The Untold Truth Of Finn Wolfhard

This article contains references to mental health issues.

Along with the rest of his "Stranger Things" co-stars, it's felt like Finn Wolfhard has been everywhere since the hit show started in 2016. It is not surprising that interest for them has peaked given the show's massive popularity. However, it's not just viewers who are fans of the star. Time and again, Hollywood has recognized his talents, and he has been featured on just about every list for young entertainment industry hotshots going. Those honors have included Forbes' "30 Under 30" in 2020, The Hollywood Reporter's "Hollywood's Top 30 Stars Under 18" in 2018, and Variety's "Young Hollywood Impact Report" in 2017, 2018, and 2019. He has even been the face of the major fashion label, Saint Laurent.

With multiple high-profile gigs like "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," "The Goldfinch," "It," and Guillermo del Toro's "Pinocchio," the actor's career is undoubtedly on fire. If that's not enough, he's also a musician to boot. Then there's that giant show of his. In 2022, "Stranger Things" creators Matt and Ross Duffer confirmed in a letter to fans (via The Wrap) that the show would come to an end in season 5. 

In the years since joining the "Stranger Things" cast, we have seen Wolfhard mature and evolve right before our eyes. The young actor seems to be an old soul, having lived and learned more in his short life than many adults twice his age. This is his untold truth. 

He got his start in music videos

Finn Wolfhard grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, where there is a sizeable entertainment industry due to how many productions film there. He knew he wanted to act at a very early age, but his earliest gigs were not especially prestigious. In fact, according to various interviews he has done, he got his very first job from a posting he saw on Craigslist. "There weren't a lot of options for open casting calls other than for student films," he told August Man, a Singapore-based magazine. "So, we basically did a Google search and found this casting call for my age and gender, and the first thing that popped up was a Craigslist ad for a music video and it has worked out for the best!"

Wolfhard told Ryan Reynolds, with whom he had a conversation for Interview magazine, that once he was on set for the music video, he was hooked. The actor was nine years old when he starred in the 2012 music video for "Retro Oceans" by the indie band, Facts. The following year he starred in his second music video, depicting a zombie paperboy in the visual for "Change" by Hey Ocean. The budding star continued to appear in music videos, short films, and small guest spots until his breakout role on "Stranger Things" began in 2016.

He almost didn't audition for Stranger Things

Having made several appearances in small productions and music videos, Finn Wolfhard fell more in love with the filmmaking process than with acting, and was turning his focus to directing. So much so that when he was first given the chance to audition for "Stranger Things," he was not sure he wanted to do it. "[I was] sick in bed and almost considering not even acting," he told The Guardian

Like the other child actors who auditioned for "Stranger Things," Wolfhard ended up sending in a video audition. The directors, Matt and Ross Duffer (a.k.a. "The Duffer Brothers"), liked his work so much that they set up a Skype chat with him to discuss the nostalgic sci-fi show. "They just kind of pitched me the show — I was, like, 12 — and we talked about all the movies it was based on," he told The Guardian. When they were filming the first season, he never expected the show to be more than a cult hit.

In 2017, the Netflix behind-the-scenes series, "Beyond Stranger Things," had Wolfhard and his young co-stars watch back their original audition tapes, and it was evident how much they had all grown. Even since then, Wolfhard has earned a level of fame that likely would not have been possible had he skipped his audition to lay in bed and eat soup. 

Finn Wolfhard has struggled with anxiety

Like so many Americans, Finn Wolfhard has struggled with anxiety. But unlike most of us, he has had to do so while navigating the public eye, with the added pressures and pitfalls of young fame. He has discussed mental health and fame in numerous interviews and seems to have a strong sense of self for someone so young. "The anxiety never goes away, but it's something that becomes way easier to deal with," he told The Washington Post in 2021. "You need a little bit of anxiety to get out of bed in the morning." He added that a combination of transcendental meditation and medication has helped him to keep his anxiety in check. 

In an interview with The Guardian, he also referenced therapy as a tool that he uses, crediting his therapist as helping him to be comfortable with inactivity and silence — particularly during the height of COVID-19 lockdown. "I've had to learn how to be bored," he said. It makes sense that an actor so aware and invested in his mental well-being also avoids some potentially anxiety-inducing coping mechanisms. The outlet reported that Wolfhard avoids vices such as tobacco, drugs, and alcohol, and instead has a voracious appetite for junk food. All of which is hopefully just one more sign that he is avoiding the stereotypical child actor downfall.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

He is in a band (and it is not his first one)

It seems only natural that Finn Wolfhard got his start by acting in music videos since he himself is a musician. Along with his pal and collaborator Malcolm Craig, the star is one-half of the indie-pop outfit, The Aubreys. With tracks such as "Smoke Bomb," and "Sand in My Bed," the duo put out the EP, "Soda and Pie," in March 2020. A full-length album called "Karaoke Alone" followed in November 2021, per NME. They even had a song, "Getting Better," featured on the soundtrack for Wolfhard's film, "The Turning." As the track's producer, Lawrence Rothman, told Rolling Stone, the song was recorded in one day specifically for the film.

The Aubreys is not Wolfhard's first go at music, as he was previously a part of the band Calpurnia. According to NME, Calpurnia released only one EP ("Scout," in 2018) before Wolfhard left the group. "I was also just kind of tired," he told NME.  "I didn't want music to become something I resented." The fact that The Aubreys is only two people no doubt eases things, as do the additional years of maturity. "We had a lot of different obligations that I couldn't really do," Wolfhard told The Hollywood Reporter a couple of years after Calpurnia's breakup. "So, I just called it quits on that and started this new thing where we can make music and not have people breathe down our necks about it."

Finn Wolfhard is a successful voice actor

Pretty much anyone with a Netflix subscription — heck, anyone with social media — knows that Finn Wolfhard is a main character on "Stranger Things," a hot-topic show with plenty of buzz. Many also know that he has appeared in blockbuster films like both chapters of Andy Muschietti's "It" and "Ghostbusters: Afterlife." However, fewer people are aware of his voiceover work, despite it becoming a big deal for the young star throughout his career. 

In 2019, he provided the voice for Pugsley Addams in the animated "The Addams Family." According to The Hollywood Reporter, the cast –- which included stars like Oscar Isaac, Charlize Theron, and Snoop Dogg — did all of their work separately without ever meeting. That same year, Wolfhard began voicing a character named Player for Netflix's animated "Carmen Sandiego" television series. And he happily did so for all of its 32 episodes, telling Collider, "I love doing both animation and live acting. I'm super proud to voice Player and would love to do more animation down the road." 

It seems that he has gotten his wish. As of July 2022, the actor had three voice acting roles that he'd just wrapped on or was filming. That included Guillermo del Toro's "Pinocchio," A24's animated fantasy flick, "The Legend of Ochi," and the TV series "New-Gen" alongside punk icon, Henry Rollins. 

He advocates for issues he cares about

Finn Wolfhard may be young, but that has not stopped him from speaking up in support of the causes he cares about. That has included advocating for the rights of Indigenous people, for which the actor has not only been vocal but has also raised funds, according to Coup de Main magazine. Wolfhard told the magazine that he was brought up to understand the challenges faced by aboriginal communities across the globe. "My dad was a lawyer and is now an Indigenous rights researcher, so there is talk and historical awareness of Indigenous issues in our house all the time," he explained. "If I can help make people aware of these communities that are ignored or discriminated against, then maybe together we can all learn from each other."

Wolfhard also likes to raise awareness and understanding of autism, a condition dear to him and those around him. "I grew up with many on the spectrum and it became a thing near to my heart," he told August Man in an interview. "Many foundations are almost anti-autism, like it's something to be cured but I think autism needs to be embraced and there should be more money in it, not to prevent it but to research what a great thing it is." Clearly, health issues are a hot topic for him. In 2017, the actor even hosted a benefit show to raise funds for Sweet Relief, an organization for musicians in need of financial help for medical care. 

Finn Wolfhard has always dreamed of being a director

Though the world knows him primarily as an actor and a musician, Finn Wolfhard has always had his eye set on directing movies. In fact, he once told The Hollywood Reporter that it was the main reason he started acting, just so he could get onto sets and observe the process. Speaking to fellow Vancouver-raised actor Ryan Reynolds for Interview magazine, he divulged that he discovered his career path after watching a lot of movies as a kid. "I have been weirdly disciplined since I was seven or eight years old," he said. "... I found out about NYU Tisch School of the Arts and the film school there, and I was like, 'Okay, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to go there after high school.'"

Wolfhard seemingly abandoned the college idea when he realized how much education he was getting in the industry already, but that has not slowed down his progress. In 2017, he co-directed a music video for Spendtime Palace's "Sonora," and in 2020, he wrote and directed a short film, entitled "Night Shifts." Two years later, Deadline reported that Wolfhard was to make his directorial debut with "Hell of a Summer," alongside Billy Byrk, with whom he wrote the script. The collaborators were also slated to star in the movie together. In 2021, he loosely described the project to NME, saying, "It's a horror-comedy-slasher movie that takes place at a camp."

He loves watching old movies

Given that he is a lover of film with aspirations of becoming a bigshot director, it is unsurprising that Finn Wolfhard makes a habit out of watching movies. In particular, he seems focused on viewing and studying movies that are "older" –- at least relative to him, having been born in 2002. In one interview with That Shelf, he discussed how he had already seen all of the 1980s movies that The Duffer Brothers wanted him to watch for his role in "Stranger Things," including his favorites "The Goonies," "E.T.," and "Close Encounters of The Third Kind."

It would appear that Wolfhard loves a good old-fashioned film session based on a theme. In 2020, he told The Hollywood Reporter that he'd spent his winter holidays back in Vancouver watching Oscar films he had not yet seen, such as "Parasite." However, he'd also caught up on some classics from one director's back catalog. "For my birthday and Christmas, my dad bought me 'John Cassavetes: Five Films' on The Criterion Collection. So, I watched a bunch of those, and they blew my mind as well," he said. Speaking with Joe Keery for Interview, he discussed having a "Pacino-athon" that included films such as "The Godfather," "Serpico," and "Dog Day Afternoon," all of which came out in the '70s. 

Comedy is his favorite genre

Being at the forefront of a number of successful spooky projects, Finn Wolfhard has become known for his work in horror and suspense media. Despite that, he is actually a huge fan of comedy, which he told Interview was his favorite of all genres. "Everyone always asks me, 'So what makes you want to do horror?' And I'm like, 'I don't know. It's kind of been all a coincidence,'" he told Vulture back in 2020. "... There's always that thing of being typecast, but I think people are starting to notice that I'm not just, like, into horror and stuff. I can be versatile." He likes comedy so much that he even took improv classes at one point, according to The Guardian.

The actor has arguably allowed his comedy chops to be seen with his performances in "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," "Stranger Things," and even "It" showing off his prowess for comic timing, as has some of his voiceover work. However, as of 2022, Wolfhard has yet to do a straight-up comedy vehicle. As he told Vulture, he's particularly interested in stories revolving around awkward characters and scenarios such as "Booksmart" and "Superbad." "There's something so amazing, so great about showing a teenage life that's so naïve," he explained. "... I love ensemble teen comedies where the whole cast is in for the ride, and if one person falls the entire cast falls. Everyone needs to be equally as good and kind of leaning on each other."

He was already a huge Ghostbusters fan

Given his love of movies from before he was born, it will shock no one that Finn Wolfhard watched Ivan Reitman's original "Ghostbusters" as a very young child. "I was a giant fan immediately," he told Ryan Reynolds for Interview magazine. The actor obviously had no idea then that he would go on to star in the 2021 reboot movie "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," which was directed by Reitman's Oscar-nominated son Jason. According to Box Office Mojo, "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" brought in just under $200 million in the worldwide box office, a fantastic feat given its release was in November 2021, when COVID-19 was still keeping many people away from theatres.

Interestingly, Wolfhard admitted in an interview with The A.V. Club that he did not know he was auditioning for a "Ghostbusters" movie when he read for the part, stating, "I knew that it was a big movie." He must have been incredibly stoked upon finding out, not just because of the scale of the film but also because of the novelty of being in such an iconic franchise — his character on "Stranger Things" even dressed up as Bill Murray's character, Dr. Peter Venkman for Halloween. By all accounts, "Ghostbusters" means a lot to him. "It was huge for me when I was much younger than I am now," he told Sharp magazine. "It was an important movie to my family."

His divisive accent for The Goldfinch was challenging

"The Goldfinch" was a high-profile film adaptation, based upon Donna Tartt's bestselling novel, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2014. Finn Wolfhard played a key role as the young version of the character Boris, the Eastern European friend of the main character, Theodore Decker. According to Box Office Mojo, the film grossed only $9.9 million worldwide, despite a budget of $45 million. Sadly, it also fared pretty terribly with critics as well, earning a dismal 25% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes

In an interview with Film Ink, Wolfhard and Anerurin Barnard, who played the older version of Boris, explained that the well-traveled character also had a mixed heritage of Russian and Ukrainian, which resulted in a unique accent. Regardless, it drew Wolfhard some detractors for his vocal performance. "I definitely did not have a near-perfect accent but when I got the role, I trained really hard for it," he told August Man. "A dialect coach named Kristina Nazarevskaia walked me through everything including the Russian alphabet and the sounds it made." 

Because he was playing the same character as another actor, he also had to pattern his performance off of what his counterpart was doing. "Aneurin ... was shooting first so I almost had to work off of him," he told the Los Angeles Times. "Our director John Crowley got soundbites from him and saved them so I could listen to them and [hear] how he spoke and what his mannerisms were."

Finn Wolfhard isn't a fan of social media

Though he is only 19 and knows no life before the Internet, Finn Wolfhard is not really on the social media bandwagon. He has very little interest in accumulating followers, or of living his life out loud in the public sphere. "I appreciate it, but I'm not in it for that. Most kids and teenagers are constantly messing up and doing crazy things, but they're not in the spotlight and they're just kind of testing the boundaries," he said in a conversation with Ryan Reynolds for Interview. "When you're in the spotlight as a kid, you can't do that. You can't make a mistake, or else it's public and your career will be over."

In another Interview conversation, this one with "Stranger Things" co-star Joe Keery, Wolfhard again confirmed his mixed feelings about social media. "We both have these huge numbers because we're on a TV show, so it can be really fun, but it's also very volatile. I just don't think it's a thing that should be taken seriously," he said. 

One look at Wolfhard's accounts and it becomes clear that he is being honest. As of 2022, he had over 144,000 Twitter followers but had not Tweeted since November 2021, having joined just five months earlier. And though he'd amassed 25 million people on Instagram by the same timeframe, his main grid appeared to have very little action on there compared to those of his similarly aged peers.

He has had to deal with some scary fans

Like any popular actor, Finn Wolfhard has had some crazy fan experiences. Sudden fame would be hard for any adult to handle, let alone a child who has barely reached his teens. Couple that with a lack of boundaries practiced by some fans and it can lead to some frightening encounters. The actor has been open about how some of these have taken a toll on him, telling Teen Vogue when he was 14, "I realized, it's cool if it's a 13-year-old ... But when it's grown men in a line, spending their day screaming at children ... that's really scary for me."

While promoting "The Turning," the actor was asked by Los Angeles Magazine about what the scariest moment in his life had been. After thinking about it, he noted that it had to do with fame and fandom. Wolfhard recalled an experience he had when filming "It" in Toronto, Ontario, in which a couple appeared to be chasing him back to his apartment. "I was thinking the whole time, 'These people are following me. That's not right.' And finally I got to my door, and they were like, 'Can we have a picture with you?'," he told the magazine. "And I remember being like, 'No! You just followed me back to my home! You know where I live!'" Overzealous fans aside, Wolfhard has managed to keep a level head amidst his staggering early fame.

Does Finn Wolfhard have a girlfriend?

Seeing as how he is rather uninvolved in the Hollywood lifestyle, we do not know too much about what Finn Wolfhard gets up to in his spare time. He is not the kind of young actor you often see photographed at Nobu or giving an impromptu response to the news on TMZ. Even his Instagram gives very little clues about his personal life. Rarely does he feature others on his grid and, when he does, it tends to be with collaborators like his "The Aubreys" bandmate Malcolm Craig.

As he told The Washington Post, some fans feel alarmingly entitled to details of his personal life. So much so that in 2021, a fan on social media reportedly threatened to publish the address of Wolfhard's girlfriend, Elsie Richter, unless he confirmed that the two were in a relationship together. The star relented by posting a since-deleted picture of himself with his girlfriend on Instagram.  

Richter is also an actor, though she has only two minor credits, per her IMDb. While fan sites appear to keep track of their public appearances together, like when they're spotted going to basketball games together or hanging out at Rockafeller Plaza, they also keep track of when they aren't seen together. Per J-14, by Summer 2022, fans began to speculate that the couple may have broken up due to the lack of public appearances. Given how deeply Wolfhard values his privacy, it may be hard to know, either way.

He is a multi-millionaire

There are a lot of downsides to being a working child actor. For starters, there are the long hours, not being able to hang out with friends, and dealing with a large amount of responsibility at a young age. But with these drawbacks come immense benefits such as the ability to start earning big money at a very young age. At 19, Finn Wolfhard was already a multi-millionaire and had been for a couple of years. According to Celebrity Net Worth, the actor was estimated to have $4 million to his name, as of 2022.

While exact figures on his income are unknown, it's safe to say that he's likely been generating the majority of that money from his acting career. That's hardly a surprise given his huge profile and the massive budgets of the movies he's starred in. Still, it seems likely that the bulk of his income stems from his "Stranger Things" role. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wolfhard and his fellow child actors were making something in the region of $20,000 per episode for Season 1 and Season 2 of the show. Once the show took off, he and the rest of the young cast enjoyed a reported $60,000 bonus and a significant pay rise, with Wolfhard thought to be pocketing $250,000 per episode by Season 3. As of 2022, it was unknown if he enjoyed yet another pay rise for Season 4 and Season 5 of the show. Either way, his bank account is likely sitting pretty.