‘Stranger Things’ Star David Harbour Looks Beyond The Upside Down Toward The Future

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David Harbour has the fifth and final season of “Stranger Things” in front of him, awaiting strike settlements before production begins.

But he’s already looking at what comes next.

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“The first year of “Stranger Things,” I remember having a discussion with a publicist and her saying, ‘Maybe you don’t want to be associated with the show so much,’ and I was like, ‘Why? I love this show. I love the character,'” he told Insider in an interview. “And I do love the show. And I do love the character. But I don’t want to be just that character. I don’t want to be just that guy.”

Harbour has gotten a head start on his next phase. He plays Red Guardian in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a bloody Santa Claus in the film Violent Night, the title character in a Hellboy reboot, and a racing coach in the upcoming Gran Turismo.

Violent Night was the first box office hit Harbour carried. The 2022 action/comedy film followed Harbour playing Santa Claus. Jolly Old Saint Nick fights mercenaries who have taken a wealthy family hostage.

“I’ve been on Netflix … but this was a small original movie that’s going to a cinema. A whole new world opened up for me with that,” Harbour said. “I like this playing field. I want to make original movies that go to the movie theaters.”

Harbour drew a parallel with another TV tar who exited from a prominent series to achieve bigger things.

“I think about George Clooney leaving “ER,'” he said. “Now we just see him as George Clooney. But there was a time when it was, ‘The guy from “ER” is doing a movie with Nicole Kidman.'”

“I’m trying to navigate some of that,” he continued. “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. But at the same time, you kind of want to leave the nest. 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.”

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