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Stranger Things' David Harbour Was Hesitant About Joining The Child-Centric Cast

One of the most popular shows of recent years, the Duffer Brothers' "Stranger Things," premiered in July of 2016 and is now four seasons into its run. Season 5, which will be its last, is on the way. If you're somehow unfamiliar with the show's premise, "Stranger Things" follows a group of kids living in Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s as they battle various supernatural elements related to an alternate dimension called The Upside Down. The friends include Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo), Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), and Lucas Sinclair (Caleb McLaughlin), as well as Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink), the latter of whom arrives in Season 2.

While teenaged actors make up a good portion of the show's cast, "Stranger Things" is not without its share of adult characters (and actors as well), who are just as vital to the show's plot. Namely, there's Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), mother to Will, and Jim Hopper (David Harbour), chief of the Hawkins Police Department.

Considering that most of the cast is so young, some older actors may have shied away from playing the adult characters. Here's what Harbour has to say about whether or not he was hesitant to join "Stranger Things."

Harbour was hesitant but knew that Hopper would be a good part

Back in 2016 — the same year "Stranger Things" premiered — David Harbour participated in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), during which he answered tons of fan questions about Hopper, the series, and his career. One fan, u/mikeosteenstra, wrote, "I thought you were awesome in Stranger Things. I thought the kids in Stranger Things were terrific as well but my question is, was there any hesitation with jumping on a show that was so child-centric?"

Harbour's response to the fan let us in on his thought process when it came to taking on the role of Hopper. The actor replied, "Thank you. Yeah there was, but my character was so rich, I knew we'd have the adult storylines have equal weight."

Fans of "Stranger Things" can definitely attest to Harbour's statement. Hopper and Joyce (Winona Ryder) have just as much to do as the kids do and are equally as important to the events of the series. Luckily, Harbour signed on for the show, since many fans would agree that it would be hard to picture anyone else in the role.

Harbour didn't think he would land his role as Hopper

In a July 2022 interview with Rob Brydon, David Harbour discussed all things "Stranger Things," including the casting process. During the conversation, Harbour revealed that after receiving the "Stranger Things" script, he was certain he wouldn't land the part.

Harbour explained, "I read the script and it was like a beautiful script and I thought, 'I'll never get this. They'll never give this to me because I don't have any sort of name. They'll give this to, whatever, some big star.'" Harbour then detailed how he went into the audition with a bit of a snarky attitude. He noted that he chose to have Hopper wear a hat so other people didn't see his bloodshot eyes (from frequent drinking), and when the casting director asked if he wanted to do a take without the hat (for the audition tape), he said no and left. The actor continued, "I was just like, 'There's no way you guys are going to give me this, so why are you wasting my time?'"

Harbour then detailed what it was like when he got the call from the Duffer Brothers themselves saying that he had won the role of Hopper. "My heart exploded and I was running down the street, going like, 'Yes!' ...," he said. "It was an amazing day."