Maya Hawke is teasing a “scary” turn for her character in Strangers Things’ fourth season. ET’s Katie Krause spoke to the 22-year-old actress, who plays Robin in the Netflix series, about what fans can expect when the new season debuts.
“The Duffer brothers [Matt and Ross Duffer, the show’s creators] are just really free and really smart. They’re not allowing themselves to get stuck. They keep changing. They keep growing. They keep investing and building the characters,” Hawke said. “It’s an honor to be a part of it, and work with them, and watch them build these people, especially Robin. … They really dig into her this season and I’m really, really grateful.”
In addition to Stranger Things, Hawke is set to star in Mainstream, in which she plays Frankie, a young woman who finds a path to internet stardom when she starts making videos with Link (Andrew Garfield), a charismatic stranger.
“I’m so personally scared of that world,” Hawke told ET of the world of YouTubers and social media fame, before explaining how she was able to get into character for the project, which was directed by Gia Coppola.
“I think Frankie’s relationship to social media was kind of confused,” she said. “… I based the character a lot on Gia in my head, and the way in which Gia was very critical of social media, and also loves social media. [She has]… that kind of torn relationship to it… So the way in which I had built Frankie was kind of based on those two things.”
While her Mainstream character may get drawn into internet stardom, in her real life, Hawke prefers to be known more for her work than for herself. It’s a trait she shares with her parents, Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman.
“My mom and dad and I have in common that we’re all more interested in being actors and being different people than we’re interested in being famous in the world as ourselves,” she said. “I think social media is an unbelievably useful tool to get your art out there to the world, but you’ve got to be careful with how you use it, so that you’re not putting yourself out into the world too much. And you’re putting your work, and your friends’ work, and the things you believe in out in the world without putting yourself out there.”
Though Hawke remains cognizant of what she posts online and what she says in the press, she always makes it a point to be authentically herself.
“I try not to read anything about myself. … It’s so scary and hard and you can get so frequently misrepresented in the things that you say,” she explained. “You either have to be this calculating cat that says nothing and basically just answers every question in the most boring way possible to protect yourself from being misunderstood, or you’re going to get misunderstood a lot.”
“I don’t want to be someone who doesn’t say anything just to protect myself from the possibility of being misunderstood, but I also don’t want to watch myself get misunderstood over and over again,” Hawke continued. “I just want to keep being myself and say what I think is true in the moment, in the way I want to say it, and hope that, cumulatively, my heart will come through.”
Mainstream opens in select theaters, on digital platforms and VOD on May 7.