Harbour plays a father figure to Brown's Eleven on Stranger Things.

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The relationship between Police Chief Hopper and the telekinetic Eleven on Stranger Things has spilled over into real life.

David Harbour, the actor behind Hopper, says he feels "protective" and "fatherly" towards his costar Millie Bobby Brown, who plays Eleven in the Netflix series.

"Millie and I have always had sort of a special relationship because I knew her when she was so young," Harbour said on an episode of the podcast That Scene With Dan Patrick. "I knew her before any of this big fame hit."

Brown was just 12 years old when the first season of Stranger Things premiered on Netflix in 2016 and became a global hit for the streamer. On the show, which is currently in production on season 4, Hopper becomes a surrogate father figure for Eleven, though the season 3 finale mixed things up for the characters.

Now, with Brown, 17, with multiple other notable roles under her belt, including in Enola Holmes, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and Godzilla vs. Kong, Harbour, 46, says, "I have a real protective feeling for her."

"I have a real, like, worry," he continued. "I worry about her and the fame and all that she has to struggle with. And I've just always felt this kind of deep fatherly affection for her."

Brown will now return as Enola Holmes opposite Henry Cavill's Sherlock Holmes in a sequel to that 2020 film. She'll also star in Netflix's The Girls I've Been thriller, as well as the fantasy film Damsel and the sci-fi film The Electric State.

As for season 4 of Stranger Things, which sees Hopper in a Russian prison camp, Harbour says on the podcast that it's a return to "the warrior realm because there's something as you get to be the dad role where, you know, it's a bit like the dad gene."

"You start to become less of a viable presence in the world," Harbour added. "They're more like, 'Oh, dad' — like someone who people are humiliated by, and like, I'm not quite ready for that. I still want to be, like, a presence."

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