Josh Hartnett Wanted to ‘Fight Against’ Being Viewed as a Heartthrob

Josh Hartnett didn’t have the heartthrob label in mind coming into Hollywood.

The Lucky Number Slevin star told Variety that it was never his intention to become one, and said he had to “fight against it.” Hartnett, 45, was more interested in what each character he would portray meant to him.

“I really wanted to be a serious actor,” the Trap actor recently told Variety. “What I didn’t understand is that I was in an amazing position, working with terrific directors on terrific projects.” 

Josh Hartnett in 2001.

Touchstone/Jerry Bruckheimer Inc/Kobal/Shutterstock

“For all intents and purposes, it didn’t matter how people viewed me in tabloids or whatever — as long as I was working within the industry,” he continued. “But I was too young to really understand that, to make the differentiation.” 

The Pearl Harbor actor felt that the world saw him as something he didn’t identify with, and wanted to change that. 

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Harnett also spoke in 2021 during an appearance on the Australian talk show The Project about how overwhelming his early fame was. “The biggest thing for me was, I really enjoy making films, but the industry itself was overwhelming for a 21-year-old kid,” he said.

Josh Hartnett.

Ron Davis/Getty

The Black Hawk Down actor noted that the press was a bit different in the early 2000s. “There was paparazzi around every corner, you couldn’t really go anywhere without being sort of harassed,” he said.

Some of Hartnett’s early movies included The Faculty, The Virgin Suicides, Here on Earth and 40 Days and 40 Nights. He was labeled “Josh Hot-nett” by his adoring fans, regularly appearing on the cover of Teen People among other publications. 

Josh Hartnett in 2023.

Jeff Spicer/Getty

Now, he keeps things more low-key. He is married to Tamsin Egerton, and the two share four children. His recent acting roles include the 2024 M. Night Shyamalan film Trap, along with Oppenheimer and Black Mirror

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