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SYFY WIRE Stranger Things

Before Stranger Things blew up, David Harbour thought it'd be a 'disaster' and no one would watch

By Josh Weiss
David Harbour Stranger Things

Today, it's hard to imagine the world without the 1980s-in-a-bottle series that is Netflix's Stranger Things. The nostalgia-heavy show from the Duffer Brothers fast became a cultural phenomenon after the first season debuted in the summer of 2016.

No one could have guessed just how huge it would become and for David Harbour (Chief Jim Hopper of Hawkins, Indiana), there was doubt that it would do well at all.

"Going in, I had the same neurosis I have with everything," he told Empire Magazine for the publication's April issue. "Even though I liked it, I thought Stranger Things was going to be a disaster and nobody was going to watch it."

He knew that the series was a rousing success when a group of 50 people were waiting for him backstage while he was doing Shakespeare in the Park. They weren't there to praise his classical acting skills (although we're sure he was dynamite), but to tell him how much they loved Stranger Things.

"It became this phenomenon very quickly, and I was so gratified by that because it was so grassroots," Harbour added. "I knew then that things would be different for me. That I wouldn't have to struggle so much. It was a milestone."

That being said, the actor is still ambivalent about his sudden and shocking push into the limelight. Once you're an A-lister, every part of your life is under scrutiny. 

"I didn't ever expect it to come for me in that way," he said. "It's great that people are affected by my work, but on the other hand I'd just like to be in a coffee shop and get into a fight with my girlfriend and not have people blog about it."

Stranger Things returns for its third season on Netflix July 4. Before that, Harbour will appear as the new cinematic Hellboy in Neil Marshall's reboot on April 12.