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and thus enter the money-making pantheon of superheroes. But today

Time:2017-11-14 17:27Shoes websites Click:

David Harbour

A big man with broad shoulders, deep-set eyes hidden under a baseball cap, and a jawline as thick and square as a dictionary, David Harbour doesn’t just walk down the streets of the East Village, he lumbers. The first time I see him, a sunlit day in late September, that line from the classic American folk tune “Dink’s Song” immediately pops into my head: “She had a man who was long and tall/Moved his body like a cannonball.” Is it the melancholic spillover of the allusion that gives the man an air of world-weary sadness, as if the force of gravity is stronger on him than on the rest of us? Is it that the residue of his breakout role on Netflix’s Stranger Things as police chief Jim Hopper, a decent man who can’t seem to get any breaks, still clings off-screen? Or is it something else?

After a handshake (firm) and eye contact (held), Harbour gets to the truth. “I pulled my Achilles tendon in a play about a year ago,” he says, explaining his shambling gait. That the play was Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida; that it was staged at New York’s prestigious Shakespeare in the Park; that Harbour was, himself, playing Achilles hedges the tragedy with bathos. As the 42-year-old lets out a rumbling laugh at the absurdity, his brow unfolds like a drawbridge. “It’s pretty ridiculous,” he says, “but if you have to tear your Achilles tendon, that’s the place to do it, right?”

The injury laid our hero low for a few months, but now he’s back on his feet. Stranger Things, the much-ballyhooed Netflix show, which emulsifies the joy of an ’80s teen buddy flick with the creepiness of the paranormal and a maelstrom of adult emotion, is back for its second season. In a few weeks, Harbour will be off to Bulgaria to play the title role as a half-demon in Hellboy, and thus enter the money-making pantheon of superheroes. But today, he is concerned with his feet. “Ever since I tore my tendon, I have to wear these,” he says, pointing down at a pair of vaguely therapeutic-looking sneakers. “I go work out in them and I walk around in them, and they smell so bad. I want to find some kind of balls that you put in them, or something to, like, air-freshen them.” He’s already tried various shoe care modalities, though he allowed that his regimen was “unevolved”. We head through the East Village toward a sporting goods store near Union Square.

“I’m a sensitive weirdo [living] in the East Village who is an artist and not a guy,” says Harbour. “I’ve built this life where I represent the worlds I admire, but I’m not necessarily as manly as I portray myself.”

Harbour belongs to that category of great actors who are experts at withholding. He is more emotive than, say, Tom Hardy, who for the last few years has built a career on grunts and dirty looks. But much less so than, say, Ryan Gosling, whose sensitivity and emotional intelligence seeps through his perfect Canadian pores. But like Harbour’s cinematic forebears—Wayne, McQueen, Eastwood, Hackman, and Brando—if there is ever an option to do less, to speak less, to press his lips together and hermetically seal the hurt inside, he will avail himself of it. Besides the adorableness of the child actors; the virtuosic performance of Our Lady of the Micro-expression, Winona Ryder; the Spielbergian cinematography and writing by the Duffer Brothers that is as strong as any of Rod Serling’s best episodes of The Twilight Zone; it is Harbour’s performance as Hopper that has assured Stranger Things’ membership in the club of prestige television. His inscrutable character is suffering wrapped in flesh and a uniform. Asked to submit one episode to the Television Academy for this year’s Emmys (he lost to John Lithgow as Winston Churchill in The Crown), Harbour chose the finale of the first season, “Chapter Eight: The Upside Down”, which heartbreakingly ping-pongs between Hopper’s present emotional catatonia and joy-infused moments while his daughter was still alive. The warp and weft of emotion knot into a sturdy naturalistic fabric—canvas, perhaps, or worn-out, lived-in denim. But the actor has built his career not on light, but on darkness. Peak David Harbour is landscape-like, with features nearly still in the changing light. Aquifers of emotion run subterranean beneath the barren land. And yet, for its quiescence, every gesture becomes pregnant.

Though his brow is chiselled, in person Harbour is, of course, not a sheer rock face. He’s funny and talkative and, in his heart, an artist. “Ultimately,” he says, “I’m a sensitive weirdo [living] in the East Village who is an artist and not a guy. I’ve built this life where I represent the worlds I admire, but I’m not necessarily as manly as I portray myself.”

Passing dive bars turned third-wave coffee shops turned banks, he remembers taking the Metro North train from White Plains, New York, where he grew up, into the city on weekends to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There he’d stand before paintings like Jackson Pollock’s Number 28, 1950, a polyphonic spree of black and white lines, and Mark Rothko’s windows of luminous colour. Even as a tween, Harbour was touched by the non-verbal power embodied in the work of New York’s abstract expressionists. For they too danced on the border between the stoic damaged goods of the silent men they admired and the sensitive world of an artist. Afterward he and his friends would get buzzed at local cafés, ordering Irish coffees. “It sounded normal enough, but it had alcohol in it,” he explains. “If you got caught, you could say, ‘I just thought it was coffee.’”

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