Ahead Of Filming Stranger Things Season 5, David Harbour Opens Up About Being ‘Depressed As Hell’ During The Hollywood Strikes

 David Harbour as Hopper in Stranger Things.
David Harbour as Hopper in Stranger Things.

The Hollywood strikes were hard on a lot of entertainment professionals who were forced to stop work on many major projects until the WGA and SAG-AFTRA were able to negotiate new contracts with the studios. The work stoppage was a major hit to the California economy and was financially devastating for many. It likely also had internal effects on some whose schedules were disrupted due to the lack of work. Stranger Things actor David Harbour recently opened up about his own mental health struggles due to the historic strikes, as he prepares to get started on the fifth and final season of one of the best shows to binge on Netflix.

While chatting with People, the Black Widow actor talked about how hard the strike was for him on a mental level, as the work stoppage barred him from acting, working on any projects, or even promoting upcoming work. David Harbour candidly said he was feeling "depressed as hell" during the labor dispute and also likened the situation to another major event from the past few years:

I mean, you have to ask my wife [Lily Allen], because I've been sitting on the couch depressed as hell. It's been bad. I mean, it's like what happened to me in the same way in COVID where you think to yourself like, ‘Oh, now I kind of have all this time,’ and then you just check your Google alerts every five minutes and are just neurotically insecure. So, I did nothing. I mean, I maybe read half a book, watched a bunch of TV, and then now, I'm super excited to be back.

While the financial burden of the strikes has been endlessly discussed, the mental health aspect of a work stoppage can arguably be overlooked. It's admirable that the Gran Turismo star opened up about a feeling I’m sure many actors and writers had throughout the strikes. Thankfully, for him and more, the actors strike ended within the past week, while the WGA writers strike concluded in September. It also doesn’t seem like Harbour will have to wait long to be in front of the camera once again. According to the actor, he received a call about resuming work on Stranger Things Season 5 immediately after SAG-AFTRA reached an agreement. He explained:

I mean, I don't know if we'll be shooting next week, but yeah, as soon as possible. They literally called me, I think it was 10 minutes after the SAG thing on Twitter. The first AD [assistant director] is like, ‘So, get the flight for you on Monday, right? We'll be acting in Atlanta.’ I mean, there are other people that maybe aren't, but I am thrilled.

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It’s no surprise that the show's creative team would want to get back to work as soon as possible. What we know about Stranger Things Season 5 at this point is that it's been delayed to 2025, much to the chagrin of many fans of the series. After the WGA strke ended, the writers teased the first scene of the series and have been dropping other BTS tidbits here and there. Plot details are scarce at the moment though, if anything, devotees seem most curious about whether any more major character deaths are on the horizon.

Although David Harbour is excited to get back to work, the Violent Night star previously expressed a desire for his career to move beyond the sci-fi horror show. He used George Clooney and ER to illustrate that point in a thoughtful way. Maybe the break will invigorate his love for the series, since he's had some distance from the show. It's wonderful that Harbour seems to be happy to be heading back into work after a tough few months, and I look forward to seeing what he, the cast and crew produce.

Fans of Stranger Things can revisit the available four seasons of the show now with a Netflix subscription. Anyone in need of some newer content at this point, though, should check out the 2023 TV schedule for options.