Josh Hartnett feared taking a part in 'Pearl Harbor'.

The 42-year-old actor played pilot Danny Walker in Michael Bay's 2001 blockbuster, but he's now admitted that he wasn't keen on the project as he knew it would increase his fame significantly and believes his trepidation was justified after his performance was negatively received.

Josh recalled: "I didn't necessarily want things to change that much.

"I was happy with the amount of fame I had and the types of roles I was getting. At the same time, I asked myself: 'Am I just afraid that by doing 'Pearl Harbor', I'm going to enter a new category of film-making that I might not be ready for?'

"I ultimately chose to do it because turning it down would've been based on fear. Then it defined me, which means I was right to fear it."

Josh was one of the most in-demand Hollywood stars at the turn of the century and was tipped to be "f****** huge" by Bay, although he was uncomfortable with the hype.

The 'Most Wanted' star told the Guardian newspaper: "Huge was never something I aspired to."

Josh also starred in Sofia Coppola's flick 'The Virgin Suicides' as a teenager and strives to find a similar experience when he makes a movie now.

He said of the 1999 movie: "It's a little bit heartbreaking to see all that time has passed.

"I was a child. I was 19. 'The Virgin Suicides' felt like a group of friends all pulling together. I think I'm still looking for that experience whenever I make a film."

Josh also declared that he's "happy to be done" with being a leading man and is focusing on projects that have a personal meaning.

The 'Black Hawk Down' star explained: "I'm happy to be done with that era and to be making films that are more personal to me.

"Directors are coming to me to play characters as opposed to versions of a hero I played in a movie once."