It is official, Stranger Things is the biggest show in the world right now. There is no doubting that David Harbour is a huge part of that as the lovable Jim Hopper, but his career was heading to the doldrums before he was cast.
It’s one of those miniature thrills that the universe sometimes throws up: The moment you see a big star as a bit-part actor in some movie or series from before they made it big. That happens often with Stranger Things star David Harbour who struggled to break into the industry for years.
Harbour might have started racking up screen credits in around 2004, but it took him a good 12 years to land a big-time role with Stranger Things, and in his view, those hard yards have done him the world of good.
As he told Welsh comedian and all-around lovable character, Rob Brydon, on his podcast, “It’s crazy. This happened to me at 40, so for a long time I was walking around the streets just being that guy.”
Brydon likewise didn’t achieve his own relative fame until later in life and he claimed that it is better that way which Harbour was quick to agree with as the pair enjoyed a friendly chat.
As Harbour light-heartedly concurred: “In my estimation, it’s a good thing. Also, you don’t take yourself that seriously, because you realise that, you know, you’re pretty close to death.” With the Hopper star only 47 years old so let’s all hope that is some way off for now.
As it happens, the buzz of being cast in Stranger Things and the promise that he could now safely pay his rent was almost such good news that it tested his health in its own way.
As he said about the lean years: “I was on a show that was particularly terrible that had one season, and I was waiting for it to get picked up for a second season, which I was hoping and praying [for] because I couldn’t pay my rent.”
As he explained: I was like 39, I was like this isn’t happening, I’m not getting the lead in this series anymore. And then they just called and were like ‘you’re our guy’. My heart exploded and I was just running down the street… it was an amazing day.”