Hayden Christensen (born April 19, 1981) is a film actor from Vancouver, British Columbia. Christensen is best known for his portrayal of an adult Anakin Skywalker in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Christensen also portrayed Darth Vader in the final prequel, in both the character's suited and unsuited forms. He wrote the foreword for The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
Christensen was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on April 19, 1981. His parents are Alie, a speechwriter for the heads of large companies, and David Christensen, a software programmer and communications executive. His father is of Danish descent, and his mother has Italian and Swedish ancestry. Christensen has an elder brother and sister, Tove and Hejsa, and a younger sister, Kaylen.
Raised outside Toronto in Thornhill, Ontario, Christensen attended E.J sand Public School, Baythorn Public School and Unionville High School in Unionville, Ontario, Canada. He was an athlete in high school, playing hockey at a competitive level and tennis on a provincial level. Christensen spent summers in Long Island with his maternal grandmother, Rose Schwartz, and attended the Actors Studio in New York as well as the Arts York program for drama at his high school. He was "discovered" when his older sister, Hejsa, a former trampoline champion, was shopping around for an agent after she landed a role in a Pringles potato-chips commercial.
His big break was a starring role on the Fox Family network's Higher Ground (2000). On the series, Christensen showed off his acting talent as a teen who was sexually molested by his stepmom, and turns to drugs in despair. Later he appeared in the television movie Trapped in a Purple Haze (2000), where he co-starred with his friend Jonathan Jackson. Christensen has had quite notable performances in such films as The Virgin Suicides (1999). His role as the troubled, misunderstood teen Sam Monroe in Irwin Winkler's Life as a House (2001) won him a "Breakthrough Performance of the Year" from the National Board of Review. The film also placed him as a nominee for Best Supporting Actor at both the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
On May 12, 2000, Christensen announced that he would be starring as the adult Anakin Skywalker in the next two prequels, Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (2005), succeeding Jake Lloyd, who played the character's younger self. The star was chosen by director George Lucas because he felt that Christensen had raw talent and good chemistry with actress Natalie Portman. Lucas said he "needed an actor who has that presence of the dark side" that was essential to solidify the story of the origins of Darth Vader. Lucas stunned the movie world by picking the then-unknown actor after he had turned down such big names as Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonathan Jackson, as well as 400 other candidates.
In the final two films of the prequel trilogy, Christensen was the only actor portraying a Jedi who was not allowed to customize his character's lightsaber. This was because in Episode II, Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber was built to be reminiscent of Darth Vader's lightsaber in the original trilogy, while in Episode III, Anakin's lightsaber was designed to match the lightsaber that Obi-Wan Kenobi gives to Luke Skywalker, in Episode IV—canonically, the same lightsaber.
Hayden Christensen, during the production of Episode III, asked Lucas if a special Darth Vader suit could be constructed to fit his own body, rather than have a different actor don one of the original sets of Vader armor worn by David Prowse. Lucas agreed, and a suit was engineered to fit Christensen's frame, even including extensions to allow for the actor to attain Vader's 2.02-meter (6 feet 8 inches) stature. Hayden's voice as the "robotic" Vader, however, was dubbed over by James Earl Jones despite rumors to the contrary.
For the DVD release of the original trilogy, Christensen's head was digitally superimposed onto the body of Sebastian Shaw as the Force ghost of Anakin. Shaw's face during the unmasking scene was subtly altered to better resemble an elder Christensen. Also, Shaw's eyebrows were digitally removed in order to reflect Anakin's appearance after being burned alive on Mustafar. Christensen insists this was done without his knowledge, an act that Lucasfilm confirmed in the featurette "Return of the Jedi: What has changed?" as posted to the official website to commemorate the 2006 DVDs.
His role as Anakin Skywalker made him a star. Although his performance in both films was met with mixed reviews, he became very popular, being named in People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" and "50 Hottest Bachelors" and Teen People magazine's "25 Hottest Stars under 25." A Singapore magazine also named him, for his time as Darth Vader prior to Mustafar, as "Prettiest Villain." For both appearances as Anakin, he won a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actor in 2003 and 2005 respectively. In 2005, for his portrayal in Revenge of the Sith, Christensen won the MTV Movie Award for Best Villain.
For the 40th anniversary of Star Wars in 2017, he appeared on stage at Celebration Orlando alongside George Lucas and Ian McDiarmid, and was interviewed by Andi Gutierrez on The Star Wars Show LIVE!.
He also acted in Shattered Glass (2003), Factory Girl (2006) with Sienna Miller, Awake (2007) with Jessica Alba, Virgin Territory (2007) with Mischa Barton, Jumper (2008) with Samuel L. Jackson and fiancée Rachel Bilson (who gave birth to their child Briar Rose Christensen in early 2014), Takers (2010) with Idris Elba and Paul Walker, Vanishing on 7th Street (2010), American Heist (2014), Outcast (2014), 90 Minutes in Heaven (2015) with Kate Bosworth, and, most recently, Little Italy (2018) with Emma Roberts.
|Night of the Living Dummy III||1997||Zane|
|The Virgin Suicides||1999||Joe Hill Conley|
|Trapped in a Purple Haze||2000||Orin Krieg|
|Life as a House||2001||Sam Monroe|
|Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones||2002||Anakin Skywalker|
|Shattered Glass||2003||Stephen Glass|
|Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi (2004 re-release)||2004||Anakin Skywalker (Ghost)|
|Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith||2005||Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader|
|Factory Girl||2006||Billy Quinn (also credited as Musician)|
|New York, I Love You||2009||Ben|
|Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey||2009||Jammer (voice)|
|Vanishing on 7th Street||2010||Luke|
|American Heist||2014||James Kelly|
|90 Minutes in Heaven||2015||Don Piper|
|Star Wars Rebels||2018||Anakin Skywalker (voice)|
|The Last Man||2018||Kurt|
|Little Italy||2018||Leo Campo|
Notes and referencesEdit
- Hayden Christensen on Wikipedia