The SAG-AFTRA strike has officially ended, and David Harbour is ready to return to Hawkins as the beloved, curmudgeonly police chief Jim Hopper.
On the red carpet for the BoxLunch Gala honoring Feeding America, where Harbour was named the Giving Ambassador, he expressed his excitement to return to the set of “Stranger Things.” He relayed a sense of urgency to get back to work, sharing that production could resume in just “a couple of days.”
When asked what comes first on his post-strike agenda, Harbour said, “I mean, we got to film that last season of ‘Stranger Things,’ don’t we? I got to be down there, like, in a couple of days. We got to get going — we’re late.”
Production for the final season of the Duffer Brothers’ hit Netflix series, which infuses classic sci-fi elements with 1980s nostalgia, was halted alongside other film and television projects when the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes commenced earlier this year.
Harbour also spoke on the significance of the strike and what the new contract means for up-and-coming actors. He reflected on the protections for artists secured by the tentative deal between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP, and how it compares to his experience as a burgeoning young actor in New York in the early 2000s.
“We used to have a show there called ‘Law and Order,’” he said. “And we would all work on off-Broadway shows where they’re literally allowed to pay you nothing. And then Dick Wolf would hire us for an episode of ‘Law and Order.’ And we would be able to live for a year on that episode of ‘Law and Order’ and train to become the actors, the stars, that we are today. And I don’t think that I would have been able to survive without that model.”
He continued to praise the advancements that came out of the ongoing negotiations, saying, “I think one of the beautiful things now is that we are taking care of people who are still training to become the stars of tomorrow — by giving them a living wage. I think that’s fantastic.”
Harbour’s Hopper is known for both his gruff personality and an underlying tenderness that endears him to audiences. Though “Stranger Things” is soon drawing to a close, Harbour doesn’t want to leave his character behind entirely.
Asked what qualities of Hopper’s he’d like to take with him beyond the series, Harbour said, “I hope not his broken, inability to express his emotions directly… But certainly his strength, his courage, his dedication. His powerful love for his family, and for right and wrong — his ideas of justice.”