“It truly was the best pilot script I’ve ever read,” remembers “Stranger Things” star David Harbour, who plays Police Chief Jim Hopper on the hit Netflix series, on being cast. In our recent webchat (watch above), he adds, “It was not as involved as you’d think for a role this amazing. They really wanted me and they really believed in me. I think that’s a testament to their creative vision and that they were willing to take such risks because even a guy like me who hasn’t really had any leading roles in TV and film. The fact that they were willing to take a chance on me early was really remarkable. I’m very grateful for it.”
“Stranger Things” centers around the disappearance of 12-year-old Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) and the eerie and terrifying forces his friends, mother and the small town’s police chief must battle in order to get him back. Harbour admits that the heavy emotional story of his character who battles a drug addiction, the memory of his young daughter’s death, and various other demons of his own was hard to shake after the camera’s stopped rolling: “I sort of got lost a little bit. I was kind of depressed the first season because there’s a lot of darkness there. He just kind of infected my subconscious, and it’s totally worth it because it’s such an honor for me to be able to act and to be able to create something beautiful that resonates with people where I’m willing to give up five months of my life a year so that you as an audience member can have an experience of a character that is rich and unique.”
It’s this emotional impact that is winning Harbour some of the best reviews of his career and putting him square in the middle of major Golden Globe buzz. Of those prospects, he says, “I never thought that I would be one to win awards or even be nominated. I’ve sort of worked for a long time at a certain level and it’s been great but now to be thrust into this new thing it feels a little silly, I mean I’m really grateful but it’s like ‘wow’. I just can’t really process it.”
While Harbour waits to see if he and his cast are in fact nominated for Globes and/or SAG Awards, “Stranger Things” fans are eagerly awaiting season two of the phenom. Harbour tells us it will not be disappointing: “Before we got the first scripts I was nervous, but then I read the first five minutes of season two and it’s such an opener of the world that it just blew me away. I literally was reading the script and I went like ‘YES!’ as soon as it ended.”
To find out what working with Winona Ryder, Millie Bobby Brown, and all the others kids was like, how Harbour dealt with the nerves of taking a lead role, and how Hopper’s catchphrase is making its mark with fans, watch the rest of our fun Gold Derby chat above.
Make your Golden Globes TV Awards picks now and tell industry insiders which shows and performers you have out front to win on January 8. You can keep changing them until just before nominations are announced on December 12 at 5 am PT/8 am ET. But it is important to register your initial predictions now to let Hollywood know who has the inside track for these kudos. Be sure to make your predictions right here. You’ll compete for a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s nominees). Read our contest rules.