Stranger Things is chock-full of so many ’80s pop culture references that it’s hard to keep track—unless you’re Winona Ryder, who apparently has an encyclopedic knowledge of film, music, books, and beyond.
This is according to a new profile for Harper’s Bazaar, in which co-star David Harbour reveals that Ryder has actually corrected some “minor historical mistakes” made by the series’ creators, Matt and Ross Duffer. “It’s just kind of epic how wild her mind is and how it goes to all these different corners,” Harbour says. “She’d tell them, ‘This song actually came out in ’85, and you have it in ’83.’ She knew all of these minute, tiny details they didn’t even know, and they had to change things in the script based on that.”
The Duffer Brothers themselves share that Winona’s talent and her film buff bonafides helped to shape Joyce Byers as a character. “We originally just thought of Joyce as this strong, devoted, worried mother. But then suddenly Winona brings an entirely new flavor to it, and we just thought about how much fun we could have with her, getting involved in the supernatural.”
The first season’s memorable Christmas lights scene, where a frazzled Joyce finally makes contact with her missing son, can be traced back to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (“when Richard Dreyfuss’ character gets obsessed and makes a mound out of his mashed potatoes”), a favorite childhood movie of both Ryder and the Duffers.
There’s really no one more qualified to make a ruling on ’80s pop culture than Winona Ryder, someone who not only lived through the decade but was one of its icons. But it will probably please fans to know how protective and enthusiastic she is about the era. For instance, she’d been lobbying for some Kate Bush on the show long before this season’s fan-favorite Running Up That Hill scene. “I’ve been obsessed with her since I was a little girl,” the actor previously told USA Today. “I’ve also for the last seven years been dropping hints on set wearing my Kate Bush T-shirts.” In Winona we (continue to) trust.