Josh Hartnett Explains Why He Wanted to 'Fight Against' Being Viewed as a Heartthrob

Josh Hartnett was famously called 'Josh Hot-nett' by his adoring fans in the early aughts

<p>Alberto Rodriguez/WWD via Getty</p> Josh Hartnett in 2024

Alberto Rodriguez/WWD via Getty

Josh Hartnett in 2024

Josh Hartnett didn’t have the heartthrob label in mind coming into Hollywood.

The Lucky Number Slevin star told Variety that it was never his intention to become one, and said he had to “fight against it.” Hartnett, 45, was more interested in what each character he would portray meant to him.

“I really wanted to be a serious actor,” the Trap actor recently told Variety. “What I didn't understand is that I was in an amazing position, working with terrific directors on terrific projects.”

<p>Touchstone/Jerry Bruckheimer Inc/Kobal/Shutterstock</p> Josh Hartnett in 2001

Touchstone/Jerry Bruckheimer Inc/Kobal/Shutterstock

Josh Hartnett in 2001

"For all intents and purposes, it didn't matter how people viewed me in tabloids or whatever — as long as I was working within the industry,” he continued. “But I was too young to really understand that, to make the differentiation."

Related: Josh Hartnett Secretly Married Longtime Partner Tamsin Egerton in November

The Pearl Harbor actor felt that the world saw him as something he didn’t identify with, and wanted to change that.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer​​, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. 

Harnett also spoke in 2021 during an appearance on the Australian talk show The Project about how overwhelming his early fame was. "The biggest thing for me was, I really enjoy making films, but the industry itself was overwhelming for a 21-year-old kid," he said.

<p>Ron Davis/Getty</p> Josh Hartnett

Ron Davis/Getty

Josh Hartnett

The Black Hawk Down actor noted that the press was a bit different in the early 2000s. “There was paparazzi around every corner, you couldn't really go anywhere without being sort of harassed,” he said.

Related: Josh Hartnett Is Having a Moment: Check Out 4 of His Hottest Teen People Covers and His Adorably Awkward Quotes

Some of Hartnett’s early movies included The Faculty, The Virgin Suicides, Here on Earth and 40 Days and 40 Nights. He was labeled “Josh Hot-nett” by his adoring fans, regularly appearing on the cover of Teen People among other publications.

<p>Jeff Spicer/Getty</p> Josh Hartnett in 2023

Jeff Spicer/Getty

Josh Hartnett in 2023

Now, he keeps things more low-key. He is married to Tamsin Egerton, and the two share four children. His recent acting roles include the 2024 M. Night Shyamalan film Trap, along with Oppenheimer and Black Mirror

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.