The highly anticipated second season of Stranger Things premiered today and with it, comes the excitement and theorizing of its huge fan base. One of the show’s lead actors, Gaten Marazzo, is using the heat of this excitement to raise awareness for his rare genetic disorder.
Gaten plays the loveable goofball Dustin who audiences have completely fallen in love with for his nerdy fortitude during times of danger. The sci-fi horror series pits the character against monsters from “the upside down,” a parallel universe that raises Hell on the small town of Hawkins.
Gaten was completely candid about his rare genetic condition, cleidocranial dysostosis, on The Jonathan Ross Show. It’s a congenital disorder that affects the bones, teeth and collarbones which are usually poorly developed. Other symptoms may include a prominent forehead, wide set eyes, abnormal teeth, and a flat nose. It’s also very genetic.
Gaten spoke on the show about his missing teeth and how the visible ones are fake. The disorder results in Gaten’s lisp which is something that the showrunners, The Duffer Brothers, decided to embrace head on and write into the show. Dustin’s lisp and condition is mentioned in the show and deeply humanizes the character.
“I feel like putting it into the show has really raised awareness for it,” he said during The Jonathan Ross Show interview. “I just wanna let people know it’s not something that they should be afraid of showing.”
Matarazzo spilled the beans during another interview with BBC Radio 5 and discussed his journey navigating through Hollywood and how it only took him two years to get his first role. He attributes most of his rejections to his disability, which is why he is so grateful to the Duffer Brothers for recognizing his acting potential.