'Stranger Things' Casting Director Still Searching for Talent for "Challenging" Season 3

Carmen Cuba is still filling out the cast for the next installment of the Netflix series, she told The Hollywood Reporter at the 10th Annual Australians in Film Heath Ledger Scholarship dinner on Thursday night.
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Carmen Cuba

Production on the third season of Stranger Things has been underway since May, but casting director Carmen Cuba’s job is far from over.

At the 10th Annual Australians in Film Heath Ledger Scholarship dinner Thursday, Cuba revealed that she and the Duffer brothers are still searching for additions to the season three cast.

“There’s a certain storyline that’s challenging that we have to keep going back to the well for,” Cuba told The Hollywood Reporter at the Chataeu Marmont Hotel.

As a casting director, Cuba said the popularity of the series has its perks and its drawbacks when it comes to finding the perfect actors for each role. “There’s a lot of secrecy, and we can’t say what parts we’re looking for, so it’s still a weird challenge,” Cuba said. “I know that if we said, ‘We’re looking for this and it’s for Stranger Things,’ we would have tons more options, but it’s still a lot of work.”

Cuba was a member of the 2018 Heath Ledger Scholarship judges panel, tasked with reviewing the work of 10 up-and-coming Australian actors who made it to the final stages of the program, which received more than 800 applicants in 2018.

Also on the judges panel was Game of Thrones director Jeremy Podeswa.

Like Stranger Things, Thrones is also in the midst of developing its latest season. But unlike Cuba, Podeswa — who last directed the Thrones season seven finale — has been uninvolved with Thrones' new season.

Though his lasting connections with the cast and crew could grant him access to the final plot, Podeswa said he prefers to retire as a viewer. “I want to see who ends up on the Iron Throne,” Podeswa told THR ahead of the dinner. “I could have very easily found out what happens, but I don’t want to know. I’d rather just be an audience member like anybody else. I’m as much in the dark as anyone else.”

Inside the dinner, Cuba, Podeswa and the rest of the night’s attendees gathered around a small stage as host Eka Darville of Marvel’s Jessica Jones gave a speech about Ledger and the scholarship program’s history before inviting the finalists to approach the front of the crowd. Kim Ledger, the late actor’s father, announced the winner, Charmaine Bingwa, who became the scholarship’s first LGBTQ recipient, as well as its first recipient of color. “I’m very proud to be the first openly gay recipient of the Heath Ledger scholarship,” the actress said during her acceptance speech. “I think if Heath were here, he’d think that was pretty cool as well.”

Also in attendance were Ledger’s sister and mother, as well as judge and Transformers producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Abbie Cornish, Cody Fern and others. Other finalists included Aaron Glenane, Bethany Whitmore, Brenna Harding, Ezekiel Simat, Gemma Bird Matheson, Harvey Kaska Zielinski and Kipan Rothbury.