For a while there, young actor Josh Hartnett was the next big thing with key roles in “Pearl Harbor” and “Black Hawk Down” and a lot of attention from news and teen magazines.
Then it all evaporated, Hartnett effectively ditching mainstream stardom and sticking to mostly indie fare of mixed reception like “O,” “Wicker Park,” “Mozart and the Whale” and “August” with only the occasional appearance in films like “Sin City” or more recently Showtime’s cult drama series “Penny Dreadful” reminding you he’s still there and still doing solid work.
Hartnett, now 41, also became famous for turning down roles with talk of him being offered almost every superhero film under the sun but turning them all down. He’s back in cinemas now with opioid crisis film “Inherit the Viper” and will soon be seen in Guy Ritchie’s next film “Cash Truck”.
Speaking from London, he was asked by Variety this week about the reports of him turning down three big roles: Peter Parker/Spider-Man for Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man, Bruce Wayne/Batman for Chris Nolan’s “Batman Begins,” and Clark Kent/Superman for Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns”. He shot down some of the rumors that have long swirled:
“I didn’t turn down Spider-Man. I don’t know where that came from. I’d only turned down Superman as a straight-up offer. But I was, at that time of my career, where a lot of people were asking me to do those types of movies.
I was having meetings with those directors and people were saying: “Would you be interested?” I talked to them about what they were doing and I ultimately decided I wasn’t, but that was a very privileged place for a young man to be in. I’m a little bit outside of the box and had the leverage to do that, and that’s the direction I chose.
Batman wasn’t an audition or an offer. It was a conversation with the director [Christopher Nolan]. I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there. When you say one thing one time about it, and now it gets blown up. But I don’t really care to tell that story over and over again.”
Hartnett these days is into writing films, having penned three screenplays in the past three years which he hopes to get made.