L-R: Oscar Isaac, Andrea Riseborough, Madonna, James D’Arcy and David Harbour
Stranger Things may have kickstarted David Harbour’s cultural moment as it were, but there are those who have been waving the Harbour banner long before he was Hopper. That includes Madonna, who cast him in her 2011 historical romance W.E. because she thought he was hot—according to Harbour himself.
“It was a crazy thing. It was a real cloak-and-dagger type of experience,” Harbour says of auditioning for the part during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. “I got a call from a casting director that I knew very well saying they’re putting together a top-secret movie read-through, but you just have to show up at the St. Regis and go in this room and all will be revealed. And I was like, ‘This is really weird and creepy.’”
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Ah, the days before Harbour became part of the Marvel machine and learned how cloak-and-dagger things could really get. At the time, all the actor wanted to know is how he got this mysterious director’s attention; he was told that they saw his intimate scene in Revolutionary Road and thought he was “sexy.” For some reason, these clues made Harbour think he was about to meet Ridley Scott or Martin Scorsese. Instead, “I show up at the St. Regis and I get in the room and there’s a bunch of other New York actors there and in walks Madonna, who’s directing this movie. … The first thing that flooded over me, I was like, ‘Wow, Madonna thinks I’m sexy.’”
“It was a truly harrowing, exciting experience,” he says, admitting how much he loved her 1986 “Open Your Heart” music video. “I was 11 years old when I saw that video and so there I am, in this boardroom of the St. Regis, and it all comes flooding back. And I’m there with a bowler cap just like, ‘I’m going to run off with you into the distance.’”
Madonna – W.E. Official Trailer
“She is a genius in many realms. The film was not a terrific movie,” he adds of W.E., which also starred Abby Cornish, Andrea Riseborough, Oscar Isaac, Natalie Dormer, and James D’Arcy. Harbour says he knew the film was going badly during filming, “But there were moments! There were dance sequences in the film—of course—they were done by her choreographer. But I remember she’d come in before we started shooting and go like, ‘No. This is terrible.’ And she’d re-do the whole thing and she was like magic when she got in her dance world and stuff she was incredible. I mean, she’s a genius.”
He also fondly remembers attending the director’s birthday party during production, gleefully sharing, “I danced with Madonna to Madonna music. On my headstone, that is it!” Harbour’s a busy man these days, but it sounds like he wouldn’t be opposed if Madonna has a role for him in her upcoming biopic. Something to think about!
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