Caleb McLaughlin

The Obsession of Time

By Thiago Borbolla

Caleb McLaughlin, Lucas of Stranger Things, explains why no one (neither he, nor we) can let the past go away, even with all the technology we have available nowadays.

The year is 2018. Google can make phone calls, schedule an appointment at the hairdresser or even order pizza for you. We are able to communicate, looking into each other’s eyes, through a device that fits in our pocket. Vacuum cleaners do their job on their own (and also carry pets, if you prefer). We may not yet be able to teleport and travel in flying cars, but it may be a matter of time.

We’ve even turned the ancient rent-a-video outlets that influenced lots of people on a site that features high definition contents on a variety of gadgets – such as wireless phones and video games. We just have to  look at the parties we go, to some of the films and series which have been generating lots of discussions in recent years, to realize that, despite everything, we cannot leave the past.

“When we look back, we can remember how wonderful those times were compared to what we are living now,” says an extremely mature 16-year-old boy named Caleb McLaughlin, whom you may know as Stranger Things’ Lucas Sinclair( and also has played the role of Simba in the version of the Lion King on Broadway), talking to BELLOmag straight from the secret set of the series’ third season. “I think we constantly become fascinated by time, the past and so, we like to create things about how people remember those times. It’s kind of a cozy feeling, you know? “

Stranger Things is essentially this fascination turned into a series. They brought together all the memories and references that the Duffer Brothers had in their heads and created this series that is responsible for making many people ( a lot of people, in fact) identifying themselves in some way. From Dungeons & Dragons to the most diverse objects on the set, including phones and soda cans, we felt like we were sitting at home. The typical home of those times when everything was easier and our obligations didn’t go much further than trying to find an end to one of the most famous games from  Atari: Enduro.

I’ve never heard of Atari before,” says Caleb when he talks about the first time he was on the set of the series, in the “bizarrely distant year” of 2016. Precisely the Atari, the video game that we- who have been at least thirty years in this game of pop culture- know so well! The boy had never seen it! He had never played it before, not even in an emulator! “But I was very familiar with the rest. I think the biggest difference to me was the weight. Everything was very heavy at that time and nowadays it’s totally the opposite! “

Caleb was born in the 21st century. For him, vintage is the iPhone 4s, the fifth generation of Apple’s Smartphone that revolutionized the world of technology in 2007, when this boy from Carmel, New York, was only 5 years old. A cell phone that has a camera that records videos in Full HD, can store up to 64GB of many different things and introduced Siri, the virtual assistant who made us really believe we were in the future – which, for him, was nothing more than the present. “It’s very recent, but it’s very old compared to what we have now!” He justifies, quite rightly.

With over 5.3 million followers on Instagram, Caleb uses his iPhone (which, if it’s not the latest generation, is a lot newer than this 4s museum piece) to have fun (with no filter that turns your photos or videos on things exposed  in the sun since 1983, which has also become something trendy among social media in recent times), to work and to give support messages to all his followers who suffer with those things that the boys of Stranger Things suffer in the series – bullying, to begin with. “It’s work and fun, for sure. You have to work hard, nothing comes easy. But it’s fun. If you love your work, you end up having fun, “commented the boy who publicizes everything he does, spends his time talking to fans and encouraging them to be who they are through hashtags #BeYourBiggestFan and #EmbraceYourFace.

Maybe that’s why he considers Stand by me, 1986 movie based on the book of Stephen King, his favorite among all the others that the Brothers Duffer have indicated for the cast to watch in advance. “Before the series, they recommended some movies for us to see, so we could have a perception of how the show would be,” remembers Caleb. “There was ET – The Extraterrestrial (classic of Steven Spielberg, released in 1982), the Goonies (another classic produced by Spielberg and directed by Richard Donner in 1985), Stand by me and all those amazing films of science fiction of the 80’s and … Yeah, I had to get ready for the role. I had to study, especially for the first season. “ 

They’re all different, fun … I used to say Stand by me was my favorite. It’s a very good film, with the bond between the boys, the forest, the adventure while searching  for the dead boy, “he says.” These three films together seem to result in Stranger Things. “ 

Despite being young, Caleb also has this fascination with what the past has produced, he also feels comfortable with  one thing that comes from those times and is still so actual: their music. “I cannot say which pop culture I prefer, because I didn’t live in the 90s, 80s or 70s. But from what I see, I would say the late 80s, early 90s, because of the music. I love R & B, so the 1990s are my favorite R & B moment. “K-Ci and Jojo, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, En Vogue, Boyz II Men, Usher, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Brian McKnight, Aliyah , TLC, Janet Jackson … In fact, it’s a good time, with a lot of great music. 

Probably, though, Caleb doesn’t know Sampa Crew, the biggest R & B band that has been produced in Brazil- and the mere fact that I mention it already shows how much, in fact, this nostalgia thing is strong around here, even having the chance to  know lots of new stuff all the time. But our country, ah, that he knows well, even though he has never come here. “I need to go! I heard you love Stranger Things!”
There are a lot of people that appear on my Instagram saying ‘I love you, Brazil loves you!’ And that’s cool!”, he says.

When we asked about how many times he had read the phrase “Please Come to Brazil”, Caleb was straightforward: “A billion”. So here we’ll say once more: Caleb, Please come to Brazil! Our 80s were a show apart. I’m sure you will enjoy and have lots of fun here.

Photography ARTHUR GALVAO @artgphoto | Creative Direction STEPHAN MARQUET
Styling PHILIPPE UTER @philippeuter
Grooming GRACE PHILLIPS @grace_phillips
Production ALEK TOMOVIC  Maison Privée x BELLO Media Group
Special Thanks JAMES GOLDSTEIN @jamesfgoldstein

Originally featured in BELLO Brazil issue #02

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