David Harbour Talks Chief Hopper; Teases Expansive ‘Stranger Things 2’ and Further Seasons To Come

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-11-22-36-amLong 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.

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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.

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SOURCE: GOLD DERBY

‘Stranger Things’ Official Merchandise is Finally Available

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Finally, the day has come when we can purchase official merchandise for the Netflix smash hit Stranger Things. The streaming giant missed a major opportunity last summer when the series premiered and became an overnight pop culture phenomenon. But Netflix will be ready to capitalize on Season two as they have now built official merchandise into their infrastructure with distribution deals already in place.

First, everyone’s dreams came true when Funko announced pops would be available in early 2017 for nearly every character in the series. Thanks to Nerdist, we now know official Stranger Things merchandise is available just in time for the holiday season. The official merch includes everything from t-shirts to necklaces to bracelets, and even Dustin’s hat as well as Eleven’s jacket available for purchase at Box Lunch and Hot Topic.

Finn Wolfhard Talks Staying Normal in the Face of Stardom, Mileven, and More

Finn Wolfhard’s life changed forever when Netflix’s smash hit Stranger Things made its debut on Netflix this past summer. The show featured a young group of children as the main characters led by Wolfhard in the role of Mike Wheeler, a 12-year old nerd who loves movies, science, dungeons and dragons, star wars toys, walkie-talkies, and ham shack radios.

As we all know, fame can severely affect a child negatively if the child doesn’t have the right guidance behind them helping to navigate the toxic industry of Hollywood. While speaking with Oyster Magazine, Wolfhard was asked how his friends have handled his recent rise to fame and the actor revealed it is his them who have kept him grounded in normalcy in his recent rise to superstar status.

“I think they’re handling it as well as I want [them to]! I don’t want them to be freaking out, because I try to be as normal as possible when I come home. It’s sort of great because my friends are a dose of reality, like, “Shut up, just come play video games with us. Stop being so self-centred.” And I think I need that. They all watch the show but they’re fine with it. They know I’m just a nerd [laughs], I’m just doing my job and they get that, which is very cool.”

Wolfhard isn’t just an incredibly talented actor. He’s a movie buff with aspirations to become a director later in life. On set, Wolfhard learned from everyone involved with the show but most of all the directors, The Duffer Brothers and Shawn Levy:

“I took a page from everyone’s book. I took a lot from Caleb because he’s a very good dramatic actor, and Gaten’s a good comedic actor because he just goes with it. But I think I learned the most from Shawn Levy and the Duffers. Shawn was our executive producer and the director for episodes three and four. I’m very interested in filmmaking and I’d love to direct. There are some sets where you can’t even go to Video Village [an area on set with portable monitors] and watch your own tape, which sucks and there’s not enough freedom, but that’s the job. On our set it was very supportive. After I’d done my scenes they’d be doing a scene with either Winona or Natalia [Dyer, who plays Mike’s sister Nancy] and they’d let me come back and learn the ropes of directing.”

When Stranger Things began, everyone knew they were watching something special as they were introduced to a group of kids ten hours deep into their Dungeons and Dragons campaign. What stood out was the extraordinary chemistry between the four. Not only did they seem to be best friends, it felt as if they had already known each other for years when in reality they had only known each other for a couple of months prior to filming.

“It was so cool because Caleb, Gaten and I, we all made friends. We instantly bonded and the first scene we shot was the first scene in the show, which is the D&D scene. I think that was the most fun and memorable scene to shoot, because it was like we’d known each other all our lives, even though we’d only known each other for, like, two months. It was very cool how we all came to set and just jumped in.”

At the heart of Stranger Things was the budding romance between Mike and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown). The two managed to capture the innocence and purity of two kids falling in love at such a young age. Fans of the pair went wild on the internet, dubbing the fictional couple “Mileven”. Wolfhard talked about how their professionalism allowed for the two to feel so comfortable with each other as they were put in what had to be some very awkward situations for their age:

I think Millie and I are very comfortable with ourselves, which is really cool. We had a bond from the beginning, because I think Millie said one time that she’s crazy and I’m the straight man, but it’s sort of the opposite in Stranger Things because she completely downplays it; she’s amazing in it. I think we both knew that we were just doing our jobs and acting.

Watching Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler was a special experience for me. It’s one thing to watch a television show or a movie and identify with a character, but watching Mike made me feel like I was seeing myself as a kid. I grew up in the nineties and while my friends and I didn’t play D&D, it was still pre-internet, pre-9/11, when the world moved at a slower pace and felt much safer. I was a pretty big dork back in middle and high school and I rode my bike everywhere, even after my friends had moved on to go-peds before we started driving. When I was these kids racing their bikes at night, or riding them to school, I was instantly transported back to my own childhood.

To read the full interview including Wolfhard’s take on his “weird” generation head on over to Oyster.

The young star is also featured in the winter issue of Dazed Magazine where he discussed how natural it was for him to throw himself into the eighties having already been a fan of eighties culture and cinema prior to booking the role in Stranger Things. He’s a cool ass kid.

Wolfhard will next be seen in September of 2017 in the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s It as the motor mouth Richie Tozier. He is also currently shooting Stranger Things 2, which should hit Netflix sometime around the release of It.

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SOURCE: OYSTER MAG, DAZED DIGITAL

Millie Bobby Brown Talks Finding Eleven

Millie Bobby Brown took the world by storm with her mesmerizing performance as the enigmatic Eleven in this past summer’s smash hit Stranger Things. The actress captivated our minds and stole our hearts as Eleven discovered childhood, friendship, and love. Brown showed a level of extraordinary capability in the series. She is able to display a level of emotion most adult actors can’t even muster up.

The young starlet, destined for superstardom is featured in the winter issue of Dazed Magazine. Brown dished on The Duffer Brothers and their direction, or rather lack thereof, for the character of Eleven:

“They didn’t tell me anything. Your name is Eleven – relate yourself to ET. That was it. I got the job the next day.”

Clearly, the Duffers recognized the incredible talent they had on their hands and were smart enough to step back and let Brown discover the character on her own. Eleven is one of the most incredible, and perhaps the most iconic female characters to ever hit the small screen.

Brown added:

“Eleven is going a lot by instinct. The look, obviously; her body language, definitely. You know, the head tilt. We all just collaborated on our ideas and then we made magic.”

Magic indeed. Stranger Things possesses the magic of filmmaking which seems like a lost art in today’s machine of an industry that Hollywood has become. From the 80’s film grain to the analog synthesizers in the score, as well as the practical effects, and the tightly focused narrative only a single writer, or in this case a brotherly duo can bring. The magic of the human touch remains all the way through to the end credits of the final episode.

Brown was recently confirmed for Stranger Things 2, the follow-up to the first season of Stranger Things. The Duffers have said it will feel much more like a movie sequel as opposed a traditional second season of a television series. Season two will pick up a year later in the fall of 1984 and (spoiler alert) most certainly guarantees the return of Eleven after she vanished into thin air when saving the boys from the Demogorgon. Season two has already started filming and Brown confirmed at Rhode Island Comic Con that she has already shot her first scene.

To read the full interview including Brown’s reaction to the series as well as her experience working with actress Winona Ryder, head on over to Dazeddigital.com.

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SOURCE: DAZED DIGITAL

‘Stranger Things 2’: Chief Hopper is Back in a New Set Photo

Production on the sequel to Netflix’s smash hit Stranger Things is currently underway outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Stranger Things 2 will pick up a year after the events of season one in the fall of 1984. The second season will explore the consequences of Will Byers’ time spent in the upside down and will deal with the interdimensional portal that is still open at the department of energy. Recently, executive producer Shawn Levy teased the characters will be struggling with the desire for a return to normalcy and the impossibility of it.

Thanks to Chief Hopper himself, actor David Harbour has shared a photo of himself suited back up in uniform and having a cigarette. The photo caption is a nod to the iconic line from Chinatown, “Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown”. Could Harbour be drawing influence from Jack Nicholson in the season two? The actor has said before that he looks to leading male actors of the seventies such as Harrison Ford and Roy Scheider for inspiration. His character is an amalgamation of Indiana Jones and Chief Brody from Jaws.

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.

You can check out some other set photos from the production snapped last week here.

Stranger Things 2 hits Netflix sometime in 2017.

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'Forget it, Hopper. It's Hawkins.' 😏🚬

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‘Stranger Things’: Behind The Scenes of Season One

The documentaries include interviews with the directors and the cast as well as never been seen looks into the sets and locations of the series including Mikes basement, Hawkins lab, and Hawkins Middle School.

A short behind the scenes documentary of Netflix’s smash hit Stranger Things is available thanks to PILOTE la chronique série (h/t dakun). The documentary offers a never been seen look into the sets and locations of the series including Mikes basement, Hawkins lab, and Hawkins Middle School. Production designer Chris Trujillo and property master Lynda Reiss are on hand offering insight into the craft and care that was taken to deliver the show as an authentic period piece.Trujillo takes you on a walkthrough of the set for Hawkins lab where you can see the practical effects that were used to create the first layer of the tentacles bleeding over from the upside down. Some crew from the animatronics department are also featured as they showcase the Demogorgon suit worn by Mark Steger.

Lully de Verdade also has a documentary chronicling her visit to the set. Lully interviews Stranger Things directors the Duffer Brothers and the young cast including Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo and Caleb Mclaughlin. The directors and the cast discuss the inspiration for the series and express their delight bringing it to life.

These documentaries are in French and Portuguese but all of the cast and crew being interviewed is in English.

Season one of Stranger Things is currently available to stream on Netflix.

SOURCESPILOTE la chronique sérieLully de Verdade

Brett Gelman Joins ‘Stranger Things 2’

Production on the second season of Stranger Things is currently underway in Georgia and the series is continuing to add talent to the already stellar cast. Variety has confirmed that actor-comedian Brett Gelman (Jobs, The Other Guys) has been cast in the role of Murray Bauman, a disgraced journalist-turned-conspiracy theorist who is investigating a cold case in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana. Bauman might just be the character the show needs to blow the lid off of the top-secret experiment gone wrong at the Hawkins national lab.

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Gelman joins a list of recently announced stars for the second season which includes Sean Astin (The Goonies, Lord of the Rings), Paul Reiser (Aliens, Mad About You), danish actress Linnea Berthelsen, Dacre Montgomery (Power Rangers) and broadway star Sadie Sink. 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.

Executive Producer Shawn Levy recently spoke with Collider and provided insight to some of the challenges facing the residents of Hawkins, Indiana in the second season:

“Will Byers was in that Upside Down for a while. So Season 2 is about this determined desire to return to normalcy in Hawkins, in the Byers family, in that group of friends, and it’s the struggle to reclaim normalcy and maybe the impossibility of it.”

Don’t let Stranger Things’ packaging as a television show fool you, structurally and narratively it is very much a six and a half hour movie broken up into eight reels. The Duffer Brothers have said that season two will be much more like a movie sequel rather than a traditional second season of a series.

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.

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.

You can check out some set photos from the production snapped earlier this week here.

Stranger Things 2 hits Netflix sometime in 2017.

 SOURCE: VARIETY

First Set Photos From ‘Stranger Things 2’

The 80’s are back! The cameras were rolling on Stranger Things 2 yesterday in Stockbridge, GA. Thanks to JustJared we have our first look at much of the returning cast as well as some new faces who could be guest stars or extras appearing in the first episode of the second season.

Season two is said to be bigger and darker yet familiar. The adventure continues a year later in the fall of 1984 and will explore the consequences of Will Byers’ week spent in the upside down and the portal that is still open at the Department of Energy. In addition to the return of Millie Bobby Brown as the iconic Eleven, the series will add 80’s stars Sean Astin (The Goonies), Paul Reiser (Aliens) as well as newcomers Linnea BerthelsenDacre Montgomery (Power Rangers) and broadway star Sadie Sink into the mix.

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 hits Netflix sometime in 2017.

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SOURCES: JUSTJARED, DAILYMAIL

Shawn Levy Talks ‘Stranger Things 3’; Charlie Heaton Teases Bigger, Darker Second Season

Just last Friday it was officially confirmed that Millie Bobby Brown would be returning for the sequel to Netflix’s smash hit Stranger Things. At an event screening for 2011’s Real Steel, executive producer Shawn Levy spoke with Collider, revealing The Duffer Brothers and himself are already looking ahead as to where they want to go once the show is renewed for a third season.

Levy:

We are not gonna be caught off guard and we don’t wanna be making stuff up like the day before we have to write it and make it, so we are definitely optimistic and we have started thinking ahead.

The Duffers have already said in the past that that do have an ending for the series in mind, it’s just a matter of how long it takes to get there.

Back at the end of August when the second season was announced, a total of nine chapter headings were revealed in an official teaser for the follow-up, extending the episode count by one more than the first season. With an additional episode in the mix, as well as a bigger budget allowing for better, more polished visual effects it would only make sense for the production to take a little longer than the first season. Levy was unable to speculate on a release date but did offer some insight:

That I can’t say. I do have a sense of it. It was promised when we announced that we were picked up for Season 2 and we gave those chapter headings, I believe it ended with ‘Coming in 2017’ and that much is true. You can do a little bit of math, we’re not magicians so there’s no way it launches in Spring since I just admitted we started filming today, and we’re doing nine.

Stranger Things possessed the DNA of a Steven Spielberg blockbuster smashed together with a Stephen King summer read so it would be disappointing if the sequel isn’t able to make it’s debut in the summer of 2017, however. No doubt would the sci-fi horror mystery adventure be a perfect fit for a release around Halloween, although the wait would be excruciating. But if it means a better product, I think we can all manage.

Season two will pick up a year later in the fall of 1984 and explore the consequences of Will Byers’ week spent in the upside down, and the portal that is still open at the Department of Energy. Levy offered some further insight into just exactly what Will and the Byers family, as well as his friends, will be struggling with when we pick up with them a year later.

“I’m not gonna say how much time has gone by. It is not the next day, I’ll say that. And there are several new characters who I think several of them are going to be new fan-favorites because they’re great, great new characters. But we are definitely sticking primarily with our core group, and what is different, how are they changed from the experience of last season… maybe ‘normal’ is never possible again.”

The second season will see several new characters added into the mix. Just yesterday it was announced that Sean Astin (The Goonies), Paul Reiser (Aliens), and Danish actress Linnea Berthelsen will be joining the cast along with newcomers Dacre Montgomery (Power Rangers) and Sadie Sink.

Levy also added that he would be in the Directors seat for the third and fourth episodes this year, just as he was in the first season.

Yes, we are a little superstitious so just like last year, they’re doing 1 and 2, I’m going in and doing 3 and 4. So the first four are gonna kick off exactly the same as last time… I am going to start prepping right around Thanksgiving and I’ll be filming my episodes through December and January.

But it doesn’t stop there, actor Charlie Heaton is also currently promoting his new film, Shut In. While speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Heaton offered some insight into the scope of the second season while assuring it is still very much the same Hawkins, Indiana we were introduced to in the first season. The actor teased the fourth episode titled “The Palace” (directed by Levy) will be huge. My hope is that “The Palace” is actually some sort of reference to Pankot Palace as The Duffers already mentioned Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as a major influence. It would be a dream come true of mine to see The Goonies dropped into the mineshaft chase sequence from the end of Temple of Doom.

The adventure continues in the fall of 1984.

Stranger Things 2 hits Netflix sometime in 2017.

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SOURCES: COLLIDER, ET

Paul Reiser and Sean Astin Join ‘Stranger Things 2’

According to The Wrap, the series has officially added Sean Astin (The Goonies, Lord of the Rings) and Paul Reiser (Aliens, Mad About You) into the mix.

With production officially underway on the sequel to this past summer’s smash hit Stranger Things, news about the follow-up is beginning to trickle out. So far all we have seen are a few images teased by Netflix and the cast including a photo from last Friday’s table read confirming Millie Bobby Brown‘s official return to the show along with a Snapchat photo of her co-star Finn Wolfhard back in the Wheeler’s basement, as well as an photo posted to Instagram photo of David Harbour suiting back up as Chief Hopper.

According to The Wrap, the series has officially added Sean Astin (The Goonies, Lord of the Rings) and Paul Reiser (Aliens, Mad About You) into the mix.

Astin will play Bob Newby, a kindhearted former nerd who went to high school with Joyce and Hopper and now manages the local Hawkins RadioShack.

Everyone’s favorite company man, Reiser, will play Dr. Owens, a high-ranking member within the Department of Energy on a “clean-up” assignment, tasked with containing the events of last year.

In addition to Astin and Reiser, the series has also cast Danish actress Linnea Berthelsen, whose character named Roman was previously announced but now we have an actual character description. Roman is an emotionally damaged, magnetic young woman who suffered a great loss as a child. Although she does not live in Hawkins, she is mysteriously connected to the supernatural events at the lab.

Season two will also feature Dacre Montgomery (Power Rangers) and broadway stars Sadie Sink as step-siblings, Billy and Max. Max is a tough tomboy who rides her skateboard everywhere she goes. Her complicated past has made her suspicious of those around her. Billy is a typical 80’s jock who steals girlfriends out from their boyfriends and drives a black Camaro while he isn’t busy playing drinking games. Underneath he is said to be violent and unpredictable.

Season two will pick up a year after the events of season one and deal with the portal that is still open to the upside down as well as the consequences of Wills week spent in the nether.

The adventure continues in the fall of 1984.

Stranger Things 2 hits Netflix sometime in 2017.

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Hopper's back😏

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SOURCE: THE WRAP