David Harbour had a blast channelling rage and punching people in Season 1 of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” His character, Jim Hopper, is cynical and full of pain, so it’s understandable why.
“Just every single punch I punched, it was fantastic,” Harbour told TheWrap. “It was so liberating… that’s when he goes on the journey, he really gets to like haul off and fuel that brokenness and that loneliness and that rage into very unsophisticated ways of reasoning with people, which ultimately ends in him like generally punching people in the face when he’s at a loss for words.
“I’ve never really gotten to be that swash-buckling, and because it’s a genre piece, it’s ground and it’s real, but it’s also got that swash-buckling Indiana Jones feel to it. So that’s just really fun, because you know, in normal life, you don’t really get to punch people in the face.”
However, playing such a haunted character was also extremely difficult for the 42-year-old actor.
“It was really struggling with those feelings like loneliness and sort of being an outcast. And feeling like you failed in life and really coming up daily with those feeling. And then the fuel that gave me to struggle against it, to try to redeem myself and to try to breathe again in a way but really living with those feelings of failure, and sort of the horrible breaks that happen in your life… really continuing to live in that space was intense and straining,” he added.
The show, which also stars Winona Ryder, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard and Natalie Dyer, is set to return this Halloween for its second season. So what’s in store for Detective Jim Hopper?
“At the end of Season 1, you have him breathe almost for the first time, like he’s woken up and he’s sort of achieved this thing,” he explained. “He’s become a hero. And so my interest is now in what happens to people when they get what they want. Or what they say they want and if that’s really intrinsic to the human being. And being a hero, what are the dangers in that? What are the inherent traps in like believing yourself to be heroic in some fashion. And what kind of fantasy life does that develop and how is that bad for your mind. So we do start to explore that.”
Watch the video above.