If you haven’t binge watched Netflix’s latest original, Stranger Things, you need to cancel whatever you’re doing tonight, find a darkened room and a laptop and get a pillow to hide under, because it’s quite simply brilliant.
One of the best things about the show is the comeback of Winona Ryder, an actress who through her roles in Beetlejuice and Girl, Interrupted has always firmly been up there as one of my favourites.
She plays Joyce Byers in the show, the mother of Will – who’s been abducted by who knows what – and Johnathan, a swarthy eighties teen with a passion for photography and ghoul hunting. Just as Winona has struggled with her own mental health, Joyce’s character is depicted as being on the edge of a breakdown; even before Will disappears.
An executive producer on ‘Girl, Interrupted’, mental health issues have long been close to the actresses heart, and she explained in a featured interview with NY Mag, how this crossed over into her most recent role:
“I wish I could unknow this, but there is a perception of me that I’m supersensitive and fragile. And I am… and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. There’s a line in the show where someone says [about Joyce], ‘She’s had anxiety problems in the past.’ A lot of people have picked up on that, like, ‘Oh you know, she’s crazy.’. And I’m like, ‘Okay, wait a second, she’s struggling.” Two kids, deadbeat dad, working her ass off. Who wouldn’t be anxious?Even that word anxious. It’s a bad word… My whole point was, this happens to every girl, almost..”
Recalling an interview she did with Diane Sawyer in 1999, she explained
“I talked about my experiences with anxiety and depression when I was that age. And I think by doing that, maybe coupled with my physical size, there’s this crazy thing. And I’ve realised recently it’s literally impossible to try and change that story”
I dont regret opening up about what I went through [with depression], because, it sounds really clich, but I have had women come up to me and say, It meant so much to me. It means so much when you realize that someone was having a really hard time and feeling shame and was trying to hide this whole thing And even the whole, like, sensitive, fragile thing. I do have those qualities, and I just dont think theres anything wrong with them. There were times when I let it feel too overwhelming and almost, like, shamed, but I had to just get over that.
You can read the whole interview here, and don’t forget to check her out in Stranger Things.