Believe it or not, there could have been a lot more Josh Hartnett in your life. In a new interview with Details magazine, Hartnett revealed he turned down some major superhero roles, but instead chose to abandon the spotlight and the hearts of tweens girls everywhere. But before you start crying over how the last decade of your life could have been filled with some fantastic Hartnett-in-tights moments, you should know that he fled the Hollywood scene for the sake of his own sanity.
The actor, who stars in the Showtime's new sexy horror show, Penny Dreadful , explained that he disappeared from ubiquity right after he hit it big because it was all just too much for him. The Pearl Harbor star said:
I was on the cover of every magazine. I couldn't really go anywhere. I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin. I was alone. I didn't trust anyone. So I went back to Minnesota and got back together with my old friends—ended up getting back together with my high-school girlfriend for a while—and I didn't do any filming for 18 months. I'm still finding my way through all that.
Eek. We never really stop to think just how weird it can be for celebs to see their faces adorning glossy magazines as they pay for their groceries — that sure as hell must make supermarket shopping tough (MY FACE!! IT'S EVERYWHERE!!). We also never really think how it's weird for them to know that tween girls are drawing their names in hearts. Whoops.
Anyway, at the hight of Hartnett's fame — you know, right before he decided to call it quits and become a hermit in order to heal — he could have completely changed the trajectory of the career. He said:
Spider-Man was something we talked about. Batman was another one. But I somehow knew those roles had potential to define me, and I didn't want that. I didn't want to be labeled as Superman for the rest of my career. I was maybe 22, but I saw the danger.
The danger?! The danger in having a pretty paycheck? Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Andrew Garfield, Tobey Maguire, or Christian Bale have had too hard of a time getting out of their metaphorical superhero tights (the actual superhero tights are a completely different story). Yes, money cannot buy happiness or sanity — but according to Celebrity Net Worth, Tobey Maguire made around $36.5 million plus a percentage of the back-end with the Spider-Man franchise. Christian Bale was allegedly offered $50 million to return as Batman.
Hartnett could have been in BOTH of those movies. That's more money than I even know how to imagine. But with that money, comes even more fame, more press conferences, and more creepy McDonald's action figures.
So good for Hartnett for essentially saying, "no, thanks, I've got to do some me time. See ya later, Hollywood — I'll be back when I want to be back, with something good." And now he's back, and you can get all nostalgic as you recall your love for him when Penny Dreadful premieres on Sunday, May 11.