Where is Josh Hartnett now? Actor opens up on why he turned his back on Hollywood

Actor Josh Hartnett recently talked about his decision to move away from mainstream Hollywood (Image via Jason LaVeris/Getty Images)
Actor Josh Hartnett recently talked about his decision to move away from mainstream Hollywood (Image via Jason LaVeris/Getty Images)

Actor Josh Hartnett, who rose to prominence in the late 1990s, recently revealed why he turned his back on Hollywood during the peak of his career. The Pearl Harbor star told Channel Seven’s Sunrise that his decision was the “best thing” at the time:

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

In another interview, the actor also confessed that he regretted turning down the lead role in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain in the past and was set to star in the film with Joaquin Phoenix:

“Unfortunately, I was going to do Brokeback Mountain. And I had a contract with the (2006 film) Black Dahlia that I had to film, so I had to drop out of it.”

The film later cast Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in lead roles and went on to become one of the most acclaimed movies of all time. In addition to Brokeback Mountain, Josh Hartnett also refused roles on popular offers like a three-picture deal for Superman and Christopher Nolan’s Batman.

Josh Hartnett currently lives in Surrey with his wife, actress Tamsin Egerton, and their three daughters. He is set to star in the upcoming TV series The Fear Index and is currently appearing in the Paramount Plus Series, Paradise Lost.

What happened to Josh Hartnett?

Josh Hartnett moved away from the spotlight in 2006 (Image via Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Josh Hartnett moved away from the spotlight in 2006 (Image via Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Josh Hartnett came under the spotlight after playing Michael Fitzgerald in the 1997 drama series Cracker. He skyrocketed to fame after bagging a role in the 1998 slasher fiction Halloween H20: 20 Years Later and was often considered the ‘next big thing’ in Hollywood.

The actor went on to dominate the entertainment industry in the early 2000s with films like Pearl Harbor, The Faculty, Black Hawk Down, 40 Days and 40 Nights and The Black Dahlia, among others.

However, he slowly started moving away from the spotlight by 2006 and reportedly went back to his hometown of Minnesota. In 2014, Hartnett opened up to Details about 18-month long break from Hollywood:

"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."

In another interview, Josh Hartnett told Huffington Post that he wanted to have a “healthy perspective” about his career in the industry:

"I think it can be an unhealthy environment. To get so consumed with chasing a goal that doesn’t necessarily have to define you is a fool’s errand and I wanted to have a healthy perspective on it. Not only a healthy perspective on the fame itself, but the pursuit of wealth and the pursuit of surface values.”

Earlier this year, Josh Hartnett told Variety that he was lucky to have had the chance to make his own decisions despite being a young man in Hollywood:

"I was, at that time of my career, where a lot of people were asking me to do those types of movies. I was having meetings with those directors and people were saying: 'Would you be interested?' I talked to them about what they were doing and I ultimately decided I wasn’t, but that was a very privileged place for a young man to be in. I’m a little bit outside of the box and had the leverage to do that, and that’s the direction I chose."

However, the Minnesota-native also told Playboy that he did regret turning down several roles he was offered in the past:

"That's frowned upon in this industry. People don't like being told no. I learned my lesson when Christopher Nolan and I talked about Batman. I decided it wasn’t for me. Then he didn’t want to put me in The Prestige. They hired their Batman [Christian Bale] for it."

Josh Hartnett also shared that he was scared of being “pigeonholed” at the time but would not make similar choices at present:

"I was so focused on not being pigeonholed and so scared of being considered only one thing as an actor. 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? I know now that I wouldn’t turn something down just because it’s a superhero role."

Although the actor has largely moved away from the mainstream industry, he continues to receive offers in several films and TV shows. However, the opportunities are much less compared to his early days.

A look into the life of Josh Hartnett

Josh Hartnett rose to fame after appearing in the ABC series 'Cracker' in 1997 (Image via Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
Josh Hartnett rose to fame after appearing in the ABC series 'Cracker' in 1997 (Image via Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

Josh Hartnett was born to Wendy Anne Kronstedt and Daniel Thomas Hartnett in 1978. He was initially passionate about football but turned to acting after suffering an injury that prevented him from playing. He first auditioned for the role of Huckleberry Finn in a stage production of Tom Sawyer.

He later moved to New York to attend the Conservatory of Theatre Arts & Film and then shifted to California to pursue a career in acting. His breakthrough role came in the ABC series Cracker, which aired between 1997 and 1999.


Josh Hartnett went on to appear in films like Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, The Faculty, The Virgin Suicides (1999), Pearl Harbor, O, Black Hawk Down, 40 Days and 40 Nights, Lucky Number Slevin, The Black Dahlia, Resurrecting the Champ, 30 Days of Night, I Come with the Rain and several others.

Following his long hiatus from Hollywood, he returned to screens in 2014 with the horror TV series Penny Dreadful and earned huge acclaim for portraying Ethan Chandler. He was also nominated for a Fangoria Chainsaw Award for his role. He also appeared in independent productions like The Ottoman Lieutenant, Oh Lucy! and She's Missing.


In 2002, Josh Hartnett was placed on People's Most Beautiful People List. He often graced the pages of popular magazines like Vanity Fair, Vogue, Cosmogirl, GQ, Elle, Glamour and others.

Later in life, he focused on raising his children and also ventured into production. During an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Josh Hartnett said:

"I did take some time off, but I mostly took some time off to do other things, like raise my children. I started to write a lot. I wrote a few scripts, wrote a few short music videos, and started producing... I started to produce my own films, and I did smaller independent projects. People took that as me throwing away a career or something, but it wasn't that at all, in my opinion. It was me just sort of finding myself."

Josh Hartnett produced the music video for Kid Cudi's Pursuit of Happiness in 2009. He also appeared as a guest of honor at the Off Camera Plus Film Festival in 2013 and took part in several activist campaigns like USAID and Ad Council's FWD, among others.

Fans of Josh Hartnett are eagerly waiting to see the actor in The Fear Index. His show Paradise Lost is also airing on Paramount Plus in Australia.

Edited by Rhythm Bhatia