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.