Stranger Things star David Harbor on Joyce and Hopper
SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read if you haven’t seen Season 4 of Stranger Things, which is now streaming on Netflix.
Those who’ve grown accustomed to seeing David Harbor as Jim Hopper, a lazy Hawkins, Indiana, cop might be surprised by the new episodes of Stranger Things — and that was his point. After three seasons as Fat Dad Hopper, Harbor was ready for something different.
The actor was thrilled to delve into the darker side of the character and how he felt about the trauma in his past. In the fifth episode of Season 4, he has a long monologue with the security guard turned prisoner who tried to help him and got caught. In the speech where Hopper describes the pain of losing his daughter, he also says that he sees himself as a “curse” and feels responsible for everything bad that El (Millie Bobby Brown) and Joyce (Winona Ryder) do. has happened. “I hurt everyone I love,” he says through tears.
As it turns out, Harbor sat around with that monologue for years, eager to dive into Hopper’s backstory.
“I liked the film noir idea of – it’s kind of a ‘memento’ where a man is chasing himself. We have this idea with Hopper: He’s a cop, so he sees things pretty well, boys, bad guys, pretty black and white. There is a situation with cancer where his daughter dies. it’s cancer What can you do, right? Who can you, who can you imprison when a tragedy like this happens? Then he really goes back and the real villain is himself,” says Harbour diversity. “I really liked the idea with him that he actually has poison in him. He is the poison and feels that anyone who gets too close to him is infected with this thing. I think that’s why he had to shut himself up, that’s why he had to drink. Making him literally toxic in a way I thought was a great metaphorical choice.”
After much discussion with Matt and Ross Duffer, Harbor began mentally preparing.
“Then, lo and behold, it takes us six years to get to the actual shooting,” he says, laughing. “You wrote that, and then I had two and a half years to sit there and wait to do it. I read that scene two and a half years ago, and then COVID happened, then they started doing different things, and we shot it late in the season.”
Living with the speech for many years wasn’t easy for the actor: “I’m just so neurotic about it. You work on it, and then you don’t work – and you work on it again. You’re thinking, ‘What the hell am I supposed to do with this thing?’ But I think it turned out pretty well. It was definitely a big part of my consciousness.”
In Episode 7, Hopper finally reunites with Joyce, a moment viewers have been eagerly awaiting as many hope for a romance between the two. Though the couple was revealed to have some history, it was never detailed — and Harbor isn’t sure it’ll ever be shared.
“It’s something we planned; how much they want to show is really up to them. Winona and I postulate a lot of stuff, we have a lot of theories. Some of them are very wild, others very tame,” he says, laughing. “Generally, they had a time in high school — they knew each other when they were super innocent, and they had all this potential, both of them. Now they don’t have much potential. They are kind of what they are. Knowing someone who, when you look into their eyes, makes you look like the young person they were is part of the bond between the two of them. They have known each other for so long and knew what you wanted to be and what you couldn’t be and what you couldn’t be. I think they have a very complex love for each other. It’s not just romantic. It’s a lot more complex than that.”
So that’s enough to question whether it’s even romantic — and whether the duo could actually work as a couple.
“I certainly feel like it couldn’t work after what happened in Season 3. The Season 3 guy and Season 3 woman couldn’t work,” Harbor said. “Obviously there’s some chemistry and there’s a yearning to be together, but they would have to become different people.”
Ultimately, that decision rests with the Duffer Brothers: “What do you think of characters who don’t fit well into the world? Must they live happily ever after, or suffer in silence for the rest of their lives? We are not sure.”
https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/stranger-things-joyce-hopper-david-harbour-1235279887/ Stranger Things star David Harbor on Joyce and Hopper