‘Stranger Things’: David Harbour Had to Live out His Biggest Fear in Season 4

Stranger Things Season 4 saw David Harbour’s character Jim Hopper in the darkest scenario yet. Hopper miraculously survived the explosion at end of season 3. Unfortunately, he was then captured by a group of Russian soldiers. He then spends most of the season in a Russian prison camp, living out one of Harbour’s worst fears.

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for Stranger Things 4.]

David Harbour attends the Stranger Things Season 4 premiere at Netflix Brooklyn on May 14, 2022 in Brooklyn, New York. Harbour wears a patterned jacket and yellow sunglasses.
David Harbour | Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

How did Jim Hopper survive?

Season 3 of Stranger Things ended with Joyce closing the Gate to the Upside Down that the Russians created. She and Murray presumed that the ensuing explosion killed Hopper, but they were wrong. Stranger Things Season 4 revealed that Hopper jumped from the platform and fell unconscious. When he awoke he was met by a group of Russian soldiers who transported him to a prison camp in their country.

While there, Hopper was tortured for information on Hawkin’s Lab and eventually forced into hard labor. Hopper endures months of hellish conditions until he is forced to face the Demogorgon after a failed escape attempt. Luckily Joyce and Murray show up to save the day and bring Hopper back home.

David Harbour lived out his greatest fear in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 4

While filming Stranger Things Season 4, David Harbour had to live out a terrifying situation. “Imprisonment is always my biggest fear,” he stated in an interview with GQ. “Literally and metaphorically. I often have dreams of going to prison. I know Freud has some kind of interpretation of that. But [whether it’s] artistically, or relationship-wise, or a lack of funds.”

Harbour continued, discussing a moment that perhaps worsened his fear of incarceration. The actor openly talks about his bipolar disorder, a diagnosis he received after an episode at age 26 landed him in a mental institution. GQ asked Harbour if his greatest fear relates to his time spent within the institution.

“I’d definitely call it that,” he says. “There was a locked door. But the great thing about that, though, is every day on the outside is a good one. After an experience like that, you really don’t need all that much. But I’ve been having that dream since I was 11 or 12.”

Harbour has been open about having bipolar disorder

In another interview with NPR, Stranger Things Season 4 star David Harbour discussed how bipolar disorder has affected him as an actor. “I think that – you know, for me personally, one of the things that I’ve felt in my life has been that I’ve been somewhat of an outcast or I’ve been sort of too sensitive for a lot of people. I’ve been too much in a certain way. And so acting allowed me to channel all of this neurosis, this sensitivity, into a character,” he stated.

“And I think in a certain way, I mean, one of the – if you could – I sort of like to be very diverse in my characters, but if you could call me a certain brand, I guess it would be sort of a heroic outcast in a sense because I am a big guy and I know how to fight, but at my essence, I have a lot of empathy for those people who are lost and who feel like they don’t really know what’s going on because I myself have been there.”

All episodes of Stranger Things are currently available on Netflix.

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