Stranger Things

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With Season 3 of the hit Netflix series now available, David Harbour, a.k.a Police Chief Jim Hopper, offers insight about the trajectory of the show and gives a glimpse into his personal life, too.

Story by Ann Butenas

His mere presence commanded attention as he confidently walked into the room. Although only in town for a brief visit, actor David Harbour left a lingering impression. Best known for his role as Police Chief Jim Hopper in the popular Netflix series, “Stranger Things,” Harbour recently visited our fair city to promote Season 3 of this American science fiction / horror / supernatural / thriller television series.

If you haven’t already joined the masses in watching Netflix’s popular series, “Stranger Things,” then this is your call to action. With its highly-anticipated Season 3 just released, fans are devouring the episodes in what will probably be the one of the biggest binge-watching events to date. This web television series is highly addictive and has garnered somewhat of a cult following for supernatural thriller fans of all ages.

In anticipation of the debut of Season 3, actor David Harbour, who plays Jim Hopper, the Chief of Police, in the series, not only continued to pique fans’ interest in the show with his visit, but he also enjoyed the opportunity to indulge himself a bit in all things KC. One of the highlights of his trip was to throw out the first pitch at the Kansas City Royals game held on June 20th, which was headlined as Stranger Things Night. We had but one pivotal question for this seemingly always confident fellow: Was he nervous about that at all?

“I am pretty nervous,” he laughed. “It’s an all risk and no reward scenario. You can’t be that guy that throws the perfect pitch. If you mess it up, it’s everywhere, but if you do it perfectly, it’s nowhere.”

But enough about the game. We have more pressing issues to discuss!

With so many questions about the upcoming third season of the show, we got a sneak peek into one of television’s most fascinating series and characters. (Don’t worry! There are no spoiler alerts   necessary for this feature!)

“Mornings are meant for coffee and contemplation.”  –  a popular line voiced by David Harbour in the series as Police Chief Jim Hopper. Today, he contemplates what Season 3 of Stranger Things has in store for its viewers.

From all accounts, Season 3 sets the stage for a uniquely different viewing experience, and Harbour exhibits a highly-reserved yet equally insightful stance with respect to how his character evolves and changes throughout the episodes. Now that his character has legally adopted the young girl, Eleven, and stands as her father/legal guardian, a new lens is put on the script.

“Things in the town supernaturally have died down a bit,” he indicated. “And Hopper is just being a father, which brings up issues for him. I think he’s better at being a man of justice, and he finds it complicated to be a dad. He begins to overeat but can’t pop pills or drink, as he has responsibilities, so he is miserable and angry in an un-sedated way. He’s got his dream – his daughter – and experiences the passage of time and growth of this kid and he doesn’t want to let go. That is where the journey starts, how to maintain sanity with a growing teenage daughter.”

While Stranger Things has definitely tapped into a multitude of emotions in the past two seasons, into what sentiments does it tap this season? Without revealing anything that would spoil the show for its viewers, Harbour indicated that, yes, in some respects, it does tug at one’s heart strings.

“The only thing I can say is it’s very moving,” he reflected. “I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. It is sweetness, sadness and joy that makes you swell up. It involves very complicated feelings. It’s light in a certain way through the whole season and when the end comes, it’s all the more moving, as you haven’t expected the profundity of it. To me, the end is very profound in terms of who these people are, what they’ve been through and what they’re up against and we explore that in a moving way.”


Off the set and away from the lights, camera and set action, Harbour enjoys a relatively simplistic lifestyle but in a grand way. With home base in one of his favorite cities – New York City – Harbour enjoys a veritable playground right at his fingertips.

“I love New York City and love to walk around,” he smiled. “I’ve also been boxing lately, which is a fun thing to do, and I enjoy going to boxing matches. And movies and plays. I see a lot of plays.”

As for his favorite room in his home, Harbour had to think about this one initially.

“I really only have one room, as I live in a loft,” he explained. “I do have a bedroom but rarely close the door. It’s basically just one big open space.”

With one room, Harbour tends to live simply.

“I’ve always been a one-room guy. I always lose my keys,” he laughed. “I like things simple – a bed, a couch, a kitchen and an office area. I like big open spaces and have loved New York City since I was a kid and have always wanted to live there. I am not into rooms as much as high ceilings and lights. I like openness. I think it’s because I am a big guy. My girlfriend likes spaces and nooks. I’m too big for that. I like big, open, grand, sweeping spaces, almost industrial.”

In response to whether or not he has taken a few relics from the show to display in his home, he smiled saying, “I tried, but my girlfriend thinks they are dorky. We do have a book case with a high shelf where we keep awards and action figures, but I keep those out of sight.”

Offering a more pensive reflection of how he spends his spare hours, Harbour indicated he loves to write.

“I write a lot and am working on a book now,” he noted. “It’s personal; kind of in the vein of a memoir but also a bit sociological or anthropological; it’s a bit about mental illness in America and how we deal with that. I am a big proponent of talk therapy (for mental illness). The medical model is very strong, but I also think a lot of those things can be non-biological.”

Circling back around to Season 3, one has to wonder if Harbour, who would have been around 10 years of age around the time this season takes place (1985), can relate somehow to that era and its culture.

“From the outside, I experienced more of the nostalgia (of that era),” he offered. “When shooting it, I experienced this as a cake, however. I am more of an ingredient – like an egg and not a full cake yet – and am more focused on the psychology of what I am doing as opposed to the whole 80s thing.”

As fans wrap up their viewing pleasure through Season 3, it will undoubtedly leave an insatiable appetite for more. While it has been suggested some cast members may want to do just one more season, Harbour has a different response to such an idea.

“I’d like to do about 25 or 30 more (seasons)!” he smiled. “I’d like to do the show ‘til I am 75! But, we just take it as it comes and let each season live on its own.”

And while he refused to reveal where this season ends, he simply emphasized, “It’s very profound.”

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