Interview: David Harbour

From the interview archives.

You know David Harbour from hit shows like The Newsroom and State of Affairs, but these days you’ll catch him searching for answers about The Upside Down as police chief Jim Hopper in Netflix’s Stranger Things. VULKAN caught up with David to talk about Season 2, set to premiere on October 27th, and his upcoming role as Hellboy due out in 2018.

Let’s talk about Stranger Things. You play the town’s police chief Jim Hopper who we see through the season is pretty self destructive. Is it fair to say the disappearance of Will Byers gave him purpose again?

Indeed. When he takes a full breath upon reviving Will, to me it seems that he’s breathing fully for the first time in the five years since his daughter’s death.

In the beginning he’s quite a cynical guy, but he seems to lose that cynicism as the story progresses. What would you say has been Jim’s biggest personal development so far?

He is cynical.  He remains tough, but does regain the believe that one can overcome obstacles, that there ARE battles to fight again in his life.

Will’s mother Joyce dated Jim in high school. Do you think Jim would’ve been as dedicated to the disappearance if he hadn’t had a relationship with her prior?

The relationship with Joyce actually functions against him finding Will.  At least on a subconscious level.  Their relationship clearly didn’t end well, and in the darkest pieces of his soul, I think Jim is jealous that Joyce had a son with someone else, and that her child is still in the world (unlike his.)  He has to overcome this darkness to find him.

What personality trait would you say you share with Jim?

My pride. (Bad and good.)

It was heartbreaking to learn about the death of his daughter but it really gave great insight to the character. Will Jim ever find peace, or will his daughter’s death haunt him forever?

I don’t think anyone can ever truly get over the death of their child. It doesn’t mean they can’t go on, but it remains.

Towards the end season 1 we see that Jim is being followed by agents who must know he is hot on their trail. Should we be worried for Jim’s safety as we enter season 2?

Always worry about Jim.  He’s kinda rash and impulsive.

What to you is the most frightening part of the Stranger Things universe? Is it the demogorgon? The agents? The still unknown?

The vast unknown entity of the Upside Down. What the hell is it really?

You’re also set to star in the new Hellboy reboot. What attracted you to the role and how have you been preparing for that?

Love Hellboy.  Who doesn’t love Hellboy?  Most of all, I just wanted to play a character with a tail.

I caught your instagram post about being fitted for the “Right Hand of Doom”. Just curious a bit about that process. How long does something like that take and how frustrating is it to presumably sit in one position for so long while it’s being molded? How do you pass the time?

Too long. I think about swapping lives with Vulkan magazine interviewers, sipping coffee on my couch, skimming my laptop cackling about Harbour’s hours of misery in that makeup chair. 😜

Favourite part about San Diego Comic-Con? Do you think you’ll return again next year?

I’m sure I’ll return.  I’m a nerd, so the nerdier, geekier, more obscure corners of comic con were what I loved most.

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