What the Hell Happened to Josh Hartnett?

Josh Hartnett

Josh Hartnett

Josh Hartnett rocketed onto the A-list with Michael Bay’s buster of blocks Pearl Harbor and seemed to be the virile leading man Hollywood was looking for. He worked with Robert Rodriguez and Ridley Scott and seemed to be a sure-fire movie star. And then, he just sort of disappeared.

What the hell happened?

Josh Hartnett was born July 21, 1978 in Minnesota. After playing sports for most of his life, he had to give up football after a knee injury. He won the part of Tom Sawyer in a stage play, and fell in love with acting. He did some other plays, small TV appearances, and commercials before breaking into film.

hartnett h20

Josh Hartnett – Halloween H20: 20 Years Later – 1998

Hartnett scored a small role in the ever-continuing Halloween franchise, which was celebrating its 20th anniversary. I actually tried to see this movie as a kid (I was 8 at the time) by sneaking in after buying a ticket for another movie. I got caught. Jamie Lee Curtis returns and is joined by LL Cool J as well as teenage knife-fodder Michelle Williams, Josh Hartnett, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The reviews were mixed-average as you’d expect (this was during the Scream renaissance of horror-comedy self-awareness) but made a healthy profit at the box office.

hartnett faculty

Josh Hartnett – The Faculty – 1998

Hartnett scored a leading role in Robert Rodriguez’s teen-horror-thriller in which the teachers are aliens and kill the kids, because we all know that we’ve thought that is the only explanation for teacher’s behavior. Hartnett plays the lead jock kid. The movie is fun because Rodriguez has fun with the genre tropes, and I would say is better than the picture, but Rodriguez’s filmography is baffling. He’s a potential WTHHer. Seriously, how can the guy who made Sin City and Once Upon a Time in Mexico make Adv of Sharkboy and Lavagirl? How? Anyway, it exposed Hartnett to the world making him an insta-heartthrob.

Reviews were mixed and the movie did so-so at the box office.  It opened in 5th place just ahead of Mighty Joe Young.  That’s embarrassing enough.  But the next weekend, Mighty Joe Young actually pulled ahead.  In the end, the gorilla remake actually grossed $10 million dollars more than the teen-horror-movie.  Fortunately, The Faculty cost a lot less.

Josh Hartnett and Kirsten Dunst - The Virgin Suicides - 1999

Josh Hartnett and Kirsten Dunst – The Virgin Suicides – 1999

Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut is a moody, atmospheric, little gem of a film that helped make a star of Kirsten Dunst. Hartnett has a large role as one of the boys in love with the reclusive, religious sisters that are shrouded in mystery. Their overbearing parents don’t allow them “normal” childhoods. This culminates in the ultimate rebellion, which I’ll let you deduce from the title. It’s a great film with strong performances from all, though Coppola’s detached style overshadows any individual acting, and almost Hartnett’s hair. It received extremely good reviews and broke about even with its small budget.

hartnett here on earth

Josh Hartnett and Leelee Sobieski – Here on Earth – 2000

This little seen movie starring Chris Klein (blech) and Leelee Sobieski features Hartnett in a supporting role as one of the locals of the town who butts heads with the posh boy from out of town. They must street race to solve this issue, as the ancients once did. This ends with a car crash. For punishment they must rebuild the diner, and live together! Surely many lessons are learned. Critics hated it for being terminally sappy (I get the idea someone is dying) and audiences weren’t interested in the teen melodrama.

Next: Blow Dry and Pearl Harbor


Posted on February 20, 2014, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 117 Comments.

  1. Good article. I tweaked some of the box office info. I went especially in depth on Pearl Harbor which took in a lot of money but was actually a huge disappointment to Disney. It was supposed to make Hartnett A-list, but didn’t. If anything, I’d say it marked the beginning of the end for Affleck on the A-list.

    I would argue that Hartnett was never A-list. The expectation was there that he would be. He got a few lead roles that were intended to put him on the A-list. But he was never close to being a box office draw. He hasn’t been in a single movie I would call an unqualified hit. And he’s been in a few high profile flops. And he wasn’t a critical darling either.


    • My God, Pearl Harbor was trash. It was painfully obvious Disney was trying to recreate the massive success of Titanic. To call this the poor-man’s Titanic would be an insult to poor men. I agree that was the beginning of the end for Affleck right there, though that would be helped further along with more crud like Daredevil, Gigli and Paycheck. As for Hartnett, he was given several opportunities to become a big success, but honestly he just never had the acting chops or charisma to actually break through to the A-list. He was rather bland, and that one critic’s comment that his acting is like linoleum had me in stitches! The only movie I really liked him in was Black Hawk Down, which was an exceptional war film. It is highly visceral and intense, even upon repeat viewings. Hartnett is servicable as the lead in that film, and he fits in best in an ensemble piece such as this.

      As far as Black Hawk Down’s box office, I would argue the point that it did a bit better than so-so; it made $108M domestically, which would make it a hit, and to be honest considering that it was released in Dec. 2001, just a couple months after 9/11 I’m surprised it did that well. 9/11 was still an open wound for America in the immediate aftermath and I’m not sure many were receptive to a devastating war film that resulted in American casualties and was a loss for our military so soon after that tragic event. If it had released at a different time it might have fared a bit better commercially. Nonetheless, it is a powerful, visceral film.


      • The idea for Pearl Harbor was clearly Titanic + Armageddon = Box Office records. Disney was counting on massive, massive worldwide record-shattering box office. So they didn’t hold back on the budget or the marketing. Affleck, Hartnett and Beckinsale were all going to be big stars. Success was seen as inevitable. But it turned out to be quite evitable. And Hartnett largely took the fall. It couldn’t be that the movie was a big, loud piece of crap. Audiences love big, loud pieces of crap. No the problem was Hartnett wasn’t a suitable leading man. And neither was Affleck. So their stock took a tumble and Beckinsale was relegated to playing vampires in skintight leather.

        As for Blackhawk Down, you have to look at grosses in relation to budget. Amazingly, Blackhawk Down cost $92 million. That’s the production budget. You know they spent at least $10 million marketing the thing. That means it barely broke even in the US. It actually qualifies as a box office disappointment. But less so than other war-related films in the wake of 9/11. Still, saying it did so-so box office is probably being generous. It was seen as more proof that Hartnett couldn’t deliver.

        The other big one was Hollywood Homicide. That was Hartnett’s final big shot at the brass ring and he blew it. Not only did he blow it big time, he took Han Solo down with him. If I remember correctly, the two did not get along.


        • Yes, I was surprised that the animosity between Ford and Hartnett wasn’t mentioned in this write-up. I remember reading/hearing about the friction between the two of them after the movie had been filmed. While Ford had already fallen from the A-list himself, it could NOT have been good for Hartnett to let a beef start with a legend like Harrison.


        • I’m actually planning to go back and brush up on that. I’ll probably add it in soon. These articles are never really done. I am constantly going back and adding interesting bits as I find them.


        • What was the issue between the two?


        • “The legendary Harrison Ford didn’t take too kindly to whippersnapper Josh Hartnett on the set of ‘Hollywood Homicide’. Ford reportedly referred to Harnett as a “punk”, with the young actor retaliating by calling the veteran “an old fart”. As a result the pair barely made eye contact during filming and continuously picked on each other at press junkets.”


        • Without having been there myself to see what happened on set, it’s hard to say 100% for sure who’s fault it is for their falling out during Hollywood Homicide. However, I have been a lifelong Harrison Ford fan, and over the years he has worked with countless actors and actresses and never once have I ever heard anybody bad mouth the guy or say he is difficult to work with, quite the opposite he has always comes off as a consummate professional. Instead of going to his trailer in between filming like most actors, Ford is usually on-set working out the next scene with the crew. From everything I’ve ever heard about Harrison Ford, he has a strong-rooted work ethic. It almost surprises me a bit that while on set he called Harnett “a punk”.

          Without knowing all the facts I’m not going to blame it on Hartnett, but Ford’s lifelong career in Hollywood without a single claim of “difficulty” speaks volumes. Then again, sometimes people just clash. Oil and water, and all that.


        • This is a story from a friend of a friend. So take it for what it is worth. But this friend of a friend was an assistant to a lot of actor’s and worked for Ford during this time. According to her, he was a pothead and an asshole. She specifically said her impression of him was that he was very unprofessional. But who knows. Maybe she caught him at a bad time.

          Also, Ford did tell Shia LaBeouf that he was a fucking idiot. Of course he was not wrong about that. But he does have a tendency to go “grumpy old man” on younger costars.


        • I think Ford calling LaBeouf an idiot came a couple years after Crystal Skull released, where Shia publicly acknowledged the flaws of the 4th Indy film in an interview (especially him swinging on the vines with the monkeys through the jungle, yikes) and Ford took him to task for that, but yes in his later years Ford has become moreso of a “grumpy old man”. But Ford’s feud with Hartnett seems to be an isolated case over his 40+years career in film, as a lifelong Ford fan I’ve never really heard any other costars (besides Hartnett) call him difficult to work with, even in his later “grumpy old man” years. Then again, of all the things in the world they could have called each other, them calling each other “a punk” and “an old fart” on set is pretty tame all things considered.


        • You are exactly right about the Ford/LaBeuouf incident. I actually agree with everything Shia said about Indy 4. They did drop the ball. But I also agree with Ford for calling him out. You’re not supposed to say such things to the press. LaBeouf rose to fame largely on the back of Steven Spielberg productions. Publicly criticizing his work as a director is biting the hand that feeds him. It’s that kind of behavior that landed him on the What the Hell Happened poll and will land him an article here soon.

          Which brings me to my next point. Don’t mistake absence of public criticism for a lack of unprofessional behavior. Mel Gibson was beloved for over a decade. Co-stars never said a bad word about the man. Or look at Val Kilmer or Mike Myers. When they were on the A-list, very few of collaborators said anything bad about them to the press. It’s only after these guys fell out of favor that the stories went public. And even then, most people don’t know that these guys were jerks.

          Not saying that’s the case with Ford. But my assumption is that a high percentage of stars are egomaniacs that you wouldn’t want to spend more than 20 minutes with. I don’t doubt that Ford is very dedicated to his craft. But he is notoriously prickly and one of the most dreaded interview subjects in Hollywood. I’m willing to be he owns at least 50% of whatever feud transpired with Hartnett. But as you say, this feud is relatively minor. We have all heard far worse.


    • Pearl Harbor was a disaster of epic proportions. It ranks with Pluto Nash, Battlefield Earth and Judge Dredd on a worst movies of all-time list.

      Anyone could see that Disney thought it had another Titanic on its hands. But Titanic for all its faults at least tried. Pearl Harbor was simply a trite soap opera that reduced an important event in which thousands of people died as a backdrop for a friggin love story and screwed up most of the historical details in the process. If you want a Pearl Harbor movie, see Tora Tora Tora.

      It could be said that Hartnett in some ways is the opposite of Affleck. After the latter’s A-list days were over, he moved on to ensemble and supporting roles quite well (not to mention moving behind the camera even better). Hartnett never quite made it on to the A-list (as the article pointed out, all of his attempts at it were flops) and he doesn’t have enough range to be a character actor. He was an idol for a few minutes in the early 2000s and when that was over, he had nowhere else to go.


      • I remember screening Pearl Harbor just before it was released. The hype was immense. The theater was filled with girls who were either fans of Affleck or Hartnett. They would argue over who was dreamier. It was the exact audience Disney marketing was hoping for. The potential was there for the next wave of Leo Mania. Or the 2000 equivalent of Twihards. As the movie dragged on and on, you could just feel the excitement drain out of the room like air leaving a balloon.

        I checked out early on because the stilted dialogue and wooden acting was too much to bear. So I started people-watching. You could see members of the audience checking out. This was the first time I asked myself What the hell happened to Cuba Gooding Jr?

        But thanks to the excellent marketing, Pearl Harbor had the opening it was supposed to have. Things went south in a hurry as word spread that it was a crime against mankind in general and anyone who was actually involved in the historical events in particular.

        If you have ever taken the Backlot Tour at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you know that the audience-interaction part of the tour is clearly based on Pearl Harbor. But the movie was such an embarrassment that it is not specifically named. Had the movie been a hit, you know it would have been.


      • “Pearl Harbor” was one of the FEW movies that actually OFFENDED me…and I like South Park, Family Guy and the 3 Stooges (the REAL Stooges, though that recent movie-tribute wasn’t bad really)! It was a DECISIVE event in 20TH century American – and world – history and it was turned into a silly soap opera with on-autopilot or bad acting and terrible dialogue. Quoth Alec Baldwin: “We are going to Japan — and we are going to BOMB THEM!” NAW, you’re gonna ring their doorbell and run away! I like Baldwin but for a guy that gets on his high-horse a lot, he sure’s picked LOTS of awful scripts!

        As for Hartnet, he’s done some good work but he’s often impressed me as a young kid trying on his father’s clothing. Give him a year or two and I’ll betcha he pulls a Chawlie Sheen and “re-invents” himself for TV. (Which is OK, really — Sheen had a good run before becoming a randy degenerate.)


    • I agree he never exactly cemented himself as A-list, but he was handed the opportunity to be on it on a silver platter. He just proved he wasn’t that good or worth the time and money.


      • I’m also going to say, I don’t think he was ever all that invested in it. Certain people will themselves to be stars. Others, like say Jason Patric, actively avoid it. Hartnett, to me, is more like a Patric than a Tom Cruise in terms of temperment. Nothing like Patric in terms of talent. So if you have a guy who doesn’t especially want to be a star, isn’t cut out to be a star, and yet Hollywood tries to make him a star, this is what you get.


        • I remember reading on more than one ocassion about Hartnett’s dislike for the LA/Hollywood scene and how uncomfortable the attention and (short-lived) fame made him. Sometime in the middle of his “career”, he moved back to Minnesota (where he hailed from) and away from the movie mecca. While it seems he never had much talent (the only movie of his I ever saw was 30 Days of Night), that probably did not help his chances, either.


        • (Hit “send” too early. 🙂 ) So, I agree with you in that I don’t think Hartnett ever really wanted to be a “star”, which seeems to have worked out for him, perhaps, more than he wanted. He seemed pretty intent on just staying a “regular guy.”


        • I mean, I don’t think being an A-list movie star was something he was trying to avoid. You don’t sign up to star in a movie like Pearl Harbor if you don’t want fame and fortune. But I also don’t think he was as driven as a lot of big name stars. I think he figured being in Pearl Harbor would give him the clout to do whatever suited him. But I doubt he was all that upset when it fell short of expectations.


        • Well, I think that Hartnett was trying to get noticed for his craft, but once he realized that meant complete loss of anonymity and total scrutiny, his gears changed. If he was just after fame and fortune, it seems that he would have jumped at the chance to do the Superman franchise. In the full interview that was quoted on the last page, he still refuses to move back to LA, stating, “The more you stay out of the spotlight, the more believable you are as an actor.” I tend to agree with him on that. When you know TOO much about an actor, that sometimes takes away from the character they’re trying to portray, or, at the the very least, your enjoyment of it. However, in his case, I think some well-timed exposure might help his career get some traction. Perhaps, Penny Dreadful will do that for him. I know it’s a Showtime thing, but, really, he’s not even on anyone’s radar anymore.

          Regardless, I find his perserverance and attitude admirable. However unlikely it is that he’ll ever be considered a “success”, he’s doing what he wants, on his terms and trying to find a happy medium for himself. He may have made it way harder for himself in the process, but you’ve got to give it to the guy for still hanging in there.


        • Good points. And by any reasonable measurement, Hartnett is extremely successful. Most actors would kill for a shot at “a Showtime thing”. It’s only through the admittedly warped lens of WTHH (where we focus on the A-list to the exclusion of everything else) that Hartnett comes up short.


        • What I meant by a “success” is finding himself in the position of being regarded as a credible, capable, respected actor (like, say, DiCaprio) and maybe even being sought after by movie makers. But, even by another definition, it can’t be argued that he’s struggled QUITE a bit in the past 7 years, about half of his career (hence the write up, right? 🙂 ). Though, yes, the term “success” is subjective.

           And when I said "just a Showtime thing", I didn't mean it as "Oh, just a show on the Showtime Channel."  I was somehow mistaking Showtime with both Starz and Cinemax, both of which have brought poorly written and/or gratuitous fare to the small screen.   Also, I've seen the trailer.  While I was intrigued by the description of the show, the trailer has, thus far, quashed my interest in it, or, at least, suspended my curiosity.  But, Showtime has a really good track record with their original series, and, I've enjoyed a fair share of them so I'm going to definitely give it a chance.  And, you're right, almost any actor would jump at the chance to star in a Sho series.


        • Oh sure.

          I am frequently accused of not giving actors credit for continuing to work. So whenever possible, I feel the need to acknowledge that all of the subjects of WTHH are successful beyond any reasonable expectation. They just aren’t as successful as they used to be/might have been.

          Wasn’t trying to come down on you. Really just covering myself for the criticism I know will come. Not that this will help. Most of my critics don’t read the articles much less the comments section.


        • I buy that- until I read his list of girlfriends- Scarlett Johansson, Rihanna, Amanda Seyfried, and Penelope Cruz. Sure- he’s my hero- but if wanted to stay low- key- he could date/marry a non-starlet like Matt Damon or Christian Bale.

          If he wants privacy- sorry- but dating A-listers will attract cameras.


        • Actually- I might have hit on something here. If he has enough money to house/feed himself- and he’s dating our dream dates- why does he need to grovel before Hollywood?

          He might be a genius!


        • He never struck me as the genius type. But if he managed all of this on purpose, there is no other explanation.


  2. True story.

    In my high school year book one girl said that Pearl Harbor was her favorite movie of the year because it “taught me so much about World War II”.


    • LOL, Frug. 😀


    • Quite funny. Envisioning a future where she’s a history teacher teaching students that Abraham Lincoln was our greatest president because he fought vampires.

      A friend said she’d never seen Pearl Harbor. But wanted to. I told her “If you want to see a real movie about Pearl Harbor watch Tora Tora Tora”.


    • well- you do learn that the Japanese bombed Peal Harbor- I got it wrong because of Animal House.


  3. Think anyone can envision Josh playing a character like Jared Leto’s Oscar-winning turn in
    Dallas Buyers Club,perhaps????


  4. 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002):

    Post by KAMALARAMBO on Mar 17, 2014 at 5:25pm
    I never watched the full movie until last night, but was wondering what people thought of it? It had some decently funny moments, but nothing really hilarious. Also, as for the actors did anyone else think Josh Hartnett would have been a bigger star than he turned out being. Also Shannyn Sossamon was not nearly as hot as I remembered.

    Post by Koda89, Master Ms. Fortune on Mar 17, 2014 at 5:52pm
    Seriously. Josh Hartnett was definitely being positioned in the very late 90’s-very early 2000’s to be a break out star, but it just never really happened.

    Post by Bradley on Mar 17, 2014 at 6:05pm
    Yeah, though he has at least had some good roles, like his part in the Sin City film, and presumably the sequel. A small part, but a good one all the same.

    Post by CATCH_US is a Real Journalism on Mar 17, 2014 at 9:24pm
    I didn’t think Josh Hartnett would be a bigger star. He’s a solid B+. I think someone here described him as “The guy you’d get when you can’t afford Matt Damon” or something like that.


    • Josh Hartnett:

      Post by Munkie91087 on Feb 25, 2013 at 9:09am
      I always referred to him as “Not Matt Damon.” Seems like the actor you’d get if you wanted, but weren’t able to get Matt Damon.

      Post by mizerable on Feb 25, 2013 at 11:27am
      He’s not a very versatile actor, he was the Channing Tatum of 10 years ago. He’s still doing smaller roles, but the world has moved on.

      Post by salsashark on Feb 25, 2013 at 12:19pm
      Hartnett was ridiculously underwhelming and uncharismatic. Absolutely one of my least favorite actors of that period. The man was handsome cardboard.

      Post by Cela on Feb 25, 2013 at 5:12pm
      Then again, maybe you shouldn’t star in a movie where the premise is “It’s hard for you to go 40 days without sex.”

      May have killed male acceptance of him.


  5. Pedro de Pacas

    Please write an article on Julia Stiles, if only to discuss how horrible she was! “the early 2000s most dubious star” lol!


    • She nailed being an annoying wife in Silver Linings Playbook. Of course- that’s basically her only role.


      • 10 Movie Stars Who Could Really, Really Use A Hit Right Now:

        Julia Stiles
        I am all for former leading actors taking smaller roles in order to create a different kind of career with a supporting bend to it, but there’s a difference between being the third lead and being the seventh lead, as Stiles was in last year’s brilliant Silver Linings Playbook. Even more troubling, she hasn’t had any other role of any kind in anything that made any real dent at the box office since 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum, unless you count her one season guest role on Showtime’s Dexter, which was widely viewed.

        I get why Stiles never developed into a leading lady in romantic comedies. She doesn’t have that goofy, struggle against the current zaniness that’s needed, but she’s good enough in her own weird way that she should be regularly landing major parts in bigger movies. That hasn’t happened recently. Hopefully, moving forward she can net something meaty and full of spunk that she can be proud of.


    • I had previously made a suggestion for Julia Stiles in the comments section for Kirsten Dunst’s WTHHT article:

      Julia Stiles broke out into the mainstream with her widely acclaimed performance in 1998’s 10 Things I Hate About You. Just how acclaimed was she? She walked home that year with an MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance and the Chicago Film Critics Award for most promising actress of the year and film critic Adina Hoffman of the Jerusalem Post, even called her “a young, serious looking Diane Lane!” If praise like that doesn’t make phones start ringing at CAA I don’t know what does. (That was a joke. But her acting chops were appealing to both teens and adults.) Julia spent the next few years racking up the Teen Choice Awards, appearing opposite such heartthrobs as Freddie Prinze Jr., Josh Hartnett, and Sean Patrick Thomas (who she appeared with in 2001’s major hit Save the Last Dance). That film (which won her more MTV Movie and Teen Choice awards as well as a Rolling Stone cover) gave her actual clout in the industry and she used it to get a small but pivotal and money-making role in the Bourne Identity franchise, a fun part opposite William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin in David Mamet’s State and Main, and a meaty dramatic role opposite Stockard Channing in 2001’s The Business of Strangers. But in the mid 2000s, she started to fizzle. Mainstream flops like Mona Lisa Smile, The Prince and Me, and A Guy Thing seemed to demonstrate that she couldn’t handle comedy or light material. She still got some nice paychecks from the Bourne movies, but she herself was no longer bankable (and had been usurped by the likes of Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Kirsten Dunst and Natalie Portman), so she turned to the stage, and went to college. She graduated from Columbia University in 2005 with a degree in literature.

      In 2004, she performed in London in a revival of Mamet’s Oleanna opposite Aaron Eckhart, (in 2009 she reprised this role on Broadway opposite Bill Pullman). I happened to see that production in LA before it went to Broadway and can vouch that Ms. Stiles was extremely effective and a magnetic performer. She also spent the mid to late 2000s doing smaller and more serious dramas like Edmond (2005), The Omen (2006), and The Cry of the Owl (2009).

      In 2010, she followed the path of many talented actresses looking for work and went to television where she starred on the sixth season of Dexter and was nominated for an Emmy and Golden Globe for her performance. She has also became a new muse of playwright Neil LaBute, appearing in short films that he directed and a new film he wrote called Seconds of Pleasure, and almost appearing on Broadway (opposite Dane Cook!) in LaBute’s play Fat Pig, but the show was cancelled due to financial trouble. It seems Ms. Stiles is has been keeping extremely busy as of late, with three movies coming out in 2012 and at least two currently in pre-production. The biggest profile picture is David O. Russell’s The Silver Linings Handbook, in which she stars opposite Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, and Chris Tucker in his first non-Rush Hour role since 1997. The other films are smaller, but seem to have great casts and directors.

      So what happened to Julia Stiles? It’s the classic case of intelligent, strong, classically trained actress-turned teen queen-turned flopper-turned legitimate actress again. I see her emulating Maggie Gyllenhaal or Michelle Williams and perhaps becoming something close to Gwenyth Paltrow over the next few years in terms of film choices (serious work on stage and screen mixed in with the occasional paycheck flick). She’s not going to be as big as Anne Hathaway, Reese Witherspoon, or Amy Adams, but she’s a talented, bright actress who is also into charity, so I imagine she’s happy.


    • My wife was a big Julia Stiles fan back in the day. She’s been someone I have considered writing up. But then she popped up in something every time I was about to do so.


      • Re: Who is Blacklisted in Hollywood and why (bring the tea):

        J.u.l.i.a. S.t.i.l.e.s.

        Her career was about to take off again after her stint on Dex/ter (she even received a golden globes nomination for her work) but she got blacklisted after her on-set affair the Dex/ter came out. Word on the street is that JenCarpen.ter (scorned (ex)wife of Dexter) badmouthed her all over town and got her blacklisted. And now, the best the girl can do is a low-rate web series and Lifetime movies. So sad.


        • I’d be suspicious of rumors and loose talk. You seem to severely overestimate Jennifer Carpenter’s power in Hollywood. She’s a relatively minor actress in terms of clout and is less famous than Julia Stiles, and cheaters are a dime a dozen in Hollywood. No one cares if you’re a slut or an adulterer, they only care if you’re a box office draw. if people will pay to see you, that’s all anybody cares about. If Julia Styles had an affair with Michael C. Hall, it’s not publicly well known enough for bad press to drive casting directors away from Julia Stiles. The business doesn’t care about sexual morals and girl codes. Jennifer Carpenter would have to be a much bigger name to have the power to ruin someone’s career with a personal beef.


  6. Career Prospectus: Josh Hartnett:

    We’ve received several requests for a Josh Hartnett career prospectus, which makes sense as one of the first things that comes up when you Google “Josh Hartnett” is “Josh Hartnett career over”, followed by “whatever happened to Josh Hartnett”. Apparently, this is a question occupying many minds. And he’s a great case study for several issues facing actors, which makes him a quintessential career prospectus subject. So let’s take a look at the factors that sunk Josh Hartnett. Or, as I like to call him, Proto-Orlando Bloom.

    The first problem facing Hartnett is Leading Man Syndrome. It’s come up before here and here. LMS affects those actors who are handsome like leading men, but do not have the talent and/or charisma to anchor projects like leading men. True leading men are not as common as people think—Shia LaBeouf continues to get so much work even though he’s a weird assh*le because he is one of the only under-thirties who can actually carry a movie—and every few years we watch Hollywood chew up and spit out another generation of handsome dudes who failed to establish themselves as leading men.

    But it is possible to overcome LMS. Ben Affleck overcame a crippling case by pursuing directing and returning to character-driven supporting roles in movies like Hollywoodland and State of Play. Even his starring roles served more as anchors in ensembles (The Town, Argo). (Sidebar: Amongst myriad problems, one of Pearl Harbor’s biggest was that it did not have a viable leading man.) But the key to overcoming LMS is admitting your own limitations as an actor and letting go of that Movie Star dream. Hartnett claims to be over it, but two years after he gave this interview, stating that he never really wanted to be a movie star anyway but that he was ready to work his way back to Hollywood there has been, um, nothing. In fact, that movie he referenced in the interview? Still unreleased. The unnamed “big ole Hollywood thing”? Never materialized.

    It’s hard to buy Hartnett’s narrative that he was in control of his career slowdown when you look at his resume and see it’s littered with sh*tty movies. Although I have a basic-cable affection for The Faculty and Lucky Number Slevin, you can’t deny this is a guy who made one too many bad movies and never earned the kind of box office that offsets mediocre ratings. In fact, several of his movies are high-profile bombs (Town & Country, Hollywood Homicide, The Black Dahlia). At best, Hartnett couldn’t deliver on the kinds of roles people wanted him to play; at worst, he has terrible taste.

    Hartnett was in a few good movies carried by other people, but he himself never fronted a good movie. Actors make bad movies all the time, but when every movie you make is bad, you have a problem, and it isn’t a fear of being famous. And it’s not like Hartnett lacked for opportunity. He was one of the hottest young actors in the early-aughts—he had his pick of projects. Indeed, he turned down a multi-picture Superman deal, and sure, okay, fine. You don’t want to be Superman. But what have I said for years? Franchises are important. No one is above being in a franchise. Having that kind of gig in your back pocket opens up a lot of doors and provides the kind of cash flow that can carry you through the artier indies that you make to please yourself. You want to be in big and small movies? At some point, you’re going to have to be in a big movie people actually go see.

    Hartnett wants us to think that he, like Ryan Gosling, voluntarily cut his profile and took a step back. But really, his story is a dime a dozen. He made a bunch of bad movies and lost a bunch of money for a bunch of people, so he got a time out. Can he come back? Sure. He’s not untalented. And he has a Showtime series, Penny Dreadful, on tap for 2014. These days, a decent turn on television is a sure way to jump-start a career. Will it be enough to overcome the terrible decision making that plagued him before? Maybe. He got new agents in 2012—if you’re really happy in your weird corner of Indieville, why are you making moves to re-establish yourself in the mainstream?—who went out and got him this TV project. So there’s a new energy there, and hopefully someone has better taste than previously demonstrated by Team Hartnett. Because he can’t afford another losing streak.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Josh Hartnett Explains Why He Nearly Disappeared from Hollywood: “I Didn’t Trust Anyone”:

    Look who’s back! Josh Hartnett recently opened up to Details magazine in its May 2014 issue why he suddenly went from rapidly rising Hollywood heartthrob nearly a decade ago, to low-key indie actor. Much of it, according to the star, was because he simply couldn’t handle fame.

    “I was on the cover of every magazine,” Hartnett, 35, told the mag. “I couldn’t really go anywhere. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I was alone. I didn’t trust anyone,” the Pearl Harbor actor confessed of his prime. “I’m still finding my way through all that.”

    Hartnett further explained how superstardom came to him almost immediately. “Within two weeks,” he dished. “I didn’t have to struggle as an actor, although I think I’ve made up for it now. I still get offered film and TV roles, luckily, but years ago, if I saw a role I wanted, there was a good chance I could grab it. When I see a role now, I’ve got to fight for it. It’s not bad. It’s actually more rewarding. Depressing when something doesn’t go your way, but only for a minute.”

    The Black Hawk Down star recalled which roles slipped away, and whether or not he regrets turning them down. “Spider-Man was something we talked about. Batman was another one,” the hunky star said. (Interestingly enough, Hartnett’s Pearl Harbor costar Ben Affleck will play Batman in the 2015 Batman vs. Superman Justice League blockbuster.) “But I somehow knew those roles had potential to define me, and I didn’t want that,” Hartnett recalled. “I didn’t want to be labeled as Superman for the rest of my career. I was maybe 22, but I saw the danger.”

    So what kind of advice would he give to his younger self today? “I would say, just keep doing it all and watch how interesting it becomes the more you get involved,” Hartnett said. “But honestly, I don’t know what I could tell that kid that he’d actually listen to me.” Indeed, Hartnett built an interesting reputation as a ladies’ man in his twenties, being linked to A-list stars like Scarlett Johansson and Amanda Seyfried.

    For his part, Hartnett told Details he doesn’t want to live up to this stereotype. “If you’re a ladies’ man, that’s what you do with your life—always chasing,” he explained. “That’s never been the case with me. I’ve always just wanted a relationship. Otherwise there’s nothing. The scene can eat you up. It’s eaten up enough of my life already.”

    These days, Hartnett is starring on a new Showtime series called Penny Dreadful alongside Eva Green and Billie Piper. He has also been in a relationship with English actress Tamsin Egerton since May 2013.


    • 8 Great Actors Whose Bad Experiences Caused Them To Quit Hollywood:

      1. Realizing That Movie Stardom Can Be “Uncomfortable” – Josh Hartnett

      If Teen Choice Award nominations are anything to go by when it comes to judging an actor’s ability, then Josh Hartnett might well be the greatest actor of his generation. Fortunately great acting isn’t measured by the Teen Choice Awards, but fortunately for Hartnett his acting ability is considerably better than just being a handsome face which gets the girls swooning.

      After a string of hits early on in his career, from The Faculty and The Virgin Suicides through to Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down, Hartnett decided that Hollywood wasn’t for him – after turning down the part of Superman he said of his experiences of fame, “”I know what it’s like to be in that whole world. I was up there for a couple of years, and it was uncomfortable,” and took a break from acting, focusing on political and social activism.

      Returning to independent films in the last few years and continuing to eschew mainstream commercial film-making, Hartnett is perhaps best known for his role as the gun for hire in the Showtime TV series Penny Dreadful. Perhaps Hollywood will beckon once again some time in the future.


  8. 10 Actors Hollywood Tried And Failed To Make Happen:

    Josh Hartnett
    Attempts At The Big Time: “Pearl Harbor”(2001), “O” (2001), “Black Hawk Down” (2001),”40 Days and 40 Nights”(2002), “Hollywood Homicide”(2003), “Sin City” (2005), “The Black Dahlia” (2006) “Lucky Number Slevin”(2006) “30 Days of Night” (2007)

    Where Did It All Go Wrong? Thinking about Josh Hartnett, which we do only rarely—that’s part of the problem—it’s hard to pigeonhole him into one of the other models of nearly-man: his big break, “Pearl Harbor” may have been a horrible turgid waste of an afternoon but it made money, so he’s no Taylor Kitsch. Nor has he developed a Pettyfer-like reputation for prickishness, that old story about feuding with Harrison Ford during “Hollywood Homicide” notwithstanding (and with Ford’s notoriously curmudgeonliness we’re willing to cut Hartnett some slack there). Nor are his acting chops as questionable as say Taylor Lautner’s. On occasion, Hartnett has impressed, notably in “Black Hawk Down,” “The Virgin Suicides,” intriguing if not totally successful Shakespeare riff “O” and even high-concept vampire romp “30 Days of Night.” So what went awry?

    In fact, the story now goes that Hartnett’s falling short of the A-list was as much by design as accident. In the early ’00s, off the back of a host of “star of tomorrow” articles, not to mention PETA’s coveted “sexiest vegetarian of 2003” ribbon, Hartnett was offered the lead in Brett Ratner’s gestating “Superman” movie. But he turned it down, citing the ten-year commitment and his fear of being stereotyped as the reasons. Now, that movie did not come to pass, but saying no took some nerve: it’s the sort of opportunity more fame-hungry youngsters would pay PR firms just to claim they were even being considered for. And apparently he ruffled feathers, with Hartnett claiming that that decision alienated a lot of Hollywood power players, including his own agents.

    Since his motives were noble, perhaps we wouldn’t deem him worthy of inclusion on this List Of Doom, if only the choices he made since then had been better. But somehow the desire to test one’s versatility as an actor seems less admirable when the results are as poor as the overplotted “Lucky Number Slevin,” the dubious “40 Days and 40 Nights” or the just bloody awful “Black Dahlia”—a film to which Hartnett was so committed to that he stayed attached to it throughout its half-decade long gestation. Even a hit like “Sin City” for his “The Faculty” director Robert Rodriguez couldn’t do much for his profile—after all, it’s little more than a cardboard role in a stacked ensemble.

    More recently, Hartnett’s move indie-ward has also underwhelmed with “August,” “Stuck Between Stations” and “I Come With The Rain” ranging from just-OK to pretty bad and his upcoming Roland Joffe-directed “Singularity” plagued by production issues. In fact, the biggest blip Hartnett has made on our radar recently was as the result of a Twitter misunderstanding which had him temporarily, falsely rumored to be circling a new take on “Daredevil.” However the speed with which that took off indicates there is some latent awareness of the guy, so maybe a renaissance is not out of the question, and having recently been cast opposite Eva Green in the Sam Mendes-produced Showtime series “Penny Dreadful,” suggests it could happen.

    Any Thoughts? “After ‘Black Hawk Down’ there was a real lull. Everybody was trying to put me in action movies and heroic roles and I wanted to find more complex things. They just didn’t suit my taste so I thought, ‘OK, I have to be brave enough to say no.’ And for a while that hurt me immeasurably in the Hollywood world. A lot of people felt jilted,” Hartnett said in the UK’s Daily Record in 2011.


    • Craig Hansen

      Interetsing that Josh Hartnett was offered the role of Superman a decade ago – I just don’t see it myself. I think he would’ve been a poor choice as Superman, Hartnett isn’t that good of an actor honestly and doesn’t seem to have enough screen presence, charisma or gravitas to carry off such a major superhero role. At least he had the sense to say no, though for different reasons.


      • Hartnett was a bad fit for Superman. I give him credit for realizing that. As opposed to Nic Cage who went so far as costume (and wig) fittings.


      • The irony if you ask me, is that something like that ultimately happened w/ Brandon Routh, who may have had somewhat of the “look” and “sound” of a young Christopher Reeve, but not the overall screen presence, charisma or gravitas to back up playing Superman.


        • Routh was saddled with a terrible movie. I’m not sure Christopher Reeve could have saved that one. And he more or less saved Superman III. So that’s saying something.


      • Josh Hartnett Regrets Turning Down Christopher Nolan’s Batman Role:

        Josh Hartnett’s career hit its apex around 2001, the year in which the now 36-year-old — who’d built up indie cred with such films as The Virgin Suicides and The Faculty — played the lead in two mega-hyped blockbusters: Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbor and Ridley Scott’sBlack Hawk Down. Hartnett could get a meeting with any big-name filmmaker in the years that followed, at one point sitting down with Christopher Nolan as the writer-director was prepping the game-changing Batman Begins.

        But as Hartnett reveals in a new interview with Playboy’s Stephen Rebello, he passed up on a chance to lock down the famous Batman cowl in Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy — a move he says was likely a mistake.

        “I’ve definitely said no to some of the wrong people,” he told the magazine. “People don’t like being told no. I learned my lesson when [writer-director] Christopher Nolan and I talked about Batman. I decided it wasn’t for me.”

        “Then [Nolan] didn’t want to put me in The Prestige. That’s when I realized relationships were formed in the fire of that first Batman film and I should have been part of the relationship with this guy Nolan, who I felt was incredibly cool and very talented.

        I was so focused on not being pigeonholed and so scared of being considered only one thing as an actor. I should have thought, ‘Well, then, work harder, man.’ Watching Christian Bale go on to do so many other things has been just awesome. I mean, he’s been able to overcome that. Why couldn’t I see that at the time?”

        While Bale has won an Oscar (for The Fighter) and has been nominated for a second (American Hustle) since first strapping on the Bat-suit in 2005’s Batman Begins, Nolan has indeed shown a pattern of loyalty to the actors he’s employed along the way.

        In addition to Bale, he’s also given parts both in and outside of the Batmosphere to performers like Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Anne Hathway.

        Hartnett previously revealed that he turned down roles not only as Batman, but also as other marquee superheroes Spider-Man and Superman. “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,” he toldDetails in 2014.

        The Saint Paul, Minn. native took a break from major movies after 2007’s 30 Days of Night, telling Playboy that the “intensity” of fame prompted him to spend more time in Minnesota with his family: “I did smaller movies, and I stopped working for a while.”

        He’s made a nice comeback of late, though, spearheaded by his role as sharpshooter Ethan Chandler in Showtime’s hit supernatural series, Penny Dreadful. And considering the glut of superhero movies continually in the works, don’t count out the chance that Hartnett one day throws on a cape.


    • re: A lot of people felt jilted,” Hartnett said in the UK’s Daily Record in 2011.

      I think they’ll get over it, Josh.

      Maybe your movies didn’t have big enough box office and/or you’re yet just another pretty-boy actor, a Troy Donahue or Tab Hunter for out time.


    • Blink And You Miss ‘Em: Celebs Who Were Famous For, Like, Five Minutes:

      Josh Hartnett was the early aughts version of Matt Dillon — dark, brooding, and pin-up sexy. He made schlock like The Faculty and that Halloween remake totally watchable. We swooned over him in The Virgin Suicides and Pearl Harbor (the only good part of that clunker). And then, he evaporated. In 2010, Hartnett briefly resurfaced to produce Kid Cudi’s fabulous “Pursuit of Happiness” video — and there were rumors that he was offered Superman — but it wasn’t until this year, when he landed a starring role in the upcoming Showtime series, Penny Dreadful, that a comeback seemed eminent. We’re totally rooting for him.


  9. So he suffered from the Keanu Reeves effect.


  10. I think the last paragraph of the article was uncalled for. Fine, Hartnett never made it to the so-called A-list, but he was a serious contender for it. Some of the movies that you trash like Lucky Number Slevin and his later works like Girl Walks into a Bar and Parts per Billion are actually very charming and watchable.

    I totally believe him when he says he wanted complex roles and walked away from the cliche heroic roles because he did not want to go that path. I think he is a good, underrated actor, and maybe TV will bring this to the forefront since it offers much more scope for varied, complex roles.

    You were not sure about Penny Dreadful, because “Shotime is no HBO”, but look well it has done. In fact, it was announced at SDCC that Seaosn 2 will be exploring more on Hartnett’s character’s past and present. That says something.

    I like this dude, and I will watch everything he does.


    • This entry was written by DWMCGUFF and not by me. So credit and blame where it is due.

      Having said that, I don’t think the last paragraph was “uncalled for” at all. The author shared his low opinion of Hartnett’s overall acting skill. Frankly, I share a lot of that opinion. A lot of people do. Obviously, you do not and that’s terrific. But I don’t think the author crossed any lines here. He even wished Hartnett good luck. So, what’s so objectionable?

      I don’t totally believe Hartnett when he says he walked away from Hollywood. That’s a line used by a lot of actors who aren’t as popular as they once were. I do believe it more from Hartnett than I do some other actors because I think his career still had legs when he left. But he clearly took a few shots at major movie stardom and fell short. You don’t make Pearl Harbor for the craft.

      I did disagree with the shot at Showtime. Showtime has made several good shows. And apparently Penny Dreadful is one of them. It’s always gratifying to see an actor bounce back with a project that is both creatively and commercially satisfying. Good for Hartnett.


  11. He is brlliant in the Penny Dreadful series!


  12. u think if walker never died he would be on this list cause with exception of fast and faurious his other work was flopping


  13. dennis quaid should on the actors expected to make a big from what i heard he was a rising star in 80s after breaking away and right stuff then just flopped out day after tommorw was a smash it made money he was lead in but didnt capitalize on the opportunity made more crap then gi joe came big hit made more flops he only a few hits bad resume still compared to patric quaid is an a list


  14. Ah! But Penny Dreadful is excellent, and Josh Hartnett is as solid as anyone in the cast. It’s the right part for him, I think- it utilizes both his conventionally masculine appearance and aura of underlying sensitivity and gives him room to stretch without stretching himself too thin- his character is well loved. I think he can indeed act- given the right material . He’s not excellent, but he’s better than you give him credit for. He’s sort of diet Josh Brolin- I don’t mean that as dismissive as it sounds. I mean he’s got a similar look and vibe, but on a more muted level.


    • I agree. Penny Dreadful is the perfect vehicle for Hartnett. A little age has deepened his screen presence. He’s no longer just a good looking boy. There’s some world-weariness behind his performance and it suits him.

      I didn’t actually write this entry, but I do need to change the section on PD a little now that the first season has proven to be a success.


  15. he never reached a list going by the rules if pearl harbour was a hit it would not count anways causes it was on afflecks name he is like kutcher he puts his name out there but he dosent have the box office recits to back it up none of his leading roles made money


  16. Future of Movie Stars: Who Will Shine? Who Will Fade Away?

    I’ve heard rumors that Hartnett has been unprofessional and horribly unlikeable when the cameras weren’t rolling, which may have contributed to his disappearance. I don’t see Channing Tatum having any difficulties along those lines.


  17. Bad Movie Beatdown: Hollywood Homicide

    A buddy cop “comedy” that’s about anything BUT a homicide!


  18. Nostalgia Critic: Pearl Harbor

    Behold, the Passion of the Bay!


  19. What Happened To Josh Hartnett? What is He Doing Now?

    You might remember Josh Hartnett as a stoic soldier from blockbusters Pearl Harbor or Blackhawk Down. Maybe you remember him better as the brooding teen bad boy from The Faculty, O, or The Virgin Suicides. Hartnett starred in dozens of major roles at the turn of the millennium and mostly faded into the background after that. The young Hollywood dark horse was even featured as Giorgio Armani’s “face of beauty” at one point, so where did he go?

    Hartnett struggled to break into acting in New York before relocating to L.A. where his luck changed. Cracker was a short-lived ABC drama riding the wave of police procedurals popular at the time. It was about a troubled psychologist who helped the police crack tough cases by getting inside the heads of killers. Hartnett starred as the psychologist’s perpetually angry teenage son. Although the program was cancelled after only one season, the show got Hartnett’s name and more importantly, his face, out to the public.

    Like many teen stars of the time, Hartnett’s first big screen break came in a horror film, Halloween H20. In H20, Hartnett played Jamie Lee Curtis’ son, appearing alongside another rising teen star, Michelle Williams. The film performed reasonably well, and Hartnett’s performance was praised in particular. Hartnett next appeared in another horror flick, the Invasion of the Body Snatchers inspired film, The Faculty, about a group of students who discover that their teachers are controlled by aliens. The film starred Elijiah Wood as its nerdy school photographer lead, with Hartnett playing a former bully who teams up with Wood to save the school. The film was less successful but would go on to become a cult classic among horror aficionados. Before his first big blockbuster, Hartnett would star in several more stereotypically “teen films,” including Sophia Coppola’s haunting indie melodrama, The Virgin Suicides, and the panned romantic drama, Here on Earth, in which he appeared alongside other teen idols Leelee Sobieski and Chris Klein.

    In 2001, Hartnett was cast along with Ben Affleck to star in Michael Bay’s sweeping war epic, Pearl Harbor. The movie was widely criticized as overblown, unrealistic, and unoriginal. It is one of Michael Bay’s worst reviewed movies to date. Despite this, the film brought in almost half a billion dollars at the box office, and it made Josh Hartnett a household name. Hartnett portrayed First Lieutenant Danny Walker, a young pilot caught in both the famous Pearl Harbor raid and a bitter love triangle. The triangle’s other legs were his friend Rafe, played by Ben Affleck, and a young nurse, Evelyn, played by Kate Beckinsale. The three actors did the best they could with the notoriously weak dialogue written for them, but ultimately their performances were considered subpar.

    In the years after Pearl Harbor, Hartnett was given a number of other notable roles in blockbuster level releases. First, in O, a modern adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Othello set in a private high school, Hartnett appeared as the villainous Hugo. Hugo was a basketball player jealous of his team’s only African American student and star player, Odin. Hugo manipulates Odin and his girlfriend into a dark sexual triangle that erupts with a school shooting. The film’s release was interrupted by the shooting at Columbine High School in the real world, and its performance suffered accordingly. Next, Hartnett appeared as an embattled Staff Sergeant pinned down in enemy territory in Blackhawk Down. Hartnett’s performance was praised, but the movie was a large ensemble piece and Hartnett had to share screen time with many bigger names including Eric Bana and Ewan McGregor. In 2002, he worked with Shannyn Sossamon in the romantic comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights about a college aged lothario who gives up sex for Lent. The movie received mixed reviews, but performed well at the box office.

    Hartnett’s fall began the following year, in 2003, with a string of flops from which his career would not recover. In action comedy Hollywood Homicide he supported screen legend Harrison Ford as K.C. Calden, a yoga-obsessed detective who stumbles into a case involving the murder of a hip-hop group. The film was poorly received as unfunny and tasteless, and it bombed at the box office too. The next flop for Hartnett was the romantic mystery, Wicker Park. The film suffered from an overly complex plot, unrelatable characters, and a trivial mystery. It lost millions at the box office. Hartnett’s following film was a record-setting failure. A romantic “dramedy” from struggling Norwegian director Petter Naess, the film was Mozart and the Whale. The movie was not only a critical and commercial failure, but succeeded at offending millions of handicapped citizens worldwide with its broad and incorrect stereotypes of autism sufferers. Unable to find theaters willing to air it, it ran for one month only in Spokane, Washington, where it was filmed, and it made back less than $90,000 from its $12 million budget.

    Hartnett had some success with the following year’s indie action flick, Lucky Number Slevin, starring as the josh-hartnett-nowtitle character along legends like Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, and Sir Ben Kingsley. Yet this was not enough to change the luck of Hartnett’s falling star. He next starred in the all-around failure neo noir flick, The Black Dahlia, and achieved mild success with the vampire horror adaptation, 30 Days of Night. Within a year, Hartnett could only find work in obscure genre films and the occasional web series.

    The former leading man continues to toil away in Hollywood even today. Hartnett has embraced a return to the world of horror from which he came, appearing in the Showtime original series Penny Dreadful as a regular character. Ethan Chandler is a smarmy American gunslinger who helps the show’s English star fend off quasi-realistic takes on classic literary monsters. Hartnett has stated that the cost of fame was more than it was worth, and has reported that he turned down several lead roles in the recent spate of superhero blockbusters. Perhaps someday the dark-haired bad boy will be lured back into the spotlight for a second chance at superstardom.


  20. Penny Dreadful is so good! Hartnett is pretty good in the role. Hell, I was surprised to find out it was him. I hadn’t seen him in so long that I forgot what he looked and sounded like.


  21. This was an awful article. Why have a title that has nothing to with the articles content? Why Josh left Hollywood and you just spew out a filmography? You may have heard of a little know website called imdb? Yeah, they already do what this awful article does and they do it a helluva lot better.


    • Sorry you didn’t like it. You may not have noticed, but the article is part of a large, on-going and popular series. The WTHH series is more than just a two-sentence blurb about why an actor left Hollywood. If you ask Hartnett, he says he got sick of it. If that’s what you were looking for, there you go. The point of the series is to take an in-depth look at the actor’s career arc. There’s pictures, clips and hopefully humor and insight you won’t find at IMBD. But hey, if you prefer, IMDB is there. We use it for research (psst it’s not always 100% accurate). Thanks for dropping in and sharing your thoughts. Better luck next time.


  22. 15 Actors Stuck In Hollywood’s Dog House

    Josh Hartnett

    Be honest; did you know he was still making films? Yes, he’s in television series Penny Dreadful but as far as the big screen goes Hartnett might as well have retired. Black Hawk Down established his blockbuster credentials, 40 Days And 40 Nights set him up as the romantic lead, but the roles dried up quicker than, well, a quick drying thing. Turning down the role of Superman in the early 2000’s may have seemed at the time like a good decision but whether a coincidence or not, Hartnett’s career effectively ground to a halt there and then.

    Odd films such as the interesting if flawed horror 30 Days Of Night proved he could still cut it, but directors and producers seem reluctant to cast him. Like Kate Hudson, time is also on his side as at just 37 years old he’s theoretically only just entering his prime.

    So What Next?

    In fairness, Hartnett just needs something – anything. A Tarantino-inspired revival would suit him well, but really, just a film that people might go and see would help a lot. With a few projects in production Hartnett needs one to be big or this could well be a career beyond recovery.


    • 15 Actors Who Desperately Need A Hit

      Josh Hartnett

      In the late 90s through to the mid-2000s, Josh Hartnett was a pretty solid box office bet for the most part. He had a string of hits such as The Faculty, Pearl Harbor, O, Black Hawk Down, 40 Days and 40 Nights, Sin City, Lucky Number Slevin and, finally, 2007’s 30 Days of Night.

      Since then, every single movie he’s appeared in has either bombed at the box office or had an incredibly limited release. He did receive acclaim for his work on the recent TV show Penny Dreadful, but now that it’s finished after three seasons, he’s surely seeking out a big theatrical hit to get his career back on track.

      By his own admission, he made a mistake turning down the Bruce Wayne role in Batman Begins, and what we see now is part of the price he’s paid for that decision. Still, he’s a likable actor, so there’s a genuine desire here to see him land a meaty part in a big release sometime soon.


  23. 10 Actors Hollywood Forgot About


    Sometimes there’s a silver lining to everyone in Hollywood forgetting you exist, and for one-time breakout star of the world Josh Hartnett, that silver lining is Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. One of the best shows on TV, Josh Hartnett delivers an astoundingly complex and magnetic performance week after week on the chilling series. And it makes us happy that Hartnett never landed on his feet in the world of movies.

    After big action thrillers like Black Hawk Down, Sin City, and Lucky Number Slevin, Hartnett was being heralded as the next Leonardo DiCaprio, or anyone really; the possibilities were endless. He could’ve been in romantic comedies, he could’ve been in superhero movies, he could’ve been in indie dramas. Instead he was in… nothing you’ve heard of. But the good news is that Penny Dreadful is entering its third season and it seems to have revived Hartnett’s career; he’s got five films in the pipeline over the next two years.


  24. I thought pearl harbour was a hit i read several artcile saying it was a hit


  25. i thought pearl harbour was one of afflecks many hits before gigli hurt his career. I honestly think had ben not made the town and those hits post town he would been nice person for your blog


    • And you are mistaken about it being a hit. Pearl Harbor had a production budget of $140 million. Since production budgets don’t including things like marketing, and since studios don’t get every dollar of box office receipts, the normal rule of thumb is that a movie needs $2-3 in domestic box office for every dollar of production budget to make money. Pearl Harbor made just under $200 million in US box office, well below what it needed.


    • Affleck was headed towards WTHH for a while. He may still end up there eventually.


  26. I don`t think he is headed there anytime soon. His last 2 flicks batman vs superman and gone girl where hits , since the town hes had the benefit of having both critical and commercial hits. I do not think ben is as strong an actor as his buddy matt but he is amazing director


  27. bvs set a new box office record it might had some drops but still deemed a hit I found ben affleck wooden and stiff as batman. I thought gosling who was the orignal choice for batman would have done great. He showed he can play dark characters and murder by numbers. I still could sworn pearl harbour was a hit


    • These days, having a record breaking opening weekend doesn’t make a movie a hit.

      BVS didn’t break even at the box office and was outgrossed domestically by the relatively low-budget Deadpool. It fell way short of WBs expectations and resulted in the studio scrambling to reorganize DC entertainment. If Justice League wasn’t about to start shooting, you can bet Zack Snyder would have been fired, but it was too late for that. His role in the overall franchise has been greatly reduced going forward.

      At best, I would call that a disappointment veering into failure.


      • Good point. Batman Vs. Superman had a ginormous budget and massive promotional expense, but you know the old phrase “it takes money to make money”. No matter how much money this film was going to cost, Warners thought it would be worth the initial setup investment because the payoff would be record shattering. Not just on this film but in creating a money-making machine with the follow up films. After all, Marvel made its fortunes off the backs of second and third rate superheroes like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. But those films did very well even before The Avengers broke the piggy bank open. Warners probably thought, hey guys, how about we just skip all those solid money-making solo films and just jump straight to the super-ultra-mega blockbuster? We did a solo Superman flick, isn’t that enough?

        What Warners were offering here was the top three characters in their entire library in one film: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. For all intents and purposes, this was Warner’s answer to Marvel’s The Avengers. Arguably, even bigger. The Avengers didn’t have a single A-list Marvel character, while Batman Vs. Superman offered three A-listers.

        It’s quite understandable that execs at Warners were eyeballing this as a film that could readily compete worldwide with The Avengers, which took in 1.5 BILLION dollars. And that was back in 2012. Batman Vs. Superman should break the bank. Back when BVS was still in pre-production, I myself also expected to sour well past 1 Billion plus.

        Except, it didn’t. The film opened huge, for sure. How could it not? $166 Million domestically its opening weekend. Huge debut. And yet, shockingly the film finished its run domestically with just $330M; BVS was the first film ever to have a $100M+ opening weekend and not even double its opening weekend. That is disasterous.

        BVS earned a lot of money, but I think it also showed the ceiling for DC’s future output. If BVS could earn only $330M domestically, how could a Wonder Woman solo movie or an Aquaman solo movie or future Justice League movie ever earn more than that? I think we’ve seen the DC box office ceiling right here.


        • One estimate I have seen was that BVS needed to gross over a billion dollars to break even at the box office. It fell short of that figure by more than $100K. Domestically, it has been outgrossed by Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, Deadpool, The Jungle Book, Captain America: Civil War and Finding Dory. Even the Suicide Squad which doesn’t feature any headline characters at all and received equally terrible reviews, is nipping at BVS’ heels.

          Looking at BVS as a stand-alone movie, that’s not catastrophic. WB will still turn a profit off merch and home video, etc. But BVS wasn’t a stand-alone movie. It was the launching pad for Warner Bros’ mega-franchise. On that level, it was a massive failure. Despite the fact that a vocal contingent of fanbois that it was rad (or whatever the kids say these days) the story on the DC Cinematic Universe is that it is a disaster. Will casual moviegoers turn up for Womder Woman or Aquaman after sitting through BVS and Suicide Squad? The die hards will turn out no matter what, but with so many super hero movies to choose from, a lot of people may decide to sit these movies out till home video.

          I expect that Justice League is fool proof. But if they haven’t righted the ship by then, it could also be the movie that kills DC going forward. They can’t afford for that movie to be as divisive as this year’s offerings were. They need to figure out how to broaden their base beyond kids who think superheroes need to be more violent and grim.


        • The reason why I say that Batman Vs. Superman is probably the box office ceiling for the DC franchise moving forward is that none of the planned movies offer anything new. Wonder Woman movie next year. Finally, after so many decades she gets her own movie! Except, she made her cinematic debut in a piece of crap movie called Batman Vs. Superman. There’s no excitement her solo film.

          And I wonder, exactly, what is the selling point behind next years’ Justice League? BVS already threw DC”s holy trinity of superheroes at us, so what does Justice League offer us beyond that? Aquaman? The Flash? Cyborg? Those three additions mean nothing to casual moviegoers. My opinion is, whatever audience that Warners has captured with Man of Steel, BVS and Suicide Squad, that’s going to be it at this point. Unless somehow Justice League turns out to be a phenomenal entertainment (yeah, right), I just cannot see it outperforming BVS’s box office performance. Or any other DC film in the next few years. I really do think that Warners has seen the box office ceiling with BVS, much in the same way that Disney has seen the ceiling with The Avengers’ $1.5M worldwide take with their Marvel offerings.


        • If you’re right, WB is in trouble. I do think there will be increased interest for seeing all the top characters (and Aquaman)* interact for an entire movie. The formation of the Justice League, I think, will be an event even if the three biggest characters did meet in BVS.

          I think there’s some excitement out there for WW. She was generally considered the brightest spot in the otherwise dreary movie. But WW needs to be good. If reviews and word of mouth are toxic, that’s bad news for the whole endeavor – not just the single movie. WB needs to show it can right the ship after BVS and Suicide Squad.

          *Poor Aquaman. During my amateur stand-up days, I did a lengthy bit at his expense.


        • Wait, you did a stand up routine? My God Lebeau, this is a tale just waiting to be told!


        • There’s not a lot to tell. In college, I had a buddy who always wanted to do stand-up. He and I parted ways. His story is a sad one, but I’ll let him tell it. He put the idea in my head that maybe someday, I should give it a try. To do open mic night at the clubs, you had to be 21. So once I was of age, I gave it a shot. I was never good enough to tour, but as amateurs go I was pretty good. I played a few clubs in Ohio and Kentucky. I also performed with an improv team for a while, but we were worse than terrible. I quit that out of embarrassment.

          I did it on and off throughout my 20’s. The highlight of my stand-up career was a competition I participated in at Comedy Off Broadway in Lexington one summer. They were trying to drum up bigger audiences for their open mic nights. The idea was that we would all bring our friends and family to pack the audience. Well, my family was out of town and my friends had all seen my act, so I never could get them all to show up en masse. Every time I would compete, I would narrowly lose out to someone who had brought a bigger crowd. But the hosts of the show kept asking me to come back. At the end of the summer, everyone who had won one of the previous nights was invited back for a final showdown. I never did manage to pull out a victory, but they asked me to come to the final show anyway.

          The final show was sold out. I forget how many people the place could hold, but there were no seats left. So it was easily the biggest audience I ever played to. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get any tickets for anyone to come support me because by the time I was added to the competition, the show had been sold out already. So this audience, the largest I would ever see, was also completely hostile. By this point, I had honed my act pretty well and I knew where the laughs would be. When I hit that first laugh line, there was silence. I realized that since everyone in the audience was there to support a friend or loved one, no one was going to make a peep during my act.

          There were one of two ways that night could have gone. I could have just died in a pool of flop sweat. I had done it before when I was first starting out. But instead, I took the lack of audience reaction as a license to cut loose. They weren’t going to laugh no matter what I did, so I just had fun with it. It was probably the best performance I ever gave and it barely elicited any laughter. After the show was over and a friend of mine was crowned the winner (she got a bunch of crap the host stole from the radio station he worked at as a prize), a ton of people came up to tell me that I was actually their favorite comic of the night but they couldn’t crack a smile because they were there for someone else. About a week later, I got a note from the owner of the club congratulating me for giving the best set of the summer. So, that was a victory even if I didn’t get any free CDs.


        • Lebeau, that is such a great story. Is this the first time you’ve told it on WTTH, because I’ve never heard it before. Seriously, that kind of deserves to be a topic on its own. I used to go to comedy clubs back when I was in my 20’s, and of course arrogance can get the better of you and you can think “I could do as well as this guy”, but of course reality is the great decider. The fact that you got some laughs on stage, and even had someone tell you in private that you were better than the pre-determined winner speaks volumes.

          If you haven’t told this before, I suggest you keep this for a future post. It’s the best Jerry, the best!


        • Lol, thanks. I used to have a poster the club put out with my name stenciled on it. They spelled my name wrong, but I kept it anyway. I think that got left behind in a move at some point in the distant past.

          Truth be told, I’ve been in a reflective mood lately and have been considering sharing some personal stories a little more regularly. But I’m always worried readers will be bored hearing a middle aged guy reminisce. The stand-up thing was just a hobby. There’s not a whole lot to tell. Although I do remember my dad’s first reaction when I told him I was doing it. He said “You’re not using your real name, are you?”

          Turns out, I wasn’t. They misspelled it.


        • I strongly recommend you share this story in a full article, Lebeau. You know this story will quickly get lost in the day-to-day grind with only a couple people seeing it. It’s a wonderful story about yourself that deserves more people to hear it.


  28. Since the subject tlaked what ford is like offscreen lebeau do you have any friends who met costner or hanks. I am wondering what they are like offscreen. I heard hanks is kind I heard costner is nice to fans but in his heyday was an control freak ego manic . However he is humble now


  29. As for pearl harbour recpetion michael bay called it a hit in one of his commenatires for armagdden. so being the director he must know about the reception


    • However, the numbers which I pointed out upthread do not justify calling it a hit, regardless of the opinion of one man with a big vested interest in the matter.


      • Sometimes these things are subjective, but not this time. Pearl Harbor, objectively, was not a hit. It would take a Trumpian ego for Bay to suggest otherwise. Fortunately for him, he has one.


    • Yes, because directors always have the most objective views regarding the reception of their work…

      That is sarcasm in case anyone missed it.


  30. if bvs was not a hit they would not go ahead with the stand alone batman movie for ben but they are goign through with it


    • Of course they would. Why wouldn’t they? If they can’t make a solo Batman movie, they may as well pull the plug on the whole DC universe and start over. And they would all lose their jobs if they did that.

      No, don’t believe for a second that is a reflection of the success of BVS. If anything, it shows how unhappy WB is with Zack Snyder. They have minimized his involvement and given more power to Affleck along with others (Geoff Johns especially).

      Aside from a big opening weekend, BVS was not a hit. Not even a modest one.


  31. but you would sya man of steel was a bigger hit


    • MoS wasn’t a runaway hit either. Its domestic gross barely exceed its production cost meaning it didn’t turn a profit in the US either. It probably made some money when you factor in overseas grosses. If it had done better, WB might have made a proper Superman sequel rather than pushing the panic button and making him share a movie with Batman. Neither of these movies bombed, but they weren’t successful either. WB is just hoping they can use them as a springboard for bigger and better things. And after this summer, they are really worried that isn’t going to happen.


      • When Batman VS. Superman released, one of the questions was “how much extra box office value is Batman adding to this sequel?” Man Of Steel earned $291 domestically, while BVS earned $330M. So if you look at the two you would say, well, the difference in adding Batman is about $40 Million.

        But if you look a smidge further that doesn’t make sense. Since Man Of Steel had a mediocre public reception, the actual truth is a Superman 2 film probably would have struggled to even approach $200M domestically.

        If you accept that as a probable truth, then yes adding Batman (any actor as Batman, even Ben Affleck) probably doubled the box office of this DC addition.


        • Thumbs up for you.

          This part isn’t a response to your comment: I think I’m done talking about BVS’ box office in the comments section of the Josh Hartnett article. If there’s more to discuss on this subject, and I don’t think there is, let’s move the conversation somewhere more appropriate.


  32. man of steel is going forward with a proper sequel. plus man of steel still did better then superman returns at least man of steel doubled its budget worldwide


  33. you did say that man of steel was still considerd a hit on costner blog. That it still made enough money to warrent a sequel


  34. Good Bad Flicks: 30 Days of Night (2007)


  35. I couldn’t help but think of Vince Chase (Entourage) while reading this! Interesting.


  36. #DarkKnight: Josh Hartnett Reveals Why He Turned Down #Batman Role


  37. What happened to Josh Hartnett? (self.movies)

    I just watched Lucky Number Slevin last night, and forgot how fantastic of a movie it is. As well as how good Josh Hartnett was in it. He was a bona fide star for a while; Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk Down, Wicker Park, and I am personally a fan of The Faculty. The most significant thing he has been in recently is Penny Dreadful, which I have not seen. So has led to him no longer being a star.


  38. Josh Hartnett fights to survive in 6 Below trailer

    Josh Hartnett has to fight to survive in the trailer for 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain. The upcoming thriller stars Hartnett as former professional hockey player Eric LaMarque, who comes to terms with his past and struggles with his own personal demons after being stranded in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

    “I was a good kid, strong kid,” Eric begins in the trailer. However, as it quickly shows, Eric’s life was not perfect, as his father put a lot of pressure on him. This clearly carried over into his adult life as well, with the pressure causing him to crack and hurl a hockey puck into a mirror. He then gets even more destructive, driving off the road and ending up in jail.

    “I lost my way,” he says, as his mother (Mira Sorvino) shows up to bail him out of jail. “I’m not going to help you anymore until you want to help yourself,” she tells him. He takes this as a message to get away for a few days, and decides to go snowboarding, with the mountain air hopefully helping him clear his head.

    While the trip seems to go well at first, it quickly goes off the rails as a storm hits. “This is the craziest winter I’ve seen in years,” an announcer says over the radio. Alone on the mountain, Eric picks a path and tries to find his way out, but ends up lost with no cell phone service. 

    Things go wrong quickly for Eric on the mountain, as he falls through a patch of ice and winds up having to take off his wet clothes in an effort to stay warm. Unable to start a fire, he also has to face off with the mountain’s dangerous wildlife and with the fact that rescue helicopters can’t seem to find him. “I don’t think I have much time,” Eric says towards the end of the trailer. “I only get to live life forward. It never makes any sense until we’re looking back.”

    6 Below is based on LeMarque’s true story. The movie, directed by Scott Waugh (Need for Speed) based on a script from Madison Turner, hits theaters and VOD on Oct. 13. For now, see some of the best movies of this year so far.


  39. Cinema Snob: Halloween H20 (1998)


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