In the late 90s and early 2000s, Josh Hartnett was everywhere. ‘The Faculty’, ‘The Virgin Suicides’ or ‘Pearl Harbor’ made him one of the most promising actors of his generation. And suddenly he disappeared. What happened to make such a promising career vanish overnight? Hartnett himself opens up in an interview for The Guardian.
“I was a boy. I was 19 years old. In ‘The Virgin Suicides’ we were like a group of friends doing a project. I think I keep looking for a similar experience every time I shoot a movie,” he explains, looking back at the beginning of his career. ‘Pearl Harbor’ was the beginning of the end for him, too big a project that put too much pressure on him: “I didn’t necessarily want things to change that much. I was happy with the amount of fame he had and the kind of roles he was getting. At the same time, I was wondering, ‘Am I just afraid that if I do’ Pearl Harbor ‘I’m going to enter a new category of cinema that I may not be prepared for?’ ‘I finally decided to do it because rejecting it would have been based on fear. Then that project defined me, which means I was right to be afraid of it. ” From the shoot, he remembers that Ben Affleck was asked to have his teeth fixed (“Well, they’re wonderful teeth”) and that Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale had to train. She didn’t understand it because it’s not something that a nurse from the 40s would have done, he saw it as an advantage: “You know, it didn’t hurt. He was a really scrawny kid.”
In the aftermath of the Michael Bay movie his fame exploded and he started to feel really overwhelmed. He appeared on a Vanity Fair cover that still haunts him: “Was there any statement from me or was it just everyone saying how good I was?” In that article they came to compare him with Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts: “That’s crazy,” he exclaims. They then offered him the role of Superman, and he proposed a version of the superhero in which Clark Kent would be afraid of his own power. “They didn’t want a fear-based character at the center of their film,” so he turned down the project, and began planning his strategic retirement (he says that, despite the rumors, he never did any auditions for Christopher’s Batman Nolan). He comments: “They looked at me as someone who had bitten the hand that fed me. It wasn’t that. It wasn’t to be recalcitrant or rebellious. People wanted to create a brand around me that was going to be accessible and easy to like, but I didn’t respond to the idea of playing the same character over and over, so I diversified. I tried to make smaller films, and in the process, I burned my bridges with the studios because I wasn’t participating. Wrath of Man full movie Our goals weren’t the same. ” He has no regrets: “I’m happy to be done with that era and to be making films that are more personal to me. Directors come to play characters instead of versions of a hero that I played in a movie once.”
His “comeback” began to take shape when he starred in the series ‘Penny Dreadful’, and since then he has not stopped working. He has four films pending release: ‘Most Wanted’, ‘The Long Home’, the new James Franco as director, ‘Wrath of Man’ by Guy Ritchie, and ‘Ida Red’ with Frank Grillo and Deborah Ann Woll.