‘It was the best thing for my mental health to keep Hollywood at bay’: Noughties pin-up Josh Hartnett details his reasons for turning his back on acting in rare appearance

  • On Wednesday, the American actor revealed the real reason why he stepped away from a career in big-budget movies and took a more artistic path 
  • The esteemed star, 43, told Channel Seven’s Sunrise: ‘It was the best thing for my mental health and my career to keep Hollywood at bay’ 
  • It comes after Hartnett revealed the one role he regrets turning down during his early Hollywood career after he was offered a role in Brokeback Mountain
  • This part was eventually taken by the late Australian actor Heath Ledger

Josh Hartnett appeared set for a long career in Hollywood before turning his back on Tinseltown in the mid 2000s.

And on Wednesday, the American actor revealed the real reason why he stepped away from a career in big-budget movies and took a more artistic path.

The esteemed star, 43, told Channel Seven’s Sunrise: ‘It was the best thing for my mental health and my career to keep Hollywood at bay… 

Revealed: Josh Hartnett (pictured) has revealed the real reason why he turned his back on Hollywood at the peak of his career in the mid 2000s

‘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’.

It comes after Hartnett revealed the one role he regrets turning down during his early Hollywood career, as he was offered a role in the award-winning 2005 film Brokeback Mountain, which was eventually taken by the late Heath Ledger. 

He explained: ‘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’.

He explained he was originally meant to star in the drama with Joaquin Phoenix. 

Step back: ‘It was the best thing for my mental health and my career to keep Hollywood at bay,’ Hartnett told Channel Seven’s Sunrise. Pictured with Brian Van Holt (left) in Black Hawk Down

This was soon changed to Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, who both went on to receive several awards and separate nods at the 2006 Academy Awards.

The movie received six more nominations at the Oscars and numerous accolades across the globe.

Harnett has been vocal about not having regrets about some of the huge roles he’s turned down in the past, including playing Superman in a three-picture deal and Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.

Grounded: ‘I think I hit onto it early in 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,’ he explained

But he does admit there’s a bit of regret for Brokeback Mountain, joking that he ‘always wanted to kiss Joaquin’.

Hartnett got his big start in the 2001 war films Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down.

He turned to independent films in recent years, starring in Ida Red and Target Number One, but he has also made appearances in bigger productions such as Guy Ritchie’s Wrath of Man.

One of Hartnett’s most renowned starring roles was in the hit horror drama series Penny Dreadful, which ran from 2014 to 2016.

Reflection: It comes after Hartnett revealed the one role he regrets turning down during his early Hollywood career: playing one of the leads in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain

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