Josh Hartnett, co-star of the "Sin City" Movie!
One of the crop of obscenely attractive young stars to pop up during the late 1990s, Josh Hartnett has the kind of strong-jawed, puppy-eyed looks that make him equally suited for both movie stardom and Tommy Hilfiger ads. Hartnett was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on July 21, 1978. Following his high school graduation, he attended New York's SUNY-Purchase, but his time there ended after he was offered a role on the short-lived TV series Cracker. He also did a number of TV commercials and plays, and in 1998 he got his screen break with the plum role of Jamie Lee Curtis' son in Halloween: H20. Although the film received poor reviews, it did moderately well at the box office, and that same year Harnett's profile further increased when he starred in The Faculty. One of a number of films to exploit the current trend in teen horror movies, it featured Hartnett fighting off alien teachers alongside the likes of fellow up-and-comers Elijah Wood and Shawn Hatosy. Although the film didn't do as well as expected, thanks in part to the fact that the teen horror craze was beginning to lose steam, it in no way interfered with the increasing number of opportunities available to the young actor.
Hartnett could subsequently be seen in a number of diverse films; among his projects in 2000 alone, he played an Iago-like character in O, the teen re-telling of Othello; the son of Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton in the comedy-drama Town and Country; and the paramour of the eldest of the ill-fated Lisbon sisters in Sofia Coppola's adaptation of The Virgin Suicides. His pattern of starring in films with steadily-increasing budgets reached its apex in 2001 when Hartnett appeared in director Michael Bay's World War II action drama Pearl Harbor, playing Danny, a young solider who falls in love with his best friend's main squeeze amid the chaos of the titular conflict.
Joshua Daniel Hartnett was born on July 21, 1978 in San Francisco, California, USA.
More fun stuff about Josh Hartnett
Education: Richfield High School (graduated in June 1996)
State University of New York, Purchase, New York (attended one year)
Sister: Jessica Hartnett (younger)
Brother: Jack and Joe Hartnett (both are younger)
Claim to fame: as Zeke in The Faculty (1998)
A budding scriptwriter who thinks he has written a script perfect for Hartnett has taken out a half-page newspaper ad in the actor's hometown to catch his attention. (February 27, 2005)
Is single once again after parting ways with his childhood sweetheart Ellen Fenster. (February 27, 2004)
Hartnett has been voted the world's sexiest vegetarian in a new People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals (PETA) poll. (July 16, 2003)
Turned down the offer to star in the long-awaited revival of SUPERMAN. (March, 2003)
He took the lead role in SUPERMAM Vs. BATMAN after Jude Law rejected it.
His claim to fame movie was HALLOWEEN:H2O
His first acting part was a Huck Finn in a school play
His films include HALLOWEEN:H2O, THE FACULTY, HERE ON EARTH, THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, TOWN AND COUNTRY, BLOW DRY, PEARL HARBOR, O (a remake of OTHELLO), 40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS, AND BLACK HAWK DOWN
His first acting job was a Northwestern airline commercial and playing the role of Huck Finn in a school play.
His uncle died before Josh took part in PEARL HARBOR
He was the first person to try out for PEARL HARBOR, but it was for Ben Affleck's part.
The very first scene he played on television was on the TV series
He prefers to live in his quiet hometown, St. Paul, Minnesota, than in California with other stars
He auditioned for parts in both 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU & THE PATRIOT but lost the roles to Heath Ledger.
Was originally cast as Rafe in PEARL HARBOR, but ended up playing Danny instead
Josh Hartnett's Quotation:
"That's the thing about real movie stars that I'll never have. When real movie stars walk into a room, it's all about them. They know it and everybody else knows it. I like to fly under the radar. I try, anyway."
Josh Hartnett Talks About "Wicker Park"
is a psychological drama about love, relationships, and obsession. Josh Hartnett stars as Matthew, a tormented man who can't get over losing the woman he thought he loved. Two years after she mysteriously vanishes, Matthew thinks he sees her and becomes obsessed with his search for the woman who broke his heart.
Director Paul McGuigan and his leading man, Hartnett, have nothing but admiration for each other’s work. In fact, after finishing up “Wicker Park,” McGuigan and Hartnett decided to work together again on “Lucky Number Sleven.”
In this interview, Josh Hartnett discusses what drew him to “Wicker Park,” as well as his work on “Sin City” with Robert Rodriguez, his role in “Mozart and the Whale,” and the status of his involvement with “Superman.”
INTERVIEW WITH JOSH HARTNETT ('Matthew'):
Why were you so passionate about this project?
I really wanted to work with Paul McGuigan and I liked the original movie. I was passionate about it because the movie was all about passion. I don't know, I just felt like I could understand. I thought it was a cool, different kind of movie that hadn’t been made like this in a long time. I just thought it was cool.
How different was your interpretation of the character from the original?
Well, there’s not a lot of interpretation involved in the character because he’s mostly a reactive character. So, you just kind of go in there emotionally and just let yourself loose.
How challenging is it to play a reactive character?
It is challenging. It’s challenging to stay on point all the time and try and make sure that you’re in the right place all the time, especially on any given day. In a certain location, we’d have all the big scenes to do in one location, different times in his life. Yeah, it was a challenge in that way. Time constraints were a challenge. But it wasn’t like… I just finished this movie called “Mozart and the Whale” and it wasn’t like playing an autistic man. That was a huge challenge in a different rite.
This character is antisocial. How did you find something sympathetic about him?
I found him sympathetic in my reading of it, so I just played him the way that I heard it - or read it.
How many times have you been asked about obsessive love recently?
Hmm… 7,542 in the last two days. But it’s good.
And have you experienced obsessive love?
Yeah, I have, but never to this extent. I think what the movie is about is this fine line between love and obsession. I think that love, true love or whatever they call it, is just requited obsession. If you look at what you do when you’re first in love with someone, then it’s always pretty ridiculous and it is a little bit obsessive. I think everybody experiences some of that in their life, but not to the extent of the Alex character [played by Rose Byrne].
How does Wicker Park differentiate itself from the French version?
I don't know. I didn’t pay a lot of attention to [the original]. After I saw it and I knew I liked the French version, I didn’t watch it again. I tried not to pay any attention to what the similarities would be because I wanted this one to stand on its own. I don't know, I haven’t seen it since. I know that there are certain things like the visuals, and the characters. I think we act quite a bit differently, the ending is different. I don't know, but you don’t want to give too much away.
Does this version tie things up more?
I’ll just ask you this. Who did Vincent Cassell end up with at the end of “The Apartment?” He ended up with Monica Bellucci. I think ours is a little bit more true to life, a little bit more true to fashion. I just felt like when I watched “The Apartment,” I was like, “What?” I mean, I liked the movie, but the ending really confused me. I understood it intellectually, what he was trying to say with it, but I was like, “You can’t be- - that’s just wrong to flip that at the very end for no reason.” So we just did it this way. We thought it worked better.
How did you come to this project?
I read the script, watched the movie, and then kind of said, “Yeah, it’s a good deal.” But there was somebody else directing it and I wasn’t that interested in the project at the time. And then when McGuigan signed on to do it, I saw “Gangster No. 1” and I said, “Yeah I really want to work with this guy.”
Can you talk about “Mozart and the Whale?”
Playing a man with Asperger's is a difficult challenge. But playing anybody who is going to represent, in a way, the average person’s idea of what people with this specific disorder or whatever might have is a huge challenge because you don’t want to…it has to be right on. You can’t be over the top. I [would] just always ask this woman psychologist who we had with us every day, “Am I diagnosable? Am I in the right spot?” And aside from that, just trying to create the character in the midst of this love story. This is a true story about him meeting his wife. It’s a big responsibility.
Was "Mozart" a draining role?
It gave so much back, I don't know how to explain it. When you're feeling challenged, I don't know if you guys ever had a deadline or something you had to meet on a story that you really were involved in, you really didn’t want to let it end, and you were working 20 hours a day just to finish it in time. Yeah, it’s draining, but at the same time, it’s so rewarding that you don’t feel like you missed that time when it’s over.
Did it change your perception of things in general?
I think every movie I do gives me a new perspective on different things.
How hard was it to get that made?
For a while, when I took a year off - when I took nine months off to get “Mozart and the Whale” together - it was kind of stressful because I was worried that nobody would put the money up for it, for “Mozart.” And I kind of put all my eggs in that basket. And if it didn’t work out, it would be a lot of wasted time. But that’s the kind of risk that I guess I like to take. Actors have this all the time where they’re worried about whether they’ll ever work again. Fortunately for me, I have a whole lot of stuff in my life that I like to do and I guess I just don’t think about it as much. But when there is something I really want to do and I’m really passionate about, it’s nerve wracking waiting for it to happen.
What’s your character in “Sin City?”
I play a kind of unnamed character. I’m only in it for two… The reason I got into it is because Robert Rodriguez needed to get the rights from Frank Miller. Frank had felt like he had been duped before. He didn’t want to give the rights away to his baby, “Sin City.” I had worked with Robert before and I told him at the time, anytime he ever wanted me to do anything, I’d be up for it. And I was about to go shoot “Mozart.” He was like, “Well, just come down here for a couple days. We’ll shot a scene and show Frank that we’re going to do this right.” So I went down there and then Frank gave him the rights after that. Then Robert called me back after I got done with “Mozart” and said, “Can you come down and just do one more scene for the end of the movie.” So I’m just in the beginning and the end.
Is it a scene from the comics?
Mm-hmm. He’s a much bigger character not in this story. They call him any number of things, from The Ladykiller to…In the script, we call him The Man. So it’s kind of like take what you will from that.
How was working with Robert Rodriguez?
I’ve worked with him twice now.
But this time he’s using different technology.
Yeah, but he’s still doing the same [things]. He’s still working with the same crew, he’s still working in Austin. He’s still doing it exactly the way he wants to do it all the time.
Sort of like you?
I guess, but I don’t have a studio where I live and I don’t have a whole bundle of people working for me at all times. He’s doing it his way and I appreciate that. I like him for it.
Have you been approached for “Superman” again?
I was approached a couple of times for it. I’m not going to do it.
They tried again?
They tried to get me a couple of times and it just wasn’t for me.
A big franchise doesn’t hold any interest to you?
Depending on what it was. If it was a franchise that I thought… If the character was up my alley, I’d do it. But there aren’t that many characters the big studios have been making that have been intriguing to me.
Are there any books you would like to buy and star in?
Unfortunately, there are people that snap up books before they’re even printed and every book that I’ve gone, “My God, somebody should make this into a movie,” somebody already is. Unfortunately, sometimes it’ll sit in development for years and years and years.
Can you name any specific books?
I love that book “Perfume.”
Is Tom Tykwer doing that?
Well, it was going to be Julian Schnabel for a while directing it. And I went up to his studio and tried to coerce him into casting me. It’s definitely not a role that people would really consider me for usually, so I just wanted to see if I could get my foot in the door. That was a couple years ago. And then the movie went to this guy who did “Run Lola Run.” Who knows where it’s going to go from here, but I’ve got other things that I gotta do. We’re doing “Rum Diary,” which is a Hunter Thompson book. That’s one that I really wanted to do and luckily got involved with it at the right time. And “Black Dahlia.” Same thing, another book I really wanted to be a part of. And we’re doing that, too. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.
When do you start “Black Dahlia” and “Rum Diary?”
Probably next year. “Black Dahlia’s” going to come first, right after “Lucky Slevin.” And then “Rum Diary” is going to come after that, shooting in San Juan.
What’s the next movie you and your “Wicker Park” director are doing together?
“Lucky Slevin,” that’s what it’s called. We can’t talk about who’s in it yet, can we? Because they haven’t officially signed on yet, but it’s a pretty amazing cast, great script and crappy director [Hartnett makes that comment as director McGuigan enters the room].
Meet Josh Hartnett
He first came to our attention in teen horror fest flicks like Halloween: H20 and The Faculty then the sensitive Virgin Suicides and his hard-hitting roles in the epic Pearl Harbor and the war movie Black Hawk Down. He made a comedy, 40 Days and 40 Nights and then….disappeared! Hot but press-shy Josh Hartnett just went home to Minnesota to ditch the Hollywood starmaker machine. He's still a reluctant, but friendly interview and now, co-starring with one of his childhood idols, Harrison Ford, in the cop comedy Hollywood Homicide, Josh is back in tinseltown and has plenty to say about Harrison, the Hollywood Blockbuster machine, why he didn't play Superman, his escape from teen films and his next projects.
AGW: You seemed to be having fun at the MTV Movie Awards.
Josh: [grins] Harrison kind of begged me to do that because he thinks that demographic [young people] will come see this movie and I agree, but I've never done anything like that before and had made a rule not to do it. He was like, 'Get over yourself.' I got to make fun of Harrison [Ford] on stage in front of a bunch of people, it was fun. We had this little banter. I've never done anything like that. I had a lot of fun afterwards. It was a friend of mine's birthday.
AGW: Okay, they tell you you'll be in a movie with Harrison Ford. Were you a little intimidated?
Josh: Of course, yeah. I grew up and idolized him. I mean, I was born in seventy eight, and Star Wars came out in Seventy seven. So, he had quite a rise right before I was born, but I truly grew up on him. It's tough to get over that jittery feeling that you get when you meet someone that you felt some sort of connection to. He was like a father figure to me, I think, on screen. He's always just seemed like such a cool guy, and I had his [action] figures. I have this box somewhere with this Han Solo figure, the kind that the legs don't bend and you put him in his Millennium Falcon, and he'd stick out like this. [he indicates, straight up].
AGW: How do you put that awe aside and just do your job?
Josh: Oh, just be professional. We have a job to do and you just say that to yourself, and honestly, after a few days of knowing Harrison, you're not in awe of him anymore. You're more just terrified of him.
AGW: What was working with him really like?
Josh: I found out instantly that Harrison was going to walk in front of me whenever he could, he was going to step on my lines, he was going to make me feel that I had no business being there and I found out later that he was testing me, and it worked, it worked! Ron [Shelton, the director] was just like, 'Work around it, work around him. He's the big dog.' Between the characters, he is the big dog and it works, and so, I found a way to make that funny. When he does something, I kind of idolize it and do the same thing. My character is kind of odd, and it worked, I think. At some point, he'd just push me to the limit and It was a good thing that I did so much yoga. I was remaining calm. I think that I look up to Harrison because he's had an amazingly long career and he's done pretty much exactly what he wanted to do every step of the way. People don't really give him any crap and he does what he feels is best. I admire that. He is someone that I definitely look up to just as far as sticking to your guns.
AGW: Your character is really into Yoga. Were you?
Josh: No, I was doing yoga when I went to college. I did yoga for about six months everyday and when I decided to do this movie, I got right into it. To have that peace was excellent, and God, I needed it at times. I practiced for about seven months, an hour and a half everyday without fail and by the end of it, I was in amazing shape and you breathe easier, and it's the way you should be. If I had time to do it everyday, I would maintain. I'd definitely do it.
AGW: You still live back in Minnesota. Did you consider that you might have to move here?
Josh: No, I'm never tempted in that way, but lets talk about flight schedules. [When I'm working], I try to get back as much as possible, but like, there's one flight in the early, early morning to Minnesota and then, there's one at twelve forty five at night the next morning, the red eye, so, I only did that a couple of times while I was out here. Usually, when I'm working on a movie, I tend to stay where I am. It keeps me focused. I'll have to call Harrison for a ride. He flies everywhere, he's got it figured out.
AGW: What is the strangest place you've been approached by a fan?
Josh: I had someone give me a script in the Met not too long ago. The Metropolitan Museum in New York. I was walking through the ancient Greek sculptures, and this guy was like, 'Hey man, I've got a script for you, and you know so and so? I went to NYU,' and I was like, 'Yeah, I do.' He goes, 'Yeah, we're good friends. Anyway, I want to give you this script,' and it's like, 'Cool, thanks. Enjoy the art.' I took it. You're not supposed to but I think that the best thing to do is just get on with it because it's kind of uncomfortable.
AGW: You turned down playing Superman. Can you clarify why it's just not for you?
Josh: It just wasn't the kind of movie that I wanted to do. They offered me the role while I was shooting Hollywood Homicide. I said no. They offered it to me again, I said no and again and again. Then, Brett Ratner [then scheduled as director] came out and I talked with Brett, and I really thought that he had great ideas for the film. When people pursue you with that amount of vigor, I take it seriously. So, I had to think about it, but no, I don't ever want to do it. I just didn't want to play Superman and I've turned down all of the other superhero movies too. I said no. But then there's a reason to be Superman. I could fly and go wherever I wanted to go, put on my cape.
AGW: So no thinking about the bad luck other Superman actors have had?
Josh: [Laughs] No. I don't think that I believe in that sort of thing, but if I got to that point and I said, 'Okay, I'm going to do it,' and someone said, 'Hey, remember them,' I'd probably take a second thought.
AGW: If you weren't an actor, what would you be doing today?
Josh: Be at a gas station somewhere. I'd be looking for a job like everyone else in America right now. All of my friends have been losing their jobs. I wanted to paint. That's what I was hoping to do when I grew up, be a painter. It would have to be modern because I idolize the painters that could do whatever they wanted and chose what they felt was right for each painting and not someone that was limited by their lack of vision. But painting takes time. I love doing it whenever I get a chance.
AGW: Does it take time for you to get into the rhythm of doing a comedy?
Josh: No. This character is so completely unaware that he's funny, and those are the kind of characters that I like to play in comedy because honestly, I'm not a comedic actor. I don't think about timing. It's definitely a different place to move to. What I appreciate is like Peter Sellers type comedy. It's like he's just totally unaware of the fact that he's fabulous. He's just so funny. this guy is just searching for these answers in all the wrong places, and he's goofy and you can laugh at him.
AGW: What keeps you going? What drives you?
Josh: Experience and knowledge and as much information as I can take in. And love and support that I can give out. I have a vague vision, and my dad was the greatest at this. He had a picture of this old African man in a small turban, an Ethiopian man in his office, his whole life, and this man had really beautiful wrinkles and you could tell that he smiled a lot in his life. My dad would say, 'I'm working to be that man. That's what I want to be when I'm older. I want to have enjoyed my life, I want to have seen it,' I think that I'm at that point now. I just have a vision of what I'd like to be when I'm older.
AGW: Are you able to maintain a personal life and date like a normal guy?
Josh: Yeah, I think that I've got a pretty good bullshit detector. I think that I've been okay in that category. I've met a lot of really cool girls.
AGW: Have you made it a point not to date anyone in the entertainment industry?
Josh: No, I haven't made that point. It's nice when the person that you're with understands what you're going through and that's why a lot of celebrities date celebrities and other actors date other actors and musicians tend to date….. models [Laughs].
AGW: We hear there were some injuries making this film.
Josh: We got into a car accident and I got messed up a couple of times. I did some pretty wicked stunts, and I jumped off the Victoria's Secret store, that was about twenty five feet. Some other guy jumped off a ladder onto a kiosk. The whole thing went out from under him and he went straight back on his head. These stunt guys are crazy, but you know, I got to do some cool stuff like jump off of a building and stuff like that, and then, the car accident was one of those things where a stunt driver just [messed] up.
AGW: How about doing big blockbusters like Pearl Harbor?
Josh: You still have to work and do the same job. But it's so focused on the way it looks and getting the technical aspects right that you feel like a prop most of the time. The movies that are more fun for me are the movies that are more character oriented. I actually went away to shoot 'Wicker Park' and when I came back to do a re-shoot of a scene, Harrison turned to me, and I was getting really pissed off because it was just like a factory, 'Go, go, go because we've got to get seventy five angles,' and Harrison just laughed and said, 'What, you been working on some sort of art film?' 'Yeah.' [Laughs].
AGW: So is Wicker Park also called Obsessed? What is that about?
Josh: Obsessed sounds like such a made for TV, movie of the week. There's nothing wrong with that, but it's just not my thing. It's a good movie. I play a guy who's had his heart kind of torn from his chest and he moves away for about two years, and comes back to Chicago, to Wicker Park and he's engaged and he thinks he sees this woman who really broke his heart and he's not sure and so, he's trying to find her and it takes him a few days. Matthew Lillard [Scooby Doo] is in it also and he's making his first kind of dramatic turn and he's really, really good.
AGW: Do you still get offered a lot of teen roles and are you turning them down?
Josh: Well, the reason for that is that you can get stuck in the heartthrob thing and I try not to play that up. My agents don't even send those to me now. There are a lot of guys who ride that and that's fine for them, but I want to find serious roles. Unfortunately, that's a hard road to take when you're a young guy who some people think sells tickets because the girls like him, but I'm not going to negate an entire half of the species. I think that it's good that women like what I do, that's great, so thank you.
Hollywood teen heartthrob Josh Hartnett
Josh Hartnett practically typifies the image of a Hollywood teen heartthrob; after launching his career with two successful adolescent-aimed horror flicks ("Halloween: H2O" and "The Faculty"), the actor found further commercial success- not to mention the adoration of millions of girls with portrayals of upstanding young men in movies like "Pearl Harbor" and "Black Hawk Down". In "Wicker Park" Hartnett expands his repertoire with a film that is equal parts romance and mystery, character study and suspense thriller. In this recent interview with Hartnett, the actor reflects on his early days as a teen idol, his work in "Wicker Park", and the direction he sees his career going in future roles.
Are you happy with the title Wicker Park?
Josh Hartnett: Very happy.
Was it a battle?
JH: I don't know how much of a fight it was. We just said, "Are you kidding?" And they said no. and we said, "Well, you should be." And they said okay.
Why were you so passionate about this project?
JH: I really wanted to work with Paul McGuigan and I liked the original movie. I was passionate about it because the movie was all about passion. I don't know, I just felt like I could understand. I thought it was a cool, different kind of movie that hadn't been made like this in a long time. I just thought it was cool.
How different was your interpretation of the character from the original?
JH: Well, there's not a lot of interpretation involved in the character because he's mostly a reactive character. So, you just kind of go in there emotionally and just let yourself loose.
How challenging is it to play a reactive character?
JH: It is challenging. It's challenging to stay on point all the time and try and make sure that you're in the right place all the time, especially on any given day. In a certain location, we'd have all the big scenes to do in one location, different times in his life. Yeah, it was a challenge in that way. Time constraints were a challenge. But it wasn't like- - I just finished this movie called Mozart and the Whale and it wasn't like playing an autistic man. That was a huge challenge in a different rite.
The guy is antisocial though. How did you find something sympathetic about this character?
JH: I found him sympathetic in my reading of it so I just played him the way that I heard it, or read it.
How many times have you been asked about obsessive love today?
JH: Hmm, 7,542 in the last two days. But it's good.
And have you experienced obsessive love?
JH: Yeah, I have. But never to this extent. I think what the movie is about is this fine line between love and obsession. I think that love, true love or whatever they call it, is just requited obsession. If you look at what you do when you're first in love with someone then it's always pretty ridiculous and it is a little bit obsessive. I think everybody experiences some of that in their life, but not to the extent of the Alex character.
What's the most embarrassing thing you've done to get somebody's attention?
JH: I haven't done that much that's too embarrassing while I've been sober. Come on, you do more embarrassing things when you're drunk and let's face it, when you're meeting people a lot of the time, you end up meeting people in situations where everybody is well lubricated. You know what I mean. Don't take that the wrong way. I don't know, nothing in particular.
Are you a bad drunk?
JH: No, I have fun. I think I'm too good a drunk to tell you the truth. People like me better when I'm drunk. That's not good.
This guy needs to learn to take risks. Is that any parallel to you?
JH: I'll take risks, but I've never stalked anyone. I believe in- - the thing about this movie is in a way, he makes the bold decision to go after this girl. In a way it's courageous because she could just turn around and say the reason I left is because I just didn't like you, didn't want to spend any more time with you. So he'd wasted everything in his life just to hear that. But I don't know if I would drop my pride enough to do that.
But you take risks in your career?
Balance in career?
JH: I just want to do things my way really, which is really hard to do when you're doing the common fare in the big studio movies. It's like you're kind of a spoke in the wheel at that point. It just didn't mesh with my style of doing things so I just took a step back and decided to not do those type of movies anymore, turned a few down and just let people know that I was looking for other types of things, like Mozart.
Talk about "Mozart and the Whale"?
JH: Playing a man with "Aspers" is a difficult challenge, but playing anybody who is going to represent in a way the average person's idea of what people with this specific disorder or whatever might have is a hue challenge because you don't want to- - it has to be right on. You can't be over the top. I just always ask this woman psychologist who we had with us every day, was just "Am I diagnoseable? Am I in the right spot?" And aside from that, just trying to create the character in the midst of this love story. This is a true story about him meeting his wife. It's a big responsibility.
Was that more of a draining role?
JH: It gave so much back, I don't know how to explain it. when you're feeling challenged, I don't know if you guys ever had a deadline or something you had to meet on a story that you really were involved in, you really didn't want to let it end, and you were working 20 hours a day just to finish it in time, yeah, it's draining but at the same time, it's so rewarding that you don't feel like you missed that time when it's over.
Did it change your perception of things in general?
JH: I think every movie I do gives me a new perspective on different things.
What do you play in "Sin City"?
JH: I play a kind of unnamed character. I'm only in it for two- - the reason I got into it is because Robert Rodriguez needed to get the rights from Frank Miller. Frank had felt like he had been duped before. He didn't want to give the rights away to his baby, Sin City. I had worked with Robert before and I told him at the time, anytime he ever wanted me to do anything, I'd be up for it and I was about to go shoot Mozart. He was like, "Well, just come down here for a couple days, we'll shot a scene and show Frank that we're going to do this right." So I went down there and then Frank gave him the rights after that and then Robert called me back after I got done with Mozart and said, "Can you come down and just do one more scene for the end of the movie." So I'm just in the beginning and the end.
A scene from the comics?
JH: Mm-hmm. He's a much bigger character not in this story. They call him any number of things, from The Ladykiller toÉ in the script, we call him The Man. So it's kind of like take what you will from that.
Working with Robert again?
JH: I've worked with him twice now.
Now it's technology?
JH: Yeah, but he's still doing the same- - he's still working with the same crew, he's still working in Austin, he's still doing it exactly the way he wants to do it all the time.
JH: I guess, but I don't have a studio where I live and I don't have a whole bundle of people working for me at all times. He's doing it his way and I appreciate that. I like him for it.
Have you been approached for Superman again?
JH: I was approached a couple of times for it. I'm not going to do it.
They tried again?
JH: They tried to get me a couple of times and it just wasn't for me.
That hold no interest to you, a big franchise?
JH: Depending on what it was. If it was a franchise that I thought- - if the character was up my alley, I'd do it, but there aren't that many characters the big studios have been making that have been intriguing to me.
Are you surprised to be a mainstream star?
JH: I don't know. I guess I try not to look at it as am I a movie star or anything. It's such a quick cycle that has a half life of about 10 minutes. And I'm not beholden to it. Just as long as I can keep making movies that I want to make, I'll be happy.
Any books you would like to buy and star in?
JH: Unfortunately, there are people that snap up books before they're even printed and every book that I've gone, "My God, somebody should make this into a movie," somebody already is. Unfortunately, sometimes it'll sit in development for years and years and years.
Any specific ones?
JH: I love that book Perfume. Ever read that?
Tom Twyker is doing that?
JH: Well, it was going to be Julian Schnabel for a while directing it and I went up to his studio and tried to coerce him into casting me. It's definitely not a role that people would really consider me for usually, so I just wanted to see if I could get my foot in the door. That was a couple years ago. And then the movie went to this guy who did Run Lola Run. Who knows where it's going to go from here, but I've got other things that I gotta do. We're doing Rum Diaries which is a Hunter Thompson book. That's one that I really wanted to do and luckily got involved with it at the right time. And Black Dahlia, same thing, another book I really wanted to be a part of. And we're doing that too. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.
Want to direct?
JH: Yeah, I think I would like to be able to control a movie at some point and make it the exact way that I see it. But I don't know if I have the technical understanding yet to. I think I'd have to take a little bit of time and get to know the film cameras and lighting and things like that, so it's not just this actor wearing a director's hat but really a director.
Has commercial success been an obstacle?
JH: It was never the commercial success, because unfortunately that is what you're judged by in this business and in all walks. Like even independent films, they need to get their financing from somewhere. But for other reasons such as people didn't know that I could play different types of role because for whatever reason, nobody saw Virgin Suicides or O or anything like that. So people just assumed that I was just kind of Danny from Pearl Harbor, a good guy who was always trying to do the right thing. People had a lot of assumptions. I don't know, it's a challenge. Everybody has their challenges to get over. Actors like- - a lot of actors would say oh, yeah, it's so hard for me to get the right roles because I'm so good looking. It's difficult to break out of your mold no matter what you look like. Unfortunately, your physical self is the thing that is projected on screen, so if you look like Hilda the witch of the east, you've got to overcome that. You've just got to be able to overcome your physical self to be an actor no matter what.
What is life like at home in Minnesota?
JH: It's good. I live in Minnesota and New York so I'm always traveling. I'm always on the move at this point in my life. I figure later on I'll be settling down. For a while, when I took a year off- - when I took nine months off to get Mozart and the Whale together, it was kind of stressful because I was worried that nobody would put the money up for it for Mozart and I kind of put all my eggs in that basket. And if it didn't work out, it would be a lot of wasted time, but that's the kind of risk that I guess I like to take. Actors have this all the time where they're worried about whether they'll ever work again. Fortunately for me, I have a whole lot of stuff in my life that I like to do and I guess I just don't think about it as much. But when there is something I really want to do and I'm really passionate about, it's nerve wracking waiting for it to happen.
Does living outside LA give you a different perspective on it?
JH: Sure, I think so. I mean, I'm not so caught up in the daily process of self congratulations that we have out here. I don't read Daily Variety. I'm not up on who's making how much money on what project. You can get caught in that trap of- - I think you do get-- almost everybody who has spent enough time out here gets caught up in that trap of I want to be the biggest, I want to be making the most, I want to be the most respected. And by respect I mean that it's the same sort of game that sports players play with each other. It's like I'm number one right now. Like Alex Rodriguez makes the most and I don't even know if he does anymore but it's like they're always trying to one up each other. You think that if you are the best actor, you deserve the most or if you are the biggest star, you deserve the most. That race just isn't important to me. I just want to make good films on my own wherever I can. Yeah, it's been the healthiest thing for me to get away from all this.
Need that balance of city and small town life?
JH: Small town meaning two and a half million people. It's not that small. Minneapolis and the Twin Cities are like a smaller metropolitan area compared to New York and LA but it's not that small. It's a very culturally attuned place. I like that. It's got a lot of arts and a lot of music and a lot of theater. It's a cool little artistic place.
How does Wicker Park differentiate itself from the French version?
JH: I don't know. I didn't pay a lot of attention to- - after I saw it and I knew I liked the French version, I didn't watch it again so I tried not to pay any attention to what the similarities would be because I wanted this one to stand on its own. I don't know, I haven't seen it since. I know that there are certain things like the visuals, and the characters, I think we act quite a bit differently, the ending is different. I don't know, but you don't want to give too much away.
This ending more Hollywood?
JH: Don't say that. It's so wrong. How many explosions do you see in our movie? How many big exciting dashing around car crashes and things do you see in our movie? That's Hollywood. That's the opposite.
But Hollywood isn't just about action.
JH: No, but you guys would say that about the movie no matter what it did, right?
Does this version tie things up more?
JH: I'll just ask you this. Who did Vincent Cassell end up with at the end of The Apartment. He ended up with Monica Bellucci. I think ours is a little bit more true to life, a little bit more true to fashion. I just felt like when I watched The Apartment, I was like what? I mean, I liked the movie, but the ending really confused me. I understood it intellectually, what he was trying to say with it, but I was like, "You can't be- - that's just wrong to flip that at the very end for no reason." So we just did it this way. We thought it worked better.
How did you come to the project?
JH: I read the script, watched the movie and then kind of said, "Yeah, it's a good deal" but there was somebody else directing it and I wasn't that interested in the project at the time. And then when McGuigan signed on to do it, I saw Gangster No. 1 and I said, "Yeah I really want to work with this guy."
How did he work out with you?
JH: Good, well, we're doing another one now so it worked out really well. I really liked working with him.
JH: The Lucky Slevin, that's what it's called. We can't talk about who's in it yet, can we? Because they haven't officially signed on yet, but it's a pretty amazing cast, great script and crappy director [joking, because McGuigan is coming in].
When do you start Black Dahlia and Rum Diaries?
JH: Probably next year. Black Dahlia's going to come first, right after Lucky Slevin, and then Rum Diaries is going to come after that, shooting in San Juan.
Josh Harnett: Pearl Harbor
Does Pearl Harbour mean anything to young Americans today?
It’s meaning a lot more to me day by day because of the documentaries and the books coming out at the moment - that’s either a huge coincidence or it has a lot to do with this film! But you read about two pages on it in junior high school so I had to learn a lot, talk to survivors and read a couple of books.
Was portraying a world war two pilot like living out your childhood fantasies?
Yeah, I got to kiss Kate Beckinsale. I didn’t know Kate when I was a child but I had visions that were remotely similar to the parachute scene!
Did you have any input into your character?
We had a really kind of open relationship and we got along with the script and everyone else to make what we thought would be the best decisions for the story.
You had to go to boot camp to prepare for the role – how was that?
I didn’t get the ‘brass balls’ award! We had a sergeant who just said to me at the end "you did a good job" and that was about all the compliments I got. I come from a pretty liberal background and I didn’t have any military ambitions, but it gave me a lot more respect for the people who actually do it. Really when it came down to it I learnt my limits physically and that’s not something you want to know at 21!
Josh Hartnett: 40 Days and 40 Nights
We asked Josh Hartnett some of your questions about his career and new romantic comedy "40 Days and 40 Nights". Here are his answers...
When you look back at filming "40 Days and 40 Nights", what scenes did you enjoy doing the most? Renee
There isn't any one scene in particular that really stands out because they were all fun, but I suppose shooting the internet company scenes were the funniest. The other actors I was working with were basically a bunch of comedians, so joking around was a daily routine. But I had a good time the entire time.
Was it difficult shooting the naked ladies scenes? Sonja
To be honest I wasn't around for a lot of those scenes but I was there for the bit where the girls are sitting topless at the coffee shop, which was kind of weird. I mean, I've obviously seen a naked girl before but having a collection of them was a first! Actually, someone on set took a picture of me and the girls which became like a symbol for the movie.
As an actor, which war scenes were harder to film, those in "Pearl Harbor" or "Black Hawk Down". And which did you prefer? Laura Ovenden
As a film I preferred "Black Hawk Down", because when you get a situation like that, I think reality is very important. I think Ridley Scott did a great job at doing that. I like that dark, documentary style, it's not often you get a chance to do a movie like that. As an actor it was a lot more glamorous to shoot "Pearl Harbor", because we were in Hawaii, my girlfriend at the time was down there with me, and I was lying on the beach with Kate Beckinsale as opposed to lying in the dirt in Morocco with 50 other guys. It was a very different experience.
What do you look for when choosing your next project? Adam Yates
I look for the character to be something interesting, the script to have a good story and be original, and a director that I admire
Which directors do you admire?
Oh, I wouldn't know where to start, there's so many. A lot of it is timing with directors. Sometimes they'll do movies that aren't really them, just to get well known or for the money, but I admire directors who are passionate about the movies they make. I think Steven Soderbergh would be a great director to work with. I actually got in touch with him last year but I never heard back from him, so that's his loss!
What was it like to change roles from the battle horror of "Black Hawk Down" to the romantic comedy of "40 Days"? Laura Smith
I actually did "40 Days" before "Black Hawk Down", so it was kind of a shock to go from this light-hearted comedy to playing in such a serious subject like war. It was quite traumatic to go through.
Were you comfortable with the comedy role?
The comedy wasn't easy for me. I'd never done it before so it was a real challenge for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it though and would definitely do another one.
What was your hardest character to get into? Sammy and Shelly
Probably the comedy. I'm not a natural comedic actor so I struggled with it at first.
Are you a method actor, did you give up sex for your role in "40 Days"? Hannah Elsy
Yes I did take the vow myself, but I didn't last long! I can't even tell you how many days, it's too pathetic.
Which of your films are you most proud of? Shan
I'm proud of "Black Hawk Down" because I think it told a provocative story and it was honest. It could have had more opportunity to tell both sides of the story but I'm still proud of it. "Virgin Suicides", I think Sofia Coppola did an amazing job for a first time film maker, and "O", I thought it was a clever re-telling of Shakespeare's "Othello".
No mention of "Pearl Harbor" there?
Yeah, I'm proud of a lot of elements of it but I'm sick of talking about it now, so that's probably why that one didn't spring straight to mind.
Josh Hartnett: Hollywood Homicide
He was pretty in "Pearl Harbor", bland in "Black Hawk Down", and scared in "Halloween H20" - but has Josh Hartnett ever faced a stiffer challenge than working with grumpy ol' Harrison Ford in "Hollywood Homicide"?
So what happened with that car crash everyone's been talking about?
Look, I crashed one car. I still maintain that it wasn't my fault. I think the director Ron Shelton would agree with me. Harrison [Ford] is just stirring the pot. I didn't almost kill him as much as he persists that I did.
How was it to do a film with Harrison?
Harrison's an icon. It was a treat to meet him.
But what it was it like to work with him?
Well, it's never like you anticipate. We went out and met each other for the first time. Harrison started judging me instantly, trying to figure out how to play me, where I fit in the way he looked at things. Ultimately it took a long time but we got along after a while. There was a little bit of tension. I think he's had a little bit of tension with other young actors he's worked with.
So tell us about the on-screen relationship between your two characters...
We were going for a kind of father-son relationship between the characters. The young cop who really wants the older cop's affection and the older cop who doesn't understand the young cop at all. They really don't understand each other. It's a kind of cross generational thing.
You're a cop, but like Harrison's character you also have a second job right?
Yeah. He's doing real estate on the side and my character is teaching yoga. I did about seven months of training. I started three and a half months before filming started and kept it up through shooting. I did about an hour and a half every day. Not much of it was in the film but it kind of helped me set it up. I loved yoga. It was a lot of fun. But I've had to give it up now. I don't get enough time these days.
Josh Hartnett: Black Hawk Down
The film has drawn some fire for being too one sided, in not portraying the Somalis with much depth. Do you agree?
Hopefully the lack of a direct Somali voice in the book is made up for by a kind of atmospheric attention to what the Somalis were doing in their day to day lives. I don't know if it was captured the very best it could have been, but I think Ridley did an excellent job of moving in that direction as much as he possibly could.
Did you find it easy to identify with your character, Staff Sgt Matt Eversmann?
I think he's someone who knew more about the situation than most of the Rangers there. He still teaches at the army war college, he's very into education and that sort of thing. He's a very thoughtful guy, so it was very easy for me to stand by his views, even though they aren't necessarily my views.
Did playing a soldier in the film make you think how you might have reacted in that situation?
I can understand the attitude of these soldiers from their perspective. But if I was put in the same situation I wouldn't know what to do. When it comes down to it I'm someone who doesn't know if I could ever kill a man. Put in a situation where I had to kill someone I loved in order to defend them, then maybe I would. That particular conflict was so interesting within the film, and within this character. That sort of defined it for me.