Ahead of making his return to Hollywood, Josh Hartnett is looking back at what made him step back in the first place.
The actor was a rising star in the early 2000s with roles in “The Virgin Suicides”, “Pearl Harbor” and “Black Hawk Down” until a 2001 Vanity Fair profile made him question his love of acting.
“Oh, that was an awful piece,” he told The Guardian. “Was there even a quote from me in it, or was it just everyone talking about how hot I was? People got a chip on their shoulder about me after that. They genuinely thought I’d been thrust on them. It was a very weird time.”
According to Harnett, he found it “insane” to be compared to Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts. “It was a set-up-to-fail moment,” he says.
“It’s just that it happened at a time when I wasn’t that famous, and it seemed to already be asking whether I should be or not,” he added. “I felt like: ‘Oh my God! I’m not the tallest poppy yet — don’t cut me down!'”
After the article said his role in “Pearl Harbor”, starring alongside Ben Affleck, would “virtually overnight make an international movie star out of a comparative unknown,” accompanied by producer Jerry Bruckheimer quoted as saying, “It will change your life,” Hartnett began planning his escape from Tinseltown.
“They looked at me as someone who had bitten the hand that fed me,” Hartnett continued. “It wasn’t that. I wasn’t doing it to be recalcitrant or a rebel. People wanted to create a brand around me that was going to be accessible and well-liked, but I didn’t respond to the idea of playing the same character over and over, so I branched out.”
However, there were repercussions. “In the process, I burned my bridges at the studios because I wasn’t participating,” he admitted.
These days, Hartnett, 42, lives with his wife Tamsin Egerton and their two children in Surrey, England.
Hartnett will star in the upcoming films “The Long Home” with James Franco, Ashton Kutcher and Josh Hutcherson, “Wrath of Man” with Jason Statham and Scott Eastwood, and “Ida Red” next to Deborah Ann Woll and Mark Boone Junior.