How ‘Stranger Things’ actor David Harbour underwent extreme ‘physical transformation’ for his role

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Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know that the fourth season of Netflix’s cult show ‘Stranger Things‘ has long dropped, and fans are still reeling from the shocking finale episode that left them with a stressful cliffhanger.

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The fate of fan-favourite character Jim Hopper — played by actor David Harbour — was hanging by a thread, too, this season, with him being imprisoned in a gulag-style Russian cell.

Hopper, while a major recurring character, was mostly missing-in-action vis à vis the events at the fictional town of Hawkins and the upside-down. But, he contributed significantly to the fight against big baddie Vecna from his cell.

Harbour took to Instagram to answer what we have been thinking for a while now: just how did he manage to shed all that weight and look emaciated? While his character was a burly guy in the first three seasons, the fourth one was hard on him with brutal torture and starving.

“Many of you have asked about Hopper’s physical transformation from season 3 to season 4,” Harbour wrote in a long note on Instagram, which ran alongside three pictures. “My trainer worked with me for 8 months to make the transformation, and then another year to keep it going through the pandemic,” he said about fitness trainer David Higgins.

While the first picture was a collage — a shot from season 3 placed on top of one from season 4 — the second one was a selfie clicked during a workout session. The third photograph, again, was an age-defying mirror selfie, in which 47-year-old Harbour appeared ripped.

“All told, it was a difficult and exciting ride, changing diet and exercise plans (or lack thereof),” he wrote, adding: “Second picture is me and David the week we began, my resistances and fury flaring. And picture three is the shoot day, the black X’s are for CGI scarring, because of problems with the practical effect.”

The actor mentioned that he “lost over 75lbs”, or a whopping 34 kg! “265-270 [around 122 kg] in season 3 and all the way down to 190 [86 kg] when we shot.”

He added that he “ballooned up again” for another role, and that he is “struggling to fight back down towards a good weight for wherever Hopper ends up in season 5”. “All this up and down is not good for the body, and I’ll have to give it up soon, but it is such a fun part of the job — to live in a different version of your skin for a while,” he concluded.

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