Josh Hartnett “never wanted” to be “on top” in Hollywood.
The ‘Pearl Harbor’ actor – who turned down an offer to play Superman in a reported $100 million three-movie deal – wanted to be able to relax in his free time instead of always worrying about when the “next big thing” would emerge and take on the biggest roles and he has no regrets about his decision to take a step back.
He said: “The guys who are on top are terrified that someone’s coming up behind them.
“If that’s your real ambition, to be on top all the time, you’re going to spend your whole life looking over your shoulder.
“I never wanted that. I want to do good work with people I like and spend my free time with people I care about.
“At the time, it was so obvious to me to turn [‘Superman’] down. I was being offered movies by the very top directors. And Superman was a risk. Yes, there was a lot of money involved but I didn’t think that was the be-all and end-all.”
And while people thought the 42-year-old star – who has three children with partner Tamsin Egerton – was “crazy” for leaving Hollywood for a quieter life in Minneapolis, he’s thankful he put his life first.
He told Mr Porter’s digital magazine The Journal: “People thought I was crazy for not chasing that brass ring a little harder but I felt completely comfortable being with the people I knew liked me before I was making films.
“‘I decided to have a life. To put that first. That was always my goal.
“I feel very strongly about friends I’ve known for a long time and my family. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t losing those relationships. Those people make me who I am. I put those concerns ahead of chasing a Hollywood dream.
The thing I am most proud of is that I’m a father-of-three.”
And Josh believes his decision paid off as he’s only attracting more “interesting” work offers as he’s got older.
He said: “I’m still able to do good work and, as I’ve got older, the characters have become more interesting.”