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Stranger Things producer on why the show's a cultural phenomenon




Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's
Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's "Stranger Things." Levy runs 21 Laps Entertainment, a production company that's currently based at 20th Century Fox studios.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's
Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's "Stranger Things." Levy runs 21 Laps Entertainment, a production company that's currently based at 20th Century Fox studios.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's
Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's "Stranger Things." Levy runs 21 Laps Entertainment, a production company that's currently based at 20th Century Fox studios.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's
Shawn Levy directed "Real Steel," a 2011 science fiction film about robot boxing. A model of Atom from the film sits on Levy's desk at his production company, 21 Laps Entertainment.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's
Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's "Stranger Things." Levy runs 21 Laps Entertainment, a production company that's currently based at 20th Century Fox studios.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's
Shawn Levy and 21 Laps Entertainment are set to produce a film based on the Mr. Men and Little Miss characters for Fox Animation.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's
Artist Kyle Lambert created the "Stranger Things" poster and these paintings displayed on the walls of 21 Laps Entertainment.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's
Shawn Levy is the director of the "Night at the Museum" franchise. This tyrannosaurus rex sculpture reminded Levy of the films and it sits on his desk at 21 Laps Entertainment.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC
Shawn Levy produced and directed two episodes of Netflix's
The actual golden tablet from the first "Night at the Museum" film hangs in Shawn Levy's office at 21 Laps Entertainment.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC


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If you've never seen Netflix's series "Stranger Things" you should know that it's creepy. Really creepy.

Set in a small town in Indiana during the 1980s, the show focuses on different characters as they slowly come to the realization that something deeply disturbing is going on in the town following the disappearance of a local boy. It's got mystery, horror, blood, guts, twists and turns and good old 1980s nostalgia. And it's resonated with audiences, becoming a full fledged cultural phenomenon.

"To be right in the sweet spot of talked about culture, that is, even for me, you know having made 11 movies, I haven't experienced this before," said Shawn Levy, executive producer and director on Stranger Things. "I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out why and it's hard to unpack that."

Stranger Things was created by twin brothers, Matt and Ross Duffer, who brought the project to producer Shawn Levy. He's the guy behind the family films like the "Night at the Museum" franchise, "Reel Steel" and "Cheaper by the Dozen." 

But when pressed, Levy thinks it's the tone of the time in the 1980s that audiences connect with. 

"The world felt safer. The world, and it breaks my heart to say this, but the world was safer. And I know that a lot of us yearn for the relative innocence of that," he explained to Take Two's Alex Cohen. "And I do think that the show transports us back to a cultural and global climate that was fundamentally more comforting. It was fundamentally less scary."

To hear the entire conversation with Levy click on the audio embedded at the top of this post.