Josh Hartnett Challenged Taking off His Shirt in Films Because He Didn’t Like His Body

Actor Josh Hartnett was once seen as one of Hollywood’s most popular heartthrobs. But despite his growing status as a sex symbol, Hartnett was against showing off his skin on camera.

Josh Hartnett took a break from Hollywood because of his stardom

Josh Hartnett at the British Independent Awards.
Josh Hartnett |Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan

In his younger years, Hartnett was considered an A-list superstar with several noticeable films under his belt. It helped that his looks and charisma gave him a reputation of being a heartthrob. But eventually, Hartnett chose to take a break from the spotlight. The attention that came with his newfound celebrity profile became too much for his personal life.

“I was on the cover of every magazine. I couldn’t really go anywhere. I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin. I was alone. I didn’t trust anyone. So I went back to Minnesota and got back together with my old friends — ended up getting back together with my high school girlfriend for a while — and I didn’t do any filming for 18 months,” Hartnett once said in an interview with Details(via HuffPost). “I’m still finding my way through all that.”

After returning to the film industry, Hartnett found himself fighting for roles in a way he didn’t have to before. But he considered this a good thing.

“I didn’t have to struggle as an actor, although I think that I’ve made up for it now,” Hartnett added. “I still get offered films and TV roles, luckily, but years ago, if I saw a role I wanted, there was a good chance I could grab it. When I see a role now, I’ve got to fight for it. It’s not bad. It’s actually more rewarding. Depressing when something doesn’t go your way, but only for a minute.”

Josh Hartnett would challenge taking off his shirt in films

Hartnett was willing to go shirtless on screen if the film called for it. But whenever the opportunity presented itself, the Penny Dreadful actor confided that he’d fight to keep his clothes on.

“I’m not comfortable with it yet, but we’ll see. Some people have this meat-market mentality, so you’ve got to take your shirt off because it will bring girls into the theater. When that comes up on set, I challenge it,” he once said speaking to Interview.

One of the reasons Hartnett didn’t feel comfortable going shirtless was because of issues regarding his body.

“I don’t have a very good body. Some of these guys work out every day. I work out maybe once a year, so they’ve got me beat,” he added.

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Although the Pearl Harbor star has expressed his concerns for nudity, disrobing is easier for him if it has a purpose behind it.

“On film, if it doesn’t help the story, it’s not my favorite thing. I do show some stuff in the show, but I fight to make sure that it’s funny or character driven,” Hartnett once confided to Elle.