David Harbour caught the attention of viewers (and Emmy voters!) as Chief Hopper on Stranger Things, and at Comic-Con’s Brave New Warriors panel, Harbour spoke about how much he enjoyed playing Hopper’s journey from jerk to hero.
“I love Chief Hopper so much, and I think that one of the [best] things about playing him is that he’s such a jerk in the beginning of the series and he’s so shut down and just mean to children,” Harbour said at the panel, which also featured Christopher Meloni (Happy!), Colin O’Donoghue (Once Upon a Time), Richard Rankin (Outlander), Rodrigo Santoro (Westworld), and Ricky Whittle (American Gods).
“He doesn’t believe this mother when she says that her child is missing. He doesn’t even want to go look. It’s like, what a jerk.”
But, of course, Chief Hopper isn’t a jerk for long.
“One of the things I love about the show is that people will live tweet as they watch,” he continued. “They’ll be on episode one and a half or two and be like, ‘What’s the deal with Chief Hopper? This guy sucks!’ Then, by episode four or five he starts getting galvanized and they’re like, ‘If Chief Hopper dies I’m suing Netflix.'” (We’ve all been there with one character or another, right??)
Harbour went on to say that it was very gratifying to play a character who might not make it, might not be the hero — even though that’s what we all wanted from him. But thankfully, Hopper pulled through.
On the flipside, something that Harbour isn’t quite *as* thankful for?
Well, he told a story about an early, embarrassing role, and that role is like the opposite of Hopper.
“There’s this old New York soap opera called As the World Turns,” he explained with a laugh, launching into a story about his worst work. “I was hired for one day to come in and play Officer Shanks, who was a prison guard who was easily manipulated by the gorgeous ladies of Oakdale into letting them out of prison, even though they committed horrible atrocities.”
Okay, we’re intrigued…
“Rob was easily manipulated by their beauty and their charm, so he begrudgingly gave them the keys to the prison and they let themselves out, so that was clearly my worst work.” Then, he joked to the crowd: “YOU’RE WELCOME.”
Our response? Thank you, David, for this delightful story. And for your wonderful part in Stranger Things, which will return to Netflix with its second season on October 27th.