Stunt Coordinator Hiro Koda Talks Working With the Stranger Things Kids, Details Season 3’s Best Stunts

Recently, had the chance to chat with Hiro Koda, the stunt coordinator for hit shows like Stranger Things and Big Little Lies. Koda joined Stranger Things for its third season, and also served as the Second Unit Director, so he has lots of interesting behind-the-scenes stories to share. In addition to teasing a darker season four and sharing his thoughts on the future of stunts in the world of social distancing, he opened up about his favorite stunts and shared stories about working with the show's child actors. After hearing that some of the Stranger Things kids wanted to do their own stunts (but obviously can't do much due to child labor laws), we asked what the young cast members were able to tackle.

"Everybody always wants to do their own stuff," Koda revealed. "For example, Millie [Bobby Brown], there were some times that we flew her on some wires. There's high restrictions on how high we can take them into the air. They can't be up too high, but they can get into the wires. There's loads of things. For me, personally, the safety is my number one priority and even though these cast members are completely capable of doing certain things, if there's something where there's any chance of an injury or anything like that, they have to have a stunt double for them. All the kids had doubles anyway, just because they're children. But it's important that they don't get hurt because if our cast member gets hurt, then we get shut down. If a stunt member gets hurt, then it's not going to shut the show down."

We went on to ask Koda the most challenging stunt of the season: "Everything. It's a very tough show to do. It's a lot of work and a lot of time that we spend rehearsing and prepping. I mean, that's the beauty of what we go through." He added, "The sauna room was a lot of fun and super challenging. Shawn Levy was directing that episode and he's very on top of... You have to be really prepared when you're shooting with him. And everything went as planned. It was challenging because Dacre [Montgomery], who plays Billy, was topless. So flying him around when Eleven's throwing him around and stuff, we had to create these wild, interesting rigs for him to fly, and his stunt double had to slam into things and stuff like that without a shirt on. That was fun and challenging. Millie's cabin when the Mindflayer takes her up into the ceiling, that whole sequence was so much fun. The Duffer brothers play this music and they get everybody into it, and it's a lot of fun."

Koda went on to discuss David Harbour's (Jim Hopper) big fight scene at the end of the season. "The finale with Hopper and Grigori, I directed the majority of that sequence and that was just a massive fight that the Duffer brothers wanted. It was a beautiful, massive set that we had to start in this small control room and work our way all the way down to the end of the laser gun. The challenging parts were David Harbour was needed on my unit and on first unit at the same time, so we were splitting days with him." He added, "Very proud of David and Andre [Ivchenko] and the stunt doubles, they did an amazing job with that sequence."

Stay tuned for more from Hiro Koda's interview, which includes extra details about Stranger Things' third season, Power Rangers throwbacks, Big Little Lies stories, and more.

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