Until recently, David Harbour was a successful working actor with titles like Brokeback Mountain, Revolutionary Road, End of Watch, and The Newsroom on his resumé and a robust stage career, but he was still waiting for that one big break that would change everything. That came with Stranger Things, an unexpected, nostalgia-tinged hit that altered Harbour’s life a little less than a year ago when it first appeared on Netflix. Now, the actor is poised to begin production in the fall as the lead of the Hellboy reboot. The comic book antihero is a bit different than the role of Jim Hopper, a local sheriff battling personal demons and investigating the increasingly unsettling things happening in the fictional Hawkins, Indiana. But there are enough similarities to see how his work in one role may have influenced the casting of the other. But there’s also a timelessness to the Hopper role and Harbour’s portrayal that makes him seem like a fit for a whole host of other characters.
According to Harbour, Hopper is a complex hero who felt like a throwback to a different era of filmmaking. “When I read the character, it reminded me a lot of Roy Scheider from Jaws. It reminded me a lot of Nick Nolte in those old 48 Hours movies. It reminded me a little bit of Indiana Jones. It just reminded me of all these leading men that I had grown up with as a child when I went to movies in the ’80s,” Harbour tells us. “I hadn’t seen a character, at least one has not really come across my radar, that is so messy in a certain way and so complex. I just sort of fell in love with him. I like the whole story, too. I thought it was great, but in general, I really just fell in love with him.”