Josh Hartnett was everywhere in the late 90s and early 2000s, taking on project after project, but that all changed around 15 years ago when the actor packed his bags and moved back to his hometown of Minnesota. Many in the industry were stunned, Hartnett was the new heartthrob, the new sex symbol, and he seemed to get more selective with roles and almost disappeared completely around 2007. As it turns out, Hartnett didn't feel like he was in the driver's seat when it came to his career, so he decided to take a step back and reprioritize his life.
After the huge success of Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down in 2001 was when Josh Harnett started to realize that he needed to make a change. In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, the actor stated that he needed to get a better perspective of fame as well as the "pursuit of surface values." Hartnett explains.
"I think it can be an unhealthy environment, to get so consumed with chasing a goal that doesn't necessarily have to define you is a fool's errand and I wanted to have a healthy perspective on it. Not only a healthy perspective on the fame itself, but the pursuit of wealth and the pursuit of surface values."
Ultimately, Hartnett decided that he wasn't in control of his future. The actor explains.
"I didn't feel like I was totally in control of my own destiny."
Josh Hartnett was initially surprised at how rapidly he was getting movie roles and was amazed that he could make money from it, so he decided to jump into it head first in his late teens. But after a while, the actor didn't really take any breaks, which he does not regret. It was that journey that brought him to where he is today, where he can take any role that he wants and not have to worry about the box office gross or ending up on the cover of a magazine.
Josh Hartnett famously turned down Christopher Nolan and the director's request to become the Dark Knight in his trilogy, but the actor decided to go do an independent movie instead and continued to make the choices that he wanted, to feel personally fulfilled. Hartnett did regret not getting to work with Nolan though and still feels that he might get to work with the acclaimed director at some point, but only if it's the right project. Josh Harnett as Batman could have been an interesting twist and he probably would have done a great job, but he wasn't and isn't into the superhero genre.
The actor's latest project is Scott Waugh's 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain about the true story of former Olympic hockey player, Eric LeMarque, who survived for 8 days on a mountain after being stranded while snowboarding during a massive storm. Josh Hartnett admits that he started hallucinating from his rapid weight loss and expending high amounts of energy in the mountains while filming. This was the perfect role for Hartnett and he looked forward to the challenge of playing the real-life character. The story slightly resembles his as Eric LeMarque got to know himself better during his ordeal, just like Hartnett. You can check out the rest of the interview with Josh Hartnett, courtesy of the Huffington Post.