulk.
3. Cara said she knew she wanted to be a part of Stranger Things when she read the script.
She talked about her audition and her role as Mrs. Wheeler to Wtop. “When I first read the script, I knew I wanted to be part of the show,” she said. “I thought we’ll at least get two seasons out of it. No one could have predicted the phenomenon it’s become."
4. It was Cara's idea that Karen would be drinking wine in season 1 of Stranger Things. Cara thought the wine would make Karen seem more oblivious to what the kids were getting into.
She talked about how she helped shape Mrs. Wheeler to Refinery29. "In season 1, I asked [the props team] for a glass of wine and as many as possible, because I thought, 'She is really smart. How does she not know this is going on in her basement?' Eighties parents were definitely more oblivious than there are today, but I thought, well maybe to self-medicate and anesthetize herself a bit, she drinks," she said.
5. Cara currently lives in New York City with her husband, Peter Thum, and her daughter.
Her husband is the founder of Ethos Water. Cara's originally from the Bronx and her family is of Italian descent.
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