Between Amazon’s Reagan-era comedy series “Red Oaks” and Netflix’s retro-style hit “Stranger Things,” Paul Reiser has cornered the market on ’80s characters. Reiser’s upcoming time on “Stranger Things 2” as new laboratory head Dr. Owens takes Reiser back not only to the ’80s aesthetic, but to his actual 1986 role in “Aliens.” As revealed in Entertainment Weekly, “Stranger Things” creators Ross and Matt Duffer pitched their second season with Reiser’s character literally described as “Paul Reiser.” The reason: Dr. Owens is a direct homage to Reiser’s “Aliens” character Burke.
“We want people to have those debates like, ‘Do you trust that guy or is he Burke?'” said Ross, referencing Reiser’s “Aliens” character. “Paul was saying the reason James Cameron cast him is because he thought people would inherently trust him and it would be a twist.” Reiser told EW the Duffer Brothers’ homage “tickled” him. “Nothing has made me happier,” he said.
Reiser also said that even though he knows some of what’s happening next season, he hasn’t been privy to the entire plan. “To be honest, I’ve only read a few of the scripts so I still don’t know and I’m not sure they [the Duffer Brothers] know,” he said. “I think part of what they were tickled by was, to whatever extent people know me from ‘Aliens,’ they’re automatically going, ‘Oh this guy is no good.’ I don’t know where they’re going with it but it’s a fun thing to play.'”
What he does know is that Dr. Owens is no Dr. Brenner, the previous head of the mysterious laboratory.
“There’s a little more humanity,” he said, calling his character “more hands-on and…has a bedside manner that [Matthew] Modine’s character did not have.”
“Stranger Things 2” is currently in production and stars Winona Rider, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Cara Buono, Joe Keery, and Noah Schnapp. “Stranger Things” season one took place in 1983 Hawkins, Indiana where a boy goes missing and reveals the mystery behind a laboratory on the outskirts of town.