Josh Hartnett Explains Why He Nearly Disappeared from Hollywood: "I Didn't Trust Anyone"

Celebrity News Apr. 30, 2014 AT 8:40AM
Josh Hartnett Once a Hollywood heartthrob, Josh Hartnett explains in a new interview why he suddenly went AWOL nearly a decade ago. Credit: Waytao Shing/Getty Images

Look who's back! Josh Hartnett recently opened up to Details magazine in its May 2014 issue why he suddenly went from rapidly rising Hollywood heartthrob nearly a decade ago, to low-key indie actor. Much of it, according to the star, was because he simply couldn't handle fame.

"I was on the cover of every magazine," Hartnett, 35, told the mag. "I couldn't really go anywhere. I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin. I was alone. I didn't trust anyone," the Pearl Harbor actor confessed of his prime. "I'm still finding my way through all that."

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Hartnett further explained how superstardom came to him almost immediately. "Within two weeks," he dished. "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."

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The Black Hawk Down star recalled which roles slipped away, and whether or not he regrets turning them down. "Spider-Man was something we talked about. Batman was another one," the hunky star said. (Interestingly enough, Hartnett's Pearl Harbor costar Ben Affleck will play Batman in the 2015 Batman vs. Superman Justice League blockbuster.) "But I somehow knew those roles had potential to define me, and I didn't want that," Hartnett recalled. "I didn't want to be labeled as Superman for the rest of my career. I was maybe 22, but I saw the danger."

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So what kind of advice would he give to his younger self today? "I would say, just keep doing it all and watch how interesting it becomes the more you get involved," Hartnett said. "But honestly, I don't know what I could tell that kid that he'd actually listen to me." Indeed, Hartnett built an interesting reputation as a ladies' man in his twenties, being linked to A-list stars like Scarlett Johansson and Amanda Seyfried.

For his part, Hartnett told Details he doesn't want to live up to this stereotype. "If you're a ladies' man, that's what you do with your life—always chasing," he explained. "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."

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These days, Hartnett is starring on a new Showtime series called Penny Dreadful alongside Eva Green and Billie Piper. He has also been in a relationship with English actress Tamsin Egerton since May 2013.

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