He shot to fame aged 19 within the unique Star Wars movies, however Hayden Christensen abruptly stop fame in favour of a quiet farm life. Right here’s why.
When Hayden Christensen auditioned for the function of the younger Darth Vader in 2000 he was content material to have nabbed a few memento hats from his go to to George Lucas’ secretive Skywalker Ranch.
Little did he anticipate, as a then 19-year-old unknown Canadian newcomer, to land the a part of cinema’s most revered baddie.
However after his two ensuing Star Wars films had hit cinema screens, the now 41-year-old will need to have wished he had borrowed a stormtrooper’s Kevlar helmet.
For Hayden’s efficiency as Anakin Skywalker within the smash-hit sci-fi collection got here in for a barrage of criticism.
The Razzies, or Golden Raspberry Awards, are given for Hollywood’s worst performances, and he was given two Razzie Worst Supporting Actor gongs.
One critic known as him “an N Sync child who doesn’t have as a lot expertise”, and it was stated that his romantic moments with Natalie Portman’s Senator Amidala “couldn’t be Amiduller”.
Since Hayden’s debut 20 years in the past, followers of the unique 1977 Star Wars film have continued to gripe concerning the prequels Assault Of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith, which informed how Anakin turned Darth Vader.
By 2010 it was sufficient to make him stop appearing for 4 years in favour of the quiet life on a secluded farm in Canada.
Now although, Hayden has a shot at redemption amongst Jedi obsessives. He’s slipping on the black masks and cape once more for the $176 million six-part TV collection Obi-Wan Kenobi, which launches at the moment on Disney Plus.
The actor will probably be wielding lightsabers with Ewan McGregor, who returns because the mysterious Jedi knight of the title, first made well-known by Sir Alec Guinness within the unique movie.
Hayden stated of the flak he has confronted in an interview with The Solar: “After all, that’s a difficult factor. However I really feel like I’m kind of over that in a manner.”
And any fan negativity appears to have been eclipsed by the thrill concerning the collection, which is what studio executives had been on the lookout for – the trailer was considered seven million occasions in its first day.
Followers will get to see Obi-Wan’s life on the desert planet Tatooine, the place he’s guarding Anakin’s son Luke. Our bearded hero fears that if the chosen baby falls into his father’s fingers, Luke might additionally flip to the “darkish aspect” of the invisible pressure that permeates this fictional model of our universe.
Ewan is incomes a rumoured $2.8 million per episode and subsequent 12 months his new spouse Mary Elizabeth Winstead will seem in one other Star Wars spin-off TV collection, Ahsoka, which may even function Hayden.
Outdated connections performed out properly for Hayden, who remained associates with Ewan over time. A supply informed The Solar that the Scots actor lobbied for his co-star from to hitch the solid in Obi-Wan Kenobi.
It’s an opportunity that Hayden, whose movies have largely been flops, didn’t anticipate.
“Attending to step again into these characters once more was simply surreal, you recognize? By no means would have thought,” he stated.
It’s an echo of his emotions when he first went for the Vader function, when his solely earlier film half was a small one in Sofia Coppola’s 1999 movie The Virgin Suicides.
Hayden stated of his Star Wars audition: “By no means did I actually suppose I might doubtlessly really get the half — it appeared too huge.
“Then after I bought the cellphone name, I used to be in disbelief. It had only a huge affect on my life. Professionally, clearly, and personally as properly, it actually modified a lot for me.”
However not in the way in which he had hoped. The good-looking star was predicted to be the brand new Leonardo DiCaprio, who reportedly missed out on the Anakin function, with a life among the many Hollywood elite beckoning.
An insider stated: “In his twenties, when Hayden was on the peak of his Star Wars fame, he and his brother Tove had been everywhere in the LA get together and celeb social scene, and relished the advantages that got here with Hayden’s burst of worldwide fame.”
However it all disintegrated after poor evaluations of Assault Of The Clones and Hayden’s 2008 sci-fi film Jumper. The one comfort from making Jumper was that he fell for co-star Rachel Bilson, of The OC fame.
The couple have endured a relationship as stop-start as Hayden’s profession.
They had been engaged in 2009 earlier than calling it off the next 12 months, then getting again collectively once more. Rachel, 40, and Hayden by no means did marry, however they’ve a seven-year-old daughter, Briar.
The couple shared their time between a Los Angeles pad and a 200-acre farm north of Toronto, which he as soon as stated he wished to fill with pigs, cows, horses, sheep, goats and “possibly alpaca”.
In 2018 he defined his need to flee from Hollywood: “It was very a lot knowledgeable by my involvement in Star Wars, and the way shortly issues modified for me.
“I simply wanted a manner to take a look at. I used to be 19 after I did Star Wars and though I assumed I used to be mature sufficient to understand totally what the expertise was, I used to be nonetheless a child.
“To get perspective on that, you want time to mirror, and an surroundings the place I might do this. One thing inside me wanted house. So I went out and located house.”
He additionally took a break from appearing, from 2010 to 2014, though he knew that was a threat.
“You may’t take years off and never have it have an effect on your profession. However in a bizarre, kind of harmful manner there was one thing interesting about that to me,” he stated.
Since returning, his films have included the completely forgettable low-budget motion flicks Outcast with Nicolas Cage in 2014, and First Kill with Bruce Willis in 2017.
A fuller workload for Hayden and Rachel didn’t assist their relationship and the couple cut up for good in 2017. However it has been an amicable break-up and Briar splits her time between each mother and father.
It was within the autumn of 2019 that Hayden was invited by the makers of the brand new Obi-Wan Kenobi collection to return to a galaxy far, distant as soon as extra.
He was not about to show down such a possibility and stated: “It was a no brainer. Once I bought the decision I used to be immediately elated. I used to be simply so excited to come back again in any case these years.”
It had been 15 years since he had worn the Vader swimsuit, which he solely slipped on on the finish of 2005 movie Revenge Of The Sith.
However he stated: “Getting to place the swimsuit again on, placing the helmet again on, was a really surreal expertise.”
Neither Disney nor manufacturing firm Lucasfilm have stated who will probably be voicing Darth Vader within the new collection, however James Earl Jones’s intimidating tones have been used for each Star Wars film that includes the long-lasting baddie.
The 91-year-old actor did the job in Revenge Of The Sith after the well-known black masks was positioned over Hayden’s head, and once more in The Rise Of Skywalker, the third instalment of the Star Wars sequel trilogy, in 2019.
What number of appearances Vader will make stays a intently guarded secret, whereas the principle baddie in Obi-Wan Kenobi is ready to be the Grand Inquisitor, performed by British actor Rupert Pal.
However the Vader function goes to be vital sufficient for Hayden to be nervous about what followers will suppose.
He stated: “It’s Star Wars, so you recognize, there’s only a stage of expectation you wish to fulfill.
This story initially appeared on The Solar and was reproduced with permission