Eduardo Franco gives career insight at After Dark


Nicole Hasek/ Iowa State Daily

Student Body President Jacob Ludwig interviews Eduardo Franco from ‘Stranger Things.”

“Stranger Things” star Eduardo Franco visited Iowa State on Friday for a discussion led by Jacob Ludwig, student body president. Franco answered questions about his childhood, early career and experience being part of the most popular Netflix original series.

Forty-five minutes before the show started, the Great Hall was already filled with students, and even more lined up outside the door waiting to find a spot. The sounds of cheers, applause and Kate Bush’s “Running Up the Hill” took over the room as Franco was about to arrive.

Back at his childhood home in Arizona, Franco loved walking the aisles of the video store with his family.

“Watching a good movie for the first time is like a high for me, and I’m always chasing that,” Franco said. “I rewatch movies wishing I could experience it again for the first time. I was so damn attracted to that and I wanted to do that, and in junior high, I started doing theater classes.”

Franco credits most of his acting success to his junior high drama teacher, Mr. Phillips, describing him as a funny and crazy hippie. His teacher encouraged him not only in acting, but in his school work as well.

“With him, it was like you have to get your shit together and then you get to perform, and it was awesome,” Franco said. “I think that’s where it all started.”

In 2013, Franco moved to California and started auditioning in 2014. He had some small roles as an extra but finally booked a part in 2015 with speaking roles.

“It was for a show that was on Disney XD, and it was called ‘Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything,’” Franco said. “Rest in peace Cameron Boyce; he was the star of the show. That kid was so tremendously talented. But that was my first gig, and the first time ever that I was doing something I had dreamed of doing.”

Even with larger roles in popular movies like ‘Booksmart,’ ‘American Vandal’ and ‘The Package,’ Franco never imagined being cast in something as big as ‘Stranger Things’– he saw this opportunity as a huge honor.

“Everyone was so accepting of me and the character, and for some people, this is their baby, so there was that pressure of hoping I fit in and I didn’t disappoint them,” Franco said. “I appreciated those who told me they enjoyed whatever I did.”

Since being originally aired in 2016, he had been a fan of the show because of the way it embodied the 80s. Some of his favorite movies are ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ and ‘Terminator,’ both films from 1984. He explained that he loves these movies because it is so obvious they are from this time period, and he thinks ‘Stranger Things’ has the same feel.

“It was so in your face about the way that time was,” Franco said. “It was awesome to see a show that had so many callbacks of all these 80’s things we know and love.”

Along with the 80s references and feel, Franco also loved the relationships of the characters and the writing of the Duffer brothers.

“My favorite thing, and probably everyone’s favorite thing, is the camaraderie of the boys and kids. I think Dustin’s character was my favorite one because he’s the one with the radio and all the freaky little critters in his room.”

To prepare for his role as Argyle, Franco had to completely quarantine shortly after his audition in late 2019 until the shooting was finished in September 2021. He also took a day to learn how to bake pizza, and these skills are shown off in the fourth episode of the fourth season.

Learning to drive the Surfer Boy Pizza van was a bit more difficult than learning to make pizza, but Franco gave credit to Ernie Vigil, stunt driver. After two days of practice, he was able to drive the van on his own.

“He’s like the coolest fucking guy. He’s the best way to learn how to drive a dashboard like a professional; he can do almost anything,” Franco said.

Along with professional preparation, Franco also prepared for long days on set. Between shoots, he would often play Pokémon Stadium with cast-mates Charlie Heaton and Finn Wolfhard. Psychedelics also helped Franco get into the mindset of a stoner like Argyle.

Students did not leave disappointed as Franco went through this interview with the same effortless comedy, charm and blazing attitude that he brings to his character Argyle.