Imagine being a young Hollywood heartthrob, but instead of chasing fame and all the glitz that comes with it, you choose a quieter life. That’s exactly what Josh Hartnett did. Now, he’s making a comeback by starring in a Warner Bros. movie named Trap.

Josh Harnett as The Butcher in the upcoming WB's flick, Trap
Josh Hartnett as The Butcher in the upcoming WB’s flick, Trap

This upcoming film is part of a multi-year deal between M. Night Shyamalan and Warner Bros. However, there was a time when Hartnett chose to leave major Hollywood studio films at the peak of his career. And, he did this for a very specific, yet important reason.

Josh Hartnett’s Bold Choice Before Starring in Warner Bros. Film Trap

Josh Hartnett shot to stardom at the young age of 21. He starred in big movies like Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down. But with fame came a lot of unwanted attention. Paparazzi followed him everywhere, making it hard for him to live a regular life.

Josh Harnett
Josh Hartnett as Zeke Tyler in a still from The Faculty

After going through all that, he decided he wanted privacy more than the spotlight of a top Hollywood star. Instead of chasing big blockbuster movies, the Minnesota native chose roles in projects where he had more creative control. Hartnett said in an interview with The Project:

“The press was a little bit different back then. There was paparazzi around every corner, you couldn’t really go anywhere without being, you know, sort of harassed. And I decided I didn’t need that in my life, and I was able to still make films and live outside of it.”

After stepping back from the big movies, the 45-year-old kept acting. He lived in Minnesota for a while, then moved to New York, and eventually settled in the United Kingdom.

Read more: After Rejecting ‘Oppenheimer’, Legendary Director Gets Brutally Honest About Christopher Nolan’s $100 Million Worth Movie With Cillian Murphy

Even though he wasn’t chasing Hollywood fame anymore, he still found work and continued his acting career. With this, the actor is “still able to work with great people and make good films.” So, it’s “best of both worlds” for him.

Josh Hartnett Finds Creative Freedom in Indie Films

Target Number One
Josh Hartnett as Victor Malarek in Target Number One

Stepping away from Hollywood let Josh Hartnett explore new opportunities. He got into independent films, where acting was the main focus. In this world, J-Hart enjoyed working with filmmakers who were passionate about their craft, and not just concerned about making money at the box office.

In the independent film world, Hartnett had the chance to play a variety of roles. He wasn’t stuck in the usual leading-man parts; instead, he could choose projects that really meant something to him. The indie icon added in the same interview, “I’ve been doing these sort of independent films for a long time,” as the people “you’re on set with” are “the ones making the decisions.”

Before being cast as Ernest Lawrence in Christopher Nolan‘s film Oppenheimer and as The Butcher in WB’s upcoming flick Trap, the star appeared in a number of independent films throughout his career. These films include The Virgin Suicides (1999), Mozart and the Whale (2005), Lucky Number Slevin (2006),  Oh Lucy! (2017), Inherit the Viper (2019), Target Number One (2020), and many more.

Read more: “Otherwise I just feel I don’t have the confidence”: Christian Bale is Lost Without ‘Intensive’ Method Acting While Preparing for Roles

The psychological thriller film Trap is set to release on August 2, 2024.

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