Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore.
Whatever ever happened to Josh Hartnett? It’s been a common question in Hollywood for several years.
In Krakow we are asking the same thing. He’s 30 minutes late for the press conference. Somebody tells me: “I heard him say yesterday that he doesn’t have anything interesting to say.”
My Youtube surfing of his previous interviews shows rather the opposite, an articulate and thoughtful actor, who feels betrayed by his good looks that often hover on the borderline between stunning and geeky.
Finally he ambles in, that famously symmetrical face bisected by a shy, forgive-me smile.
“I’m sorry but we went for a tour of the salt mines, and it took longer than we thought,” he says, a regular guy who just happens to be a star.
Hartnett has famously hated his stardom. It’s an industry cliché. In person he is much bigger than you think. Most actors are usually much smaller. That is a surprise. The Minnesota native is a modern Gary Cooper. He is the same height and weight as the great Coop (1.91 and 85 kilos). In a former age he would have been an obvious cowboy star. Don’t laugh. Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Coop, all found fame in horse operas.
JH is perhaps the most puzzling of all stars in his age-range. He’s graced more magazine covers than Hugh Grant in his heyday. Get this: he turned down the Christopher Reeve inheritance: the Superman franchise. (The original 1950s TV superman, George Reeves committed suicide.) He turned down a $100 million three picture deal as the Man of Steel. This is independence of a very special variety. “Independence means the ability to choose,” he says. “Hollywood has a lot to offer. Certain actors and directors have achieved independence.”
Is he his own worst enemy, too independent for his own good? Maybe. He certainly laid his career on the line in about 2005 and stomped the shit out of it. By his own admission he has turned down a number of excellent projects. Superman would have given him super freedom to produce and direct, which is what he says he wants to do.
“This is a director’s medium,” he says. Fellini was his first favorite film director. He wants to work with Lars von Trier.
Would you like to read the whole interview with Josh Harnett?
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