David Harbour had Shrine Auditorium’s star-studded crowd rapt as he delivered an impassioned acceptance speech for Stranger Things‘ outstanding performance by an an ensemble in a drama series win at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday.
The speech, he tells PEOPLE, wasn’t spur of the moment.
“I started thinking it up about a week ago but really finished writing it all down last night,” the actor, who portrays police chief Jim Hopper on the series, says. “The energy was electric. There were people standing up – Meryl Streep stood up!”
During the lengthy speech, Harbour channeled the shows band of nerdy pre-teens saying that “we 1983 Midwesterners will repel bullies, we will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no hope. We will get past the lies.”
“We will repel bullies, we will shelter freaks and outcasts, those who have no homes. We will get past the lies, we will hunt monsters and when we are lost amidst the hypocrisy and the casual violence of certain individuals and institutions, we will, as per chief Jim Hopper, punch some people in the face, when they seek to destroy the meek, and the disenfranchised, and the marginalized, and we will do it all with soul, with heart and with joy,” Harbour said.
“I heard there’s already memes,” Harbour tells PEOPLE. “That’s amazing.”
Stranger Things‘ Joe Keery, who portrays teen heartthrob Steve Harrington, revealed that Harbour had run the speech by the cast “the night before.”
“But the one he actually said was a little different,” Keery revealed.
- Reporting by NICOLE SANDS