“Stranger Things” fans gave Millie Bobby Brown — the 13-year-old breakout star of Netflix‘s sci-fi series — pure and unmitigated rock-star treatment on closing day of this year’s Indiana Comic Con. highlights of the session – she yearns for an off-grid life and she hates shopping.
Brown’s Q&A was peppered with bio info you might find in a teen-focused magazine from the “Stranger Things” era:
Where would you like to visit? “Bora Bora, because it’s off the grid.”
What’s your favorite color? Purple.
What’s your TV obsession? “Friday Night Lights” and “The Vampire Diaries.”
Music favorites? Gorillaz and Whitney Houston.
Give her space when she’s eating in a restaurant or trying to catch a flight.
And don’t bother sending Eggos, the breakfast treat closely identified with Eleven. Brown is wary of hidden cameras and poisoned waffles.
When doors opened to the large hall where Brown answered audience questions, the first of 500 or so attendees ran to grab prime seats as if the event were a Harry Styles concert. It took exactly one fan into the session, 13-year-old Addison Tuttle of Lexington, Ky., for Brown to field her first request for a date.
After someone said Brown’s YouTube videos are a source of encouragement when this particular fan feels unwanted or unimportant, the “Stranger Things” actress stepped down from the dais to deliver a hug. Tears fell for multiple fans when given the chance to talk to the actress who portrays telekinetic youngster Eleven.
Christy Blanch, the Q&A’s moderator and owner of Muncie’s Aw Yeah Comics store, paused to note the affection in the room.
“I have been doing this for four years, and I have never seen this amount of emotion in questions,” Blanch told Brown.”I did Carrie Fisher’s panel and nobody broke down like this.”
Brown, a native of Spain who spent early years in England and now lives in Atlanta where “Stranger Things” is made, appeared comfortable in the setting.
She agreed to pose with a Godzilla action figure supplied by a fan who asked about Brown’s role in the upcoming film “Godzilla: King of the Monsters.” When asked to showcase her rapping skills, Brown said she felt like singing and belted out an a cappella minute of Emeli Sande song “Read All About It (Part III).”
Wearing black, low-cut Chuck Taylor tennis shoes, Brown told the story behind the Victoria Beckham-designed rabbit shirt she wore this Easter Sunday.
“I hate shopping,” Brown said. “My mom tricks me into going shopping. She says, ‘Oh, we’re just going to get Starbucks,’ and here we are! We were in Target the other day, and she said, ‘Just try on this. It looks really cute and you can wear it to the con.’ I said, ‘I’m not trying it on. Just buy it and we’ll see if it fits.’”
Regarding the signature pink dress with the Peter Pan collar worn by Brown’s character during the latter episodes of the first season of “Stranger Things,” Fishers High School junior Sarah Dunlap said she bought hers for $40 at Hot Topic.
Justin Hanks, a 27-year-old from Cincinnati, said it was a challenge to find the dress in his size. Of all the Indiana Comic Con attendees paying homage to Eleven, Hanks likely was the only one sporting a beard.
“When we go to a convention, I like to be something obnoxious and over the top,” he said. “As soon as we saw that Millie Bobby Brown was coming, I thought, ‘Oh, I have to do this.’”
Hanks’ friend, 23-year-old Adam Grey, combined wardrobe elements associated with the “Stranger Things” character portrayed by Winona Ryder: a Christmas-light necklace, a handheld ax and a phone receiver and cord emerging from a pocket of a khaki jacket.
Brown referred to Ryder as her “second mom” and she said David Harbour’s Sheriff Hopper may be her favorite character on the show. But most of the Q&A session focused on the show’s young actors.
Shortly after auditions, the girl and four boys — Noah Schnapp (Will Byers), Finn Wolfhard (Mike Wheeler), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas Sinclair) and Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin Henderson) — exchanged texts: “Did you get the job of ‘Stranger Things’?”
Brown said she’s closest to Schnapp, whose character’s disappearance triggers the story of “Stranger Things.”
“Noah is my best friend,” Brown said. “We’re the same age. We do everything together. We go to Six Flags. We have play dates. I mean, we are children.”
Brown said Wolfhard is her adviser, McLaughlin resembles a watchful older sibling and Matarazzo is her “entertainer.”
When asked what’s difficult about portraying Eleven, Brown said it’s all easy.
“She’s part of me,” Brown said. “She’s my alter ego. It’s not hard to switch back and forth. She’s just there. As soon as they say cut, I’m ‘the Millster’ again.”
Set in fictional small-town Hawkins, Ind., “Stranger Things” unfolds as a 1980s tale influenced by the work of Steven Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King.
Perhaps aware that Brown couldn’t talk about particulars on the show’s second season, which premieres on Halloween, no one asked.