The Many Faces of Stranger Things’ Jonathan Byers

by Melanie LaForce

So, by now you’re also obsessed with the Netflix Original Series Stranger Things. Stranger Things is wildly popular with Gen X & Y due to its heavy dose of ’80s movie nostalgia. It’s Goonies, ET, Stand by Me, and IT all wrapped into one glorious eight-episode series. 

A key element of joy in Stranger Things is the delightful awkwardness of its child actors. Nancy is adorably delicate. Dustin boasts endearing cleidocranial dysplasia. Props to the Duffer bros for hiring non-supermodel-y, real kids. (However, although set in suburban Indiana, the racial diversity is significantly lacking.)

And then there’s Jonathan Byers, played by British actor Charlie Heaton. (I creepily tried to Facebook friend him, only to be denied. Thanks, Charlie.) Charlie has spurred a million “WHO DOES HE LOOK LIKE?” posts from the ’80s kid contingent. It’s not simple. He looks like many of our childhood heartthrobs all rolled into one. Here are all the actors that the internets think Charlie Heaton looks like:

1. An exact combination of Leo & Johnny in 1993’s iconic What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? He has Leo’s almond eyes, but Johnny’s smoldering broodiness and long messy locks.

whats eating gilbert grape DI 01What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

2. River Phoenix. Again, it’s in the eyes here. Also likely is Phoenix’s stalwart position as an ’80s icon.

my own private idaho 1991 720p largescreenshot3My Own Private Idaho

3. Edward Furlong. Who knew there were so many actors with delightfully squinty eyes and constant emo?

John Connor Edward Furlong Terminator LRZIMA20130320 0112 4 copyTerminator 2

4. Bill Hader — a dark horse in the running, but Hader’s angular features do flicker in Jonathan Byer’s lighter moments.

Stefon300 copySNL

5. A young Benicio del Toro, or as my friend Molly put it, Benicio’s ugly cousin. (It’s true that Heaton is winning the ugly-sexy game.)

snatch movie picture 25 copySnatch

6. “A really tired Jimmy Fallon,” suggests another friend. Again, we’re seeing a strong dose of eyes and eyebrows in this likeness.

a79cb0be77bef5f5c754fedb5dce59db copySNL

7. Finally, Heaton also bears some resemblance to Allentown, PA darling Dane Dehaan (best known for HBO’s In Treatment and The Place Beyond the Pines).

c0dd871913e11467f11981fb0384de50 copyKill Your Darlings

Top photo: Stranger Things

More from BUST

‘Stranger Things’ Has Been Renewed For Season 2!!!!!!!!!

I Just Binge-Watched ‘Stranger Things’ And So Should You

We Can’t Get This Song About Barb From ‘Stranger Things’ Out Of Our Heads

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.