Long gone are the days of leading male actors who were a bit rough around the edges. Today’s landscape requires a perfect face, complemented by great hair and a chiseled body. The problem for most ordinary men when it comes to entertainment is that we can sit back and admire the leading male characters of film and television but they have little chance of resonating with us. It prevents us from having a truly transformative experience because ordinary men can’t save the world in entertainment today, only superheroes can.
Maybe that’s why Chief Jim Hopper, played by David Harbour, became an overnight icon when the pop culture phenomenon of Stranger Things took the world by storm. Harbour reminded us that we all possess the strength to overcome the greatest challenges in life no matter how beaten down or destroyed the world has left us.
In Stranger Things, Chief Jim Hopper is a police Chief who split from his wife after his daughter lost a battle against cancer. When the series begins, the character is struggling with depression, drugs, and alcohol. He’s angry at the world and at children. But underneath that anger is a caring former self who is desperate to return to the surface.
Like Hopper, a lot of us men feel like we are cursed. Like everything we touch turns to shit and we’re better off just keeping ourselves at a distance from others so we don’t screw up their life too. Whether or not you can relate to that, we can all certainly relate to wanting to find meaning in our lives. So when Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) disappears, it presents Hopper with an opportunity to lift his curse by returning Will to his mother (Winona Ryder) and find new meaning in his life that could help him move forward and possibly forgive himself for the death of his daughter.
Harbour recently spoke with Gold Derby Editor Ralph Galvan about his role as Chief Hopper and dished about the struggle he had separating himself from the character:
“I think as an artist it’s good to bleed a little bit. Like if you want it to be good it’s got to hurt. I think that authenticity resonates. And I think when it doesn’t feel authentic in that way I think we somewhat feel it too. When it’s just kind of a scene. But when we see a character or a human being really go through a struggle, it’s funny like, the camera is always interested in what we’re doing but I feel like even on their skin, I feel like you can read people so well on film. And there’s something about when you actually go through something where you just kind of resonate. Like your whole instrument just kind of resonates this thing. So you know, I wish I had better technique in terms of turning it on and off but I just kind of lived it. I just kind of acted out a bit. I would dream about him. He just kind of infected my subconcious. Like, 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 totally give up five months of my life a year so you as an audience member can have an experience with a character that is rich and unique and I feel like it’s my honor to be able to do that for people.
Harbour is currently back in the role of Chief Hopper as production on Stranger Things 2 has just begun. Harbour wouldn’t spoil anything regarding the plot of the new season, and neither would we here at AW, but Harbour did offer some tantalizing insight into the scope and scale of the new season:
“Before we got the first scripts I was nervous about how we are gonna do this. But then I read literally the first five minutes of season two is such an opener of the world it just blew me away. I literally was reading the script and went YES!!! as soon as it ended. So I think we’re gonna do something very expansive. And now that we know we have a show that people like, I think we might have more seasons to come so we can kind of arc a larger story and we start to establish things this season that will pay off even further down the road. And that’s really kind of liberating. So all the pressure that you feel, you also feel like wow we also have a bigger canvas now to play with and we can add all these new colors and all these new shades and so yes, there is pressure but there also is excitement.”
Stranger Things 2 picks up a year later in the fall of 1984 and will explore the consequences of Will Byers’ week spent in the upside down as well as the interdimensional portal which is still open at the Department of Energy. The sequel is said to be bigger and darker yet familiar as the characters struggle with the desire to return to a sense of normalcy and maybe the impossibility of it.
Stranger Things 2 stars Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb Mclaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, and Noah Schnapp.
Stranger Things 2 will also introduce several new characters. The series has added Sean Astin (The Goonies, Lord of the Rings), Paul Reiser (Aliens, Mad About You), danish actress Linnea Berthelsen, Dacre Montgomery (Power Rangers) broadway star Sadie Sink, and Brett Gelman (Jobs). You can check out descriptions of their characters here. The new characters are said to be compelling but first and foremost in service to the core group of characters introduced in season one.
Stranger Things 2 hits Netflix sometime in 2017.
SOURCE: GOLD DERBY