Once upon a time, Hollywood was determined to turn Josh Hartnett into one of the biggest and most in-demand leading men in the industry, but he simply wasn’t interested.
Not only was he one of the names under consideration to play Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man before Tobey Maguire was cast, but he also discussed the role of Batman with Christopher Nolan when the filmmaker was prepping Batman Begins, while he turned down the part of Clark Kent and his costumed alter ego when it was offered to him ahead of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns.
You’ve got to admire someone who knocks back such high-profile opportunities, but that doesn’t mean Hartnett isn’t tinged with at least some regret. In an interview with news.au, the actor admitted that he was once set to co-star with Joaquin Phoenix in an early version of Brokeback Mountain, but he was already contracted to appear in The Black Dahlia.
“I was going to do Brokeback Mountain. It was a different film altogether. I’ve always wanted to kiss Joaquin. So that’s my biggest regret.”
Of course, Brokeback Mountain was eventually made with Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead roles, where it went on to become a critical darling, commercial smash hit and awards season favorite. Hartnett isn’t one for dwelling in the past, though, having continued forging his own career path outside of the studio system.