Newcomer Chase Stokes originally passed on the role, mistakenly thinking it was for a Goonies reboot

By Kara Warner
April 15, 2020 11:17 AM
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If you’re looking for a new show to binge with pretty teens, twists, turns and a treasure hunt, Netflix’s series Outer Banks might be the series for you.

The series, available to stream now, is set in the Outer Banks islands off the coast of North Carolina and centers around a group of four friends who stumble upon a treasure map — and with it, a bunch of troubling town secrets.

Series star Chase Stokes, who plays ringleader John B, a local charmer whose father mysteriously disappeared, tells PEOPLE that the less you know about the show going in, the better.

“If you took The Goonies and the Stranger Things kids, mushed them together, turned them into 16 and 17-year-olds, then added David Attenborough from Planet Earth to narrate with the scenery, mixed in Marty Bird from Ozark, and just had this weird dysfunctional family, that would be Outer Banks,” he teases.

Chase Stokes and Rudy Pankow in Outer Banks
Netflix

Stokes, who previously appeared in Stranger Things and TNT’s Tell Me Your Secrets, booked the lead role after initially passing on it.

“I thought it was a Goonies reboot,” he admits. “The description said ‘Four friends on a treasure hunt,’ and I thought, ‘I don’t want to be a part of ruining The Goonies.'”

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Thanks to the urging of a casting director he’d worked with previously, Stokes decided to read through the pilot and realized he’d made a mistake. Days after sending in his audition tape, he was on a plane to Charleston, South Carolina, to meet with the series’ creators and the rest of the cast.

“Three days later I got the job,” he recalls. He was immediately put to work and sent into training and assorted technical lessons that his new physically demanding role now required, like scuba diving, swim tests and driving boats.

“I grew up on the water, so I knew how to surf and knew how to drive boats,” says Stokes, who was born in Annapolis, Maryland, but spent his formative years living in south Florida. “Learning to scuba dive, that was something I learned in a weekend in order to get the shots done. It was incredible.”

The actor says that the action-packed role was “a dream,” and that filming on location in Charleston felt “like summer camp.”

“It felt like we were cheating the system,” he says. “Like a bunch of friends making a TV show. It was the most mind-boggling, insanely euphoric experience I’ve ever had in my life.”

Stokes and his fellow cast members made the most of being on location by visiting different restaurants, bars and beaches. He and costar Rudy Pankow, who plays John B’s best friend, even lived together during filming.

Chase Stokes in Outer Banks
Netflix

“We really wanted to make that friendship dynamic real, so we got a place, and every weekend everybody would come over,” he says of cast members including Madison Bailey, Madelynn Cline and Jonathan Daviss. “We’d play video games, board games, we’d sing, dance, it was a riot. It really felt like an adult version of a YMCA camp, where you’re having slumber parties. Even now back in L.A., we’re all staying together, quarantining together. There’s this true honesty to the friendship you see onscreen that is equally present offscreen as well.”

Although Stokes is eager for people to start watching the show so he can talk about some of those aforementioned plot twists and turns without spoiling anything, for now he is making the most of his time in quarantine by keeping anxieties at bay.

“I’m hanging in there,” he says. “I’m doing a lot of self-reflection and meditation, so stillness, being present with my own consciousness. I deal with anxiety myself, so this has been a great time to hone in on that anxiety and find out where it’s coming from, what it’s created from and learning how to cope with it and move forward in life.”

He adds: “I think this is a good time for people to use this for self-reflection and be present with themselves.”

Outer Banks is now streaming on Netflix.