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Hollywood heartthrob Josh Hartnett vows chastity

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Josh Hartnett
Josh Hartnett: Titti Fabi/Camera Press/Retna

A raunchy sex comedy might seem like a lot more fun to star in than, say, ”Black Hawn Down,” with its endless battle scenes and arduous Third World shoot. But Josh Hartnett — whose boy-band looks will next appear in the dude-denies-himself-sex-and-masturbation flick ”40 Days and 40 Nights” (March 1) — swears that trying to be funny was a bigger ordeal. It couldn’t have helped that Hartnett employed a novel bit of method acting to capture his character’s… stress. Hartnett shared that technique, as well as other painful ”40 Days” moments, with EW.com.

Why’d you want to do ”40 Days and 40 Nights”?
When I read the script, I was like, ”I can’t believe that they want me to play this role.” But I could see how it could be better with me than if they had someone playing up the jokes all the time. They needed a straight man — and I mean that in a totally non-sexual way. In the comedic sense.

Plus, you probably wanted to do a movie with no war in it.
Out of 10 films, I’ve done two war movies — and one of them [”Pearl Harbor”] was a romance. I don’t know, but hopefully people don’t see me as the boy who does war films.

What was it like to shoot the ”40 Days” scene where you pleasure Shannyn Sossamon with a flower?
Well, I’ve had worse days before, you know? [laughs] Shannyn was uncomfortable, though. She didn’t want her body to show. [Director] Michael Lehmann assured her that it just would be a sexy scene, and that it would be respectful. I think it turned out pretty well. Y’know — it was a good day’s work.

How about being chained to the bed for the movie’s conclusion?
That was NOT a good day. I’m not into that bondage sh–. I think I spent a couple of days chained there. My wrists were all raw and cut up — they were real handcuffs. They had a little bit of fur on them, a little bit of padding, but it didn’t help.

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