Actors can spend their entire careers waiting for a role like Eddie Munson. The resident metalhead of Stranger Things core setting of Hawkins, Indiana, Munson captured the hearts of viewers worldwide, becoming a hit internet sensation that turned actor Joseph Quinn from a relative unknown in the world of TV and film into a star-in-the-making. Hammer sat down with Quinn earlier this year to talk Eddie Munson, his guitar heroes and why Foo Fighters should write the music for his on-screen band, Corroded Coffin.
When you took the role of Eddie Munson, did you expect that it would take off like it has?
“Not at all. No, I think expectations get you in trouble in this game, and I couldn’t have predicted people’s warmth and acceptance for him. So it’s a really lovely feeling, it caught me completely off guard.”
What attracted you to the role in the first place?
“Well, the chances are so stacked against you – it’s very rare to be asked to participate in something that has this much kind of cultural significance so it was a no-brainer.”
How much of the character had been fleshed out when you were cast?
“I auditioned a couple of scenes that were actually in the show. We had no idea how many episodes he was going to be in; we were told at least four. But I didn’t know anything about what would happen at the end, or how much he would actually be involved in the season. So I’m delighted that I got as much to sink my teeth into.”
What were your influences for the character?
“I think we all have those people that were a little bit older than us growing up, that we admired or had a soft spot for. I was always very impressed with those people that were a little bit older than me that were very nonconformist, a little attention seeking.”
How reflective is Eddie of you?
“Not much. We all have moments where we feel vulnerable, maybe overcompensate. I joined my school two years late, so I guess there was maybe a little bit of overcompensation there. But I’ve been very lucky, I’ve always had friends and haven’t felt like too much of an outsider.
But with all of my characters, if you don’t humanise them, you don’t care about them, and if people aren’t vulnerable and themselves and authentic, you tend to not really want to be around them. I think we’re far more drawn to someone that’s offensively imperfect than someone that’s constantly trying to be perfect and impressive.”
We hear you “connected with the character through metal” – what were your entry points?
“I listened to Master Of Reality by Black Sabbath over and over. Master Of Puppets as well, Slayer… all that kind of stuff. That was my way into that whole world, really. Black Sabbath were my guys, and Led Zeppelin too, but I guess they’re less metal.”
Is it true you’re actually a guitarist too?
“Yeah, I’ve played since I was a kid, but it’s been woefully under practised in recent years.”
What was it that got you into guitar?
“Well, my dad played guitar and my granddad played for a time, so it’s something we’d do as a family. We are by no means virtuosos, but we all have a go.”
Who are your guitar heroes?
“Hendrix is an obvious one, I was always very enamoured with him. Nirvana were my first proper band obsession; I had all of Kurt Cobain’s posters on my wall. It’s kind of cliché, but it’s true.”
Did you get any input on the epic Master Of Puppets solo in the new season? Was it your choice?
“I don’t know where the fuck the showrunners got it from! Ha ha ha! But it was completely their choice. It was the perfect song for a crescendo to take us through this crazy sequence. I think it’s an inspired choice, really.”
Will we ever hear Eddie’s band, Corroded Coffin?
“We’re working on an EP… Joking! I’m joking!”
It’s not that ridiculous – Dave Grohl did it with Dream Widow this year…
“Maybe I should email him – ‘Would you write the music for Corroded Coffin please?’”
How would they sound?
“Oh, thrash! Proper, old-school thrash – really fast, really evil.”
If you could play any rock star in a biopic, who would you choose?
“Keith Moon would be pretty cool, you could have a lot of fun with him. I don’t understand how that hasn’t been done already. I’ve actually heard that there’s something in the works, but I don’t think I’m in consideration for it. Whoever gets to go at that… That’ll be a lot of fun.”
Stranger Things Season 4 is streaming on Netflix now