Josh Hartnett Is Having a Moment: Check Out 4 of His Hottest “Teen People” covers and His Adorably Awkward Quotes

The actor starred in last year's 'Oppenheimer' and will lead M. Night Shyamalan's upcoming thriller, 'Trap'

<p>Ron Davis/Getty</p> Josh Hartnett in 1997

Ron Davis/Getty

Josh Hartnett in 1997

Josh Hartnett set the Internet ablaze this week in the trailer for M. Night Shyamalan's upcoming thriller, Trap.

Though he never really went anywhere (have you seen Penny Dreadful?), Hartnett, 45, is enjoying a bit of a renaissance right now thanks to Trap and his work in last year's Oscar-winning blockbuster, Oppenheimer.

But before the Oscars red carpets and four kids with wife Tamsin Egerton, Hartnett was a total teen icon, first hitting the scene in 1998's Halloween H20 before going on to star in 2000s favorites like The Faculty, O, The Virgin Suicides, Here on Earth and 40 Days and 40 Nights.

So it's not surprising that Josh "Hot-nett," as he was popularly nicknamed by fans at the time, starred on a slew of Teen PEOPLE covers, charming his Y2K fanbase with quotes like, "I listen to jazz, and I like to write poetry and think I'm a bohemian."

Josh Hartnett on a 2002 Teen PEOPLE cover
Josh Hartnett on a 2002 Teen PEOPLE cover

Related: Paul Rudd, Michelle Williams and 7 Other Stars You Didn't Know Had Roles in 'Halloween'

In 2001, Hartnett made the leap from teen dream to leading man alongside Ben Affleck in Pearl Harbor.

"Women definitely react to him," said costar William Lee Scott. "The dude's like 6'3" — a big, tall, strapping, good-looking movie star." However, he wasn't putting up any movie star airs. "He'll act surprised if people want his autograph," Scott added. "He's real modest. I don't know if he really believes he's a star. It hasn't fully settled in."

He's "sweet and mysterious — and a flirt," added Hartnett's Pearl Harbor leading lady, Kate Beckinsale, "but in a silent, quite proper way."

Josh Hartnett on a 2002 Teen PEOPLE cover
Josh Hartnett on a 2002 Teen PEOPLE cover

In fact, lots of costars dished to Teen PEOPLE over the years about Hartnett's looks.

"I remember thinking he was really cute," said actress Rachael Leigh Cook, who was two years behind him at Minneapolis's South High School and costarred with him in 2001's Blow Dry.

"He has a certain expression when he looks slightly confused, but his eyes are smiling," added Shannyn Sossamon, his costar in 40 Days and 40 Nights. "Then he giggles nervously and gets embarrassed. He seems to do this all at once, which is totally charming."

Hilary Duff even talked about her "Josh Hartnett phase" in a 2004 PEOPLE interview, too. (Everyone had one, right?)

And his Virgin Suicides director Sofia Coppola admitted, "I can't think of anyone else I'd rather look at onscreen."

Related: Katie Holmes Reveals '40 Days and 40 Nights' Was Originally Supposed to Star Her and Ashton Kutcher

Josh Hartnett on a 2002 Teen PEOPLE cover
Josh Hartnett on a 2002 Teen PEOPLE cover

Fans loved the actor so much in the early aughts that he actually appeared on three Teen PEOPLE covers in the span of 18 months. (One reader complained, asking for a "wider variety" of stars. Others talked about getting so excited to see his face on covers that they dropped their groceries in the checkout aisle.) He got a 2004 story, too, called "Where Is Josh?," listing his upcoming projects because followers were missing him.

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"I'm going to ride this as long as I can and I like it," the star said at the time. "Fame is temporary, so sooner or later the plane is gonna land."

Josh Hartnett on a 2003 Teen PEOPLE cover
Josh Hartnett on a 2003 Teen PEOPLE cover

As for his own take on his looks? When asked to name his best feature in one story, he said with a sheepish grin, "I don't know ... my ankles? I have really nice ankles."

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