The “Stranger Things” gang in Lenora Hills, Calif., is at risk — shots are being fired, and an agent is bleeding out. The camera switches abruptly to a view of an unknowing Argyle, played by Eduardo Franco, pulling as much as the Byerses’ home because the catchy reggae hit “Pass the Dutchie” blares from his pizza delivery van.
“Byers man, having a celebration and never inviting me, man?” he says. “That’s so not cool.”
Because the group’s wheelman who “smokes smelly plants,” as Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) puts it, Argyle serves as comic relief within the show’s most horrifying season, his lighthearted energy offsetting the dark forces bedeviling the gang.
“Argyle delivers pizzas and he dwells within the psychedelics sometimes,” Franco said in a recent video interview. “That’s the proper combination: to all the time have hot and prepared food, and a bit tree.”
As some of the outstanding forged additions in Season 4 — the ultimate episodes arrive Friday on Netflix — Franco has carved out a job because the show’s addled but reliably hilarious tension-release valve. But Argyle transcends the stoner-pal stereotype and adds a bit heart to the story as well, primarily in the shape of his sweet friendship with Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) — though admittedly this often involves the duo being stoned out of their minds.
Franco’s most outstanding role before Argyle got here in Olivia Wilde’s coming-of-age comedy “Booksmart,” as a 20-year-old highschool senior named Theo who was recruited to code for Google. That performance led to his current gig — Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike Wheeler in “Stranger Things,” saw Franco within the movie and suggested him for the role.
Franco spoke from Biarritz, France, where he was visiting as a part of a “Stranger Things” branding partnership with the surf culture label Quiksilver, which supplied much of Argyle’s wardrobe. In conversation, he was clearly more astute than his character but similarly funny and informal, indulging in f-bombs as freely as Argyle does his smelly plants.
Within the interview, Franco discussed his inspirations for the character and “marinating within the awkwardness” that comes with life because the show’s designated burnout. These are edited excerpts from the conversation.
What was it about Argyle’s character that appealed to you?
I loved that I could hopefully bring a breath of fresh air to the chaos that ensues within the show. It tends to get crazy, and I used to be hoping I could function “let’s laugh it off now, because I’ve been tense for the last 45 minutes.”
Did you are taking inspiration from any past cinematic potheads?
Sean Penn in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is all the time at the back of my mind. My initial approach was to simply completely be blown out of my mind on a regular basis — because the character, not Eduardo the actor! I wanted Argyle to be completely clueless: When someone says “Oh my god, Argyle, we gotta get out of here!” I’ll be like, “Huh?” But I do know that for the sake of the energy and the adrenaline within the scenes, that wouldn’t all the time work.
How old is the van you drive within the show?
It was touchy, an 80-something. I used to be taught learn how to drive that van by this skilled stunt driver — I’d never driven a stick shift before and it was the worst thing to learn on, since it was just so old. But he was all the time within the van with me after I was driving, hiding within the automobile just in case.
Was there a scene that was particularly fun to film?
The dinner table scene was my personal favorite. Eleven is bummed out. Mike can also be concerned. Joyce and Murray [played by Winona Ryder and Brett Gelman] are lying about going to Alaska. And me and Jonathan are blown out of our minds.
It was so fun sitting there, marinating within the awkwardness. When it was time for me and Charlie to do our lines, sometimes we’d stall while everyone was waiting for us, and we’d be sitting there just eating slowly. It was hilarious, and it was awesome to have the option to get Brett and Winona to laugh. I like going to work and making people laugh — the camera man, the crew, the people hauling things up and down all day. And all the things felt so organic, sharing the screen with Charlie, Finn and everybody.
What did Argyle’s relationship with Jonathan bring to the show’s dynamic?
Jonathan is in pain. I believe they became easy friends because Jonathan needed a set of ears, and Argyle happened to be right there. Argyle’s character is what all of us wish we could possibly be: completely judgment-free. He’s there to have a great time along with his bud, and to take heed to Jonathan and help him out, irrespective of what he says.
Do you’re thinking that Argyle is able to handling whatever danger is coming his way?
I can’t inform you anything, but geez, he’s out of his mind obviously. Poor guy.
How has joining an unlimited global phenomenon like “Stranger Things” modified your life?
On the Season 4 premiere in Recent York, after we sat right down to screen the primary episode, I got mad emotional and began crying in my seat. I used to be glad it was dark and no person could see anything. To be a component of something this massive was overwhelming, and I hope people can accept my character as a latest guy within the show. I hope he does serve his purpose as a breath of fresh air from all of the crazy madness.
Have you ever began getting recognized in public?
Yes! For an example, after I got to France last week, I used to be riding a motorbike down the road to grab some stuff from a market. My bike had no brakes, and as I’m pulling up, I put my feet right down to attempt to stop, and there was this guy pointing and laughing. Then he double-takes and he was like, “You’re the guy from ‘Stranger Things’? What are you doing here, man?” I used to be like, “I got here to get some chocolate croissants and an adapter to plug my phone charger within the wall.” It was so funny, but that’s just how massive this show is.
A series like this generally provides a big profession boost. What sorts of things do you hope to work on in the long run?
I got a pair movies under my belt, but to be in a movie where persons are going to the theater and I’m rockin’ people’s socks off is my dream. I don’t know if that era is already out the window, but I only recently watched “Top Gun,” and it was amazing. So I actually have hope.
And I’d like to be a component of making the projects, but I don’t know necessarily learn how to do all that yet. I’m attempting to figure all these things out. I don’t know a [expletive] thing, but we’re all learning.