You may remember David Harbour as the lovable ‘Hopper’ in cult TV series Stranger Things, which has finished filming it’s final season, season five, expected to land in 2024.
The 48-year-old American actor has starred in a series of other extremely popular series and movies including Quantum of Solace, Revolutionary Road, Suicide Squad and Black Widow.
Alongside his acting prowess, the star is happily married to British singer Lily Allen, with the pair tying the knot back in September 2020. Ahead of the release of the new season of Stranger Things, and his new film Gran Turismo we sat down with the actor to talk about the future for his character Hopper, and what life is like by Allen’s side.
Marie Claire: Your wife, Lily Allen, is on the London stage right now in The Pillowman. Were you there on opening night?
David Harbour: I wish. Her girls had to finish school. And so I was with them in New York. I did get to take one of them to a Taylor Swift concert, which is pretty exciting for both of us! So I’ve been playing single dad in New York.
MC: Would you ever act with Lily?
DH: I don’t know. I mean, I really like what she’s doing. But I do find that acting brings a certain energy to the people involved. In general, acting is about conflict and drama. So some of that energy has to be inherent to the relationship. And I don’t know if I want to bring that into my personal life.
In fact, a lot of my working relationships have somewhat of a distance. And that’s conscious because I want the drama to be able to be as free and as real as possible. And I do feel like, with Lily, if something was very real in a scene, it might hurt her feelings and I don’t really want to do that.
MC: In your new film Gran Turismo, you play racing driver coach Jack Salter. What was the big appeal?
DH: The script reminded me a lot of this movie I grew up with as a kid and I love so much: Hoosiers [from 1986]. It’s got that real classic sports feel to it, this euphoric underdog story.
MC: Are you a fast driver?
DH: I’m not that into speed, to be honest. Big machines that are fast … they kind of scare me. We shot a lot in Atlanta and that highway in Atlanta – getting on and off that – just terrifies me. I’m not one of those people who weaves in and out of traffic. I like to stay in the second slowest lane and just cruise along.
MC: In the film, players of the video game can join an academy to become real race drivers. If you could set up your own academy, what would it be?
DH: Occasionally I think to myself that I’d like to teach acting workshops. So I guess I could have the acting academy where I yell at students and get them to stay on the line and not commit!
MC: In the past, you’ve talked about facing alcoholism. Do you feel acting saved you?
DH: Absolutely. I mean, I was very self-destructive … I was lucky to find acting because it was very liberating. And it continues to be very liberating. Right now is a time when I’m unable to work because of the strikes. And I find it very difficult actually to exist in the world without this release.
MC: How do you feel about the phenomenon that TV series Stranger Things has become?
DH: I do feel somewhat that Stranger Things and [my character] Hopper … they are things that we’ve done and we’ve given them to you. And now you have your own experience of them and create your own world. It surprises me how enormous it has become. But it does seem to have taken on a life of its own that barely involves me anymore.
MC: Could you see yourself playing Hopper for years to come?
DH: We’ll see if he survives season five! He might wind up with Jessica Fletcher in Murder, He Wrote or something – a show where he’s off solving crimes. I’ll pitch it to Netflix!
Gran Turismo is in cinemas now.