Christopher Nolan is making clear how close Josh Hartnett was to playing Bruce Wayne.
The “Batman Begins” director recalled on the Happy Sad Confused podcast that he met Harnett for the role of Batman; however, the actor never auditioned for the role.
“I met Josh and, if I recall correctly, he was a young actor whose work interested me greatly,” Nolan said. “It never got to that… I had an initial conversation with him, but he had read my brother’s script for ‘The Prestige’ at the time and was more interested in being involved with it,” she continued. “So he never went any further.”
Hartnett stars in Nolan’s “Oppenheimer,” with Nolan admitting he’s worked with the actor for years.
“I think he’s done some really cool stuff over the last few years and really tried to stretch himself,” Nolan said. “So I was really excited to get him to play Ernest Lawrence. I think he does a really good job in the film.
Hartnett had previously disclosed a Playboy in 2015 that he would turn down the role of Batman for Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy.
“People don’t like being told no. I don’t like. I learned my lesson when Christopher Nolan and I talked about Batman. I decided it wasn’t for me,” Hartnett said. “Then he didn’t want to put me in ‘The Prestige.’ Not only did they hire their Batman for it (Christian Bale), they also hired my girlfriend (Scarlett Johansson) at the time.That’s when I realized that relationships were formed in the fire of that first Batman movie and I should have been part of the relationship with this Nolan guy, who I felt was incredibly handsome and very talented
He added at the time, “I was so focused on not being pigeonholed and so scared of being thought of as just one thing as an actor. I should have thought ‘well he works harder then man.’ Watching Christian Bale continue to do so many other things was just amazing. I mean, he was able to overcome it. Why couldn’t I see it at the time?
The former teenage heartthrob recently said The independent UK that his approach to acting has led to a non-“movie star” career.
“I have an artistic mind and I want to follow things that are somehow just outside my understanding,” Hartnett said. “Does that necessarily make a career cohesive in the sense of a movie star? No. But before the last few years I just had less chance to do it. There is no reliance on the “movie star” as there was in the late 90s or early 2000s. Box office was paramount in business then, and if you were someone they considered an asset in that regard, there he expected me to do a certain thing. They were very valuable because of that, and there were a lot of people trying to keep me in a box.
Hartnett added that he turned down playing Superman and attended a meeting to play Batman for Nolan.
“So here’s what happened: Warner Bros wanted me to do one of their superhero movies. Chris Nolan was directing one of their superhero movies. I met him. I told him about this. It wasn’t something that interested me at the time,” Hartnett said. “I was on a different path than a lot of actors. And I was more interested in a movie that Chris’s brother had written – ‘The Prestige.’ I loved Chris as a director and I really wanted to work with him, and I was hoping if I was honest with him about not wanting to do the superhero movie, maybe I could do ‘The Prestige.'”
Hartnett was not cast in “The Prestige” and Christian Bale played Batman. However, the actor noted that everything happened for a reason.
“The beauty of brilliant filmmakers is that they will always be around, so I hoped that at some point we would work together,” concluded Hartnett. “And, look, here we are. I feel really lucky that he still saw me as someone he wanted to work with after all these years. I’m a big believer in things working when they should.