‘Black Widow’ Star David Harbour Didn’t Think ‘Stranger Things’ Was Going To Be Succesful

David Harbour has become one of the most recognizable actors in Hollywood thanks to his recent success on the big and small screen. After gaining international fame due to the success of Netflix’s Stranger Things, Harbour landed a leading role in Marvel’s latest film, Black Widow.

Even though Stranger Things has grown into an extremely successful franchise, there was a time when Harbour wasn’t so sure the series would be well received. In fact, around the time of its release, he was almost certain that it was destined for failure.  

David Harbour was sure that ‘Stranger Things’ would be a failure 

David Harbour and Winona Ryder attend the premiere of Netflix's "Stranger Things" Season 3
David Harbour and Winona Ryder attend the premiere of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” Season 3 | Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Harbour discussed his journey with Stranger Things during a resurfaced 2020 interview with Stephen Colbert. 

“I was sure it was going to be a complete disaster, and a big failure,” he admitted. “Before it came out — I remember we were shooting too, we would all sit around and talk about how terrible it was going to be. … Mainly because of my performance. I thought that I was tanking the whole show.”

He didn’t see any promotion for ‘Stranger Things’ in New York City

Part of the reason why Harbour was insecure about Stranger Things’ potential for success was the lack of traditional promotion he saw for the series. 

“And then, before it came out you normally see things on buses — I live in New York. I’m wandering around, on buses, on phone booths. There’s like, ads for new shows,” he said. “Not a single ad.”

As Stranger Things neared its air date, the lack of ads in NYC began to worry Harbour. 

“Three weeks before the show — a week before the show,” he said. “And I was doing a play with a friend of mine who’s on a very successful television program, and I said to him, I was like, ‘No ads. I guess they’re doing some kind of new campaign.’”

David Harbour’s friend convinced him that the ‘Stranger Things’ producers wanted the show to fail

To make matters worse, Harbour’s friend began putting ideas in his head about how the Stranger Things’ producers likely weren’t promoting it because they didn’t want it to succeed.  

“And he said, ‘No, they’re burying the show. And I said, ‘What does that mean, burying the show? I don’t understand your television lingo.’ And he said, ‘They hate the show, they’re trying to make sure no one watches it. And then the show came out, and it was like a overnight zeitgeist success.”

He knew the show was a hit when his old drivers started calling him

Once Stranger Things took off, Harbour started to receive validation in an unusual way. 

“I have a bunch of telephone numbers from people that — I’ll have a driver from five years ago and he’ll be like, ‘Put my number in your phone.’ I put in the phone, and then, you know. I get texts from drivers for the last ten years being like, ‘I saw Stranger Things, it’s so good!’” 

The release date for season four of Stranger Things has not yet been confirmed. 

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