Josh Hartnett has insisted he didn't throw away his acting career but instead spent his younger years 'finding himself' and working on smaller projects.
The actor wowed Hollywood with high profile roles in movies such as The Virgin Suicides, Pearl Harbor and O, before seemingly disappearing from the spotlight.
However, the Penny Dreadful star told Entertainment Tonight he didn't want to take on the projects he was being offered and rejected his heartthrob status.
"The story is that I'm some recluse or malcontent or something," said Hartnett, "But I never felt that way... I was never inactive, I was just doing other things."
The actor recalled: "I didn't feel like the movies that I wanted to do I was being offered - and then the movies that I was being offered, I couldn't do those either because I wanted to maintain my integrity."
Instead, Hartnett changed track, producing films and working on smaller independent projects.
The Black Dahlia star continued: "People took that as me throwing away a career or something, but it wasn't that at all, in my opinion."
Hartnett added he did take some time off, but it was to do things like raising his children.
Clarifying his relationship with Hollywood hasn't changed, Hartnett said he's still 'doing the thing that I want to do'.
"Luckily, I have been able to come in contact, especially recently, with a lot of filmmakers and people that are on board with hiring me to play the kind of roles I want to play," he enthused.
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