Josh Hartnett is opening up about the launch of his acting career in the early 2000s and how one crucial moment set him up to fail.
Just weeks after the release of Pearl Harbor in 2001, Josh was featured on the cover of Vanity Fair and the profile made him question what he was doing in Hollywood.
“Oh, that was an awful piece,” Josh said in a new interview with 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.”
Josh had turned down the opportunity to play Superman and reports claimed he did the same for Batman, though those weren’t true.
“They looked at me as someone who had bitten the hand that fed me. It wasn’t that. I wasn’t doing it to be recalcitrant or a rebel,” Josh said. 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. I tried to find smaller films I could be part of and, in the process, I burned my bridges at the studios because I wasn’t participating. Our goals weren’t the same.”
Josh says he has looked back at the Vanity Fair article and realizes now that it wasn’t that bad, but at the time he felt like it was not good for his career.
“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. I felt like: ‘Oh my God! I’m not the tallest poppy yet – don’t cut me down!’ I was being compared to Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts and that’s insane. It was a set-up-to-fail moment,” Josh said. “It was actually an interesting look at the nature of fame. If only it wasn’t about me.”
Josh has been working on a thriller amid the pandemic!