Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Will (Noah Schnapp), Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) and the gang are about to have the best summer ever. That is, until everything in Hawkins, Ind., gets turned — you guessed it — upside down.
Stranger Things jumps to 1985 in Season 3 (dropping on Netflix July 4), and the kids are getting older, romances are heating up and everyone is totally psyched about the New Coke and the new mall in town. But conniving humans and otherworldly beasts will do their worst to turn summer into a royal bummer.
Fortunately, Police Chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) is back to battle both his personal demons and the ones that come out of an interdimensional gate. We caught up with Harbour to get all the juicy details on Stranger Things 3. “I won’t spoil that much. Don’t worry,” Harbour says. Thanks, David.
What’s your current mustache status?
David Harbour: Currently I have a big-old beard like Santa Claus right now. But this season, it’s just flat-out mustache. Flat-out Magnum P.I. mustache!
How does Hopper deal with Eleven becoming a teenager?
The fact that she’s become a member of society with this birth certificate, she’s into boys and he’s a single father — there’s a lot of rich material for an opening of Hopper, even more of a domestic Hopper that we haven’t seen yet. … It starts out in a much lighter vein, of dealing with a daughter that wants to make out with boys. It’s awful for him. It’s like his biggest nightmare.
Is it hard for Hopper to handle all the changes happening around him?
I think that he’s very stuck, in a certain way. As the seasons have been progressing, we’ve been seeing him open up more. In the first season, he was very shut down. At the end of the season, when he saves Will, he opened up in a certain way. And with Eleven in Season 2, he opens up even deeper. We keep hitting on this thing where he doesn’t like things that are out of his control, because of the pain that the death of his daughter caused him. … The idea of loving something that is unstable — like a child growing up — is a very tricky thing for him.
Can Hopper drop all his baggage and live a “normal” life?
This guy has a very complicated backstory which we’ve really only glimpsed at. There’s so much more there to the fabric of Hopper that we’ll be able to see, not only in this season but in successive seasons as well, what he’s been through and where he comes from. In the first season, it was him just becoming a human being again. The second season was him opening up to the possibility of being a father. And the third season more is about him trying to be a man again. He’s putting himself out there as a vulnerable man in a way that’s awkward and uncomfortable, and is a big hit to his pride, as well. But all that stuff is really fun to watch.
Did the Duffer Brothers really get inspiration from Fletch in Season 3?
[Laughs] I think I said that in an interview and [the Duffers] called me up and were like, “What the hell are you talking about?” Look, I claim that there are unconscious things working on the Duffers that they don’t know about. I think we’re playing with different genres, and ultimately the biggest influence on the entire thing is Steven Spielberg. Those Spielberg epics are like the primary alphabet that we’re using. The first season I thought was much more Stephen King-inspired, a bit of a darker tone. The second season got more Goonies, sort of Spielberg-esque. And the third season, by the end of it, there’s huge Spielberg set pieces, like huge things that are right out of these Spielberg epic adventure stories. … But there’s definitely one scene in this season that I thought was particularly Fletch. You can judge for yourself.
Do you have any great pop culture memories from 1985?
I saw Back to the Future in the theater. I love that movie, but unlike other movies, I think that movie actually gets better the older I get. At the time, I was like, “Well, yeah, it’s kind of a good time-travel movie.” And now I think that it’s a masterpiece of a movie.
Did you get your hands on the Stranger Things LEGO set yet?
Somebody brought it to me at a con. I don’t have it yet, but I saw it. It’s huge! It’s so cool. There’s like a Funko Pop, there’s a McFarlane doll, now there’s a LEGO. It’s like the amount of toys of Chief Hopper just keeps growing. It’s great. I like playing with them myself.