Stranger Things' Brett Gelman Talks The Big Scene Where He Kept Thinking About Leonardo DiCaprio While Filming

Murray Bauman using flamethrower in Stranger Things Season 4 finale
(Image credit: Netflix)

Creatures from The Upside Down are notoriously hard to kill, but there is one surefire way to deal with these Stranger Things monstrosities: use… well, fire! So it was fortunate that in the Stranger Things Season 4 finale, not only were Steve Harrington and Robin Buckley properly armed with Molotov cocktails to weaken Vecna, but Murray Bauman had a flamethrower to lay waste to nearly all the Demogorgons running rampant in that Russian prison. For that latter moment, actor Brett Gelman couldn’t help thinking about a specific Leonardo DiCaprio role while shooting Murray’s fiery time to shine in the hit Netflix show.

Anyone who’s seen Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will remember that Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton wielded a flamethrower twice in the movie: first while shooting in The 14 Fists of McClusky and later to set ablaze one of the Manson Family members. So when the time came for Brett Gelman to use a flamethrower on Stranger Things, his mind went to Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 movie, as he explained while speaking with THR about what it was like using this weapon:

It was really safe, actually! (Laughs.) A lot of the flame was done in post-production to keep me safe. It was heavy, but not that heavy. The thing I was the most worried about was losing my voice! There are a lot of different takes of me standing there and screaming. In the script, it just said ‘Murray picks up the flamethrower and fires,’ but Matt and Ross decided they wanted him to say something before. So, we went through some lines and jokes, and then finally, I don’t remember whose idea it was, but we decided on simply, ‘Hey, assholes!’ (Laughs.) And I really did keep thinking about DiCaprio while that was happening because I love that movie too.

For Netflix subscribers who already need a refresher on the Stranger Things Season 4 finale, although Murray, Hopper and Joyce were ready to return to the United States, upon learning that the youths over in Hawkins, Indiana were locked in combat with Upside Down invaders yet again, they decided to head back and wipe out the Demogorgons at the Russian prison. After all, with Vecna and The Mind Flayer sharing a hive mind with the Upside Down’s other denizens, any of them killed would instantly hurt those two powerhouses. Well, nothing takes better care of wiping out some Demogorgons within seconds than a flamethrower, which Yuri Ismaylov happened to have on hand and Murray used after Hopper lured these beasts into the prison’s kill zone.

Given Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s popularity, no doubt Brett Gelman won’t be the last actor to think of Rick Dalton when using a flamethrower for a movie or TV show, although as Gelman noted, most of the flame seen in that Stranger Things scene was added during the post-production process. Still, as far as Murray is concerned, I hope he had the foresight to bring that flamethrower with him back to the United States. Now that those Upside Down gates are wide open in Hawkins, it won’t be long before the town is bombarded by Demogorgons, Demobats and Vecna/The Mind Flayer’s other minions. Someone hook the Hawkins police officers and U.S. troops with flamethrowers asap!

Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more Stranger Things coverage, including what we can expect from the fifth and final season. You can also look through our 2022 Netflix TV schedule to see what other original programming the streaming platform will deliver later in the year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.