Stranger Things’ characters has grown up in front of our eyes, right in front of the camera. The young actors physically grew up while shooting the coming-of-age sci-fi series, so it’s only natural that they’ve hit a few milestones during their time on the program. One of those milestones for actor Caleb McLaughlin was his first kiss on-screen — and in real life.
The 2022 New Hollywood entrant confessed in a new Teen Vogue Ranked interview that his kiss with co-star Sadie Sink at the conclusion of Season 2 was, in fact, his first kiss ever.
“I suppose I was 15, 16 [years old], I’m not sure,” Caleb says in the video.
The crew gets to take a little vacation from demogorgon-hunting in the Season 2 finale episode to attend their school’s winter formal, the Snowball Dance. The kiss in question occurs during the dance between Caleb’s character, Lucas, and Sadie’s character, Max, both of whom became love interests that season.
“I had a lot of people surrounding me and like extras and everyone just staring,” the 20-year-old actor said of filming the scene. “And they had the music playing, and everyone was waiting for it to happen.” A lot of youngsters are saying, ‘Oooh, you’re going to kiss her!’ And I’m like, ‘Bro, come on.’ We’re playing a part.’ You’re making it larger than it has to be.”
Executive producer Shawn Levy described the experience of shooting the scene from behind the camera in a 2017 interview with Glamour. Shawn joked, “The kids were horrified photographing those kisses.” “Mortified! We had to do it many times since the steady cam kept spinning. You wouldn’t see the kiss if the camera was in the incorrect spot.”
The kiss between Lucas and Max wasn’t the only one in the finale episode; in the same moment, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) revive their early relationship and have a kiss in the wintry-decorated gym.
But it was Lucas and Max’s first major love gesture, and it was a watershed moment for both characters and performers.
Sadie Sink revealed to British magazine Heat in 2021 that the Snowball Dance kiss was both her first on-screen and real-life kiss. “I suppose [my first kiss] was when I was 14, in front of so many people,” Sadie said. “What a wonderful tale!” It’s incredible to be in this great ’80s-themed gym with one of your closest pals. That’s quite great. I’m not upset about it!”
According to Glamour, Caleb sought counsel from co-star Finn Wolfhard before to shooting the sequence. “He’s the best at it!” In 2017, Caleb remarked of Finn, who had already had many on-screen kisses with Millie Bobby Brown at the time. “[Finn] said, ‘Just like that… [makes a slapping sound].'” The kiss with Sadie wasn’t all that horrible… ‘Oh my my, I’m kissing Sadie,’ I thought. She’s a buddy of mine! Whoa!’ So I told myself, ‘I’m simply going to kiss.’ But she came in for the kiss, so it wasn’t my initiative.”
Caleb is much more relaxed about the event now, a few years later. “It was great; it was like a famous kiss, you know?” Caleb said in his Ranked interview. It was unquestionably a legendary kiss. “It’s a kiss, it’s anything!” It’s just for the show. Let’s get this party started.”
And we will go on!
When Stranger Things returns to Netflix for Part 1 of its fourth season on May 27, 2022, we’ll see more of Caleb and Sadie’s characters, as well as the rest of the Stranger Things group. Season 4: Part 2 will be available on the streaming service on July 1st, a few months later.
Stranger Things was officially renewed for a fifth and final season back in February.
Caleb’s complete Teen Vogue Ranked interview can be seen here: