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Prior to being cast as local police chief Jim Hopper in the massively successful Netflix series in 2016, Harbour was best known for minor roles in films such as Brokeback Mountain and The Green Hornet.
"I had gotten to a place in Hollywood where I was playing fifth and sixth on the call sheet. Supporting characters. Normally a bad cop," the 45-year-old actor recently told Cigar Aficionado.
He continued, "It was good — I could make a living and could support a theater career that allowed me to do more artistic kind of stuff, but I had really given up on the idea that I would be able to tell stories that I really cared about in TV or film."
Netflix David Harbour in Stranger Things
When he auditioned for Stranger Things, Harbour said it seemed like his last chance.
"It felt like a last at bat for me," he said. "And I was like, if I'm going to do this, I'm really going to swing for the fences and put my whole soul into this thing."
Season 4 of Stranger Things, which also stars Winona Ryder, Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Natalia Dyer, Joe Keery and Charlie Heaton, recently resumed production after a COVID-19 delay.
Harbour's return to the series was confirmed earlier this year in the first season 4 trailer, despite his character's apparent death in season 3.
Of his moody, father-figure character, Harbour told Cigar Aficionado that Hopper is "really dead inside."
"There is a real, lonely darkness to him," he said. "He's really dead inside. He's in this place of deep regret and then he has to confront his worst fear."
"I just went into this dark world," Harbour added, explaining his method acting process. "I'd shoot, just go back home, I just lived in this sort of dark place. It took me like a solid week to let it go."
An official release date for season 4 has not yet been announced.