Christensen savors life on the A-list

Imagine you’re an actor visiting Japan to promote your latest film. You stay at the Park Hyatt and are treated to a delicious Kobe beef dinner. If that means anything, it means you’re considered an A-list actor here.

Or so one film distributor argues, and the latest to get that special treatment is Hayden Christensen, star of Billy Lay’s Shattered Glass.

“I feel very privileged, very lucky,” Christensen says in an interview held in a sumptuous room at the Park Hyatt hotel overlooking the Shinjuku district of Tokyo.

“This is where I stayed last time here. Everyone here is very nice. I really like the hotel. It wasn’t a response to the Lost in Translation film,” he grins, referring to the film that was largely shot in the hotel.

What about Kobe beef?

“Kobe beef is just something you don’t have very often in North America, and it’s delicious. So I wanted to make sure I’ve got some of that meat before I leave.”

Shattered Glass tells the story of Steven Glass, who was once a star journalist before being found to have fabricated more than two dozen articles published in such prestigious magazines as The New Republic and Rolling Stone. Christensen plays the lead role of Glass himself. But did the Canadian actor enjoy portraying someone falling from grace?

“Very much so,” he says.

In what respect?

“Your character goes through some sort of evolution…to start at one place and end up somewhere completely different is always more intriguing because there’s more to do, because there’s more to portray,” he says.

In the movie, Glass keeps his big lie from colleagues, who respect him as one of the best journalists around. The movie does not make him out to be a professional con man, but portrays him as a caring and introverted young man.

“You have all these sensibilities that you’re trying to juggle,” Christensen says. “Trying to make it seem real enough that this person you’re creating could pull all these things off was daunting at times.”

In preparation for the role, Christensen spoke to Glass’ former colleagues at The New Republic and read all the articles Glass wrote, which he says, gave him a good sense of what kind of storyteller Glass was.

But he couldn’t meet Glass himself.

“He didn’t want us to make it,” he says. “I mean, for a good reason…Imagine you’re going to a video store and seeing sort of the worst time in your life put on a cassette on a video shelf for someone to go and rent whenever they please.”

Christensen says Glass even threatened to file a suit against the filmmakers if they went ahead with the production. “Glass said, ‘If you make a movie, I’ll sue you because it’s not true and I didn’t actually do any of this,’” he says.

In the end, however, Glass went to see the movie.

“Apparently he said it was very painful to watch because it’s re-creating a very painful time of his life. But he thought we did a good job. He thought we approached it with integrity and told the story as it happened. We didn’t sensationalize the story. Nor did we attempt to villainize him, either. It felt real to him, he said,” Christensen explains.

‘Star Wars’ and star status

Christensen acquired stellar status in Hollywood after his role in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of Clones, in which he plays Anakin Skywalker, later known as Darth Vader. He landed the part in competition with about 400 other actors who auditioned for the role.

“To get a part in Star Wars was a huge shift in my career. It was big news for me,” he says. “Things are very different. My career’s obviously different. It’s been a very rapid change in a small period of time. I was very young, still I’m very young, but…a lot is coming at me.”

With the buzz gradually building up ahead of the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, our talk inevitably shifts to the third and final installment of the Star Wars prequels.

“We’ve just finished” the shooting of Episode III, he says. “We finished principal photography a little over a year ago. We were back in London, doing reshoots and got to see a little bit of the film. It was very exciting and the third one looks everything we hoped it to be.

“I think this is the one everyone is really looking forward to. It’s a Darth Vader story. It’s sort of that final evolution into Anakin becoming the greatest villain of all time,” he says.

Come to think of it, Anakin is also a character who falls from grace-in this case from a noble Jedi to the evil Darth Vader. Maybe that’s exactly the right kind of part for Christensen.

Source: Daily Yomiuri On-line

Comments are closed.