While David Harbour is beloved for his role as Jim Hopper on Stranger Things, his turn as Hellboy in the 2019 reboot of the character's film series is thought of less fondly. Critics were not kind to the film, and few fans saw it, turning it into a box office bomb. Speaking to GQ, Harbour is able to look back on the film with the benefit of distance. He admits he was incredibly disappointed with the film's performance but was probably being unrealistic about its chance of success considering how attached fans remained to Guillermo del Toro's two Hellboy movies.
"It was a very difficult experience because I wanted a lot out of it. I really like [Mike Mignola, Hellboy creator], I like that character," Harbour says. "And then immediately when it began, even when it was announced, I realised that people did not want that character reinvented. I was very naive and optimistic about what we were going to do."
Luckily, Harbour knew someone with a similar experience starring in an anticipated but ultimately failed movie based on a popular comic book character that he could turn to for advice on how to cope. He gave Ryan Reynolds, star of 2011's Green Lantern movie, a call.
"I know him a little bit. I called him and I was like, Hey man, I just need to know something. You know Green Lantern? Huge flop for you," Harbour says. "What the fuck is that like, because I think I'm going to hit that right now. Am I gonna be okay? Am I gonna survive this?" Harbour didn't give a detailed account of Reynolds' response but did say the start was "sweet" about it.
But the similarities between the two don't stop there. Reynolds found comic book movie redemption in the Deadpool movie, which he may or may not have had a direct hand in leaking to the public. Harbour hasn't headlined a Marvel movie, but he did get to play the Red Guardian, Alexei Shostakov, in Marvel Studios' Black Widow movie, which got a much warmer reception from critics and fans.
"What's funny about Alexei, you have this 25-year gap we don't know about [in the movie]. We see him in Ohio and in the prison," Harbour told ComicBook.com of the character ahead of Black Widow's debut. "And even before the prison, there was a time when he was the Red Guardian, he must have put the suit back on. There is this period of time where he has all these stories about his life. It's questionable whether or not they're real."
He continued, "I do think the classic Cold War thing is a really fun and funny dynamic between these two guys and the fact that they came up like nuclear warheads like in an arms race together. I think it's a great concept that could be explored further. Is Kevin Feige in the room, did he hear?"