David Harbour is set to make his Marvel debut in the star-crossed Black Widow. Many fans know the charming actor for his turn as police chief Jim Hopper on Stranger Things, but Harbour’s been working regularly all century. Here are some projects you may not have missed Harbour in.
‘Law & Order’
Like many actors just starting out in Hollywood, Harbour got his first official television credit in a 1999 episode of Law & Order. He would pop up in the series, as well as spin-offs Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent a few times over the years, playing many different killers and criminals in the process.
The 2004 biopic Kinsey brought Laura Linney an Academy Award nomination and placed on many critics’ top ten lists. Harbour joined Liam Neeson, Chris O’Donnell, and then-unknown John Krasinski in bringing the story of sex expert Alfred Kinsey to life. As in most of these projects, Harbour only had a very small role. It’s always interesting to look back on prestige dramas like this and spot the big names that are just filling out the edges of the cast.
2005 was a big year for Harbour. He scored his first and to date only Tony Nomination for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, and he starred in a Best Picture nominee. Brokeback Mountain is best remembered for Heath Ledger’s once-in-a-generation performance, but the film has an excellent supporting cast as well. Anne Hathaway, fresh off the Princess Diaries, and Linda Cardellini also star. Brokeback Mountain famously lost to Crash at that year’s Oscars, but its legacy and reputation have endured.
‘War of the Worlds’
Harbour did it all in 2005, including popping up in a Steven Spielberg film. Harbour won the coveted role of “Dock Worker” in Tom Cruise’s War of the Worlds. Harbour fared better than Channing Tatum however, whose role as “boy in church scene” was sadly cut. Stranger Things pays tribute to many works of Speilberg, especially ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, so it’s cute to know that Harbour has worked with the man himself. Harbour played MI6 agent Roger Anderson, a role that would have been more fleshed out had the series gotten a second season.
Titanic lovers rejoice. 2008’s Revolutionary Road saw Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio reunite to much critical acclaim. The film earned three Academy Award nominations, including a Best Supporting Actor nod for Michael Shannon. Shannon and Harbour have both since joined the DC Universe in Man of Steel and Suicide Squad respectively. Director Sam Mendes would go on to director 1917 and a few James Bond films. Speaking of Bond…
‘Quantum Of Solace’
Harbour stayed busy in 2008. Often cited as a victim of the writer’s strike, Quantum of Solace has lived in infamy for many Bond fans. Daniel Craig’s second turn as Bond was not as well-received as his debut in Casino Royale, though he would famously recover in Skyfall. Harbour played corrupt CIA agent Gregg Beam, a minor villain in the film. It’s technically possible Beam could pop back up in No Time To Die, but Gossip Cop isn’t holding our breath.
The Pan Am television series went the same way the titular airline did: poorly. The ABC series is best known today for being instrumental in bringing Harbour’s Suicide Squad co-star Margot Robbie to the United States. This was one of many 1960s dramas that hit network television in the wake of Mad Men. Despite some solid critical reception, it was canned after one season. Perhaps if Pan Am had found a wider audience, Harbour wouldn’t have been tapped for Stranger Things.
While not quite as fondly remembered as its forebearer The West Wing, The Newsroom enjoyed a three-season run on HBO. Harbour starred alongside Jeff Daniels, Dev Patel, and Jane Fonda in the story of a fictional, well, newsroom. The fast-talking series is among the best-known projects of Olivia Munn and was key to bringing her from G4 and The Daily Show into films like X-Men Apocalypse and The Predator.
‘A Walk Among The Tombstones’
This 2014 film saw Harbour reunite with Liam Neeson, his old Kinsey co-star. Harbour played the villain Ray in this neo-noir thriller. When the Duffer Brothers cast Harbour in Stranger Things, they did so because they thought he had been “waiting too long for this opportunity” to portray a heroic leading man. Until then, as you can tell, he was primarily a bit player who usually played villains.
Studying Harbour’s career, you’ll notice how many power players he got to work with before landing his big break. Whether it was with Dwayne Johnson in Snitch or alongside Jesse Plemons in Black Mass, Harbour’s worked with dozens upon dozens of big names. It’s been a long road for Harbour from Law & Order to hosting Saturday Night Live, and it only promises to get even bigger and more interesting.
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