Why Josh Hartnett Regrets Not Doing 'Batman'

PHOTO: Josh Hartnett arrives at the premiere of "Wild Horses" during the 2015 SXSW Music, FIlm + Interactive Festival at the Paramount Theatre, March 17, 2015, in Austin.Michael Buckner/Getty Images
Josh Hartnett arrives at the premiere of "Wild Horses" during the 2015 SXSW Music, FIlm + Interactive Festival at the Paramount Theatre, March 17, 2015, in Austin.

Looking back, it's hard to imagine anyone other than Christian Bale playing the most recent "Batman," but it could have been Josh Hartnett.

The actor, who was one of Hollywood's most sought-after stars in the early 2000s, has revealed in the past that he was offered the role of Batman and possibly Superman, but passed on both.

Speaking to Playboy, Hartnett said he now regrets turning Batman down -- for a number of reasons.

"I've definitely said no to some of the wrong people. I said no because I was tired and wanted to spend more time with my friends and family. That's frowned upon in this industry. People don't like being told no," he told the magazine. "I don't like it. I learned my lesson when [writer-director] 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 at the time."

The girlfriend he was referring to was Scarlett Johansson.

"That's when I realized relationships were formed in the fire of that first Batman film and I should have been part of the relationship with this guy Nolan, who I felt was incredibly cool and very talented," he said. "I was so focused on not being pigeonholed and so scared of being considered only one thing as an actor. I should have thought, Well, then, work harder, man. 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 is right. Bale won an Oscar for "The Fighter" in 2010 and an older Batman, Michael Keaton was nominated this past year for "Birdman."