Josh Hartnett’s Superhero & Fame Woes

After 10 years of working mostly on indie projects, Josh Hartnett is returning to the spotlight in Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful.”

During the height of his fame in his 20s, the actor considered and turned down a slew of major superhero roles after he realized he didn’t want to be defined by a cape, a Spandex outfit or a bat symbol.

“Spider-Man was something we talked about. Batman was another one. But I somehow knew those roles had potential to define me, and I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to be labeled as Superman for the rest of my career. I was maybe 22, but I saw the danger,” the 35-year-old actor, who turned down Brandon Routh’s role in “Superman Returns,” told Details.

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Josh might have feared wearing a cowl or cape in the past, but is now more open to the idea.

“I’d say, ‘Let’s talk about how it would be done, see if we can get on the same page.’ Compromise doesn’t scare me anymore,” he said when asked if he would consider a superhero role.

So what made Josh retreat to his native Minnesota at the height of his career?

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“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. So I went back to Minnesota and got back together with my old friends – ended up getting back together with my high-school girlfriend for a while – and I didn’t do any filming for 18 months. I’m still finding my way through all that,” he explained.

Landing roles now is harder, but more fulfilling.

“I still get offered films and TV roles, luckily, but years ago, if I saw a role I wanted, there was a good chance I could grab it. 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,” he told the mag.

“Penny Dreadful” premieres on May 11 at 10 PM on Showtime.

-- Jesse Spero

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