By: Donna Freydkin
Josh Hartnett became famous at a young age. Make that very, very, very famous. Back around 2001's "Pearl Harbor," he could have been the heartthrob with the bazillion-dollar paychecks, the guy chased by the paparazzi, his every move chronicled on gossip sites, and now, social media.
That just didn't sit well with him. So instead, he moved back to Minnesota, where he's from. He got his priorities in order. And he decided to only work on stuff that moved him on a visceral level. Which brings us to Showtime's "Penny Dreadful," the luminous gothic literary horror drama returning for its third season on May 1. Hartnett plays Ethan, a werewolf who finally comes home to America to face all the things that haunt him.
"Ethan hasn't really reckoned with his past. He's done some things that are pretty horrible -- like, really bad. I wanted it to feel like he could be lost, going to the very dark side and deserved to die," says Hartnett.
As for Hartnett, who's a new dad with girlfriend Tamsin Egerton, "I dealt with my own demons as much as I could at an early age. I'm a firm believer in therapy, psychology, whatever you want to call it. I've had a shrink for a long time. I find it to be really relieving to be able to go and spitball about the (stuff) that's going on in your mind," he says.
He keeps his private life where it belongs: behind closed doors. Work keeps him busy enough.
He's about to start filming the drama "Valley of the Gods" for director Lech Majewski. And he had a small part in James Franco's "The Long Home." But one of the highlights of Hartnett's 2015 was shedding his serious side as Clark Gable on an episode of Comedy Central's "Drunk HIstory," which reenacts historic events through an inebriated lense.
Turns out that the intense guy, who has a very well-honed sense of the absurd, is angling to be in a comedy.
"Honestly, I grew up liking things like 'Spaceballs.' I liked Peter Sellers. Richard Pryor. And I liked Chris Farley. I would just like to try anything. My hope is, it all falls under the umbrella of acting," he says.