‘The best thing’ Film star Josh Hartnett details real reason for turning back on Hollywood

Josh Hartnett jokes about leaving GMB interview as Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid bicker

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Noughties heartthrob Josh Hartnett believes keeping the Hollywood film industry “at bay” is “the best thing” for him personally. Once known as the “new Tom Cruise”, he made the transition to shunning showbiz altogether and now lives in the Surrey Hills instead of Los Angeles or his birthplace, Minnesota.

It was the best thing for my mental health and my career to keep Hollywood at bay

Josh Hartnett

“Luckily I think I hit onto it early on in my life: it’s about creating a good home life and being able to do things that are wild and wonderful like making films, which is such a privilege,” the 43-year-old explained to Channel 7’s breakfast show Sunrise.

However, ultimately, “it was the best thing for my mental health and my career to keep Hollywood at bay”, he stated.

Hartnett hurtled onto the movie scene in 2001 by appearing in the war movies Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down.

In recent years, however, the star has relished his choice to do more of the smaller, more independent films in place of the blockbusters that had previously dominated his career.

These have included Target Number One and Ida Red.

He deliberately made a point of turning down much larger and more prestigious roles in the past, including a role as Batman in the Dark Knight franchise and a Superman trilogy.

The Penny Dreadful star has been vocal about his lack of regrets after shunning the showbiz scene, but it turns out there is one movie he regrets not participating in – Brokeback Mountain.

“I had a contract with [2006 film] Black Dahlia that I had to film, so I had to drop out of it,” he explained.

His role was eventually taken by the late Heath Ledger, who later earned Academy Awards for his performance.

The film ultimately went on to receive several Oscar award nominations, which would have been an excellent coup for his career.

However the major issue for Josh, who lacked interest in awards and accolades, was turning down the opportunity to kiss Joaquin Phoenix.

“[I’ve] always wanted to kiss [him],” he teased.

He also withdrew from the Hollywood showbiz scene in a bid to be there more for his kids, currently aged six, four and two.

The star, who is married to wife Tamsin Egerton, now enjoys a quieter life in the Surrey countryside – and claims his mental health and wellbeing have been boosted by the adjustments.

As Josh is of Irish and European ancestry, the decision to move away from the USA may not have been a huge leap into the unknown.

A few years ago, he revealed other aspects of his Hollywood struggles to US Magazine.

“I was on the cover of every magazine [but] I couldn’t really go anywhere,” he revealed of his frustration. “I was alone. I didn’t trust anyone.”

He added that he was seen as ungrateful by others in the industry, admitting: “[They] looked at me as someone who had bitten the hand that fed me.

“I tried to find smaller films I could be part of and, in the process, I burned my bridges at the studios because I wasn’t participating.”

However Josh did participate in one high profile film recently – Guy Ritchie’s 2021 thriller The Wrath Of Man.

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