Aside from his hunky scruff, uber-masculine moniker and starring in movies with exploding stuff and beautiful leading ladies, actor Josh Hartnett couldn’t be any less Hollywood.
He’s a reluctant celebrity who’s so low-key, we’re not sure if his star still burns bright enough to qualify for Hollywood’s A or B list anymore (likely the way he prefers it). But his star shines as bright as Aurora Borealis in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” which makes his recent property listing big news back home in the Twin Cities.
The 36-year old St. Paul, Minnesota-native is parting ways with his Minneapolis Lake of the Isles digs, known as the Walter P. Douglas House—a historic four-bedroom, four bathroom Victorian mansion listed for $2.395 million (the same price Hartnett paid for it in 2002).
The 5,056-square-foot property at 2405 East Lake of the Isles Parkway rests on the eastern shore of the lake’s northern-most point. Built in 1887 and since extensively renovated, it hails as one of the oldest and most prominent residences in the area. The lake itself, which is sometimes used for hockey and skating, covers 109 acres with biking and walking paths.
The modest mansion is big but unpretentious—almost a metaphor for Hartnett’s career and humble personality. It’s aptly described as “modern with traditional Victorian [features]… sophisticated spaces, exquisite finishes, stained glass windows, gourmet kitchen, wine cellar and incredible views” by listing agency Lakes Sotheby’s International Realty. The home boasts a classy mix of wood, stone and glass—transitioning between traditional and modern.
The residence features beautifully-carved woodwork throughout (especially the wine cellar, window frames and banisters), a grand room, huge picture windows, meticulous moldings, gorgeous fireplaces, sun deck, four-car garage, exercise room, in-ground pool and four bathrooms (three of them full). The property attracts tremendous natural sunlight which perfectly showcases stained glass windows that reveal themselves in the most unexpected locations.
There’s no guard, no gated community, and we doubt there are even security cameras here. Lake of the Isles is an affluent suburb with real neighbors—not famous ones. It seemed to be Hartnett’s preferred safe base far from the glare of Tinseltown.
The star of Showtime’s horror cult hit Penny Dreadful is reportedly downgrading size-wise since he doesn’t spend much time at the Lake of the Isles residence. Or could it be the former man-of-the-moment has himself been downgraded from movie blockbusters like Black Hawk Down and Pearl Harbor to a macabre cable television series, so he’s tightening his belt? Or, more likely, his TV show is catching on and his Los Angeles demands are higher (which means his star is burning brighter, and if that’s the case, here we go again).
Either way, Hartnett’s Minneapolis neighbors probably won’t miss him, if they ever saw him at all. He’s a humble and serious actor/producer of film, stage, and video. Hartnett once took a break from acting, repeatedly turned down a Superman TV role (and other superhero parts), and publicly shunned chasing fame as a recipe for “unhappiness” (wait, that sounds like a real respectable, person, not a Hollywood hunk). But while the Hollywood machine has a way of spitting actors out, it’s also routinely wooing actors back into the game.
Like the Minneapolis Lakers 55 years ago, the Twin Cities is losing another one of its favorite sons to Los Angeles—someone who could have been anointed a King of Hollywood if his ego had allowed it. But don’t worry Minneapolis-St. Paul, you’ll always have a Prince.