What the Hell Happened to 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 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 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.
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.
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.