There was a particular time – about twenty-five years ago as the crow flies west – when actor Josh Hartnett was touted by the various and sundry trade publications as “the Next Big Thing.” And who could blame the Movieline’s and the Premiere’s and the Entertainment Weekly’s for making such a prognostication? After all, the up and coming actor was, for a brief moment, in almost every movie of note that churned out of the Hollywood Dream Machine in the late 1990s and early 2000s: The Virgin Suicides, Here on Earth, Town and Country, O, Black Hawk Down and yes, even horror genre staples such as HalloweenH20 and The Faculty. The industry seemed determined to fit Hartnett and his considerable acting prowess into a certain model that felt as if it had been designed and rolled off of a Detroit assembly line. Josh Hartnett, to his good credit, seemed to bristle and resist Hollywood’s insistence of typing him and, when finally allowed to go about the business of just being an actor in intriguing films regardless of role size, his innate talents began to grow and flourish. And so what if he would never be the Next Big Thing; The Saint Paul, Minnesota native traded in that dubious labeling for an actual lifelong career as a respected actor, jumping from ensemble work to the occasional leading man gig. I make note of all of the above simply because of the news this morning from our Pearl Harbor aficionado’s at The Hollywood Reporter that Hartnett has just been cast in an upcoming thriller entitled The Fear Index.
The Fear Index is an upcoming four-part miniseries based off of the bestselling book by Robert Harris about a computer scientist (essayed by Hartnett) who is poised to strike it rich from a dubious Artificial Intelligence-driven system that takes advantage of people’s fear of the always shaky financial market. The scientist’s plans take a big ol’ nose-dive after a brutal attack that leaves him questioning his reality as he becomes more convinced that he’s being set up.
The Fear Index is being adapted to the small screen by master scribes Paul Andrew Williams and Caroline Bartleet. Helming the proceedings is none other than David Caffrey of The Alienist and Peaky Blinders fame. Joining Hartnett in this world gone wrong caper are fellow actors Leila Farzad (Innocent), Gregory Montel (Call My Agent) and Arsher Ali (The Ritual).
The film begins shooting this month in Hungary and plans call for the finished quadrilogy to air on Sky Atlantic and streaming platform Now later on in 2021.
So while Josh Hartnett might have foiled the expectations of professional Hollywood pundits, he’s come up for air in the crazy business of making film as a genuine actor. The Jack Kerouac-lovin’ Hartnett should be proud.
Keep your tired old peepers locked onto Vents for any and all new information on The Fear Index as it becomes known to us!