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The role of the complex, secretive and envious Hugo went to young actor JOSH HARTNETT. Although O is based on Othello, director Tim Nelson felt that everything must be seen through the prism of Hugo's, not Odin's, eyes. "The audience must register each moment of the film through the prism of Hugo's journey," he says. "How whatever occurs might please, infuriate, distract, or impel him." It is Hugo who causes the tragic actions of all of the characters in the play by his own actions.

It was Hartnett's own presence which impressed Nelson enough to cast him in the pivoltal role of Hugo. "Josh exudes mystery and sexuality," says Nelson. "When speaking with him, you you feel he's holding something back, and he makes you desperate to know what that is."

Born in San Francisco and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Hartnett became an actor at an early age. He played various roles in Minneapolis stage productions and was featured in several national commercial. After graduating from high school, Josh attended SUNY Purchase, New York, and studied in the acting program. In February of 1997, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue film and television work, quickly landing his first role in the ABC drama CRACKER. 

In addition to O, Hartnett starred in THE FACULTY, alongside Elijah Wood, Salma Hayek, Robert Patrick, and John Stewart, directed by Robert Rodriguez. Hartnett also co-starred with Jamie Lee Curtis in HALLOWEEN H20, which marked the 20th anniversary of the horror series and which grossed more than $60 million  domestically.

Other projects include a starring role in the black comedy THE VIRGIN SUICIDES opposite James Wood, Kathleen Turner and Kirsten Dunst in the directorial debut of Sophia Coppola, and the recently released TOWN AND COUNTRY, portraying Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton's son in the film, which also stars Goldie Hawn, Andie MacDowell and Garry Shadling. Josh fcan also be seen in the currently blockbuster PEARL HARBOR, co-starring Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale, as well as the upcoming 40 DAYS/40 NIGHTS. He is currently shooting BLACK HAWK DOWN for producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Ridley Scott.

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