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Josh Hartnett

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Also Known As: Joshua Daniel Hartnett Died:
Born: July 21, 1978 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA Profession: actor, video store clerk

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A starring role in the WWII melodrama "Pearl Harbor" put Josh Hartnett at the forefront of the emerging twenty-something actors of the time, though it was not the most indicative work of an actor who preferred the murky waters of dark indie drama. His breakout role in the horror hit "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later" (1998) jettisoned him to teen heartthrob status, but Hartnett was able to break from the post-adolescent pigeonholing that might have resulted from "The Virgin Suicides" (1999) and the multiple appearances on People magazine's "Hottest" lists. He went on to build a solid reputation with his strong, understated Midwestern presence in films like "Lucky Number Slevin" (2006) and "The Black Dahlia" (2006).Josh Hartnett was born on July 21, 1978, and raised in St. Paul, MN. He played soccer and football in high school; not thinking much about acting until he was sidelined with a knee injury. He looked to the school's drama program for an alternative extracurricular activity and found himself cast in "Huck Finn." Hartnett had always enjoyed watching classic films like "On the Waterfront" (1954) with his father, but now he became interested in acting on a whole new level by getting involved with...

A starring role in the WWII melodrama "Pearl Harbor" put Josh Hartnett at the forefront of the emerging twenty-something actors of the time, though it was not the most indicative work of an actor who preferred the murky waters of dark indie drama. His breakout role in the horror hit "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later" (1998) jettisoned him to teen heartthrob status, but Hartnett was able to break from the post-adolescent pigeonholing that might have resulted from "The Virgin Suicides" (1999) and the multiple appearances on People magazine's "Hottest" lists. He went on to build a solid reputation with his strong, understated Midwestern presence in films like "Lucky Number Slevin" (2006) and "The Black Dahlia" (2006).

Josh Hartnett was born on July 21, 1978, and raised in St. Paul, MN. He played soccer and football in high school; not thinking much about acting until he was sidelined with a knee injury. He looked to the school's drama program for an alternative extracurricular activity and found himself cast in "Huck Finn." Hartnett had always enjoyed watching classic films like "On the Waterfront" (1954) with his father, but now he became interested in acting on a whole new level by getting involved with regional theater productions with the Steppingstone Theater and the Youth Performance Company in Minneapolis. He even worked at a video store. It was enough of a dedicated background to woo the drama department at the State University of New York in Purchase, where Hartnett began as a student in 1996. In an interview, Hartnett claimed that irreconcilable differences with the school's administration were to blame for his departure after only one year. The move did not seem to hinder the upward trajectory that the boyishly handsome, quietly imposing figure was clearly heading on.

From the very start, Hartnett seemed less concerned with fame and the Hollywood lifestyle than with following his interest in a challenging variety of material. And the offers came quickly. Months after leaving school he was cast as the troubled son of a crime stopper in a remake of the British series "Cracker" (ABC, 1997-99). But he first turned a lot of heads with his big screen debut in "Halloween H20: 20 Years Later" (1998), playing the son of Jamie Lee Curtis' tormented Laurie Strode. The newcomer was on a roll, next being asked to join the ensemble cast of Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Williamson's sci-fi teen thriller "The Faculty" (1998). Hartnett played the roguish cool kid and resident smart aleck of a group of high school students warding off an alien. The popular film and its promotional tie-in campaign with Tommy Hilfiger - including print ads featuring Hartnett - launched the actor reluctantly into teen heartthrob status. An engaging turn as teenage lothario Trip Fontaine in Sofia Coppola's "The Virgin Suicides" (1999) introduced Hartnett's surprisingly sturdy handle on art house fare, which he exercised in several independent shorts before snagging the lead in the 2001 blockbuster "Pearl Harbor." Everything was about to change.

Hartnett still was not sure if he was mentally prepared for the new level of fame his co-lead role was likely to bring when he signed on to play a US Air Force pilot caught in a love triangle in Michael Bays' sweeping period piece. At press time, "Pearl Harbor" was likened to Jim Cameron's "Titanic" (1997) in sheer size, scope and historical context, but even if it did not mirror its predecessor's monumental success, it did put Hartnett at the top of the hunk heap. In fact, he gave his co-star, well-established heartthrob Ben Affleck a run for his money onscreen.

In contrast to the gauzy, romantic edges of Bay's film, Hartnett next appeared in "Black Hawk Down" (2001), Ridley Scott's harrowing look at the botched United States humanitarian mission to Somalia. The film was well-received by critics and Hartnett proved he could hold his own alongside a seasoned ensemble cast including Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore and Sam Shepard. The respected film might have left Hartnett wishing that "40 Days and 40 Nights" (2002) - the romantic comedy about a guy who gives up sex for lent that was shot in 1999 - but not released as a follow up. Fortunately, the unfortunate timing did little to take away from Hartnett's growing dramatic reputation - with his loyal 'tween fans probably preferring this film - allowing him to continue his focus on more consistently darker onscreen themes.

Hartnett spent a year or so out of the spotlight before pairing with Harrison Ford in the buddy cop flop "Hollywood Homicide" (2003). After struggling to carry the erotic thriller "Wicker Park" (2004), Rodriguez and Miller recruited Hartnett again for a brief but memorable turn as a suave, chameleon-like assassin in "Sin City" (2005). All those years spent watching old movies with his dad came in handy for Hartnett's ensuing run of film noirs. The mistaken identity thriller "Lucky Number Slevin" (2006) was praised by critics and earned a Best Film honor at the Milan Film Festival. It also primed Hartnett for a lead in Brian De Palma's "The Black Dahlia" (2006), a richly-textured noir about two hard-edged cops investigating the brutal murder of would-be actress. The highly anticipated remake made a strong debut at the 2006 Venice International Film Festival but ultimately did not win over critics or audiences stateside.

Hartnett's starring role as a journalist who unwittingly discovers a presumed dead former boxing champ in "Resurrecting the Champ" (2007) barely made a blip on the radar in the summer of big-budget blockbusters, but there was plenty of hype for his fall release - "30 Days of Night" (2007) - a stylized thriller about a flock of vampires descending upon an Alaskan town during the one dark month of winter.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Bunraku (2011)
4.
5.
6.
 August (2008)
8.
 30 Days of Night (2007)
9.
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in St. Paul, Minnesota area
:
Began acting as a child with local theater companies
:
Appeared in national TV commercials
1997:
Played the troubled teenaged son of the title character in the series "Cracker" (ABC)
1998:
Feature acting debut as Jamie Lee Curtis' son in "Halloween: H2O"; scripted by Kevin Williamson
1998:
Appeared in a TV commercial for Tommy Hilfiger clothing, directed by Kevin Williamson
1998:
Co-starred as Zeke in the sci-fi film "The Faculty"; also scripted by Williamson
1999:
Had featured role in Sofia Coppola's directorial debut "The Virgin Suicides" (released theatrically in 2000)
2001:
Played the barber son of Yorkshire hairdressers Alan Rickman and Natasha Richardson in "Blow Dry"
2001:
Played a pilot who falls in love with his best friend's girl in the WWII drama "Pearl Harbor"
2001:
Co-starred in an updated retelling of "Othello" titled "O" (filmed in 1999); directed by Tim Blake Nelson; played the Iago character named Hugo
2001:
Hired by producer Bruckheimer to play a soldier in the fact-based drama "Black Hawk Down"
2002:
Portrayed a young man who gives up sex for Lent and then meets his dream girl in the romantic comedy "40 Days and 40 Nights"
2003:
Along with Harrison Ford, co-starred in the summer comedy "Hollywood Homicide"
2004:
Starred opposite Diane Kruger and Rose Byrne in "Wicker Park"
2005:
Cast as an unnamed character in the adaptation of Frank Miller's stories "Sin City"; co-directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez
2006:
Played the lead in "Lucky Number Slevin," a thriller that co-starring Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley and Bruce Willis
2006:
Played detective, Bucky Bleichert in "The Black Dahlia," Brian De Palma's adaptation of James Ellroy's classic noir novel
:
Will co-star in "August" as one of two brothers working on Wall Street a month before 9/11 (lensed 2007)
2007:
Co-starred in the boxing film "Resurrecting the Champ"
2007:
Co-starred in "30 Days of Night," a horror film based on the comic book miniseries of the same name
2008:
Made London's West End debut in a stage adaptation of the popular film "Rain Man"
2008:
Co-starred in the drama feature, "August"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

State University of New York, Purchase: Purchase , New York -
Nativity of Our Lord School: St Paul , Minnesota -
Cretin-Derham Hall: St Paul , Minnesota -
South High School: St Paul , Minnesota - 1996

Notes

"After my dad watched 'Cracker' he said to me, 'I'm sorry for whatever I did.' I said, 'You didn't do anything, I was acting.' My performance made him feel bad; he said he'd seen all those faces before."---Josh Hartnett on playing troubled characters in Interview, January 1999.

"I felt like I was under water, like I couldn't breathe. People were closing in asking for autographs and I sensed danger, but how do you defend yourself against an autograph?"---Hartnett on the "Halloween: H20" premiere, quoted in Empire, May 1999.

"My opinions definitely changed when I got there. I thought it was going to be this magical place where people walked around in slouch hats and overalls and carried monstrous signs. When I saw 'Chaplin', I thought that was the way Hollywood is, except a little more built up. I thought the studios heads would just kind of wink across the tops of building at each other and say, 'Aha!' So I was kind of disappointed. I moved away pretty quickly."---Hartnett on Hollywood to Interview, February 2000.

"I always thought I was crap at auditioning. Casting directors love me? Really? Thank God somebody does!"---Hartnett to Movieline, March 2000.

"I guess I'm bracing myself, but I don't think it has to change my life. It can change a lot of stuff, but it doesn't have to change what I want to be and who I am. And I don't want it to."---Josh Hartnett on fame as quoted in Daily News, March 19, 2000.

"I liked it immediately. I just love searching for people and trying to create a full human being. You see so many paper-thin characters in movies sometimes, and I always think, 'Oh man, they could have done so much more with that.'"--Hartnett on acting to the London Times, May 11, 2000.

"Josh always seems to be deep in thought. He's a throwback to old Hollywood; the sensitivity of Montgomery Clift and the honesty and dignity of Gary Cooper."---producer Jerry Bruckheimer quoted in Us Weekly, June 4, 2001.

"When I first made money, I bought a pair of jeans that didn't have holes in them. The one big thing I did was buy myself a used car."---Hartnett at a 2002 press junket for "40 Days and 40 Nights".

"I was raised to think for myself and try not to get caught up in things, so I guess I'm just trying to find my way."

"It's totally flattering to have people think that you're attractive physically, but I don't know man. In order to keep perspective I just try to really evaluate what matters to me at any given time."---Hartnett on staying grounded to moviehole.net, June 10, 2003.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Ellen Fenster. Works for a kids outreach program. High school sweethearts; reportedly have had an on-again, off-again relationship; dating as of June 2003.
companion:
Kelly Lee Carlson. Dated in the late 1990s.
companion:
Giselle. Model. Reportedly dated.
companion:
Monet Mazur. Actor. Reportedly dated.
companion:
Izabella Miko. Actor. Reportedly dating as of early 2001; no longer together.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Daniel Hartnett. Commercial-building manager. Divorced from Hartnett's mother.
step-mother:
Molly Hartnett. Artist.
sister:
Jessica Hartnett. Younger.
brother:
Jake Hartnett. Younger.
brother:
Joe Hartnett. Younger.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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