21 Years Later, Our Hearts Still Beat for Josh Hartnett

Welcome to Thirstory, where we whet your appetite with pages from the Interview archive that were almost too hot to print. This week, we break open a box of Russel Stover and celebrate Valentine’s Day with Josh Hartnett by revisiting the heartthrob’s January 1999 and February 2000 features. 


At 21, Josh Hartnett was no stupid cupid. After catching his big break on a short-lived ABC television drama in 1997, the Minneapolis native was quickly anointed the next teen dream by studio execs hoping to move movie tickets with his beguiling broodiness and homegrown talent. Yet Hartnett was not disillusioned by the glamour of Tinsel Town. He told Interview in 2000, “My opinions definitely changed when I got there. I thought it was going to be this magical place where people walked around in slouch hats and overalls and carried monstrous signs. So I was kind of disappointed. I moved away pretty quickly.” Luckily the actor stuck around long enough to build a film repertoire of hits such as Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides and Sin City, weaving in and out of Hollywood the next two decadesa surprising decision for an actor who once had the potential to secure a $100 million dollar payday to portray Superman. In the same interview, the actor also said if he were to abandon movie-making altogether, his next goal would be to find the “right girl,” and that he was unfazed by holidays of the Hallmark variety that treated love like a novelty. “In grade school we passed out the little hearts that said ‘I love you,’ and we all got to eat candy. That’s when Valentine’s Day mattered to me. Now every day is Valentine’s Day.” A man unmotivated by fame, fortune, and a hopeless romantic? Let’s just say Hartnett has been our secret Valentine 21 years and counting.