David Harbour knows a thing or two about playing Russians — the actor has played Cheif Hopper on Stranger Things for three years, and in the final episode of the last season, the character ended up in a Russian prison. In Black Widow, Harbour plays a character who also ends up in a Russian prison…but the circumstances are a bit different.
In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Harbour appeared to promote Black Widow, which is out on July 9th. While talking about the experience filming the movie, he offered his (very specific) thoughts on Hopper’s Russian accent.
“It makes no sense,” Harbour told Kimmel. “So he’s Russian. In Russia. He’d be speaking Russian. So the entire movie should be me speaking Russian with subtitles.”
Technically, Harbour’s reasoning is not wrong. After all, if the movie is set in Russia, and Alexei is Russian, why wouldn’t he be speaking in the language? Well, the answer to that is, we doubt Marvel would let us watch an entire movie with subtitles. Harbour agreed, saying, “it’s not the best look for a Marvel movie” and that his idea “was not well-received by the producers when I brought that up.” Still, it’s fun to hear when actors get invested in their roles.
In Black Widow, Harbour plays Alexei Shostokov, also known as Red Guardian. The character is Russia’s version of Captain America, but slightly less put together. We don’t know a lot about his history (in the comics, the character is married to Black Widow which obviously is different than the story Marvel is telling) but there’s a reason Harbour has been locked up in a Russian prison for so long. Maybe there’s where he learned to speak with such an intense accent.
Black Widow follows the story of Natasha Romanoff after the events of Captain America: Civil War, when the Avengers have more or less disbanded and the Sokovia Accords are in violation. The movie will focus on Natasha and her personal journey, which includes her returning to her “first family” before she met the Avengers: Yelena (Florence Pugh), Melina Vostokoff (Rachel Weisz), and Alexei (Harbour).
Black Widow opens in theaters and is available on Disney+ July 9th.