The real-life friendship of Stranger Things’ Joyce and Hopper will warm your heart

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Amy Swales
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As much as we shouldn’t set too much store by #relationshipgoals and the like, there is something extremely heart-warming about knowing the stars of our favourite TV shows are close in real life.

Given how fond we are of Stranger Things’ Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper, it’s nothing but a pleasure to see the pair – better known as actors Winona Ryder and David Harbour – are properly friends in real life too.

In an interview with Variety, Harbour says his friendship with Ryder has even had an effect on how he plays his character – to the point that the creators of Stranger Things, the Duffer brothers, have incorporated their chemistry.

“I just adore Winona Ryder and working with her and that just shows in the work,” Harbour reveals, while discussing whether the two characters would get involved romantically. “Even when I’m playing Hopper I can’t divorce my personal feelings from loving playing scenes with Winona Ryder. Part of that just comes through, the dynamic that I have with her.

“The Duffers are writing with that in mind as well. I think that we’ll have to see where that goes in the future.”

While he didn’t confirm whether Joyce – mum to Will – and chief of police Hopper would get together in the next season of the Netflix show, Harbour did say he felt the characters needed each other, as they were both dealing with traumatic events.

“I consider it a little bit like Chinatown, with Faye Dunaway and Jack Nicholson. These are two lost, broken people who need each other but are so prideful and messed up that they’ll never admit it.”

He added: “I don’t know that ultimately they’re quite right for each other. Talk about problems! […] But I do think he feels something for her, because she knew him in high school, too […]

“It’s a special connection. I think that’s something that’s very deep between them. We’ll have to see where that goes in future seasons. But I root for some happiness for Joyce and Hopper. If they can find that together, that would be great.”

Harbour – who regularly posts pictures of his co-star on social media – has waxed lyrical about his pal previously, telling the Los Angeles Times that he’d always had a bit of a crush on Ryder, so was ecstatic to work with her professionally.

“She was my high school crush with Heathers and Beetlejuice and she’s such a great person to work with,” he said.

“She was just so game to jump in and our process melded so well. It was like a dream.”

The second series of Stranger Things has been received well since it dropped on the streaming service last month.

Byers’ love life is explored in the series, and one part of it is involved in what the Duffers have described as “the hardest scene to write” (warning: the linked article contains spoilers).


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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.