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star struck

JUST JOSHING
JOSH HARTNETT TAKES INDIE FILMS AND BLOCKBUSTERS IN HIS STRIDE
BY CHRIS BETROS

Chris Betros

JOSH HARTNETT JOKES THAT IF HE HADN’T BECOME AN actor, he would have been an architect, painter or just a bum. As he chats, the 26-year-old star comes across as fairly laid back about his profession. It’s all the same to him whether he is in a blockbuster like Pearl Harbor or a smaller, quirky film like his latest, Wicker Park. “There’s more freedom in smaller films,” he says, trying to fight off jet lag. “Decisions are made on the set and not in boardrooms and you get more control over your own character.”

Directed by Briton Paul McGuigan (Gangster No. 1), Wicker Park is a loose remake of a 1996 French film called L’Appartement, but transplanted to snowy Chicago. Two years after a failed relationship left him devastated, an investment banker (Hartnett) tries to pick up the pieces of his life. He is engaged to another woman and things seem OK until one day he becomes obsessed with a woman he spots in a café, who he is sure is his old flame.

“That’s just the beginning,” says Hartnett, with a twinkle in his puppy-dog eyes. “This movie doesn’t fall into a specific genre. It’s a love story, a whodunit, and suspense drama rolled into one. It’s something all audiences can relate to. We’ve all been there.” Does that mean Hartnett believes in love at first sight? “I believe in the spark that creates love, yes, but love is an ever-evolving thing. However, I don’t think you just spot someone in a café and fall in love.”

Born in St Paul, Minnesota, Hartnett got his start in 1998 in teen horror films like Halloween H20 and The Faculty. He followed those up with The Virgin Suicides, Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down, among others. Most recently, he appeared with Harrison Ford in the forgettable Hollywood Homicide. “I’m trying to do as many different films as I can,” he says. “I only have one acting philosophy—adherence to the truth of the character in a situation. Sometimes a good actor can work really hard and yet seem out of place.”

Co-starring with Hartnett in Wicker Park are Rose Byrne and Diane Kruger, both of whom recently appeared in Troy. “We cast them first, so we should get credit for discovering them,” he jokes. “We had great chemistry on the set. I gotta tell you that working with those two ladies made it hard on my current relationship. But it’s all for the good of the film, right?”

Next up for Hartnett is Sin City, a violent urban drama directed by Robert Rodriguez and co-starring Bruce Willis, Mickey Rourke and Benicio Del Toro. That will be followed by Lucky Slugger, again with Willis, Morgan Freeman and Ben Kingsley. M

 

 

the scene

HÔTEL COSTES 7 PARTY

THE ORBIENT HOSTS DJ STEPHANE POMPOUGNAC TO CELEBRATE THE LATEST SCHMOOZATHON FROM THE ULTRA-CHIC PARIS HOTEL

Clockwise from top left: DJ Raphael Sebbag; The Orbient groupies; Cabaret Femme; DJ Stephane Pompougnac; Cabaret Garçon; The Orbient’s DJ Pink

 

q&a
KEN SHIDA

COURTESY OF SHIDAX

ALTHOUGH KEN SHIDA BLENDS IN WITH THE LUNCHTIME
crowd at Tokyo Main Dining, the restaurant at the heart of the impressive new Shidax headquarters in Shibuya (03-5428-5031), he’s no ordinary patron. Shida is, in fact, the president of the karaoke and food services company founded by his father, which now has over 14,000 eponymous karaoke rooms nationwide. And, as he tells Metropolis, he’s thinking even bigger.

WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY?
My philosophy is to destroy and create health. By that, I mean destroy the usual mindset and create a new style of healthy life and healthy Earth.

WHY ARE WE SEEING PROBLEMS IN MANY INDUSTRIES OVER PRODUCT SAFETY?
There have always been food quality control problems, but they weren’t big news before. It was covered up. However, times have changed. In this Internet era, you can’t cover it up.

YOUR KARAOKE FACILITIES HERE ARE VERY STATE-OF-THE-ART, ALMOST FUTURISTIC.
The idea is to breathe new life into karaoke because the 1990s karaoke boom has passed. Nowadays, karaoke is more for real fans. We see two kinds of customers: those who want to sing and those who don’t sing but want to have a private room with food for their enjoyment.

WHAT ABOUT THE FUTURE?
My next goal is to make [our coffee shop] Craighton’s a strong competitor to Starbucks. Right now it is small. We only have two outlets. UCC started Craighton’s but they decided not to expand, so we bought it.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT WORKING?
I like deep-sea fishing for swordfish in Izu, Shizuoka.

DO YOU THINK YOU’LL STAY PRESIDENT FOR LIFE?
A company always needs new blood. My father started the company, so I know. In this business, you have to have strength and energy, so I don’t think I can keep doing this forever. My father retired, changed his lifestyle and then took on a completely new job. I’ll probably do the same.

BUT DON’T YOU THINK OF THE COMPANY AS YOUR BABY?
I’ll have to find another baby. ST M

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