Oppenheimer’s Josh Hartnett Says His Role in M. Night Shyamalan’s Upcoming Movie Is Very Bizarre and Very Dark, and I Cannot Wait

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Written By Maya Cantina

Josh Hartnett is being celebrated for his portrayal of Ernest Lawrence, garnering a Screen Actors Guild Award alongside his Oppenheimer cast members for the Ensemble in a Motion Picture. Now the actor is setting his sights on an intriguing new venture, a role he calls a “pivot” in M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming movie Trap. The project finds him collaborating with the master of suspense on a role he promises to diverge sharply from his previous work, offering him a chance to delve into an array of complex, darker emotions and character dynamics. Honestly, I cannot freaking wait. 

During a red carpet interview with IndieWire at the SAG Awards, where Oppenheimer was lauded as the evening’s standout film, the Penny Dreadful veteran expressed his eagerness for the upcoming horror movie. The Black Hawk Down actor hinted at a departure from his known cinematic persona, suggesting that Trap will unveil a performance that is as unconventional as it is compelling. This pivot toward a darker, more enigmatic role under Shyamalan’s direction has Hartnett brimming with excitement. He told the outlet: 

It’s a pivot. But I try to make all of my roles pivots. If you’re playing the same thing again and again, it gets boring to the audience. Working with M. Night was one of the best experiences of my career. I think he’s a true Artist in the capitol-A sense of the word. And I think people are gonna be really surprised and excited about the movie we make. It’s very bizarre, very dark, and it’s wild.

For a while, it became trendy to criticize the director, but there’s no denying that M. Night Shyamalan has a collection of great movies. I find myself in agreement with Hartnett’s positive assessment of the filmmaker because as time passes and he releases more movies, in my estimation the positives far outweigh the negatives in his filmography. Every time news breaks that the Academy Award-nominated Sixth Sense visionary is working on a new project, my curiosity is instantly sparked. Trap is no exception to this rule, with the inclusion of the Hollywood Homicide star being just a “dark” and “bizarre” cherry on top. 

Josh is well-acquainted with the horror genre, with some of Hartnett’s best movies being the likes of Halloween: H20 and The Faculty. While he rarely takes on the role of a villain or a disturbing character, his portrayal of the twisted Hugo in O, the 2001 modern adaptation of Othello, was exceptional, which you can revisit with a Max (formerly HBO Mas) subscription. So, needless to say, it’s incredibly exciting to see him going back to his horror movie roots.

You can catch Josh Hartnett in Shyamalan’s Trap when it hits the 2024 movie schedule on August 2. Until then, see his latest work, in Christopher Nolan’s 13-time Oscar-nominated historical drama Oppenheimer, now streaming with a Peacock subscription


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