If the actor playing the demonic hero Hellboy looks familiar, it’s not because he’s Ron Perlman, the actor who played him in the previous movies.
He looks familiar if you’ve seen Netflix’s Stranger Things because this Hellboy is David Harbour, who plays Hopper, the sheriff in the popular sci-fi series, which is gearing up for its third season.
Before his famous ‘Stranger Things’ role
Harbour began his professional career on Broadway in 1999 in a revival of The Rainmaker. He earned a Tony nomination for his work in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf. He began making appearances in small roles in big films, including Revolutionary Road, the Kate Winslet/Leonardo DiCaprio film that isn’t about a big boat, and Quantum of Solace, the second James Bond film to star Daniel Craig as 007.
Referring to his Stranger Things role, Harbour told Men’s Journal, “I didn’t think I was going to get it, to be honest.” But get it he did, kicking his career up to the next level. Stranger Things not only earned him Emmy and Golden Globe nominations, but he won an ensemble award with the rest of the cast, with an outspoken acceptance speech that made him the subject of many a meme.
‘Hellboy’ is his first title role
Hellboy, however, will represent the first time he’s carried a title role. And he’s only too aware that he’s filling some beloved shoes. The new movie is a reboot of the 2004 and 2008 films featuring Perlman and directed by Academy Award-winner Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water).
Harbour told Men’s Journal, “You know, I had some trepidation because I have a lot of love for those Guillermo del Toro movies and Ron Perlman. I didn’t love the idea of a reboot, but when they showed me the script and explained how it would be rated R, as well as closer to the source material, I started to come around.”
The new movie is directed by Neil Marshall, whose credits include The Descent and Doomsday and will reportedly be much gorier and more violent than its predecessors.
More comic films
Now that Harbour has taken on a comic book character, he seems ready to explore more franchises, having signed up for a role in Black Widow, a standalone film about Scarlett Johannson’s Avengers character.
He can’t tell you much about that movie, though, with Marvel’s all encompassing shroud of secrecy. When Entertainment Tonight pressed him for details, he demurred, saying, “(Marvel would) kick me out so fast.”
Meanwhile, Harbour promises the third season of Stranger Things, going live on July 4, will continue its tradition of being unafraid to kill sacred cows.
I always get choked up when I watch it, and this season is no different. It takes a lot of risks, but in its essence it’s going to smack you in the heart. It’s really funny and it’s really beautiful and there are some big, big surprises,” Harbour tells Collider.
As his career continues to ascend, Harbour tries to ground himself by keeping a sense of humor about it all, especially with his unique social media posts.
Last year Harbour promised he would officiate a wedding if one of his tweets got a sinister 666,000 retweets.
“666k Of this tweet. Big Red officiates. Full Gear. In his saintly best. Impossible number? Think of how difficult it will be for me to get this character ordained by a Christian church???????? (P.S. – I’ll knock off 500k if you can get @artofmmignola to read a poem at the service)”
And that wasn’t even the first time he pulled such a stunt. He appeared in a high school senior’s graduation photos after she got 25,000 retweets.
No word yet on what his Black Widow social media stunt will be. He probably couldn’t tell you anyway.