“I wanted to make her vibe a middle ground between the Sandlot lifeguard–who was such a big icon for these child characters–and a classic mean girl trope.” – Francesca Reale on STRANGER THINGS
In addition to cookouts and fireworks, thousands of people celebrated Fourth of July by watching the third season of Stranger Things, which premiered on America’s Birthday. In addition to the characters that fans have grown to love over the first two seasons, Stranger Things season three features several new characters. One of them is Heather the lifeguard, who is portrayed by Francesca Reale. Speaking with Parade, Reale talks about her audition, excitement about getting cast on the series, and what she brought to her character.
Reale recalls when she found out that she was told that she had gotten cast on one of the most popular Netflix original series… and how she had to contain her excitement. She reveals:
“My initial reaction had to be completely professional and calm. I got the news in the casting office during what I thought was my callback. I had gone in to read my scene, and the casting director asked me a couple of questions about where I grew up and went to school. Then she said, ‘Alright, the role’s yours!’ I thought she was kidding. I can’t tell you how much I thought this was part of some exercise. Then I just stood there and told myself, ‘Keep calm. She’s a professional, and you want to be able to enter this office again.’ I ended up sounding like a robot and saying, ‘Thank you very much. I’m so flattered.’ And I started to exit the room slowly. Once I left the building, I had an absolute breakdown. I called my agent like, ‘Did that really just happen?! Oh, my God!’ I freaked out because I was so excited.”
With that said, Reale admits that the audition for the role was particularly challenging because she wasn’t told anything about the part or character beyond “Heather – Lifeguard at the community pool.” She says, “My audition scene wasn’t even from the show. They had given me sides from the movie Scream. It was the scene at the beginning where Drew Barrymore is making popcorn, and the killer keeps calling her. It was incredibly hard to do, probably harder than sides from the actual script. That is such a famous scene, and I had the way Drew Barrymore did it so clearly in my head. It’s been parodied so much over the last decade. It was a lot harder to figure out how to do that in a unique way that also fit their show rather than completely mimicking a horror movie.”
Once Reale, who also starred in the film, ‘Yes, God, Yes‘, received more information about her character and her role in Stranger Things, Reale began to think about the role Heather plays in the show and the character’s background. She says, “I wanted to make her vibe a middle ground between the Sandlot lifeguard–who was such a big icon for these child characters–and a classic mean girl trope. There was a day where I came up to the Duffers and said, ‘I created a back story for Heather. She has to work at the pool because her dad lost his job and she needs to bring in money.’