Thursday 22 March 2018

Interrogation: Actor Josh Hartnett gives the answers

Josh Hartnett.
Josh Hartnett.

Stephen Milton

Josh Hartnett has transitioned from teen movies hunk to grown up actor. Stephen Milton asks him our toughest questions

Profession: Actor

What are you promoting today?

Penny Dreadful, our new TV show on Sky that's created by the genius that is John Logan. Amazing cast, great writing. It's really quite brilliant.

What is most rewarding about your life?

My relationships, family and friends. Hands down, the things that keep me moving in the right direction. With work, they write a certain narrative about your career, you have a series of conversations about that. The show comes or the movies come and go and your career fluctuates and you can't depend on it for your sense of self-worth.

Why do you do what you do for a living?

In retrospect, I did it because people asked me to. I did have many options at 18-years-old in regards to exploring a career, it just sort of happened. And then, also in retrospect, it's kind of one of the best jobs you can have. Just pure luck, I guess ...

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Immediately what comes to mind is if I could be a little bit taller. I'm six foot three but, I don't know, I always thought if I was two inches taller, I could play basketball much much better. I could dunk, I can't really dunk. I want to be able dunk. 6'3 is a good height, but two more inches would be great.

What's the rumour about you that's bothered you the most?

That Leonard Nimoy was my father. My dad was quoted in the article, it was in the National Enquirer. They called my family home, my dad answered and said, 'that's news to me!' I think my parents have it framed somewhere, I think it was called, 'Spock Shock'!

What's the most shamefully uncool album you own?

Music is like my pride, so you're hitting me where it hurts. Do you remember Arrested Development? I still have that album with Tennessee on it and Mr Wendal, I love that.

Do you like being famous?

If you're doing well in this industry, it's inevitable, but it's not the best part of working. It just goes with the territory. I think when I was younger, I liked the idea of it more than I enjoyed the actual limelight. Having people respond to what I did was empowering, but I didn't wear it well.

What drives you on a daily basis?

Sense of adventure I guess, curiosity, see what's coming. What I love about what I do for a living is travel – you can come into London for two days, see a lot of old friends, do tonnes of press. It's the first show [I've done] that's getting good reviews and [is] being accepted into the public consciousness. This [last] two days I spent in London, then I was in New York for a week, doing press and hanging out, then Los Angeles, I'm constantly on the move and it seems like life is evolving at a rapid rate, [I'm] just kind of clinging on.

Who is your hero?

Matthew McConaughey! No I'm kidding, though his speech at the Oscars was amazing. I guess, bizarrely, and this is going to sound trite and too sweet but probably my dad. I know him a lot better than anyone else I idolise. Writers and filmwriters... I'm obsessed with those who are creative and make things that inspire me. My dad is the person I sort of go back to, more often than not and discuss what really matters. He's a very smart man.

What makes you emotional?

I've a nostalgic streak, anytime anything reminds me of ... I got together with friends after the press day in London for Penny and we started discussing what we all went through when we were shooting in Dublin. It felt so good to have that team, and history, that always chokes me up. I have a place amongst people who I didn't know six months ago. And when I see old friends and family... belonging chokes me up a little.

Where do you see yourself in five years time?

I have no idea. I don't think about those sort of things, maybe the next five days, or the next six months for this job I want to do, if we can work it out in the schedule before we come back for Penny Dreadful. I rarely plan ahead that far. I don't know what city I'll be in in two weeks, that's not a joke. Got to keep my forward gaze kind of short and keep everything handled right now.

What's your favourite day of the week?

Sunday I think! It's just always a relaxing day. You have a hectic week and I'm dating an English girl [Tamsin Egerton] and we just take it easy and have a Sunday roast.

What's on your DVR?

Penny Dreadful! Veep's really good, Mad Men, apparently we're up against both of them on Sunday in the States. Those two shows are good, and I've watched Game of Thrones like everybody else for the last three years. It's like sports, everybody's betting who's going to win, like a football match. That's why everyone loves it.

Penny Dreadful is on Sky Atlantic, Tuesday 9pm

Josh's best bits

1998: Halloween H20 1999: The Virgin Suicides

2001: Pearl Harbour 2001: Black Hawk Down 2005: Sin City 2007: 30 Days of Night 2014: Penny Dreadful

First published in INSIDER Magazine, exclusive to Thursday's Irish Independent

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