‘Stranger Things’: Laura Niemi Spills Mrs. Gracey ‘Has a Soft Spot for Eleven’ [Exclusive]

Laura Niemi‘s career continues to roll like a bullet train. For over 20 years, she has created unforgettable characters on the big and small-screen. She’s made a pivotal crossover to become a multigenerational actor. Younger fans know her from her work on season 4 of Netflix’s Stranger Things, where she plays Mrs. Gracey while their parents know her as Marilyn Pearson on This Is Us. In an exclusive interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Niemi hopes her character remains a vital part of the Hawkins community and Eleven’s life as the series progresses.

'Stranger Things' season 4 stars aura Niemi and Millie Bobby Brown in side by side images.
Laura Niemi and Millie Bobby Brown | Jesse Grant/Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Niemi appeared on ‘Stranger Things’ in ‘Chapter One: The Hellfire Club’

The first episode of the series’ fourth season saw the Byers family trying to settle into the town of Lenora Hills, California. Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), who now goes by the name Jane Hopper, tries to fit into the community. Eleven attends the local high school along with Will (Noah Schnapp). His brother Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) has his own struggles as he waits to hear from Emerson College, where Nancy (Natalia Dyer) has been accepted. Meanwhile, Jonathan and Will’s mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), has a new job working from home selling encyclopedias.

El tries to put on a brave face to Mike (Finn Wolfhard), who remains in Hawkins with the rest of their friends, writing him letters, telling him how well she’s doing. However, that’s not the case. El’s targeted by bully Angela (Elodie Grace Orkin), a popular mean girl at her school, reported Collider.

Angela’s bullying comes to a head after El creates a diorama of a “hero,” her father, Hopper (David Harbour), and creates a replica of their cabin. Angela makes El feel as if she didn’t understand the assignment during class causing their classmates to laugh. Outside, she knocks the diorama to the ground, crushing it.

Mrs. Gracey (Laura Niemi), El’s teacher, realizes that she hasn’t understood the assignment but allows her to present anyway. She later helps El after Angela trips the young woman in the school courtyard, causing her project to fall to the ground and break into pieces.

Laura Niemi believes Mrs. Gracey has a ‘soft spot’ for El

Millie Bobby Brown and Laura Niemi on the set of season 4 of Netflix's 'Stranger Things.'
Millie Bobby Brown and Laura Niemi | Netflix

In an exclusive interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Niemi shared she’s hopeful her character, Mrs. Gracey, remains a part of the wildly popular Netflix series cast.

Neimi explained she believes Mrs. Gracey is “an advocate for El.”

“She’s a loving school teacher. I would love to see her be a support system for Eleven moving forward,” the actor continued of her character. “Yes, Mrs. Gracey’s stern and authoritative, but it seems on the other side, she’s not.”

Niemi cited Mrs. Gracey coming to El’s defense after Angela broke the diorama depicting El’s hero, Hopper.

“I think she has a soft spot for Eleven. So it’ll be interesting to see if and what happens to the character moving forward. I would love to come back,” she concluded.

Laura Niemi calls the work ethic of the ‘Stranger Things’ cast ‘insane’

Laura Niemi explained that Mrs. Gracie’s scenes in Stranger Things‘ “The Hellfire Club” had a “lot of moving parts.”

“There were a lot of crazy things that happened during the filming. First, we were in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and there were these lightning storms. So production had to keep shutting down and wait it out until the thunderstorms would pass by. It was a lot of stopping and starting,” Niemi shared.

The cast taped scenes for season 4 just before schools in New Mexico reopened after the coronavirus pandemic.

“They had just opened up the schools again. And so we had to be out of there by Sunday night because the next day, the school was going to open up for the first time in a year and a half,” she said.

“There were many moving parts in this particular episode, right with all the extras playing students. It was by no means an easy feat. The cast is insane, very hard workers for such young people. They were working hard, long days, you know? I was just amazed at their ability to sustain that intensity for such long periods,” Niemi concluded of her Stranger Things experience.

Stranger Things season 4 is currently available to stream on Netflix.

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