Archive for the ‘2004’ Category

Meet Star Wars Makeup Masters, Dave & Lou Elsey

Friday, February 27th, 2009

The husband and wife Elseys team are responsible for such Star Wars Episode III creations as the Wookiees, the Utapauns, charred Anakin, and the twisted Emperor.
Creating believable and out-worldly creatures should be a lifetime passion, and husband and wife Elseys team are a living proof to that. Innovative and highly talented makeup masters, they are responsible for such Episode III creations as the Wookiees, the Utapauns, charred Anakin, and the twisted Emperor.
“The main part of it is changing body shapes – sort of designing soft mechanics. A lot of it is pattern-making. For the Wookiees, the costumes are made of articulated foam, so all of the bodies were cut flat, and then they were all glued together so that all of the muscles worked properly.”
“It’s movable sculpture, really,” added Dave Elsey, Creature Shop Creative Supervisor. “You have sculptures, just as you would with clay – bodies, shapes, muscles, tendons and everything. So a lot of what Lou does is to really create what they look like on the outside, but they have to work on the inside. Because we’re going to put an actor in there, and they’re going to have to survive.”
One of the actors required to endure the hardship of prosthetic makeup was Hayden Christensen, who underwent extensive makeup to turn him into the horribly scarred Darth Vader.
“Before doing Revenge of the Sith, I was doing a job where we were recreating every type of burn you could possibly think of,” recalls Dave Elsey. “We were researching the whole thing with paramedics, and really going into it. Then, when we heard about this film, we thought, surely this could be the most famous burns in history, because I had known Anakin was going to take the tumble since I was about 10 years old.”
The research provided Dave with the background needed to create an absolutely realistic burn victim, but a new challenge arose. Would absolute realism be appropriate for the bloodless-cauterized-wound world of Star Wars? “All the stuff that we know of is all really quite horrific stuff and quite scary, and originally we were thinking about how we were going to make this PG, but George said, ‘Don’t worry about it. Just make it good.’”
Also guiding the design was the unhelmeted Vader seen in Episode VI — the pasty and scarred face of actor Sebastian Shaw behind the mask. “When I was a kid, I was a little bit disappointed in that. I thought that if he had really gone through this ordeal, there would be much more scarring,” said Dave. “But we realized that this was a long time further, and a lot of reconstructive surgery had taken place since then. But we tried to get the scars in all the same place.”
Another one of Dave’s favorite original trilogy makeups was that of the Emperor, which also had to be resurrected in a younger, fresher state of injury for Episode III. “You haven’t seen a lot of him in the original movies,” he explains. “I was fascinated to see what was under the hood. We did a lot of early designs that were really quite crazy, and George came and calmed us down. Ian was very good in filling in the blanks. There weren’t a lot of photos taken of [the original Emperor], apart from the real famous ones you all have already seen. In order to research that, we just watched the movies over and over again.”

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Wednesday, February 25th, 2009


Interview with stunt co-ordinator Nick Gillard (Mr. Optimism)- March 2004

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009


Nick Gillard feels the Force will be strong in Star Wars: Episode III. “It’s going to be the best prequel. I can’t see how it won’t be,” says Gillard, the veteran stunt co-ordinator whose outstanding fight sequences have been one of the undisputed highlights of the new Star Wars trilogy.

“Episode III has got everything the other films had and more! The movie is 60 to 70 per cent fighting. Ewan [McGregor, Obi-Wan Kenobi] had 1,000 moves to learn, as opposed to the three pages he had to learn in The Phantom Menace. There’s tons of fighting in this one.”

“Episode III also ties in beautifully with all the other movies. And when I read the script, I was really surprised by how emotional it is.”

“Everyone working on the film took so much care with it,” he states. “Nobody wants to get it wrong.”

Fighting Talk-
Set three years after events in Attack of the Clones, Episode III focuses on the fall of the Jedi, the rise of the Empire and Anakin Skywalker’s transformation into Darth Vader. As the film is currently in the early stages of post-production and won’t be released until May 2005, Gillard is understandably reluctant to give too much away about specific plot points at this early stage. But he does confirm that the movie features the long-awaited lightsaber duel between Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and his former mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

“It’s a monster of a sequence,” reveals Gillard. “I had a couple of years to think about it and think about what George [Lucas, writer/director] had told me about it, and it was daunting because I knew how important that sequence is. I spent probably a year deconstructing the Jedi style of fighting to make it work. I had Hayden with me eight weeks before we started shooting it and I had Ewan six weeks, which wasn’t really enough time, so we often had to rehearse at weekends during the filming.”

“If it comes out like I saw it being shot, it’s going to be phenominal,” he promises.

Gillard also reports that the duel will explain how Obi-Wan is able to defeat his protege, even though Anakin has been established as the most powerful Jedi who ever lived. “Obi-Wan taught Anakin and Anakin has gone past him,” he notes. “But when you get to that duel, it’s emotional. That’s where the mistake will be made. And if you know the characters, you know Obi-Wan isn’t going to get emotional and he doesn’t make mistakes.”

Anakin’s grisly demise at the end of the duel is set to be one of the most chilling moments in the entire saga. It will also help make Episode III the most intense Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back.

“Episode III is really dark,” confirms Gillard. “There’s rumours of it being a PG. I’ve made it as violent as I absolutely possibly can. If something had to be cut off in a scene, it was a painful thing!”

In-between choreographing Episode III’s epic action sequences, Gillard also filmed a cameo role in the movie. “I am in it as a hologram. George said I had to be in it. He wanted to call me “The Troll’, but I managed to change it to ‘Cin Drallig’, my name backwards—though I will probably end up as The Troll.”

“It was nice to do, and I think I will become an action figure eventually-they laser-beamed me along with everyone else.”

Duel Purpose-
A veteran stunt co-ordinator whose credits include Indiana Jones and the last Crusade, Interview with a Vampire and Aliens, Gillard began working on the Star Wars prequel trilogy in 1997, when he joined the crew of Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace. His first task was to develop a new style of lightsaber fighting for the trilogy’s characters.

“I loved the original films,” he says, “but once I took the job, I looked at them and thought, “Things have moved on. I can’t make the fights the same as they were back then. I have to up the ante’.”

“I developed different styles for the characters, and gave each of them a flaw or a bonus. So with Obi, for instance, he’s got a very business-like style-when he was younger he could border on the flashy and might twirl his lightsaber a bit, because he was taught by Qui-Gonn. Qui-Gonn was brash, that rubbed off on Obi and Obi then taught Anakin, who was way too old to learn anyway.” “I think the style really worked well. The Jedi style of fighting is an amalgamation of all the great swordfighting styles. Melding them together is the difficult part-to move from a Kendo style to, say, Rapier requires a complete change in body and feet movement, and this must look effortless. The style moves seamlessly between the different disciplines, but remains technically correct throughout. It’s unlike any other style of fighting and I think it’s beautiful to watch.” In addition to developing the character’s fighting styles, Gillard trained the actors to bring them to life, in a deliberate effort to avoid using stunt doubles. He is full of praise for everyone’s efforts on the movies, especially those of his leading Jedi. “Ewan McGregor can just do anything,” he notes. “I’ve known Ewan for years and whatever you give him to do, he can do it. I would have thought that no one could have become better than Ewan-after Phantom and Attack of the Clones, he just looked like the best. But Hayden learned fast and is now leagues ahead of everybody. He is terrifying!” Gillard’s work on the films’ lightsaber duels doesn’t end with the principal photography, though. He is heavily involved in the development of the fighting styles employed by the movies’ computer-generated character, including Jedi Master Yoda. “I worked with Rob Coleman and John Knoll at ILM on the Yoda stuff in Clones,” he explains. “I think we did alright with it. It came up very quickly, because originally the fight between Anakin and Dooku was going to be much longer and we shot a much longer sequence, but that was dropped for the Yoda fight. At the time I thought, ‘ Oh no, it’s going to look so bad….’, but I was quite impressed when I saw it. I think if I had been six or seven years old, I would have been blown away. And it won Best Fight at the MTV Awards!” Reflecting on the first two Star Wars prequels, Gillard is aware that neither The Phantom Menace nor Attack of the Clones seem to have captured cinemagoers’ imagination in quite the same ways as the original films. But he maintains that they are worthy additions to the saga, and is proud of his own contributions to them. “The prequels were never going to be what people remembered, because they were a lot younger when they saw the original films. It’s a personal thing,” he notes. “But I liked both of them, I actually liked Phantom Menace more than Clones-I know who George makes these films for: he makes them for children.” “I’m happy with my work on the films,” he continues. “You always want to do more, of course, and you don’t have any control over editing and stuff. But I think it’s great.” Following the completion of principal photography on Episode III at the end of September, Nick Gillard is aware that the bulk of his work on the Star Wars prequel trilogy-is done. He also feels that his time in a galaxy far, far away will always hold a special place in his heart. “It’s been an amazing experience,” he declares. “It can spoil you for other things, because it’s not studio backed and Rick McCallum is the best producer in the world-he will give you anything you want, anywhere you want it, any time. When you go to America, you’ll walk into a shop and people will know who you are and that you worked on Star Wars, even though you’re just the stunt co-ordinator. And, of course, you get offered everything after doing Star Wars without an interview-although when you meet the filmmakers, they don’t want to talk about their films, they just want to talk about Star Wars!” “It’s been a fantastic seven years. It was weird getting the job and realising I’d be doing it for seven years, but I’m really happy to have done the three films. I would have hated it if anyone else had done them.”

Shattered Glass star Hayden Christensen reveals why playing a lying, cheating, no-good man comes so naturally

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009


Your character in Shattered Glass was a liar and very unlikeable – why on earth did you want to play him?
Those are the fun ones! I think that every actor wants to play a con.

Aren’t actors paid liars anyway?
Yeah, I guess so. I mean, what we do isn’t so much about lying, but about trying to connect with some sort of truth and applying that to a false reality. So, it’s trying not to lie. But I think all actors feel a bit like a con. We always feel like we’re kind of getting away with something and wondering, “Are people buying us, are they believing us in this role?” I think that those are sort of similar thoughts that percolate in a con man’s head.

Are you a good liar?
I used to be when I was younger!

Do you mean getting out of school or some other kind of lying?
Yeah, getting out of school and stuff like that. I think kids are probably the best liars and also the most honest at the same time which sounds like a bit of a contradiction.

You’ve just been in Australia again shooting the last Star Wars instalment. Do you have a favourite place?
I’m sorry to say that I didn’t actually make it outside of Sydney which I think is sort of despicable. I stayed in Bondi both times that I was there. I really took a liking to living in a beach community. There was this Turkish family who owned a local juice bar. I’d go over to their house every now and then, and she’d cook me a traditional Turkish dinner and that was really neat.

Did you go surfing?
I tried it. I wasn’t successful! I stuck with a boogie board, but I really like Sydney. The people have a certain kind of ease and pace that they live that’s not too dissimilar to the Canadian lifestyle [Hayden is from Toronto]. That’s a good quality of living and I think that poverty there is the lowest I’ve seen. I would spend a lot more time in Sydney if it wasn’t so far away.

Were you recognised there?
Yeah. Honestly though, there was not as much attention around us being there as there was when we were doing Episode Two.

They’re bored with you already?
Maybe! Or just more respectful of the fact that we were working.

How is it at home in Canada?
I can live the life of a reclusive hermit, if I want. I can go home to Toronto at just chill. I still live with my parents.

Because I like it. It’s familiar.

You don’t want to do your own laundry?
Yeah, that too!

What do you do to escape from your life as a film star?
I still play a lot of tennis. When I’m back home in Toronto, we’ll organise some hockey games if it’s winter time and we’ll go out to the pond and play ice hockey or even street hockey in the summer time and that’s an all day event.

Do you like doing the red carpet thing?
That’s still something that I’m getting more and more comfortable with. I still get nervous when people take my picture. I’m definitely not half as nervous as I used to be.

How are you dealing with fame?
I get a real kick when little kids come up to me and can’t really separate me as Anakin from Star Wars and me as an actor. I sort of physicalise their dreamland for them, and that’s really kind of special.

Do your friends tease you about being a heart-throb?
Every now and then. It’s embarrassing to talk about, what can I say?!

But you have thousands of female fans – how do you feel about it?
It’s flattering. It’s very separate from the type of the flattery you receive from doing good work, which is more gratifying. It’s one of those things you just take with a grain of salt.

Are you seeing anyone right now?
I think so! You never really know, do you? Not right now – that’s my official answer!

Is it easier to date other actors?
Not necessarily. It’s all specific to your own personal experience.

You must get the fan letters…
Yeah, but you’re not going to call them back and say, “So I, er, got your picture…”!

So who is your ideal woman?
Smart, I like a girl with a mind that she takes care of. Obviously I would like to be physically attracted to them. And kindness is first and foremost. It’s an important quality to look for. Someone who likes to be adventurous and spontaneous and who likes to have a good time.

You grew up in a house full of women.

Do you it’s helped to have a more understanding of women?
Yeah, without question. Yeah, you grow up with a houseful of women and you know how to cope! And you know how to keep them happy.

Does your career make it hard having a relationship
Yeah, I think that just the logistics of not being able to stay in one place for too long isn’t good grounds to form a serious relationship on. I take it as it comes. If I fall in love, maybe I’ll decide that I want to take some time off and stay in one place for a little while, but that’s not now.

Do you like the lifestyle you lead? You’re kind of living out of a suitcase.
Yeah, it suits me well. I think if I weren’t doing this I’d find another profession that accepts vagabonds. I like exploring new cities. It’s thrilling. I think that’s what you do in your early 20s – you leave home and go and explore the world. And my job takes me there, which is kind of neat.

Source: NW Insider Magazine

To emphasize it is an obsession in the U.S.A

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

The young person Darth Vader of ‘ the war of galaxias’ again opens his dark side like mentiroso journalist in ‘ the price of verdad’

-Do you know how many interviews will have to make to promote ‘ Star Wars III ‘?

- I have not calculated them. For the second episode, we began in Los Angeles: sixty interviews to the day. Later I did fifty or sixty a day during two weeks around the world. Press conferences and appearances in televising programs aside.

Hayden Christensen was able to be Darth Vader at 19 years old. George Lucas passed over four hundred other candidates, among them Leonardo DiCaprio and he fixed the life to him for always to this Canadian that now he is 23 years old and one complete agenda for 2005: the opening of the third and last episode of “Star Wars” in May will take to all the covers.

Before confronting with “immense laziness” marathon promotional, Christensen presented/displayed in the recent festival of cinema of the Palms of Great Canary “Shattered Glass,” the fascinating chronicle of the fall of journalist Stephen Glass. Star of ‘ The New Republic’ in the 90s, the more prestigious political magazine of the U.S.A., Glass was defensive when being discovered that almost all their invented exclusive rights were patronized. Another opportunity to open the cloudy facet of Christensen, by something Lucas saw seized in its innocent facade the dark side of the Force.

- Glass took to the end the value of the competitiveness, that in the U.S.A. inculcate from the institute.

- Yes. There, the importance of the person resides in the statue that reaches. In the institute, they concern notes and, mainly, your prestige, not the knowledge that you acquire. There is a mentality to stop ways: if something can be obtained of easy form, shortening distances, it becomes. From very small, the Americans learn to create figures. To emphasize is an obsession.

-Did you know Glass?

-No. He refused to participate from the beginning in the film. Later he has promoted a book that he wrote already called “The Fabulist’ that had digested its own personage (‘. Ed. Planet). I have not nor wanted to read it. It scares me that somebody is able to elaborate lies thus.

- How was it?

- An educated uncle. One always remembered details to please.’ The coffee without sugar, like you gustá. ‘What feels that blouse well you? She is new, right?’ Things thus. But it’s in a very different era.

- Why did it make news?

-Suppose that by an excessive and insane ambition. His family did not want her to be a journalist, but lawyer. Glass yearned for that they accepted him being successful. And he became a pathological liar. He was profuse in the details and it connected a lie with another one. Perhaps who knows, it needed a screw.

A pile of children

- What perception has a star of cinema of the journalists? Be sincere.

- The truth? No actor feels proud of the promotion work. We are the vaguest people in the world. Our work is the opposite of the office life, from nine to five. We have long free time. And we feel certain disdain towards those who come to us with a recorder. Because then we are not interpreting, we are not creating. True, that also there are actors who love to speak of themselves for three days. They are pure vanity.

- Have there been invented news on you?

-True. Recently, I read that during the running of ‘ Star Wars’ in Sydney I burnt the hands while maintaining the lightsaber for a long time. In fact, it is a wood that later the special effects turn laser. The press has invented me appointments, fiancées. If beams case to newspapers, I lead a most interesting life.

-and it does not infuriate to you?

-Me the volume with tranquility, because I assume that I comprise of the entertainment industry. You know? To disassemble the rumors also is amusing.

-If the journalists are competitive, neither the actors already nor your story.

- No. Passes the opposite right. The actors we have a very passive paper.My work depends on other actors, reason why he would be very little productive who tried to be a self-seeking one.

- Good values have been instilled in him..

-My older sister is actress. She introduced the passion to me. My family understood that I didn’t go to university and dedicated myself to a vocation that consumed me. They help me to remember who I am. We are very united. I’m dying to have my own family, a fixed house with a pile of children who hope to me. Now alive like in a soccer match, where everything happens to vertiginous rate.

- What race interests more to you like mirror in which to be reflected: the one of Tom Cruise or the one of Johnny Depp?

- I would like myself to benefit from the best thing of both: to roll the films of Johnny Depp but to count on the options of Cruise, that has its own producer (“Shattered Glass”‘ is produced by the star of ‘ Top Gun ‘).

- Today several canary fanatics of ‘”Star Wars” have assaulted you to request your autograph. What do you think of them?

- I do not want to judge to them. While they are pleasant with me I have some anecdotes with those obsessed fans. There was a priest who was sending harangues against me for a whole year. Like measurement to prevent, attempt to avoid the commercial centers. Of course, I never accept invitations to present/display myself in conventions of fans.

- Do you admire George Lucas?

- Yes. He has a very progressive mentality for which is to be accustomed to in Hollywood. He has an own world and he has developed a technology in his company that is a model. And, mainly, he is an amiable uncle.

- It always does not worry you to be Anakin Skywalker, the young Darth Vader?

-The classification does not worry me; if only there were three or four blockbusters to the year .Today, an actor is classified if he works six years in a television series. In addition, Anakin is only a stereotype.

-’Bowling for Columbine” offers an idyllic vision of Canada. He is really right’?

-Yes. It is certain that people do not have necessity to close their houses with a key. Michael Moore pays attention to the metropolitan districts, and Canada is something more than great cities. But there exists a general sensation of security.

- Do you like John Kerry?

- I have my own political ideas, I know who is doing things well and who badly. But I am not going to share them with you.

We’re Hangin’ With…..Hayden Christensen

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

An actor can’t play more different roles than Star Wars’ Anakin Skywalker and tainted journalist Stephen Glass who was fired for making up most of the news stories he created. Hayden Christensen is thrilled for the opportunity. The young, Canadian-born actor started in the biz at age 7 in commercials then appeared in a soap and a t.v. series before landing the coveted Anakin role and receiving SAG and Golden Globe award nominations for his touching turn as a troubled teen in Life as a House. The soft-spoken, thoughtful actor finds satisfaction as a performer in both huge epics and smaller, more character-driven movies like his new film Shattered Glass.
When we sat down to chat with Hayden at L.A.’s posh Mondrian Hotel (where the famous Sky Bar is located), the actor was scruffy-handsome in brown tee and black jacket. His hair is blonde-tinged and longer than we’ve seen it in the past. He spoke about spending some downtime playing tennis and hockey, his fascination and difficulty with the Glass character, his respect for journalists, his joy at having more intense acting opportunities in the new Star Wars film and a role in a new, romantic period movie.

AGW: A lot of teens and young adults are faking reports in school and may carry this behavior out through their lives. So after having played this part, what kind of a message would you have for them?
Hayden: I’m not usually one to give advice. But it’s a danger. You’re going to cut off your nose to spite your face if you start. It might get you the grade, but that’s not what you’re there for, really. That’s the misconception I think. You’re there to get a grade to get into university, and everyone’s sort of got this convoluted idea that sort of has veered away from the fact that you’re [really] there to better yourself. By lying and cheating on a test, you’re really just doing yourself a disservice. Not saying I didn’t do it myself [laughter].

AGW: Did you ever meet with the real Stephen Glass?
Hayden: I never met with him. I never got to speak with him. So my interpretation wasn’t an imitation. I had all of his articles so I had an idea for the kind of storyteller that he was and how colorful his lies were. And I talked a little bit to some of the people that worked with him. He was perceived in the office as being this guy who lacked self-confidence, [always asking] ‘are you mad at me?’ There was a lot of pressure from his family put on him, and they weren’t really so happy with his chosen line of work. I could never speak with him about why he did it, so I had to come to those conclusions on my own.

AGW: Did you do more research on him?
Hayden: I spent some time in different news publications getting a feel for general banter in the pitch meetings and the sense of this ambition to always up yourself from your last one, which was I think really indicative to how Stephen got away with it. Maybe starting off with a very small lie and letting that land on people. Then it was required of him to come up with one that was even more creative and more elaborate.

AGW: Did you watch the interview with him on 60 minutes? And, if so, did it confirm to you that you nailed the part?
Hayden: That was all after we had done the film. But, honestly it was a bit of a sigh of relief. I was somewhat nervous about playing a real person and not getting to meet him. I had a couple of pictures of him that informed how I dressed and how he smiled. There was sort of a distant gaze in his eyes, and that made me think there was something pathological about him, that wasn’t quite right.

AGW: Did you ever feel sorry for him at all?
Hayden: All the time. When you’re playing a character that’s flawed, the first rule is you can’t be judgmental, otherwise you’re playing him with that bias, and you’re projecting onto your character instead of just letting him be. So I was very sympathetic. And that sympathy and that sense of insecurity by the end of the film really got under my skin and I was really eager to be finished with it all. It’s not the most confident place to exist as an actor. You go to work every day wanting to connect with something real and honest, and when your task is to lie through your teeth every day, and still gauge how people are reading this, it’s a little nerve wracking.

AGW: Have you ever told a massive whopper that you got in trouble for?
Hayden: Sure. Not recently. Actors feel like, to a certain extent all actors feel like a con man. We’re always wondering if we’re getting away with it, if people are buying our bull****. That was the insecurity that I let blossom in me to play the role. It’s been a while since I’ve lied. Honesty is important.

AGW: Do you know all the lies being written about you in the tabloids, or do you just ignore that?
Hayden: I catch a bit of it. I find out about people I’m dating. It’s all really amusing. My brother and I were renting this house. The guy who we were renting from wanted to sell it, and we didn’t want to buy it. We were like, ‘that’s all right, we’ll move, find a different place’ and now [I'm reading that] I can’t afford to pay my rent [laughter].

AGW: The real Glass is sort of enjoying the press now. He wanted to be famous for the sake of being famous. Do you feel you are now aiding that?
Hayden: I struggled a bit at the beginning when I was deciding if I wanted to do the film. Putting all of someone’s lies, the worst times in their life and committing that to film for someone to go to a video store and rent whenever they so please. I was like, can I really do this with a good conscience? But then, you need to be held responsible for your actions. I came to the conclusion that there was a large part of Stephen that sought the spotlight, and that’s what motivated him to do all these sort of misdoings. And I think it’s become even more clear when he’s come out with this book now, and he’s doing all this press for his book. I don’t really feel so bad about it.

AGW: Do you have any desire to meet him at this point? Would you dread meeting him?
Hayden: I wouldn’t dread it, I’m not gonna try to make the introduction either. I’ve played the part now, and if I saw him at a party absolutely [I would walk up to him]. The one thing I could never really get around was intent. I never got to ask him why. I’m really curious. I’ve made up my own reasons and then there were opinions floating about. But I don’t really know, and I’m not saying he would give me an honest answer.

AGW: Do you ever think about being a journalist? It’s so competitive. Do you ever see why a journalist might do something like Glass did?
Hayden: Definitely. It’s a difficult line of work to report on something accurately without instilling your own bias. The line between journalism and newsworthy stories and entertainment is sort of getting blurred a little bit, and that’s something obviously that you guys have to compensate for. There’s a fine line. I have a great respect for what you do.

AGW: Okay, the Star Wars questions. Can you talk a little bit about the differences between doing something as small as this and something as large as Star Wars?
Hayden: Day and night. A film like Star Wars, you go and live in your imagination and for three months you’re in fantasyland. Blue screen, a majority of the film is done in entirely blue set. You go to work every day and it’s the exact same environment. It’s almost like Groundhog Day only you’re saying different lines [laughter]. The cameras are in the same place, everyone’s kinda looking at the exact same thing. When you get to do a film like Shattered Glass everything that is going to motivate you, all your stimulus is provided for you. When you’re on a big budget movie that has so many different aspects involved that are digital, the focus is a little scattered at times, and it can often get a little chaotic. They’re each their own demon, and each their own blessing. I think I’ve learned the most from those [Star Wars] films, in all honesty, I do feel very privileged to be a part of it just because there won’t be very many other films made the way they made those.

AGW: How are you dealing with being a part of a huge cult phenomenon? There are thousands of kids with light sabers running around.
Hayden: I get such a kick out of that. When the little ones come up, when you have ten year old kids, nine year old kids that can’t differentiate between Anakin and the actor who’s playing Anakin, then you bring [that] to life. You make their fantasyland tangible, and to be a part of that is a privilege. Star Wars obviously has had quite an impact on popular culture, and to have my name associated with that is …neat.

AGW: Do you have your doll/action figure?
Hayden: Honestly, I do have the doll. They send you one of everything that’s made to do with the film, so you get these boxes every few months. But the dolls are something that will stay in the boxes for a while, because that was like, I’ve got my own action figure, that’s the coolest thing. And the thing doesn’t look anything like me!

AGW: You mentioned that one of the things about doing these films is that they’re so big that sometimes the performance is not the primary focus in making it. Do you feel like the third film, with Anakin’s transformation to Vader will be an exception?
Hayden: I hope so. There’s no question that there was an excitement on this film that wasn’t as prominent on the last. Particularly, George [Lucas]‘s approach was much more hands on this time, And just the inherent art of what Anakin’s journey is, is more enthralling than the last [film], and there was more for me to sink my teeth into. And that final transition is one for the books. It’ll be a neat film, definitely.

AGW: What is next for you?
Hayden: I’m gonna do a romantic period fable piece. Early 20th Century. It’s like a bit of an homage to the “Princess Brides” of filmmaking. It’s a Jillian Armstrong film that will go sort of middle of next year. So I still have a bit of time before that starts. I hope to do another film in the interim.

Hayden Interviews Rosario Dawson- November 2004

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN: So, Rosario, tell me how the steps in front of your apartment building influenced your game plan. Weren’t you sort of cast off the stoop?

ROSARIO DAWSON: Yes, I was 15. They were shooting a Vibe commercial on my block, and my dad said to go hang out downstairs because I might get cast. So I stood down there the whole weekend and ultimately ended up being checked out by Harmony Korine and Larry Clark [the writer and director, respectively, of Kids (1995), who were scouting locations for their movie].

HC: You were ultimately cast in Kids. That must have been an interesting initiation into filmmaking.

RD: Yeah, I remember being very quiet and shy and excited about the whole thing. I was supposed to play this very lippy, precocious, sexual girl, which I was not at that age. Finally, I just owned it, and it got me really excited about taking on a persona that wasn’t necessarily my own.

HC: You’ve done a number of indie projects, as well as big-budget studio fare like this month’s Alexander and the forthcoming Sin City. How is it to navigate those two worlds?

RD: I like the risks that independent projects sometimes take, but I’ve also worked on some great big-budget stuff. I’ve never had a particular loyalty to any one type of filmmaking. And it’s been great to participate in some other things. It brought in a lot of new experiences as well as different types of directors and approaches, which I probably wouldn’t have had if I’d stuck to just one thing. Plus I always wanted to work with Oliver Stone [Alexander's director].

HC: In the film you play Roxane, the wife of Alexander. Tell me about the role.

RD: It was a kind of character I’d never played before-she lived in a time and place where everything was life or death. And it was interesting to play a woman who was so fierce and strong, but so limited in her power. She couldn’t be persuasive, so she had to be manipulative. And because the film takes place from 350 to 285 B.C., you had to be in a bubble making it; we were out in the middle of the desert in Morocco for three months, totally away from everything.

HC: What do you think it was about this story that made Oliver Stone so committed to bringing it to the big screen?

RD: You can’t learn about a character like Alexander and not be moved. I think it’s why his story is still so relevant. It’s not about trying to match the politics of that time with what’s going on in the world today, though it’s easy to do. It’s the reason why history persists.

HC: I understand that Sin City is based on the graphic novels of Frank Miller and that you had to do a lot of green-screen work. Sounds like it couldn’t have been more different from Alexander.

RD: In some ways Sin City was equally extraordinary, but in a completely different way. The film is going to be black and white, but with spots of color, like red lips or a red dress-very surreal and film-noirish. But the other thing that’s so incredible about the film is [co-director] Robert Rodriguez’s dedication. Frank Miller is considered a god in the comic world, and this is going to be the most fully realized comic adaptation in history.

HC: So, tell me about politics, jail, and the dangers of wearing masks. [both laugh]

RD: Oh, goodness. Stephen Marshall, who is one of the creators of GNN, which stands for the Gorilla News Network, wanted to do a remake of this old film called Medium Cool (1969), which takes place during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. His version [called This Revolution] takes place at the 2004 Republican convention and deals with issues of journalistic integrity. What happened is that we were shooting footage during the convention, and one of the crew started talking to someone from BET [Black Entertainment Television]. I didn’t want to be identified, so I put my mask up to hide my identity. Then cops grabbed us and pulled us over and were like, “You’re wearing a mask. That’s against the law.” But when I turned to the cop and said, “We’re making a movie. We have permits,” he arrested me anyway. Contextually, I completely understand why they responded the way they did, but there were a lot of people who were arrested who weren’t doing anything. It only amplified the reason why I was doing the movie, and the reason why I’m involved with the [Lower East Side] Girls Club [a group that helps provide services to financially disadvantaged girls]-trying to empower people to know their rights. That’s another thing I got from Alexander. You look at people like Socrates and Aristotle who participated governmentally and philosophically and in the arts. They understood what it was to be a free man, and they respected it in a way that we just don’t nowadays.

Birth of the Empire’ most likely title of final Star Wars movie- May 17, 2021

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Star Wars fans can look forward to more sc-fi action in the sixth and final movie in the series titled Birth Of The Empire, movie insiders have revealed.

According to The Sun, the movie promises to send adrenalin pumping with a thrilling lightsaber clash between Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) while they surf on lava.

“Anakin and Obi-Wan fight on platforms on the lava. They control these like surfboards,” a source was quoted as saying.

“There’s going to be a big announcement soon. They’ve tried lots of titles but the most popular is Birth Of The Empire,” he added.

The movie which will be out next May also features Anakin’s transformation into evil Darth Vader and his baby son, Luke, being smuggled to safety to the desert planet Tatooine. (ANI)

Christensens get real with Cutler at FX- July 07, 2021

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Hayden Christensen and his brother Tove Christensen have teamed with Emmy-winning documentarian R.J. Cutler to produce a reality project for FX. The project, tentatively titled “Masterpiece,” is going to chronicle a young artist’s rise to fame. A talent search is under way for a budding artist to star in “Masterpiece,” which has received a pilot presentation order from the cable network. The unscripted project marks Hayden Christensen’s (“Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones”) first foray into producing. Tove Christensen served as a producer on the Hayden Christensen starrer “Shattered Glass.” The Christensen brothers are not complete strangers to reality TV. The two competed in Mark Burnett’s “Eco-Challenge Fiji Islands.” In addition to “Masterpiece,” Cutler is developing another reality series project for FX that will tackle race relations in today’s America (HR 4/29). Hayden Christensen, Tove Christensen and Cutler are repped by CAA.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Christensen Makes Digital Cameo in ‘Jedi’- September 08, 2021

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

LOS ANGELES ( - Hayden Christensen is getting into the “Star Wars” spirit. The actor who plays the future Darth Vader in “Attack of the Clones” and the upcoming “Revenge of the Sith” will make a cameo in the new “Star Wars” trilogy DVD boxed set, report news sources.

Christensen will appear as the spirit of Anakin Skywalker at the end of the new version of “Return of the Jedi” DVD, replacing the face of Sebastian Shaw.

Other similar changes have been made to reflect casting continuity, including changing the holographic broadcast of the Emperor in “The Empire Strikes Back” to look and sound like Ian McDiarmid, who plays the role in “Jedi” and the first two prequels. In “A New Hope,” the digital image of Jabba the Hut that was added in 1997 has been recreated to look more realistic.

Despite these minor alterations, the most significant thing fans will notice is the improved visual quality thanks to a thorough restoration. Bonus features include rare production photos, TV commercials, trailers, posters, clips of actors who auditioned for but did not land the parts of Han Solo and princess Leia and a preview of “Episode III,” which will be released in May 2005.

The “Star Wars” DVD trilogy four-disc box set will hit retail shelves on Tuesday, Sept. 21.

Besides the “Star Wars” movies, the 23-year-old Christensen has also starred in “Shattered Glass” and “Life As a House.”

Source: Zap2It.Com

Christensen savors life on the A-list

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

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

Comic-Con: Saturday Update- July 25, 2021

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Yes, it’s official. As you have no doubt read elsewhere on this site, the title of Episode III was unveiled yesterday after a two-hour Lucasfilm presentation on various Episode III-related chicanery. And the reaction from the legions of fans? That it was good.

The title was unveiled right at the end of the presentation, after Star Wars Fan Relations guru, Steve Sansweet had conducted an interview with producer, Rick McCallum and Darth Vader himself, Hayden Christensen. A brief Q&A followed, during which Christensen revealed that the Anakin-Obi-Wan relationship is the true fulcrum of the picture, McCallum hinted that Samuel L. Jackson’s Mace Windu is the pivotal point that begins Anakin’s descent toward the Dark Side, and in which we got to see Christensen don the Vader armour for the first time, to tumultuous cheers from the audience (many of whom were suitably dressed for the occasion). Christensen wouldn’t be drawn, though, on how long he would be spending in the Vader suit.

Then came the title, revealed in a montage displaying the titles of the previous five films, one by one. Then, as III was displayed on the screen, the word ‘Revenge’ flashed briefly on the screen, before pulling out to reveal ‘Revenge of the Sith’. And lo, the approval was great. Even the guy who told McCallum that Jar Jar had ‘ruined the series’ must have been pleased. And the good news for those who fear that George Lucas might do what he did with Return of the Jedi and delete the word ‘ revenge’ at the last minute? “This time,” laughed Sansweet, “George tells us he’s going to keep ‘Revenge’ in the title. ” Too bloody right.

Source: Empire Online

Dark Lord Of The Sith- January 01, 2022

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Vader returns in new Episode III documentary.
The latest Episode III ‘Making Of’ documentary is a particularly pleasing way to shepherd in the new year, even if it does do little to bring the finished product any closer. As ever this jewel of behind the scenes footage is only available to Hyperspace subscribers but here follows a tidy summation of the highlights, including the first glimpse of the new Darth Vader - or bits of him at least.

After panning across a plywood set and watching Lucas and Rick McCallum play ‘draw’ with blaster pistols, we are introduced to the challenge of segueing from the last of the prequel trilogy to the first of the original films. “We’re in one world trying to link two basic films,” explains McCallum. “We have to deal with Episode III but, much more importantly in a lot of ways, we have to make sure that everything we do in III rings true for Episode IV. ”

Cut to Lucas surveying a table full of lightsabers. “Well, is this the one that’s given to Luke?” He asks, while pawing a distinctly familiar weapon. “So this is the one that Obi-Wan takes, he takes it with him after that fight. So that’s basically the way it works; we just have to go from Ewan to Alec.”

A hop, skip and jump to the Creatures department reveals the eight foot (at least) hirsute frame of a wookiee character having his (her?) lustrous mane groomed by one of the modellers. “This isn’t Chewbacca, I don’t think,” observes Lucas. “This is somebody else. It was funny because when we first did it [Peter Mayhew, who plays Chewbacca] was the tallest guy we could find in England. Now, just take any basketball team and they start at seven foot six.”

We then take a look inside Ewan McGregor’s dressing room as his make-up is applied and the director muses on the challenge of bringing the Scotsman’s images one step closer to Alec Guinness’s in Episode IV. Keeping with the grooming theme we are subsequently treated to a look at young Hayden Christensen sporting a wig that screams ‘Def Leppard’ louder than it does ‘emergent Sith Lord’. “You know, I actually thought Mark Hamill’s haircut was really cool,” says make-up supervisor, Nikki Gooley. it takes all sorts.

Natlie Portman, Hayden and Ewan perform on-set read-throughs, the latter two engage in some lightsaber sparring and Anthony Daniels clunks around in his shiny Threepio outfit. This is all very entertaining but the highlight of the entire featurette has to be Costume Props Supervisor, Ivo Coveney’s references to Anakin’s final costume.

Leafing through photographs of a deeply familiar suit of black armour, Coveney muses on Vader’s various incarnations. “You can start to tell the difference between some of them on these [chest] plates right here. For Return of the Jedi they’d resculpted this.” We cut to a cast of Christensen’s head placed within a cross-sectioned Vader helm. “Although we’ve got Hayden’s head cast, until we start putting it on his body we just don’t know exactly what’s going to happen. But we know that George wants to keep the scale the same.” Looks like some serious lifts will be in order to bring Christensen up to David Prowse’s six foot seven frame.

Source: Empire Online

Episode III Game Trailer Goes Live- November 05, 2021

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Allow us to take you back for a moment to the heady days of early 1996, when Jar Jar Binks was no more than a pixel in George Lucas’ eye and we had yet to be introduced to the Episode I universe.

You may recall the excitement that greeted the launch of the Episode I soundtrack, offering as it did the first taste of the most eagerly anticipated film in history. And your ears may still be ringing from the shrieks of horror from spoiler-averse fans that greeted the track listings “Qui-Gon’s Noble End” and “Qui-Gon’s Funeral”.

Yes, Lucas gave it all away on the soundtrack cover. Now, with the trailer for the Episode III game, reported here on Coming Soon, it is once again time for fans to be cautious. It may be that what you see here bears no relation to the action of the film, but it looks spoilerific indeed.

We’re not going to reveal anything more about the game, except to say that the graphics are really rather good, and the action looks impressive - Hayden Christensen apparently did the motion capture himself. That’s due out on May 5, 2005, just as excitement about the film reaches fever pitch.

Scoop on Final Star Wars Movie

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

The long-awaited final ‘Star Wars’ movie is set to be called ‘Birth of the Empire-May 18, 2004-Teen Hollywood

The highlight of the space epic is expected to be a light sabre duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Ewan McGregor, and Anakin Skywalker, played by Hayden Christensen, while surfing on lava.

A movie insider revealed: “Anakin and Obi-Wan fight on platforms of lava, which they ride like surfboards.”

The movie, which is the sixth in the series, also features Anakin being transformed into the evil Darth Vader when he falls into the lava, and his baby son, Luke, being smuggled to safety to the desert planet Tatooine.

The source added: “‘Birth of the Empire’ is the favourite title so far.”

The film is due to hit cinema screens next May.

Have you Seen? A second look at what everyone’s talking- October 01, 2021

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Go right to the featurettes of the new “Star Wars Trilogy” DVD set.

It’s right there - in small tantalizing bites, of course, but it’s there - sneak peaks of the lightsaber duel to end them all, a chilling glance at the doning of the Darth Vader mask.

George Lucas knows how to whet the appetite of his fans. He knows how to tempt and tease and stir up the anticipation for next summer’s “Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith.” So we see actor Hayden Christensen fitted for his Darth Vader mask; later we see him put it on. And we watch the awe-struck reaction of the Industrial Light & Magic crew at the sight of him walking on the set.

And that’s nothing. This four-disc “Star Wars” set, long overdue in its release, is out of this world. The only downside is that these aren’t the original theatrical releases. Lucas did a bit of tinkering a few years back for the “special edition” versions; he’s done more here - most of what we could do without. A universe-wide celebration scene added to the end of “Return of the Jedi,” for instance, feels phony.

But overall, this is fantastic. The much-anticipated and highly debated lightsaber duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan (the battle leading to the creation of Darth Vader) is shown as actors Christensen and Ewan McGregor practice it and then act it out in front of a bluescreen. That bluescreen footage is short but makes the point of how powerfully aggressive young Anakin has become.

Want more? Each of the three films in this middle trilogy - “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” - has commentaries by Lucas, actress Carrie Fisher, sound designer Ben Burtt and effects supervisor Dennis Muren. “Empire” also has commentary by director Irvin Kirshner, whose robust voice and clear memories are very entertaining.

It’s intriguing to hear Lucas discuss his shortcomings and admit mistakes, including killing off the ever-popular Boba Fett. Listen carefully: He also throws out tidbits that could be clues (or decoys) for “Revenge of the Sith.” He refers to the “death” of Anakin, something sure to ignite growing Internet debate that Anakin didn’t merely go to the dark side but that he was killed by Obi-Wan.

A fourth disc includes featurettes and “Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy,” a wonderful documentary that never bores during its 150 minutes. It includes new, very open interviews with Lucas, Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and many others.

Wondering what all the fuss is about with “Star Wars”? Check out the featurette, “The Force is With Them: The Legacy of Star Wars” and hear filmmakers including Peter Jackson, James Cameron, Ridley Scott and John Singletary discuss seeing “Star Wars” for the first time and how it affected them.

Cameron quit his truck driving job to become a filmmaker; Jackson based his “Lord of the Rings” trilogy on the “Star Wars” ethos; Singletary, then 9, knew what he wanted to do from that moment on.

And Scott? It was so good, he says, that he “was depressed.” And also inspired. His next film was the sci-fi masterpiece “Alien.”

Comic-Con Briefs Star Wars- July 25, 2021

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Hayden Christensen said he had one conflict with the filmmakers about playing Darth Vader in the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.”

“Unfortunately, I didn’t get to keep the costume,” he told a gathering of 6,500 fans at Comic-Con.

Christensen immersed himself in the villain’s lore, and was such an expert at lightsaber dueling that he asked the makers of an upcoming tie-in video game to change his digital character’s stance to better reflect Vader’s fighting style.

But some questions about the “Star Wars” universe left him at a loss, including this one: “Is the dark side of the Force stronger than the light?”

He was better at answering “What was it like to be Darth Vader?” a role he said he’d been looking forward since he started working on the previous “Star Wars” installment, “Attack of the Clones.”

“It was overwhelming. That has always been the exclamation mark in the back of my head throughout this entire process. Getting to put on the dark helmet and walk onstage as Vader … It was orgasmic.”

Hayden Christensen To Play Toyboy - June 04, 2021

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Star Wars star Hayden Christensen is making a giant leap from his role in the sci-fi epic - by playing a toy boy lover in a British period drama. Christensen - whose character Anakin Skywalker becomes evil Darth Vader in next year’s final Star Wars movie - will be seduced and “taught the ways of love” by Hollywood star Jessica Lange in Cheri, to be directed by British theatre impresario Bill Kenwright. Kenwright reveals, “It’s in its very early stages but its called Cheri and is based on the novel by French writer Colette. The whole thing is set in 1913 and Judi Dench is onboard to play Hayden’s mother.”

Star Wars’ hero Hayden Christensen gets mushy for ‘Cheri’ - June 04, 2021

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Hayden Christensen, who plays Anakin Skywalker in the ‘Star Wars’ movies will don a different role in ‘Cheri’, a British period drama, that of a mushy lover. It will be a compete image change for the ‘Star Wars’ hero who will be seen romancing the sultry Jessica Lange in the movie which will be directed by British theatre personality Bill Kenwright. “It’s in its very early stages but its called Cheri and is based on the novel by French writer Colette. The whole thing is set in 1913 and Judi Dench is onboard to play Hayden’s mother,” Kenwright was quoted as saying by imdb.

Source: Hollywood News

Hayden Talks Luke & Leia- March 05, 2022

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

At the Academy Awards this past weekend, Yahoo caught up with Episode 3 actor Hayden Christensen and asked him about the final film. Here’s the SW clip from their lengthy article:We asked Hayden Christensen (news) what it was like working with the infants who play baby Luke and Leia Skywalker in 2005′s Star Wars Episode III (which has wrapped principal photography), but Christensen said his character, Anakin (soon to be Darth Vader), never even gets to see his children before they’re whisked away. “My loss,” he moped.