Josh Hartnett Has a Good Reason for His Disappearance From Hollywood

Josh HartnettHas it been a while since you've dreamed drooled thought about Josh Hartnett? After Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down, the actor just sort of dropped off the Earth, it seems. Although, if you haven't seen Mozart and the Whale, a tale about the romance between two people who both have Asperger's, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, Josh Hartnett is back and opening up on why he opted for small indie rolls rather than continue in his ascension to full-bore Hollywood heartthrob. In a refreshing bout of honestly, Josh claims he couldn't handle the fame.


The 35-year-old actor told Details magazine in its May issue, "I was on the cover of every magazine ... I couldn't really go anywhere. I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin. I was alone. I didn't trust anyone ... I'm still finding my way through all that."

Whoa. You don't exactly expect a brand new A-lister to feel alone. Everyone seems to be clamoring for their attention -- they're always surrounded by people and paparazzi, work isn't hard to come by, and money? Yeah, that's not an issue for a rapidly rising star.

But all of that seems to be Josh's point. He said it was too much, too soon. "Within two weeks," he revealed, "I didn't have to struggle as an actor, although I think I've made up for it now. I still get offered film and TV roles, luckily, but years ago, if I saw a role I wanted, there was a good chance I could grab it. When I see a role now, I've got to fight for it. It's not bad. It's actually more rewarding. Depressing when something doesn't go your way, but only for a minute."

So does he regret turning down roles that he says included Spider-Man and Batman? Not at all. "I somehow knew those roles had potential to define me, and I didn't want that," he said. "I didn't want to be labeled as Superman for the rest of my career. I was maybe 22, but I saw the danger."

I would argue that Tobey Maguire didn't let Spider-Man define him (anyone see Seabiscuit? Great Gatsby?), but everyone reacts to situations differently than someone else may. It sounds like Josh was really wise and self-aware of the danger he could possibly fall into if he stayed on that scene before gaining his own sense of worth as an actor.

The ladies' man reputation he built in his 20s after being linked with starlets like Scarlett Johansson and Amanda Seyfried wasn't worth it to him or even fulfilling. "If you're a ladies' man, that's what you do with your life -- always chasing," he said. "That's never been the case with me. I've always just wanted a relationship. Otherwise there's nothing. The scene can eat you up. It's eaten up enough of my life already."

Wow. A guy who chooses emotional health over mega-stardom? Wants a real relationship instead of the dating scene? Maybe it's another sign that I'm getting older that the stereotypical bad boy doesn't appeal to me anymore, but Josh Hartnett sounds hotter than ever.

Josh is currently starring in a creepy new Victorian Gothic Showtime series called Penny Dreadful, with Billie Piper and Eva Green. One early review said, "The characters are what you'd expect if Van Helsing and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen had a fancy kid." Sounds awesome. Also like Josh hasn't been pigeonholed into superhero roles.

Do you think Josh Harnett made a good decision to leave the Hollywood scene behind for awhile?


Image via Showtime

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