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Why Frank From The Bear Season 3 Looks So Familiar

Contains spoilers for "The Bear" Season 3

Throughout its three (relatively short) seasons, the award-winning and universally beloved FX and Hulu collaboration "The Bear" has welcomed a whole bunch of incredible guest stars. After the show's first season became an immediate hit, Season 2 featured a murderer's row of surprise cameos and familiar faces, including Oscar winners like Olivia Colman and Jamie Lee Curtis), Marvel Cinematic Universe veterans like Will Poulter, stand-up comedians like John Mulaney, and all-around legends like Bob Odenkirk and Sarah Paulson. Now, in Season 3, the show has a brand new enormous guest star: Josh Hartnett.

In the Season 2 episode "Forks," which centers around a specific journey undertaken by Richie Jerimovich — played by Emmy winner Ebon Moss-Bacharach — we learn that though Richie still carries a torch for his ex-wife Tiffany (Gillian Jacobs, real-life partner of the show's creator Christopher Storer), she's engaged to some guy named Frank. So who exactly is Frank? Well, in Season 3, he's played by former teen heartthrob Hartnett, which is a pretty spot-on choice for this role. Here's where you've seen Hartnett throughout the years, from his big career boom in the 2000s to his recent return to form in an Oscar-winning blockbuster.

Josh Hartnett's career officially got started in 1998

Let's rewind all the way back to 1998, the year that marks Josh Hartnett's very first film credit — and it might surprise you, if you're not current on your Hartnett lore, to learn that it was actually courtesy of "Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later." The seventh movie in the Halloween franchise that also moves around in the timeline, "Halloween H20" casts a young Hartnett as John Tate, the son of original protagonist Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) who's living under the fake name Keri Tate. (Hilariously enough, both of these actors would go on to appear in "The Bear.") That same year, Hartnett showed up in the sci-fi horror flick "The Faculty" as a rebel forced to repeat his senior year of high school who habitually sells drugs hidden in ballpoint pens. 

It was "The Virgin Suicides" in 1999, though, that gave Hartnett a real chance to show off his acting chops. In Sofia Coppola's stunning directorial debut — based on Jeffrey Eugenides' novel of the same name — Hartnett plays popular high schooler Trip Fontaine, who strikes up a secret relationship with Lux Lisbon (Kirsten Dunst) despite her strict conservative family's repressive rules. In one of the movie's most heartbreaking scenes — which is really saying something — Trip abandons Lux on a football field the morning after they win Homecoming King and Queen, leaving her alone in the grass after spending the night together. Clearly, Hollywood took notice of Hartnett's promise, as a huge string of successful films followed pretty much immediately. 

Throughout the early 2000s, Josh Hartnett was in high demand

After the romantic drama "Here on Earth" in 2000, Josh Hartnett's career took off in a huge way in 2001 with his biggest project yet, "Black Hawk Down." As staff sergeant Matthew Eversmann with the U.S. army, Hartnett helps sell Ridley Scott's vision of a real-life story about a helicopter downed during a conflict in Mogadishu, and that wasn't the only enormous film to feature Hartnett that year. The actor also starred in Tim Blake Nelson's Shakespeare adaptation of "O," meant to modernize the Bard's tragic play "Othello," where Hartnett plays the villainous Hugo Goulding (based on the "Othello" antagonist Iago) alongside Mekhi Phifer as Odin (Othello) and Julia Stiles as Desi Brable (Desdemona). 

That same year, Hartnett also played a leading role in producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay's historical drama "Pearl Harbor," appearing as combat pilot Danny Walker — best friend to Ben Affleck's main character, fellow combat pilot Rafe McCawley. Hartnett's Danny ends up tragically dying after a plane crash and intense battle, and the scene where he tearfully talks to Rafe just as he's about to die is one of the movie's most devastating moments ... not to mention that Danny's legacy is a major part of the film's ending. So how did Hartnett follow 2001, the biggest year so far in his career?

In the 2000s, Josh Hartnett led a whole bunch of crime dramas and thrillers

For a while in the early to mid-2000s, Josh Hartnett embarked on a decent variety of projects but ended up, for whatever reason, appearing in a whole bunch of crime dramas and thrillers. After the 2002 romantic comedy "40 Days and 40 Nights" with Shannyn Sossamon, Hartnett pivoted and joined Harrison Ford as the co-lead of the 2003 buddy cop movie "Hollywood Homicide," melding these two sensibilities in 2004's unsettling romantic drama "Wicker Park" with Rose Byrne and Diane Kruger. 

In 2005, Hartnett showed up in Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of Frank Miller's legendary graphic novel "Sin City" as The Salesman, a terrifying figure who begins and ends the movie, and he followed that jarring role with two back-to-back crime flicks. In 2006, Hartnett led "The Black Dahlia," a crime drama based on the real Hollywood murder of Elizabeth Short and the media frenzy that followed; shortly thereafter and in that same year, he starred in "Lucky Number Slevin," where he plays a guy named Slevin (no, really) who ends up involved in a complicated and dangerous situation only because people mistake him for his friend Nick (Sam Jaeger). After this string of crime movies, Hartnett eased up a little bit, but clearly, he was in some sort of mood for a while in the mid-2000s.

With Penny Dreadful, Josh Hartnett (mostly) moved to the small screen from 2014-2016

On the big screen, Josh Hartnett stayed pretty busy, but he did take on slightly more low-profile projects like the independent 2008 film "August" and the 2015 Western movie "Wild Horses." On the small screen, though, Hartnett joined the buzzy supernatural series "Penny Dreadful" in 2014, remaining a part of the show until 2016.

The series — which centers around a fantastical group of characters largely in the public domain, like Dr. Frankenstein and his monster and pretty much all of the main players from Bram Stoker's "Dracula" — features Hartnett as Ethan Chandler, a marksman who was born as Ethan Laurence Talbot. At the beginning of the show, Ethan is tasked with rescuing a young girl, whose father is famed explorer Malcolm Murray (Timothy Dalton), from a creature of unknown origin, and he's ultimately joined by Vanessa Ives (Eva Green), Dr. Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), and even Oscar Wilde's immortal character Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney). Throughout the series, it's revealed that Ethan is actually the classic horror character The Wolfman, giving Hartnett the opportunity to lean into his campier sensibilities (and don some truly astonishing prosthetics).

In the early 2020s, Josh Hartnett made a huge return to both the big and small screen

In recent years, Josh Hartnett has been quietly making a comeback ... and before appearing in one of the biggest and best movies of 2023, the actor popped up in a single episode of the Netflix anthology series "Black Mirror." In the Season 6 episode "Beyond the Sea," Hartnett stars alongside Aaron Paul and Kate Mara, playing astronaut David Ross — who, in tandem with Paul's Cliff Stanfield, can move his consciousness between his family on Earth and his body in a space station. When David's family is massacred by a cult that thinks artificial humans are evil, he ends up damaging the experiment and invading Cliff's family without telling his colleague.

With that said, Hartnett's biggest role in 2023 is, without a doubt, thanks to Christopher Nolan's massive commercial and critical darling "Oppenheimer." Rounding out a seriously star-studded cast that includes newly minted Oscar winners Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr., former winners like Gary Oldman and Rami Malek, and Hollywood icons like Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, Hartnett plays American physicist Ernest Lawrence, who works on the Manhattan Project alongside the titular Oppenheimer (Murphy). Hartnett portrays this real-life Nobel Prize winner as a kind and brilliant man who supports Oppenheimer as the physicists work on the atomic bomb, a history-making project with horrifying implications — and it was certainly excellent to see him show off his immense talents in the 2024 Best Picture winner. Now, you can see Hartnett join a fictional version of Chicago on "The Bear" — the third season is streaming now.