David Harbour Explores Post-‘Stranger Things’ Path Amid Upcoming Final Season

As the highly anticipated fifth and final season of “Stranger Things” looms on the horizon, David Harbour, the talented actor at the heart of the beloved series, finds himself in a reflective mode, straddling the line between iconic character and new creative endeavors. As contractual negotiations delay production, Harbour is already gazing towards the next chapter.

Reflecting on the show’s inception, Harbour recalls a conversation from the inaugural year of “Stranger Things.” He recounts a discussion with a publicist who suggested, “Maybe you don’t want to be associated with the show so much.” Harbour’s passion for the series and his character Chief Jim Hopper was unmistakable even then. “I love this show. I love the character,” he emphasized in an interview with Insider. However, he’s resolute in not being confined solely to that role. “But I don’t want to be just that character. I don’t want to be just that guy.”

Harbour has already taken steps into his next phase. He has diversified his roles, portraying the Red Guardian in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a sinister Santa Claus in “Violent Night,” the titular character in the Hellboy reboot, and an upcoming role as a racing coach in “Gran Turismo.”

Among these, “Violent Night” emerged as Harbour’s initial success at the box office. The action-comedy film, released in 2022, showcased Harbour as Santa Claus, who takes on mercenaries threatening a wealthy family. “A whole new world opened up for me with that,” Harbour noted, emphasizing his newfound interest in creating original movies destined for the big screen.

Drawing a comparison to another television star’s trajectory, Harbour pointed to George Clooney’s departure from “ER” to pursue a broader range of projects. “Now we just see him as George Clooney,” Harbour mused, referencing Clooney’s successful transition to film. Harbour is treading a similar path, acknowledging the delicate balance between honoring his fans’ attachment to his iconic role and aspiring for fresh opportunities.

“I’m trying to navigate some of that,” Harbour remarked thoughtfully. “It’s tricky because you don’t want to s— on the people that love you for this thing that you did that you also love.” He remains determined to showcase his multifaceted talent and broaden his creative horizons beyond “Hopper.” “I got more in me. I got different stuff in me, and I want you guys to see that. I don’t want people yelling ‘Hopper’ on the street every five minutes the rest of my life.” As Harbour prepares to bid farewell to Hawkins, his evolution promises an exciting journey ahead.

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