David Harbour could not be more proud of his onscreen family.
“We are a very dysfunctional family, of the mild dysfunction,” Harbour, 43, exclusively told PEOPLE. “The one thing I can say about the Stranger Things cast that I don’t often feel when I do television and movies is that every single actor on that show that I’ve interacted with is a good-hearted person. That’s so rare to find, especially in our business where there are pitfalls of narcissism and self-importance. We are a bunch of silly, good-hearted people. So whatever squabbles and drama that is created between us – of which there is – it all has a quality of like of a dysfunctional family. In that way, I think we all do take care of each other and provide for each other. It is a beautiful experience. It’s a very unique thing to love a cast as much as we all do.”
Though Harbour, who won best supporting actor at the Critics’ Choice Awards earlier this month, was “grumpy” about working with teenagers on a daily basis at first, he admitted that he could not be more honored to share the screen with such talented young people.
“It is amazing to watch because they’re all like little saplings and you kind of see the trees that you thought were going one direction were going the opposite,” he said. “The surprises that have come about in terms of watching the maturation of a bunch of human beings is amazing. They’re doing a very difficult thing pretty well. The fame surrounding them is kind of outrageous. With developing tiny brains, the fact that they’re able to navigate the waters of such intense fame and wanting to be liked, and yet maintain their integrity and maintain being a good actor and wanting to be an artist – they’re doing that extraordinarily well. I’m very impressed. I feel so protective of them. I do love them like a cranky uncle. I want to see them all become the next Meryl Streep and [Robert] DeNiro. I worry as an uncle.”
As Stranger Things continues to become more and more of a phenomenon, Harbour said one of the biggest changes he’s noticed is the public’s interest in his personal life.
“It’s a little tricky,” he said. ” As much as I can, I like to curate the information the people know personally about me. I think it can be hard – less on me – but more on my friends. Because people kind of, people are weird about it. I try to keep it separate as I can but also I’m not going to live my life in complete privacy. If I’m feeling something, I’m going to live my life. I will not hide things.”
While Harbour did not confirm whether or not he’s dating Fantastic Beasts star Alison Sudol, who accompanied him to the Golden Globe Awards earlier this month, he did say he they two would be traveling to Antarctica together to film a documentary for Greenpeace.
For Harbour, it’s opportunities like this that he’s most grateful for.
WATCH: What Was the Scariest Moment on Set for the Cast of Stranger Things?!
And his latest endeavor: starring in a Super Bowl commercial for Tide.
“I’m not actually a football fan — I tend to like nerdier things — but Tide just sort of called me and said they have this really fun Super Bowl idea. I was like, ‘This is kind of amazing.’ I’ve never done anything like this’ – I’ve never partnered with any brands. I think it is a really fun brand for me because I have a certain aesthetic that’s kind of like manly, wild Stranger Things guy, but in my core essence, I’m a bit silly, and I think this campaign kind of spoke to me and has a really fun element to it.
“Terry and I are both big, scary guys, but also like teddy bears,” he said of working with Bradshaw. “I’m a little bit scared by him. I never played football, but I feel like he’s going to tackle me at any moment.