Honestly, he really is just some guy from South Florida named Daniel Hartwell.
But perhaps you’ve seen him around town and insisted he had to be none other than Hollywood actor Owen Wilson.
“Everywhere I go, people walk up to me and say, ‘Hey, Owen! Can I get a picture with ya?’’ said Hartwell, a Manalapan resident whose cheek bones, blond locks and blue eyes make him a dead-ringer for the star of The Wedding Crashers and Zoolander.
“I try to explain that I’m not him, but people don’t believe me. So I just sort of have fun with it. This has been happening to me for years.’’
It happened again last week at a private society party in Palm Beach, where a roster of starstruck party guests thought they were mingling with the real Owen Wilson.
“I did. And he went along with it,” said Sharon Bush, who chaired the Palm Beach charity event last Thursday that raised around $100,000 for the Cristo Rey Brooklyn High School in New York.
“He has the same build. He looked kind of scruffy for Owen Wilson, but then I thought, you know, people come to Palm Beach on vacation so I figured Owen Wilson was on vacation.”
Bush, who was once married to the brother of President George W. Bush, posted a photo on her Instagram account of her with the man who she thought was Owen Wilson. She removed the photo a few days later when she learned that it was actually Hartwell.
She wasn’t the only one fooled.
“Leonard Lauren, Ralph Lauren’s brother, walked up to me and said, ‘Hey, I want to help you out with your next movie,’” Hartwell recalled. “I said, ‘That’ll be great.’ Then he said, ‘You should let me be your agent.’ I just said, ‘OK.’’’
Hartwell, who last year self-published a fictional book about musician John Lennon, said he eventually tried to assure Lauren that he’s not Owen Wilson but he’s not sure Lauren believed him.
The faux Owen Wilson story was picked up by The New York Post in a Page Six gossip item that suggested he purposely crashed the Palm Beach party to impersonate Owen Wilson as an early April Fool’s Day joke.
But Hartwell, who works as a promoter for music and entertainment artists, said he had a legitimate reason to be there. He was accompanying one of his clients, Delray Beach mentalist Myke Mooney, who was hired as entertainment at the charity event in the oceanfront home of James and Lisa Cohen.
Mooney, who describes himself as a mind reader capable of bending quarters with his thoughts, said Hartwell has been his manager for five years. And in that time he has watched star-struck strangers walk up to Hartwell thinking he is the famous actor.
“He goes with me on gigs, and even when I call him Daniel, they’ll think he’s Owen Wilson. People will say, ‘We all know he’s Owen Wilson. You don’t have to make up a fake name like Daniel,’’’ Mooney said.
Hartwell, who at 57 is nearly seven years older than the actor, said he can’t recall exactly when people started mistaking him for his Hollywood doppelganger.
“At first it was annoying. Then I learned to play it up a bit and go, ‘OK, have a picture,’’ said Hartwell, who is featured on a web page called People of Delray where he identifies himself as “Owen Wilson (just kidding…).”
“There are pictures of me in Japan, China, England, Russia with people thinking I’m Owen Wilson. It’s not like I’m trying to fool anybody. If people pay attention to me, I’ll say, ‘You know I’m not Owen Wilson, right?’ But a lot of them don’t believe me.’’
Hartwell, who hosted a Lennon festival in suburban Lake Worth in December, said he’d love to meet Wilson one day.
“Maybe I can be his body double!”