‘Pearl Harbor’ Actor Josh Hartnett on Rejecting Hollywood: ‘Best Thing for My Mental Health’

by Michael Freeman

When actors get their big break, many capitalize on it, turning an initial success into long-term fame. Pearl Harbor actor Josh Hartnett, on the other hand, did the opposite and claimed it was the “best thing” for his mental health.

Starring in a huge hit like Pearl Harbor with stars like Ben Affleck, you’d think Josh Hartnett’s career would have really taken off. However, in a candid chat with Channel 7’s Sunrise, he said he rejected Hollywood and chose to lay low. Elaborating on the decision, he said it was actually for his mental health, and he’s happy he did so before it was too late.

“It was the best thing for my mental health and my career to keep Hollywood at bay,” Hartnett said. “Luckily I think I hit onto it early on in my life: it’s about creating a good home life and being able to do things that are wild and wonderful like making films, which is such a privilege.”

This revelation comes after Josh Hartnett revealed a role he regretted turning down early on in his career. He was actually offered a role in Brokeback Mountain, and if you’re familiar with it, you know it did incredibly well. “Unfortunately, I was going to do Brokeback Mountain. And I had a contract with the [2006 film] Black Dahlia that I had to film, so I had to drop out of it.” He also stated turning down a Superman trilogy deal and being Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.

Regardless, it seems shying away from these roles worked out for the best if Hartnett’s intent wasn’t to become too big.

James Van Der Beek Left Hollywood to Live in Texas

Josh Hartnett isn’t the only one who thought Hollywood wasn’t the best decision for him. In the case of James Van Der Beek, though, he left to live in Texas with his family.

Speaking to Austin Life magazine earlier this year, the actor and his wife Kimberly Van Der Beek left for Texas for their kids. “We wanted to get the kids out of Los Angeles,” he told the outlet. We wanted to give them space, and we wanted them to live in nature.”

Continuing, Van Der Beek explained that something about Austin, Texas drew the family there. “When we were flying here for our anniversary, I felt an energy to Austin. The energy was the same energy that I’d felt shooting Varsity Blues here when I was 21, and I realized that feeling wasn’t just where I was in my career or the movie I was shooting, all of which were very exciting, but that the energy is the place. It was really cool to realize, ‘Oh, I can go be there. We can drop in and bring our family to that.”