Josh Hartnett Says He Steered Clear of Superman and Batman Roles to Not Be 'Someone Else's Puppet'

Georgia Slater
·2 min read

Warner Bros/Dc Comics/Kobal/Shutterstock; Vanni Bassetti/Getty; Moviestore/Shutterstock

Josh Hartnett is opening up about his early decisions to take himself out of the running for roles like Superman and Batman.

The 42-year-old actor is looking back at his choice to steer clear of superhero movies, telling Metro that he is content with the decisions that he made as a rising star.

Hartnett said a big factor in not wanting to do those types of parts was because "at that age it is very easy to become someone else's tool or someone else's puppet."

"I was very aware of the choices I was making and I wanted them to be my choices," Hartnett said.

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Though he doesn't regret his choices, Hartnett did admit it "didn’t seem like the sort of decision I would be talking about 15 years later."

"There were a lot of powers that wanted me to pursue those films, but I have always been interested in stories about people and I didn't want to be boxed into that superhero type," he continued.

Hartnett felt that it would be difficult to break into new roles if he was only seen as a superhero onscreen.

"Back then a lot of actors had to fight really hard to get their career back after they played those characters," he added.

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In 2015, Hartnett opened up to Playboy about feeling overwhelmed by "the intensity of my sudden fame" after early success in films like Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down.

"In the middle of that, I felt I couldn’t trust any new person I met or their motives," he shared. "I spent a lot of time back home in Minnesota with my friends and family.”

He also discussed his decision to turn down the potential opportunity of playing Bruce Wayne/Batman in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight series.

“I’ve definitely said no to some of the wrong people,” he said. “I learned my lesson when [writer-director] 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.”

“I was so focused on not being pigeonholed and so scared of being considered only one thing as an actor,” Hartnett elaborated. “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?”

Hartnett said he has since learned that it is possible to move forward with his career even after playing a certain character.

He concluded, “I know now that I wouldn’t turn something down just because it’s a superhero role."