Josh Hartnett Explains Why He 'Quit Hollywood'

Remember when Josh Hartnett was the actor that you couldn't escape in an action flick? Back in the late 90s and early millennium, Hartnett was the go-to heart throb for a bevy of teenage girls, and because of that, he was seen as one of the most bankable faces in Hollywood. Then, as if out of thin air, the actor who was known for box office successes like Pearl Harbor and The Faculty just disappeared.

While that sounds a bit dramatic, when considering the landscape of blockbusters it's true. Hartnett was the cash cow for a while and then he stepped aside to make indie films. Needless to say, some of those films were pretty great and inspired fantastic work from the actor. But sadly, very few people saw those films, and Hartnett's former fan base certainly wasn't buying in on the "serious actor" phase of Hartnett's life as a working actor.

Now, the actor has found himself in a starring role on Showtime in the new dramatic series Penny Dreadful. Now that he's suddenly thrust back into the spotlight, albeit in a totally brand new way, Hartnett is finally having the opportunity to speak his mind about what happened, and why he decided to quit Hollywood.

Hartnett told Details magazine in a revealing interview that he decided to move back home and get his grip back on reality. Although it was a struggle, Hartnett alludes that it did make him a better person when he was struggling as an overnight success.

"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. I'm still finding my way through all that."
Even though he didn't have anonymity, he also was in the unique position of not having to fight for a role. The actor admits that, at the time, he had the pick of the litter when it came to going out for roles. These days, it's the exact opposite, Hartnett explained:
"When I see a role now, I've got to fight for it. It's not bad. It's actually more rewarding. Depressing when something doesn't go your way, but only for a minute."
It seems like his time away from the limelight has given him a different perspective. Even though looking back on the experience, Hartnett admits that he really doesn't have advice for the teen heart throb that was once on the cover of ever magazine.
"Honestly, I don't know what I could tell that kid that he'd actually listen to me."
Josh's new show premieres on May 11.

[Image Credit: Showtime]