David Harbour on Winona Ryder’s reactions during SAGs: ‘She couldn’t hear’

I can’t believe the Oscars are coming up this weekend already. This year is going by really fast (like a train crash). I’m looking forward to the Academy Awards, although I hope they’ve streamlined it somewhat, and I hope it’s full of rousing speeches like the SAG awards. I wish we didn’t have the need for people to speak out, but we do and the winners and presenters at the SAGs really delivered. One of the best speeches was from Stranger Things’s David Harbour (Chief Hopper) who used the message of Stranger Things, that a bunch of outcast kids can fight evil, as a metaphor for taking on 45′s administration. He said, in part:

We will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no home. We will get past the lies. We will hunt monsters! And when we are at a loss amidst the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per Chief Hopper, punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized! And we will do it all with soul, with heart, and with joy.

[via Consequence of Sound]

One of the most viral moments at the SAGs was Winona Ryder’s reaction to Harbour’s speech. She looked like she was deep in thought, she pulled a lot of faces and she nodded her head and raised her fist. Only Harbour said that Ryder did that because she couldn’t really hear what he was saying. Harbour made those comments at the Writer’s Guild Awards over the weekend, where Stranger Things was up for best drama series. (That went to The Americans.) He also said that he ran his speech by his costars ahead of time and that it went through several rewrites. Here’s what he told People Mag:

Harbour is revealing the real reason Ryder reacted the way she did on stage.

“She couldn’t hear me!” Harbour, 41, told PEOPLE at the Writers Guild Awards in New York Sunday night. “Which I was confused by, because I was screaming! But apparently, she couldn’t hear me…”

The Shrine Auditorium’s acoustics may have been partially to blame, but Harbour added of his costar, “She is just such a porous, expressive woman and actress — I think it just flowed through her like every experience — and I loved it.”

The actor said that he ran the speech by several co-stars (not including Ryder), and spent a week writing multiple iterations — but despite his prep work, there were still some things time didn’t allow him to touch on — one being the way women are perceived in the industry.

“A lot of Hollywood female characters are not treated as ‘bad ass’ — I wanted to talk about that … the women characters in our story that have such power….”

“What I was really trying to say in the speech was not so much political as it was cultural,” he said. “I feel like [actors] do have a responsibility as influencers in this culture that creates good or evil. We have a responsibility and we should be aware of that — that is really what I wanted to talk about.”

[From People]

It’s possible that Ryder missed what he was saying toward the end of his speech when the crowd was loudly applauding, but she was standing right next to him the whole time so that doesn’t ring true to me. Still, I like the way he responded to that question, by saying that she’s a “porous, expressive woman. I’m also still so impressed by that speech. I checked Harbour’s IMDB and he doesn’t have an writing credits yet. He should definitely consider writing if he hasn’t already.

Stranger Things is possibly coming back on Halloween of this year. There’s no confirmation on that, but many people believe that the trailer aired during the Superbowl hints that season two will air on Halloween.

photos credit: Getty and WENN.com

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21 Responses to “David Harbour on Winona Ryder’s reactions during SAGs: ‘She couldn’t hear’”

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  1. Talie says:

    With that booming voice and presence, someone needs to cast him in a Shakespeare play or movie. He was damn good…

    • ell says:

      he’s wonderful as hopper.

    • TQB says:

      He’s been a regular feature in NYC Shakespeare in the Park for the past 15 years or so. We studied theatre together in college. Most of our training was classical, meaning a ton of Shakespeare. He’s excellent at it but bombastic, big characters are easy for him. I was blown away by his ability to act small and subtle as Hopper. Not to mention that when I knew him he was kind of an ass and he’s clearly matured into a much more thoughtful person.

  2. ell says:

    idk, she’s just winona. i don’t think there’s much explaining to do lol

    • Clare says:

      right? Let Winona be. As long she isnt hurting herself or anyone else, can’t we just let her enjoy herself, and enjoy her, being her?

    • Esmom says:

      Lol, yes. Also, I could buy that maybe she couldn’t hear very well because of major sensory overload. That happened to me once at this weird movie venue, where we were close to the screen and the sound was booming right in my ears but somehow the overwhelming combo made me miss half of what was being said. I’m sure my facial expressions were similar to hers.

    • Angelica says:

      I know and it kinda ruins it that it gets explained this way. Please just let Winona continue to be all of us in 50+ expressions! I think she’s adorable…

  3. Erinn says:

    Man, I don’t know. I watched the video a while back and it was kind of concerning. It was the strangest thing – at first I thought I was watching a ‘bit’ or something.

    Sure, it’s probably hard to hear – but nobody else was going through so many facial expressions – not even the kids that were there. It was one of those videos where you just feel like you shouldn’t really be watching it.

    I love Harbour though – if you haven’t seen him do his Eleven Audition – you NEED to see that video. It is gold.

    • Matomeda says:

      +1 I think something is off with her. Many have suggested drugs. I’m not a psychologist so I’m not going to try to postulate anything, but I do work for a psychologist editing testing and reports, and it just seems to ring some bells.

    • Belle Epoch says:

      Minority view here. I thought she was terribly distracting. All she had to do was be supportive, like the other cast members, who probably really couldn’t hear anything! His speech was incredible, and she was like a little gremlin pulling faces at his elbow – as if she had never heard any of it before! She took away from his moment, but his response is incredibly gentlemanly. “Porous” in this case means “having no self control whatsoever and looking high.”

  4. SK says:

    Who knows? She’s a strange little bird

  5. mkyarwood says:

    In the Which Winona are You meme of life, I am all the Winonas.

  6. Patricia says:

    She’s a strange one, which is what makes her special. I feel like she’s from a generation back in Hollywood, before everyone looked and acted so polished and social-media-ready at all times. She’s just real and she’s kooky and she was living her life in that funny moment.

    • teacakes says:

      She was and is, and that’s why she remains an icon to this day.

      None of the brunette pixie substitutes Hollywood tried to foist on us after her – Natalie Portman being chief among those -came even close to Winona in her prime.

    • Ash says:

      I couldn’t agree more.

  7. teacakes says:

    I love David Harbour, he was wonderful as Hopper.

    And here’s the moment where I offer up kudos to Winona too, because she was perfect as Joyce. And part of what i love is that it’s a performance that actually isn’t dependent on her singular beauty, but doesn’t do anything as pedestrian and awards-baity as make her ugly – it’s just suppressed very effectively by poverty and worry.

  8. flybaby says:

    Im just happy to see she is working again