David Harbour Weight Loss: Everything to Know About His Transformation in ‘Stranger Things’

In Stranger Things Season 4, David Harbour sports a much thinner physique as his character, Jim Hopper, spends time in a Russian prison. His weight loss is especially noticeable when he ditches his prison garb for streetwear in the finale. So how many pounds did the Stranger Things actor shed, and how did he do it? Here’s what to know about David Harbour’s weight loss journey.

David Harbour attends the Stranger Things 4 premiere after his weight loss journey
‘Stranger Things’ star David Harbour | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

How much weight did David Harbour lose?

It made sense that Hopper would lose weight during his time in a Russian prison. He did a lot of manual labor working on the railroad, and he probably didn’t eat well. However, David Harbour’s weight loss actually wasn’t for Stranger Things — not at first. He lost the weight for Marvel’s Black Widow, in which he played Alexei Alanovich Shostakov (who, coincidentally, was also trapped in a Russian prison).

In a 2021 interview with The New York Times, Harbour explained that he already had the “beard and the hair” from his Stranger Things role. So he suggested that Black Widow also use his belly. Harbour gained more weight and got up to 280 pounds for Black Widow. However, the show had flashback scenes where Harbour’s character needed to be thinner. So Harbour dropped 60 pounds. He recalled his weight loss conversation with the assistant director:

“I said to the first A.D., ‘Listen, we have to shoot the flashback stuff at the end, so that by the time we shoot the flashback, I’ll lose the weight and I’ll be thin.’ And he was like, ‘You’ll never be thin.’ [Laughs.] I was like, ‘Yes I will, man.’ And I lost like 60 pounds through the shooting. The first stuff we shot was at the prison, so that belly that’s coming at you, that’s all real belly. And then as we shot, I started to lose weight. I was just hungry a lot of the shoot.”

David Harbour shared his simple secret to weight loss

Sixty pounds is quite a transformation. And many fans are wondering how David Harbour managed the weight loss — did he have a strict diet or a lengthy exercise routine? Apparently, it was much simpler than that. He told Page Six that his secret was “just not eating.”

“It’s amazing. You try to do all these different things, the protein and the this and that, and then you just stop eating, and you lost weight,” he said.

Harbour didn’t go into detail on what “just not eating” meant for him, but he did comment on how it wasn’t exactly healthy. And he added that his weight-loss method was part of what made Hopper’s inmate status more convincing.

“I think you’ll see, nutritionally, it’s not very good for me, mentally and nutritionally,” he said.

‘Stranger Things’ used prosthetics for Jim Hopper in some scenes

One thing fans might notice in Stranger Things 4 is that Hopper does seem to have a little more weight in some scenes. As Harbour revealed on Instagram in early June, that was all prosthetics. The makeup effects team had to make Hopper’s face appear fuller in some flashback moments.

In an interview with CinemaBlend, prosthetic makeup designer Barrie Gower revealed exactly how he manipulated Harbour’s appearance for Stranger Things 4.

“When he’s first taken to the Russian prison, and he’s interrogated, that’s David wearing our fat makeup. So he’s got a full facial appliance just to give him a rounder jaw and a fuller face, which is really quite tricky and complicated makeup to do because he obviously had to look seamless on his face, and we had nowhere to hide,” Gower said.

Stranger Things 4 is now streaming on Netflix.

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