Barb Takes Hollywood: 'Stranger Things' Breakout Meets Casting Directors and Lands a Movie

The 19-year-old Atlanta-area native, who made her debut as the fan-favorite character on Netflix's sci-fi hit, recently flew to L.A. for a week of meetings with top execs and has already landed a minor role in Melissa McCarthy's 'Life of the Party.'
Courtesy of Netflix
Shannon Purser in 'Stranger Things'

Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Duffer have promised "justice for Barb" in season two of Netflix's recently renewed breakout hit, but the actress who plays bespectacled high-schooler Barbara Holland is already finding justice in her career.

Shannon Purser — the 19-year-old Atlanta-area native who made her acting debut playing the character who has become a cult phenomenon, inspiring a trending hashtag on Twitter (#JusticeForBarb), various memes and even a recent spoof on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon — recently traveled to L.A. for a week meetings with top local casting directors in the industry, sitting down with executives at ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Sony, Warner Bros., TNT/TBS, and Marvel, among others.

TNT/TBS manager of casting Mike Page posted a photo on Aug. 31 of a meet and greet with Purser. "Today was our turn to meet Barb from Stranger Things," Page posted. "Such a sweet and delightful girl! Love her and love Barb! #StandWithBarb #JusticeForBarb #StrangerThings #TNT #TBS #Casting."

Purser’s manager, Matt Shelton of LINK Entertainment, tells THR: “It's been a whirlwind of an experience to have such a high level of excitement surrounding Shannon, and the types of meetings and projects coming her way. It's a true testament to the layers and nuance she was able to build into the character to help it resonate with the audience the way it has, and of course, a little luck.”

In addition to a follow-up role on The CW's Archie reboot Riverdale, THR has learned that she’s set for a small role opposite Melissa McCarthy in the upcoming feature film Life of the Party, co-written by McCarthy and husband Ben Falcone and to be directed by the latter.

A version of this story first appeared in the Sept. 16 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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