“[Joseph] is great. I think in the past few years — actually always — anyone who my [fictional] characters have a flirtation with or anything like that, the actors are always so kind,” Van Dien, 26, exclusively told Us Weekly during a joint interview with What Comes Around director Amy Redford, ahead of the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike. “Kyle, Joe, everyone, they’re all so kind and so giving and I think that just makes the scenes easier to be in. There’s no forced chemistry. All these people are so lovely and it’s the easiest part of my job is acting opposite of people who are kind.”
Van Dien became a household name after her performance as Chrissy in season 4 of Stranger Things. During the hit Netflix series, which aired the newest season in July 2022, Chrissy was introduced as a cheerleader at Hawkins High School who became one of Vecna’s (Jamie Campbell Bower) victims.
It was Chrissy’s brief connection with Eddie (Quinn), however, that has stood the test of time with an active fanbase, still hope to see the couple resurrected in some way on screen. Van Dien, for her part, is open to a possible return to Hawkins, Indiana.
“Of course I would go back,” Van Dien teased in response to a question about reprising her breakout role.
The actress reflected on the love viewers have for Chrissy and Eddie — and how it relates to her other projects.
“What makes people fall in love with a character with such short screen time [such as Chrissy] is the same thing as with Anna in What Comes Around. Like, these are these outcast characters that are finding someone that gives them the attention that they think they need,” she explained. “And I think people relate to that. They relate to not feeling understood or seen by the people in their life and just looking for that one person that does see them.”
What Comes Around, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2022, focuses on the tumultuous mother-daughter relationship between Beth (Summer Phoenix) and her daughter, Anna. After the high school student starts talking to an older man named Eric (Gallner) online, Beth must come to terms with her own past to help her child.
Van Dien complimented scene partner Gallner, 36, for how he helped bring the complicated relationship between Anna and Eric to life.
“Kyle is an angel. I am constantly looking for the next thing he is in. Like, I tried to watch Smile recently because I saw he is in that, but I got like five minutes in and then I got too scared,” she joked. “But Kyle is the kindest person. He is always making sure that everything is OK and our communication is on par. I don’t understand how we found everyone [in the cast].”
Redford, 52, who directed the film based on writer Scott Organ‘s screenplay, also praised Gallner for the positive environment he created on set amid the heavy subject matter.
“He’s really dedicated to the work and I think what everybody shared was the desire to bring as much compassion to their characters as they possibly could. In doing so, you do a deep dive. You start doing your own internal research [and] you carry things in your pocket that nobody sees,” she shared with Us. “So he’s just that actor and his awareness about the people around him is what makes him such a great listener on screen — which is hugely captivating.”
Redford continued: “He and Grace both shared that. Many times, I just have to get out of the way. But it was [also about] seeing him bring things to the table that I don’t think he’d necessarily be allowed to bring before — which is for a director the most exciting thing that can happen.”
What Comes Around opens in select theaters and is available on VOD Friday, August 4.