Emmys: ‘Stranger Things’ Star David Harbour Revisits Sheriff Hopper’s Tough-Guy Moment

Kelly Woo
Writer

As we enter Emmy season — nomination voting runs June 12 to June 26 — Yahoo TV will be spotlighting performances and other contributions that we feel deserve recognition.

David Harbour is a veteran character actor who finally broke out as a leading man on Netflix’s supernatural drama Stranger Things, so he’s careful about even the small details when it comes to performing scenes.

For Yahoo TV’s “My Scene to Remember” Emmy series, Harbour didn’t choose a big action sequence or one where he’s exploring the spooky world of the Upside Down. Instead, he reflected on a quieter scene, when Sheriff Jim Hopper sidles up to a bar to try to pump info out of a source. Hopper is called upon to do two things he knows well: drinking and smoking.

“I drink … I think it’s tea. Unsweet tea,” Harbour says. “We don’t drink real alcohol. I don’t drink in life anyway.”

And the cigarettes? “I smoke real cigarettes,” he says, hastily adding, “When I’m with the kids, I smoke herbals.”

But when he has the option, Harbour always prefers the real deal. “I do like to be a smoker when I play a smoker, because it’s one of those things,” he says. “When you see someone fake-smoking in a scene, and you can tell they don’t smoke in real life, that annoys me a lot.”

The scene also has a line that had the crew razzing Harbour for days. “They love giving me s**t,” he laughs.

Even in less showy scenes, the quality of the Duffer brothers’ writing comes through, Harbour insists.

“They really respect actors, and I think it shows,” he says of the series’ creators. “They really let us do what we need to do. I just think their writing is so sophisticated.”

Season 1 of Stranger Things is streaming on Netflix. Season 2 premieres this Halloween.

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