Josh Hartnett Says He Regrets Turning Down Batman Offer From Christopher Nolan

Josh Hartnett Batman

Even the biggest movie stars have career regrets. At least, that’s what Josh Hartnett revealed in an interview with Playboy when he admitted that he turned down an offer from Christopher Nolan to play Batman in his superhero reboot.

“I’ve definitely said no to some of the wrong people,” Hartnett told the magazine. “I learned my lesson when Christopher Nolan and I talked about Batman. I decided it wasn’t for me. Then he didn’t want to put me in ‘The Prestige.’ They not only hired their Batman for it, they also hired my girlfriend (Scarlett Johansson) at the time.”

Hartnett went on to explain that he didn’t reject the offer due to any beef with Nolan, whom he describes as “incredibly cool and very talented,” but that his decision was a result of his resistance to being boxed in as only a blockbuster star. The role instead went to Christian Bale.

“I was so focused on not being pigeonholed and so scared of being considered only one thing as an actor,” Hartnett said. “Watching Christian Bale go on to do so many other things has been just awesome. I mean, he’s been able to overcome that. Why couldn’t I see that at the time?”

Hartnett currently stars in Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful,” but his biggest film roles came in the early 2000s, when he starred in “Pearl Harbor” and “Black Hawk Down.”

Considering the more than $2 billion that “The Dark Knight” trilogy raked in at the worldwide box office, it’s easy to see how Hartnett’s hindsight is 20/20.

“I know now that I wouldn’t turn something down just because it’s a superhero role,” he said.

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  1. I think his star is on the rise again with Penny Dreadful. Eva Green is pulling his talent out.

  2. He’s doing well in Penny Dreadful.

  3. Bill B. says:

    I understand his reasoning as Superman never helped Christopher Reeves career once he left the role and it took Michael Keaton over 20 years to have another major hit once he left the Batman role. How could Hartnett or most of us know back then the world would become obsessed with repetitious super hero movies?! I think he actually might have made a good Batman as Hartnett has never shown much range and the role doesn’t call for much. I think his ship has sailed though. He’ll always be able to get a job, but he has long passed his career peak.

  4. Jj says:

    Bale sucked in the role. Too bad

  5. He turned down Batman, but yet lent himself to real stinkers like Pearl Harbor, 40 Days and 40 Nights, and Hollywood Homicide. Maybe he needed someone else to choose his roles for him because some of the choices he made were simply awful. Was afraid Batman would be too much of a blockbuster but signed on to Pearl Harbor. uh…huh.

    • Responder says:

      1. He signed on for PEARL HARBOR years before the Batman revamp…and what young actor would turn down the opportunity to co-star in a high profile action/romance historical epic? Yes, the movie was critically drubbed, but it was a sizeable hit, and it made him bankable.
      2. He may have been afraid of being trapped/pigeon-holed by the Batguy role – call it The Christopher Reeve Syndrome whereby an actor becomes so identified with one character, it hampers the rest of his/her career.

  6. Drake L.A. says:

    i don’t think he would have been a good Batman, so it’s a moot point. He’s not a particularly good actor in any capacity. I’m not trying to be mean… he’s better looking and more charming than 99% of the population so he’ll do fine. But a man needs to know his limitations.

  7. Linda says:

    Sadly, he didn’t see that super hero movies have some of biggest actors and actresses in the industry. Patrick Stewart, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, etc.

    I remember reading a comment that an actor cannot only do serious, Oscar type of movies ; they need to mix it up by doing big action movies too. It was a fascinating observation. I always thought serious actors would shy away from the blockbusters for Josh’s reason, but for some reason, doing the big blockbusters doesn’t pigeonhole them at all. In fact, it’s the best career move to make.

  8. This is the dumbest decision ever made. Ever. Seriously, the only worse decision I can think of is the DeLorean co. or the people who collected Beanie Babies.

  9. Eric says:

    Christopher Nolan is Christopher Nolan. It doesn’t even matter WHAT he was making. You just MAKE IT. I mean, had you not seen Memento or Insomnia at the time?

  10. flaguy9540 says:

    I remember reading some time ago that Josh Hartnett stopped making movies and was taking a new direction in his life. I guess that didn’t last long.

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