Don’t expect David Harbour to carry on like Jim Hopper after the cameras cut off: The Stranger Things star explained his distain for method acting in a recent interview with GQ, even picking on personal hero Daniel Day-Lewis for doing it.
“When I was younger — it’s so embarrassing — but I remember playing that famous Scottish King,” Harbour said. “And being like, ‘I’m gonna kill a cat’ or something: ‘I’m gonna go murder something to know what it feels like to murder.’ I didn’t actually do it, obviously. Not only is that [method acting] stuff silly, it’s dangerous, and it actually doesn’t produce good work.”
Day-Lewis, best known for his roles in dramas like There Will Be Blood and The Last of the Mohicans, has earned a reputation for staying in-character throughout the filming process of many of his movies. “He’s an extraordinary actor who I’m captivated and fascinated by,” Harbour went on. “[But] when he explains his process it sounds like nonsense to me.”
Harbour didn’t knock method acting before properly trying it, though. He added that he’s “very much trained in classical American method acting,” and can give a detailed rundown of its history. His skepticism of the method approach doesn’t mean he isn’t dedicated to his roles, either: In the latest season of Stranger Things, Hopper is imprisoned in Russia for months, so the Hellboy actor had quite a few pounds to shed to look the part.
“I lost about 80 pounds from Season 3 — I was about 270 [then], and when we shot [Season 4] I was around 190,” Harbour said. “I don’t think I’ll ever do that again.”
Evidently, Day-Lewis had enough with method acting, too: The 65-year-old confirmed his retirement from acting back in 2017, with Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread marking his final big-screen role. You can catch Harbour in Season 4 of Stranger Things, with all episodes available on Netflix now.