Winona Ryder won her first movie role at age 13—the age that many of her Stranger Things co-stars are now—but she doesn’t think she could handle the same success if she were a child star today. In an interview with Marie Claire UK, Ryder, who plays single mom Joyce Byers on the Netflix hit, said she is overwhelmed by the response fans have had to Stranger Things.
“It’s so overwhelming,” Ryder, said. “I don’t know what it’s like for really famous people… I keep hearing that people are dressing up like me [as her character Joyce]. I’m like, ‘What?'”
Winona Ryder scored her first movie role as Rina in the 1986 teen flick Lucas. She went on to become an ’80s superstar in cult favorites like Beetlejuice, Heathers, and Edward Scissorhands. When she was in her 20s, Ryder segued to more adult roles in Reality Bites and Girl, Interrupted before scaling back. Now she’s back—and on one of the biggest hits on Netflix, but at age 45 she feels like the granny of the cast. Not only that, but Winona isn’t sure she’d be able to handle this type of massive fame if he was just starting out.
“I’m grateful that I got to start at the time I did,” Ryder said.
“As much as I love it, I don’t know if I would even have become an actor [if I was starting out now]. I wouldn’t know how to [handle it]. I do worry about the massive exposure at that age.”
Ryder recalled the 1980s when she played goth teenager Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice.
“I remember thinking, ‘Ooh, it’s like the number-one movie. This is going to make things great at school,'” she said. “But it made things worse. They called me a witch.”
The actress seems to wonder what it must be like for child actors today with the added pressures of social media, something that she, incidentally, does not partake in at all.
Winona is so out of the social media loop that she even revealed that she once mistook the Snapchat messaging app for some kind of snack when talking with her 13-year-old co-star Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven on Stranger Things.
“Snack chat? Give me a piece of that!” Ryder laughed of their exchange. “I’m like the confused older person [on the set]. I’m like the old grandma. Millie teases me. I’m like the old grandma.”
While she might be considered a “grandma” on a set filled with teen actors, Winona Ryder’s young co-star credits her for the success of Stranger Things.
“Having [Winona’s] name on our list made it feel better, and her acting is so phenomenal,” Brown told Deadline earlier this year. “When you hear the name Winona Ryder, you’re like, ‘Oh my God! Let’s watch this show.’ Her name and her reputation contributed to this. We all put in our pennies and made it a million dollars.”
Check out Winona Ryder in the original Stranger Things trailer below.
[Featured Image by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP Images]