May 26th- Ready For Jedi Training

Hayden Christensen’s athletic background will come in handy.

In a galaxy far, far away, Jedi boot camp is gearing up for its latest recruit. Okay, A-ustralia is not quite that distant. But the scope and size of Star Wars: Epi- sode II will be light years from what Thorn- hill-raised actor Hayden Christensen has experienced before.
The 19-year-old heads back to L.A. today after a week of visiting family and friends here. Yesterday , Star Wars producer Rick McCallum warned that Christensen’s rest and relaxation will be over when he reports Down Under in early June to play Anakin Skywalker in the second film of George Lucas’ Star Wars prequel trilogy. After the expected 2002 release of Episode II, he’ll again appear as the brave young Jedi knight in Episode III, who eventually becomes corrupted by evil and evolves into Darth Vader. “He’ll be flat out from the minute he gets here until shooting,” McCallum said in a posting on official Web site “As soon as he gets off the plane we’ll be handing him over to (stunt co- ordinator) Nick Gillard for Jedi training.” Christensen isn’t likely to be daunted by the role’s athletic requirements. He told The Sun he expected to go to college on a tennis scholarship until “I sort of got a bit sidetracked by acting.” He also played Triple-A hockey when he was younger, plays competitive beach-paddle tennis with older brother Tove, rollerblades, skateboards and goes mountain biking. On his Vancouver-made TV drama, Higher Ground, which will premiere in Canada this fall, he often was called on for sports sequences. Episode II will shoot in Australia for most of the summer with additional filming in Tunisia and Italy. McCallum said Christensen’s casting has invigorated the production team. “Everyone’s excited, because I showed them some of the screen test. He’s really an unknown. I think the casting sends the signal that we’re living by our word, and that we are anxiously working to deliver something new with this film,” he said. In one of his first interviews, given only hours after Lucasfilm confirmed his casting on May 12, Christensen described himself to The Sun as being equal parts “disbelief, shock (and) excitement. “I’ve got good people to talk to and to keep me grounded. I’ll have my feet on the ground,” he said. Since then, he has been featured in Time magazine, on TV’s Entertainment Tonight, and this week was scheduled to do a photo shoot for Canada’s Flare magazine.

Avoid spotlight
Christensen’s close friend and Higher Ground co-star A.J. Cook predicted he’ll avoid the spotlight in the long run. “He’s a man of few words. Definitely,” said the actress, who has a lead role in the current feature film The Virgin Suicides, in which Christensen also appears. “I think he’ll shy away from a lot of it…I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, you’re going to be on David Letterman and all that kind of stuff.’ I’m just like, ‘Hayden, do you understand? This is the calm before the storm.’ “And he’s just like, he’s scared, he’s nervous. He’s a very private guy. I don’t think he’s going to be in, you know, every single magazine. I think he’ll hide away from it a lot.”

Source: Toronto Sun

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