Archive for the ‘2005’ Category

Revenge is sweet

Friday, February 27th, 2009

AFTER years of speculation and shattered hopes, the wait is over for the world’s army of Star Wars fans.

Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith (12A) bridges the gap between the disappointing Attack of the Clones and the legendary Star Wars and is Lucas’ darkest offering to date.

With the final battles of the Clone Wars raging across the galaxy, Senate leader Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) has been taken hostage by evil droid leader General Grievous.

Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) head off on a rescue mission which marks the start of a two-hour action-packed bloodbath.

But secretly married to the Senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), Anakin’s fear of losing his soulmate starts to warp his mind.

Tempted by the prospect of protecting his pregnant wife, Anakin finds himself drawn to the evil Dark Side.

Sensing unrest in his apprentice, Obi-Wan faces the grim task of having to defeat Anakin for the good of the galaxy.

As Anakin’s paranoia spirals out of control, fans finally get to see the demise which leads to him becoming Darth Vader.

Episode Three is a journey to the Dark Side, with extraordinary battle scenes and enough death to earn the film a 12A certificate.

Yoda (Frank Oz) is on top-form and the shocking betrayals of key characters leave you gasping. Even Hayden Christensen is good - realising his best bet is to shut up and look mean.

A stunning end to the trilogy and it should leave even the snootiest geeks satisfied.

Rating: Five stars (out of five)

\’Episode III\’ best of prequels, far from original

Friday, February 27th, 2009

“Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” is George Lucas’ redemption film.

Both the highly anticipated “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” and “Star Wars: Episode II — The Attack of the Clones” did well at the box office but failed to wow critics and die-hard fans. Nothing could match what fans dreamed “Episode I” would be, waiting sixteen years for the beginning of the end to the “Star Wars” saga, but the first films also fell short in key areas, namely the acting and story line. The introduction of Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in “Episode II” upped the bad acting even more.

It is nearly impossible to judge a film like this — the third in a series of six — on its own merits, especially given the classic status attained by the original “Star Wars.” The plot is tied to previously established story lines, so viewers know what is coming. Still, there was potential for “Episode III” to stand on its own and usher the series out with a bang. Most of the cast is back from the previous film, and a few favorites from the original trilogy make an appearance as well, most notably Chewbacca. There is even a cameo from the Millennium Falcon if you look closely.

The film picks up a few years after “Attack of the Clones.” Anakin has grown into a very powerful Jedi, yet still has not earned the trust of the Jedi council. His marriage to Padme (Natalie Portman) is still a secret, though that secrecy is threatened more each passing day by her pregnancy. After Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) successfully defeat Count Dooku (Christopher Lee), the search for the Sith Lord becomes the Jedi Council’s top priority and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine becomes a main suspect. The film spends a majority of its time on this particular subject. Anakin becomes torn between the Jedi way and the skills promised him by Palpatine.

Though it is interesting to watch the missing pieces fall into place as the film progresses toward its climax, the movie falters a bit along the way. Everyone knows the eventual outcome — the challenge to this and the previous two films was to find an interesting way to tell the story in between. The film could have been shorter and still told the story well — perhaps even better. Lucas’s biggest problem in the first three episodes goes back to a basic rule of filmmaking — show, don’t tell. There are quite a few action-packed moments in “Revenge of the Sith,” but they seem to come in chunks. Where the original films had a faster, more exciting pace, “Episode III” and the previous films have a jarring effect that consists of fast-paced action followed by slow expository dialogue or clunky romantic scenes — it’s more a book-on-tape approach than an actual filmmaking approach. The other downfall of “Revenge of the Sith” is Lucas’s obsession with using computer graphics for every

scene. While this can provide for some incredible action sequences, it also causes the film to lose a sense of realism. There is something organic about having the characters interact with aliens in costume rather than an animated character, and the lack of any real sets leaves the film looking more like a video game at times. George Lucas has been responsible for some amazing innovations in the film industry (see Industrial Light and Magic, Pixar and Avid if you need proof) but technology should still be used to advance the story, not the other way around.

Despite the negatives, “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” is by far the best of the first three episodes, and it does a good job of tying them all together. Christensen’s acting is somewhat improved, and in all fairness, when compared to Mark Hamill’s acting skills, Christensen doesn’t seem all that bad. If you have already seen the previous five movies, by all means finish what you’ve started. If this is your first “Star Wars” film, save your money, buy the original trilogy and be satisfied with those.

Fan-tastic \’Star Wars- Revenge of the Sith\’ won\’t disappoint the faithful

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (out of four). Stars Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman and Samuel L. Jackson. Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and some intense images.

Everyone already knows the plot of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side of

the Force and becomes Darth Vader. However, knowing the plot before sitting down in the theater does nothing to detract from the overall experience. Revenge delivers everything that a fan could hope for - amazing special effects, colorful characters and, of course, some really cool light-saber duels.

Although the last two Star Wars movies may have left fans a little disappointed, Revenge will not. The dialogue is better and the pace faster. Die-hard fans will notice numerous echoes of the previous films, which help to tie the entire series together. Fight scenes, music and even some dialogue mirror the original trilogy and the two previous films.

Revenge also pulls at your emotions. You truly ache for those close to Anakin as they watch him fall farther and farther into the dark side. When characters die, you feel it.

However, Revenge is not a perfect film. The relationship between Anakin and Padme, although slightly more believable the second time around, is still strained and lacking any chemistry. Padme\’s character is also diminished. She is no longer the strong, forceful woman we have come to know. Instead, she is pushed into the background and given few scenes in which she isn\’t crying or angst-ridden. Although she is still a senator, she is seen in political surroundings only once, and the scene is far too brief.

There is still the problem of awkward dialogue and rushed scenes that have plagued all the Star Wars films, but it is less a problem here than in the most recent two.

Revenge is not a life-changing movie, but it never had to be. It accomplishes what it was made to do: Tell the final chapter of a story that has entertained for generations.

Film Review Magazine Star Wars Coverage

Friday, February 27th, 2009

FILM REVIEW - MAY 2005 ISSUE
HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN TELLS US WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE DARTH VADER
PLUS CELEBRITIES REVEAL WHAT THEY REALLY THINK ABOUT STAR WARS!
Hayden Christensen gives us an in-depth interview, covering topics like: what we can expect from the upcoming Revenge of the Sith; how he’s been affected by his involvement in Lucas’s epic series; and what it’s like to actually make the movies.
Plus, some famous fans tell us what Star Wars means to them. Want to know how the likes of Mike Leigh, Keira Knightley or the rock band Ash felt about the films? Here’s your chance to find out!
“It has been almost 30 years of film-making, leading up to the telling of this story. And it pays off in every respect…”
Versatile young star Hayden Christensen tells us about the challenges of playing the most famous bad
guy in cinema, what it’s like to work with George Lucas and what we can expect in the final instalment…
“I spent Christmases running about trying to get the right Star Wars toys – it was an inevitable and inescapable part of my life.”
As well as discussing his latest social drama Vera Drake, the venerated British director Mike Leigh tells us just why Star Wars has played such an important part in his life.

Holy Sith!

Friday, February 27th, 2009

“A long time ago, in a country not so far away, I was eight years old, doing my best Darth Vader imitation,” says Hayden Christensen, sitting in Hugo’s on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, where he’s enjoying a breakfast of eggs Benedict. Although the 24-year-old Canadian actor doesn’t remember when he first saw the original Star Wars movie, the pop-culture phenomenon permeated his consciousness enough to provide an excellent means of scaring his little sister during trips to New York City. “It doesn’t seem like much has changed,” he says.
But he knows full well that’s far from true. In the 28 years since George Lucas’s Star Wars exploded on the scene, the science-fiction genre has been reinvigorated, actors’ careers have been launched or have languished, film technologies have been revolutionized, a new paradigm for the event film has been created, and the movie industry itself has been transformed.
The first trilogy of films to be released (Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope; Episode V—The Empire Strikes Back; and Episode VI—Return of the Jedi) told the story of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, twins (we eventually discover) who fight the evil Emperor and his minion, Darth Vader, for control of their distant galaxy. Then, after a 16-year intermission, Lucas created a prequel trilogy about the twins’ father, Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi warrior who falls from grace to become Darth Vader (Episode I—The Phantom Menace; Episode II—Attack of the Clones; and, to be released May 19, the saga’s final installment, Episode III—Revenge of the Sith). The first five films have grossed more than $3.4 billion theatrically worldwide.
Of all the people—from the series’ hard-core fans to Anthony Daniels, the only actor with a speaking part in all six installments, as C-3PO—whose lives have been changed by Star Wars, none has felt the impact more than Lucas. Once a filmmaking geek under the tutelage of Francis Ford Coppola, he now commands an entertainment empire that generates more than a billion dollars in revenue each year. With Episode III, he completes his vision—a feat unparalleled in movie history and one made possible because of the deal he cut on the first Star Wars, awarding him the series’ merchandising and sequel rights. “There is definitely a certain satisfaction with seeing all the pieces fall together,” Lucas says over the phone from his Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, California, just before flying to London, where he’ll work on the film’s score with John Williams. “A lot of my life has been wrapped up in this one thing. I can walk away from this now ’cause I feel it’s the best I could do. I’m happy with it.”
But what makes Lucas happy hasn’t always made his fans happy. In 1997, the director remastered the original trilogy, inserting computer-generated effects, digitally cleaning the prints, tweaking some scenes, and generally horrifying the Star Wars faithful. Then, with episodes I and II, he disappointed them again, by going heavy on the exposition and goofiness (see Jar Jar Binks) and light on the badass charm of the original films (with the notable exception of Darth Maul). “If mistakes were made—and I don’t think [they] are the same mistakes that everybody else thinks they are—then I made them, and I will stand by them,” Lucas says. Although you can find a sizable chorus of Episode I and II detractors, Lucas stands virtually alone (among adults) in believing that it’s the original trilogy, especially Episode IV, that is flawed, rather than the prequels. One has to wonder: Which trilogy will Episode III most reflect?
Caught up in the maelstrom of hype and disappointment has been Christensen, the actor who plays the young adult Anakin Skywalker in II and III. Previously best known as the troubled teen in Life as a House, he was criticized for wooden acting and, more to the point, for not being worthy of playing such a famous villain. Sitting in a crowd of colorfully clad Angelenos, Christensen has a Darth-like presence, wearing a long black overcoat, with a black hood poking out. And although he talks warmly of the appreciative children who approach him on the street, he is, like us, eager for Episode III to close the circle. “This is the story of Anakin becoming Darth and the story of a republic becoming an empire, meaning, this is the movie that will have all the payoff,he says.This is the film that people want to see.

The Empire’s New Clothes

Friday, February 27th, 2009

After five years as a dutiful ‘Star Wars’ soldier, Hayden Christensen grabs Darth Vader’s black mask and finally storms the Republic. But will this stoic kid from Toronto be able to recover from life in deep space? RJ Smith finds out while Christensen hits the motocross trail and channels the rugged elegance of Steve McQueen.
George Lucas, the bearded visionary who invented the saga of the Skywalker family, once called Hayden Christensen the best young actor he’s directed since Harrison Ford played Han Solo in the original Star Wars, in 1977. This is a wonderful compliment for any actor to receive from a legendary filmmaker, unless of course, the legendary filmmaker is George Lucas.

In the end, the Star Wars series will consist of six global blockbusters, a combined gross of more than $3 billion, and countless product tie-ins—but it has not spawned many distinguished careers. Between the creaky mythology, the talent-dwarfing special effects, and Lucas’s famously wooden scripts, it’s hard for an actor— any actor—to do much more than grab hold of the Force and hang on for dear life. In The Whole Equation, his highly touted history of Hollywood, film critic David Thomson puts it thusly: “I have nothing to say about Star Wars.” Nada: a nothing as large as any Death Star. What Mr. Crankypants dislikes about the franchise is its bigness, the scale and hype that make everything else movies are supposed to be about—storytelling, character, and artful acting—seem irrelevant. Thomson sees it as a black hole sucking the art of movies into its core and then spitting it out in some other dimension, compressed into a Darth Vader action figure.

This spring Lucas’s colossal franchise rests heavily on the capable Canadian shoulders of the 24-year-old Christensen, whose Anakin Skywalker is at the cold heart of the sixth and final film in the series, Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith. And while there’s no denying that Star Wars has made Christensen a hugely visible presence—catapulting him from after-school television to a worldwide audience—its bigness has also kept us from knowing exactly how good an actor he really is. George Lucas’s movies are lengthy, grueling commitments that keep an actor from engaging in much else until they are completed; and Christensen has devoted the better part of the past five years to Star Wars’ final chapters—Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

The current installment is the most turbulent Star Wars yet; in fact, it will likely receive a PG-13 rating. The movie shows young Anakin Skywalker allying himself with the Sith, an evil order of red-faced miscreants, as he crosses over to the dark side. It is a chronicle of Anakin’s twisted manhood, which he begins as a force for good until—cue the fanfare—he slips on that shiny black helmet and becomes the world’s most enduring villain. As such, this might just be the Star Wars for grown-ups and anybody who has never bought a Wookie Cookie.

Christensen says he loves the stories, though the double-gauge biblical symbolism and the myth referencing of the films distinctly underwhelm its lead actor. “Oh yeah, that’s what he talks about, the whole mythology about it. It’s really interesting,” he offers politely.
“Really obvious, but interesting.”
It takes some prodding, but Christensen admits: “I’m ready for the next leap in my life. You have to understand, when you put that helmet on, it’s very hot and claustrophobic. Throughout the entire time I’ve been filming, the only thing I have going through my head is Darth Vader’s evil-empire theme.” He hums the ominous tune and smiles a bit sheepishly.

For Christensen, the best antidote for claustrophobia is fleeing town with his brother and some friends to the dirt-bike trails a couple of hours east of L.A. His crew has started a birthday tradition that begins with a kidnapping: They’ll seize the birthday boy, throw him in a car, and cruise out of town for a weekend, heading down to Baja, for example, to rent some bikes and rip across the entire peninsula, through desert places where there’s nothing but scorpions, scrub, and the odd little taco stand. Christensen has little tolerance for actorly introspection. He is a man of action, a spirited rider, and a fearless snowboarder whose talents and personality emerge when he’s winding up for a slap shot, pounding a crosscourt backhand, or whipping a lightsaber through the thin atmosphere in a galaxy far, far away.

It’s Sunday in the San Fernando Valley, and Hayden Christensen sips a bottomless cup of coffee at a nonironic greasy-spoon diner. The Naugahyde booths are filled with porn-industry workers and Latino families dressed for church. Christensen is wearing a worn-down Toronto Maple Leafs hat and looks proudly Canadian, right down to his unlaced leather boots. More than win Oscars or rule the world, what he would really like to do is be the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. In high school, he was good at putting the puck in the net, and he was also a top junior tennis player; his Star Wars costar Ewan McGregor was duly impressed with the natural athleticism Christensen brought to the on-set swordsmanship. “He’s really fast and he’s got all the twirls down,” he says. “He’s quite extraordinary with his moves and spins. And he puts 110 percent into it. I think he was a baton girl in a past life.”

Christensen describes his family as intensely competitive. His brother holds Canadian long-distance-running records, and his sister was a junior world trampoline champion before she took up aerial skiing. As a teenager, Christensen had a brush with the greatest competitor of them all, John McEnroe. The actor was serving as a ball boy at one of his matches during a tournament in Toronto. When McEnroe hit the ball into the net, Christensen overzealously charged to retrieve it while McNasty vented his frustration by smashing the ball. His narrow miss of the kid’s dome aired on Canadian television that night, marking Christensen’s accidental small-screen debut.

The third of four children, Christensen got into acting by way of familial competitiveness. His elder sister had scored a spot in a Pringles commercial. The 7-year-old Christensen tagged along as she interviewed talent agents, and he ended up being scouted himself. He calls acting “this so-called craft where you pretend to be other people. And when you are 15 or 16 years old and trying to figure out who you are, well, it was something that really caught my interest.”
In 2000, Christensen assumed the role of a troubled teenager who is molested by his stepmother in the Fox Family Channel series Higher Ground, which lasted just long enough to put him on Lucas’s radar. He flew out to L.A. to audition and bested a field of 400 or so others that is said to have included Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Phillippe for the part of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones. But the actor’s first big part came playing a death-tripping Goth kid in the 2001 tearjerker Life as a House. Though the movie’s script is pure Mrs. Butterworth’s, and though he is made to say stuff like “What’s in my pants is none of your fucking business!” and act out autoerotic asphyxiation, such is his skill that Christensen becomes a surprisingly appealing character. He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his performance.

Then, rather than lounge around poolside waiting for his agent to deliver the right role, he went out and created his own, becoming a driving force behind Shattered Glass, a biopic about disgraced New Republic reporter Stephen Glass. It was a gutsy move, going from the mall-packing movie event that was Attack of the Clones to the title role in a small-budget indie; from the broad, CGI-assisted strokes of Anakin Skywalker to the creepy depths of Glass, whose professional abuses Christensen smartly undercut by playing him as a fumbling, all-too-likable manipulator. The role convinced Christensen that there was life beyond the Skywalker Ranch—even if it fell to him to go find it.

But nothing comes easy. Once the Star Wars saga is complete, Christensen’s real challenge begins: trying to escape the Mark Hamill syndrome—that is, attempting to leave Star Wars’ gravitational pull and build a conventional movie career. “I haven’t been dealing with that dilemma thus far,” he says. “I’m not really concerned about it, either, though maybe I should be, given how many times I’m asked about it.”

He shouldn’t be overly worried. Soon he’ll be working on The Decameron with The OC ’s Mischa Barton and starring in Barry Levinson’s Sixty-six, which will close out the director’s Baltimore cycle. He also has assembled a crew of people he trusts to run his production company, Forest Park Pictures, not simply the vanity confection many young stars attach their names to but an actual creative enterprise that’s currently developing an actual TV series he can’t actually talk about.

At last, there’s room for that. “There’s a bittersweet sense of relief,” Christensen says of finally putting the monumental mixed blessing of Star Wars behind him. “But very much one of relief. Star Wars has been a huge commitment for me. It will definitely free up a lot of time.”

Empire gets noisy with Vader

Friday, February 27th, 2009

The June issue of Empire Magazine is set to host the world’s first “breathing” cover to celebrate the long-awaited release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
The cover, which will show the face of notorious villain Darth Vader, will breathe once it has been opened by the use of chip technology tipped on to the spine.
Colin Kennedy, executive editor of Empire, said: “Choosing the cover star – Darth Vader – was easy, asking our readers to peek under the mask was also straightforward, but how could we do justice to the greatest villain in movie history? The simple answer was sound.”
The iconic sound of Darth Vader breathing, was made possible due to a collaboration between Empire magazine and Lucasfilm, and is set to be widely marketed internationally, including a presence at the Cannes Film Festival.
The magazine will also include 50 pages of exclusive content of behind-the-scenes interviews and coverage of Star Wars Episode III, which features Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman.
The limited edition of the “breathing” cover will be on sale from 28 April and will be available only in the UK at WH Smith, Tesco, HMV and Forbidden Planet.

Duel of Destiny

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Warning! Warning!Spoilers approaching! From the beheading of Count Dooku to the genocide of Jedi younglings to Anakin’s
physical abuse of his dear Padmé, there will be little doubt why Revenge of the Sith might get slapped with a PG-13 rating. The film is also loaded with battles royal. Some are supersize, like the firefight between the Republic and Separatist forces over the planet Coruscant that kicks off the flick. Others are classic one-on-ones: Yoda vs. Palpatine; R2-D2 vs. a deadly droid; Anakin vs. Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson); and a penultimate face-off between Anakin and Obi-Wan where, says producer Rick McCallum, “there’s no question Anakin will eat it and eat it big time.”
But the executive warns that the sequence, which required three months of rehearsal and much buffing up for Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, is more “intense and powerful because of what it means emotionally than for its technical wizardry.” In other words, George Lucas couldn’t go all House of Flying Daggers on us. “Stylistically, the duel has to fit into the bigger saga,” McCallum says. “We couldn’t break with Star Wars tradition and do it in slo-mo or have them jumping at heights we’ve never seen them jump before.”
But Christensen still got his geek on. A lifelong Lucas fan — as a kid he used to pay to get into theaters just to see a Star Wars trailer — the actor kept his lightsaber after completing the fight sequence, with the boss’ permission, natch. “I also nicked a few other items I won’t mention,” admits Christensen. But his best souvenir will never wind up on eBay. “People are already coming up to me on the street and saying, ‘Hey, I wanna shake Darth Vader’s hand!’ And that is an honor I’ll have in my back pocket for the rest of my life.” Christensen might say that playing such a legendary villain is a dream come true. But, notes the actor, “Nobody could possibly dream this big.”

Newsweek May 09, 2022

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Hayden Christensen. We photographed him at ShoWest in Vegas. And he was so cute that I wanted to carry him around in my pocket all day. And we photographed him with a Darth Vader Mr. Potato Head but unfortunately it didn’t really read very well, so we just ended up using him with this t-shirt that George Lucas had just given him a couple days before which is he said only 20 were printed up or something. It was fun.

Hayden Christensen

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Some of the actors from the original trilogy of Star Wars films struggled to get other roles because their parts in the space saga had made them so famous. Sometimes film fans struggled to accept the actors playing characters that were different from their Star Wars ones. But Hayden isn’t worried about that happening to him, adding it would be “cool” to remembered as Darth Vader.

He added: “I think 20 years ago, 30 years ago, there was only one blockbuster that came out every few years, and so audiences got such a strong association with the actor and the role in the film. Now, there’s four or five a summer.”

Some actors found that they were only offered roles similar to the ones that had made them famous, which is called typecasting. Of course it’s not likely that Hayden will be offered many other roles requiring him to wear a black cape, mask and be the most evil man in the universe, but you never know.

Christensen, a tall, strapping blond with a loyal fan base, was beginning to carve out a respectable acting career for himself with supporting roles in television and a couple of entries into film when he shot to instant stardom, landing the much-coveted role of Anakin Skywalker in “Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones” (2002). While the long-awaited announcement left some die-hard “Star Wars” fanatics unhappy and many a fellow up and comer disappointed, the little-known actor was poised to make the most of his opportunity and prove to be more than just a pretty face. His often emotionally jarring performances as bad boy Scott Barringer in the otherwise lackluster Fox Family Channel series “Higher Ground” made success in this regard seem entirely plausible, Christensen appearing capable of handling the darker aspects of his Darth Vader-in-the-making character.

The Toronto-bred actor did extensive work in projects lensed in his home country, beginning with the German-Canadian TV-series co-production “Macht der Leidenschaft/Family Passions” in 1994. He also appeared in the direct-to-video release “Street Law”, and in 1995 took a cameo role as a paper boy in John Carpenter’s eerie thriller “In the Mouth of Madness”. Christensen continued with TV-movie work, taking featured roles in adaptations of works by two famed but dissimilar authors with turns in the sci-fi satire “Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron” (Showtime, 1995) and the heady romance “Danielle Steele’s ‘No Greater Love’” (NBC, 1996). The young performer racked up credits in preteen-aimed programming, with guest roles in the series “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” (Nickelodeon) and “The Famous Jett Jackson” (The Disney Channel) and a starring turn as a teen haunted by sinister puppets in the Fox primetime movie special “Goosebumps: Night of the Living Dummy III”.
2000 proved a banner year for Christensen, who started off with his regular starring role on “Higher Ground”. Christensen, who had acted on Fox Family Channel previously with a supporting part in the plane crash disaster film “Free Fall” (1999), arguably had the series’ juiciest role, playing a drug-abusing delinquent whose wicked ways were traced back to a disturbing encounter with his inappropriately seductive stepmother. The character won the hearts of his female classmates at Mt. Horizon, a tough-love high school in the wild, and the actor was similarly successful in winning over fans, who responded to his strong and emotionally credible performance.

He was featured in Sofia Coppola’s directorial debut “The Virgin Suicides”, playing Jake, an academic achiever granted permission to join three other boys as escorts for the four lovely but cosseted Lisbon sisters. Although the role was small, Christensen gave a charming performance as the appropriately awkward young man. That year also saw him take a supporting role in ABC’s gripping horrors of heroin addiction telepic “Trapped in a Purple Haze”. Interestingly, that film starred Jonathan Jackson, who was long considered a favorite for the role on Anakin. Within a month of its airing, Christensen had nabbed the role, reportedly due to good on screen chemistry with predetermined co-star Natalie Portman, and no doubt aided by his remarkable ability to completely change his look from angelic to indecent with a flash of his eyes.

Playing the young adult version of a character as steeped in American popular culture as Darth Vader would be a challenge for Christensen. While the role would certainly thrust him into the spotlight, the glow could be all too temporary, although his youth and the range displayed in his character’s internal struggle between good and evil could help to avoid future typecasting and ensure a lasting career. Further solidifying his status as a rising star, Christensen turned in a highly-regarded supporting performance as the glue sniffing, pill poppping, disaffected teenage son of Kevin Kline in the effective tearjerker “Life as a House” (2001).

He was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002.

Hayden was discovered when his older sister Hejsa, a former trampoline champion, was shopping around for an agent. No one was home to baby-sit him so he went along and it was suggested that he get an agent himself.

The Dark Side Shines in Star Wars Insider #82

Friday, February 27th, 2009

The Dark Side Shines in Star Wars Insider #82
May 06, 2022

Do you need something to read while waiting in line for your first, second, fifth, or umpteenth viewing of Episode III? Then Star Wars Insider #82 is coming just in time.
The latest installment of the magazine of Hyperspace: The Official Star Wars Fan Club delves into the dark side, with feature interviews with the galaxy’s reigning Sith Lords. Hayden Christensen speaks to Insider about his journey into darkness, and his donning of the fabled armor that finally and fully transformed him into Darth Vader. Ian McDiarmid saved the best for last with his powerful performance in Episode III, and he is spotlighted in a feature interview about his role as Palpatine.

It’s not all black capes and scarred faces, though. On the lighter side of things, Natalie Portman talks about her evolving role as Padmé, mother of the galaxy’s new hope for freedom.

Also in this issue, go behind-the-scenes on the behind-the-scenes, with a look inside The Making of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and Revenge of the Sith Incredible Cross-Sections. Also, peer beyond the panels of Star Wars: Visionaries to learn more about the concept artists and the process involved in creating this memorable graphic novel.

Hottest Bachelors 2005-Hayden Christensen

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Wonder what makes Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith star Hayden Christensen, 24, so appealing?
Just ask his costar, Yoda. “More handsome is he than many in the galaxy – the skin and the hair, as well, glow with the dewy sheen of youth. Better is this sex appeal than even the Force. Bottled it could be, and sold at men’s cosmetics counters.”

The Sensitive Macho

Friday, February 27th, 2009

To Star Wars –hero Hayden Christensen women are inscrutable, but for all that he’s searching for the big love.

Today the ill’s wearing a blue baseball-cap from the Toronto Maple leafs and is smiling friendly. “I’m fan of the worlds best ice hockey team, as you can see!” he tell us at the beginning and next second he’s sitting inside a huge leather armchair. The 24old Canadian is world-famous for his role “Anakin Skywalker” in the Star Wars Saga. Now it’s time for Episode III “Revenge of the Sith” (on May 19th in cinemas all over the world), in which Anakin’s moving from a good Jedi to the very angry Lord Darth Vader. Hayden Christensen is doing this imposingly and proves again, that George Lucas choice of him for this role was the right one. Here in the “Soho-House” in London, there’s not sitting a Hollywood-Beau in front of us, it’s a character actor. Intelligent and avowedly, he’s a man with a great future. He’ll not be remembered only as a Star-Wars-Action-Figure, for this he’s much too good!

Reporter: What must have happen, that you’ll make a pact with the Devil, like Anakin did in EP III?
I think, I’ve got to disappoint the devils. There’s nothing in the world, I would sell my soul for. Particularly not to get more force like Anakin does.

R: With the end of EP III you’ve got to say “goodbye” to Anakin Skywalker, there’ll be no other Star Wars movie. Are you sad?
H.C.: A little bit. Anakin accompanied me throughout an important part of my life. While shooing EP II, I’ve just finished High School. Now, at the age of 24 I’m on the best way to get a man.

R: You’ve been very famous as a very young person. Some people would like it, to give autographs at the corner of every street… And more then ever the lots of girls….
H.C.: Oh, the girls… Most of them stared at me and giggled. In the beginning I thought if my trousers were open, or just thought “why are they looking this way?” It took my a while to get along with it.

R: What was the behavior of your friends in this time?
H.C.: I quickly found out, who’s really my friend or who just wanted to benefit from my success. Unfortunately some girl acted like this, too.

R: Is it true, that you’ve grown up in a household which was dominated by women?
H.C.: Not really, because my father is a strong character. But cause of the close measure to my mother an sisters, they’ve minted me a lot. Unfortunately anyhow I can’t claim to understand women better. A woman’s psyche is still a complete mystery.

R: Your Daddy has been strict?
H.C.: He always pushed me to the limit, mainly in sports. I wanted to become an Ice-Hockey Pro, later a Tennis player. While being a teenager, acting seemed very silly to me.

R: What has brought you to acting?
H.C.: You’re gonna laugh. Shakespeare and his pieces, we’ve played in school. In the meantime acting is the best job ever.

R: What makes a man a real man?
H.C.: A real man’s got to: build at least one house, plant a tree and procreate a child (he’s grinning) Meantime this is a bit difficult, because I’m solo but in the future I want to have a family.

R: You’re acting masculine but also sensible..
H.C.: Nice from you, because I feel like that indeed. The masculine I could live out while doing my sports. Acting brought me to the sensible part when I was 14 years old. I got to knew myself better. During the chaos of puberty it was not to be sneezed. Suddenly I dared to let my feelings and emotions show. In the meantime I’m able to cry in front of others without feeling embarrassed

R: In the real live – what would you prefer to be: A hero in war or a perfect lover?
H.C.: A hero’s impressing in cinema or something like that. Of course I’d prefer to be the perfect lover.

R: Are you in draft for Hollywood?
H.C.: No, I’ll stay in Canada. Hollywood’s too cursorily. People define themselves by honour or money, the more the merrier. That’s not my way.

R: You don’t seem to be impressed by success?!
H.C.: You don’t have to get dazzled by the hype. What does it mean to be a “Celebrity”?! Am I able to buy luck for it? Never ever… What really matters is family, friendship and someday the big love

Le Côté Obscure d’Anakin

Friday, February 27th, 2009

This month, Lucasfilm Magazine #54, the official magazine of the French Star Wars Fan Club, features in depth coverage of the first Official Star Wars convention that took place in Paris last May: Star Wars Réunion. Read about everything that happened from a special appearance by Producer Rick McCallum to the opening night concert.

This issue also features an interview with the Dark Lord himself — actor Hayden Christensen — who speaks about his journey into darkness, and his donning of the fabled armor that finally and fully transformed him into Darth Vader. Actor Ian McDiarmid is also spotlighted in a feature interview about his role as Palpatine in Episode III. And to round out the issue, actress Natalie Portman talks about her evolving role as Padmé, mother of the galaxy’s new hope for freedom.

Also in this issue, go behind-the-scenes with a look inside The Making of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith with a special interview with author Jonathan Rinzler.

Don’t forget to check out the Best of Hyperspace, Ask the Master Q & A, and all the fan-favorite features. Lucasfilm Magazine #54 starts is now in newsstands

Future’s DVD Review marks Star Wars III launch with split-run cover

Friday, February 27th, 2009

LONDON - Future’s DVD Review is celebrating the DVD launch of the last Star Wars movie, ‘Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith’, with two split-run covers.

To coincide with the special edition split-run covers, the magazine’s first since it launched in 1999, the issue features a behind-the-scenes look at Episode III and interviews with director and writer, George Lucas, and star Hayden Christensen, who plays Anakin Skywalker as he completes his transformation to Darth Vader in the film.

Simon Maxwell, publisher of DVD Review, said: “Introducing these fantastic spilt-run covers will help to ensure that DVD Review remains the UK’s biggest and best-selling DVD magazine. This is just the beginning, as we have some excellent cover promotions lined up for forthcoming issues.”

The November issue also includes exclusive interviews with Neil Marshall, director and writer of ‘Descent’, director James Cameron discusses ‘Titanic: Special Edition’, and the cast of ‘Desperate Housewives’ talk about the show as the first season launches on DVD.

The November issue of DVD Review goes on sale Wednesday October 12, with a coverprice of £3.99.

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN – More than just ANAKIN

Friday, February 27th, 2009

As it got public that George Lucas had elected a young, Canadian actor named Hayden Christensen to the new Darth Vader it didn’t last long until the wildest stories were spread about him: Once there were rumors about an affair between him and co-star Natalie Portman, then he was said to be gay – none of these stories was correct, they just took care that young Hayden understood quickly what it meant to be part of the STAR WARS-universe.
In the year of 2000 the at that time 19-years old Hayden Christensen was not just in this country but also in Hollywood an almost unknown. Of course his degree of popularity was enormous increased through the part of Anakin Skywalker in STAR WARS: EPISODE II – ATTACK OF THE CLONES but many people still weren’t aware of many facts about this pale young man, who grew up under the care of a someone called George Lucas to the dark Darth Vader…

Passion and madness
Hayden Christensen’s birthday is April 19, 1981, his birthplace is Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. However, raised he was in Markham, close to Toronto. There he also attended school, where he soon developed to an enthusiastic tennis- and hockey-player. While the Canadian Opens-Tennis-Tournament he was so overeager as a ball boy at at match of John McEnroe, that he jumped out too early and caused a break of the game with that.
His parents David (a Canadian with Denish and English ancestors) und Alie Christensen (an American with an Italian mother and a Swedish father), who carry on a business called “Christensen Communications”, shall not have been to pleased at first, as one of their four offshoots decided to become an actor, especially the father is said to have been against it.
Choosing this job was actually a coincidence: His older sister Hejsa (Hayden’s older brother’s name is Tove and his younger sister’s Kaylen), former junior-worldmaster on the trampoline, was looking for an agent. As she had to watch out for her younger brother, she took him to a meeting without further ado, and promptly the little one got offered a job: He was asked if he was willing to appear in an advertising spot. It started with a Pringles-clip, soon to be followed by parts in series and other TV-productions.
With 12 he was Skip McDeere in FAMILIY PASSIONS, the first Canadian daily soap (together 130 episodes), a German-Canadian co-production, in which Dietmar Schönherr acts as the head of the family Haller, living in Hamburg, rising with their car company to power and importance and living in a lasting vendetta with a family called Langer/McDeere, located in Woodland/Canada, although the latter one is crucial involved in the success of the Hallers by developing new car models. Afterwards an appearance as paper boy in John Carpenter’s horror movie IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS followed, like a little part in the TV-movie LOVE AND BETRAYAL: THE MIA FARROW STORY, in which Patsy Kensit plays the poor Mia and Dennis Boutsikaris (IN DREAMS) the evil Woody.

Bit parts and short appearances
In JUNGLE LAW he mimes the young John Ryan, who is later played by Jeff Wincott. Ryan is a trained material artist, who gets under suspicion wrongly and has to get through with illegal fights, after losing not just his job but also his flat and with it all the things he owns inclusive his clothing.
The TV-film adaption of a short story of Kurt Vonneguts is HARRISON BERGERON, in which Hayden appears as “Eric”. This future vision is set after the second American revolution. All people are equal. With signals of an electronic streamer women, men and children have the same intelligence and talents, but the abnormal intelligent young Harrison Bergeron (Sean LORD OF THE RINGS Astin) was yet clever enough to escape this leveling. Before his genie shall be reduced to mean, he learns about the organization which takes care to keep the masses stupid – and he decides it’s time for a further revolution.
As brother of a brave young woman (played by Kelly KINDRED: THE EMBRACED Rutherford, with whom little Hayden fell in love with promptly – of course without having his prayers answered by the clearly older colleague) who doesn’t just lose her fiancé but also her parents by the sinking of the Titanic, he was seen in DANIELLE STEELE’S NO GREATER LOVE.
As an also-ran and even written wrong you find his name on the cast listing of STRIKE!, aka ALL I WANNA DO. As Christiansen he’s there led beside Rachael Leigh Cook, Kirsten Dunst and Lynn Redgrave. Hayden just has a little part as “Tinka’s date” as in a comedy about girls who are appalled by the fact that their girl’s school shall also be opened for boys, the ladies come first of course.
After all he had a real role name in the action thriller FREE FALL. He’s to see as Patrick, the teenage son of a security inspector of National Transportation Boards Renee Brennan (Jaclyn Smith), who has to investigate a serial of plane crashes. While his mother in this German-American-Canadian co-production tries to stop Hannes Jaenicke who is responsible for the catastrophes, Hayden squabbles with his future step father Bruce Boxleitner (BABYLON 5).

Hollywood takes notice
About at the time, as Hayden’s career started to gather its way, his older brother Tove was already ending his path in front of the camera. After a small part in Robert Towne’s WITHOUT LIMITS (1998) Tove preferred to try it as a producer. Meanwhile he founded along with Hayden a production company. Also Hejsa, one of the two sisters, gathered experience in acting (amongst others in CLASS OF ‘96), but concentrated on her sport talent and is amongst others a Canadian master in material arts.
With his little part as one of the many admirers (another one is played by Josh Hartnett) of the sisters Lisbon in THE VIRGIN SUICIDES, the direction debut of Sofia Coppola, Hayden was first also noticed in Hollywood. The picturization of Jeffrey Eugenide’s novel (who won the Pulitzer prize for “Middlesex”) about the in a very short time sequently happening suicides of four sisters is also the second movie, Hayden Christensen was standing in front of the camera beside Kirsten Dunst (in the part of Lux Lisbon).
Noticeable increased Hayden’s degree of popularity was with the series HIGHER GROUND. For the very first time Hayden absorbed one of the leading roles. Although the serial, broadcasted on the Fox Family Channel, was knocked off after just one season, especially Hayden Christensen was celebrated mostly as a genuine discovery above all the youngsters being sent to a boot camp for catharsis – and this in a by all means sophisticated part!
In the 22 episodes Hayden plays Scott Barringer who is sent to the Mount Horizon, a school in the wilderness, in order to pick up the pieces of his life. He was hassled by his step mom and has a drug issue like many of the other teenagers in Mount Horizon who also try to deal with their problems.
The leading role in HIGHER GROUND and also his part in the TV-production TRAPPED IN A PURPLE HAZE Hayden got through the attention he had received with THE VIRGIN SUICIDES.
He used his chance, ’cause also in TRAPPED IN A PURPLE HAZE he got positive reactions from critics and audience although he just plays a sidekick to the hero (portrayed by Hayden’s friend Jonathon Jackson).

“Anakin just left the room”
Coevally Robin Gurland, casting director at Lucas Film, was looking for Anakin Skywalker. At this juncture neither trouble nor expense were spared, as at least 400 candidates were taken a look at. Leonardo DiCaprio was just as well considered as any other actor in America, England, Canada or Australia who was expected roughly fitting for the part.
In case of Hayden Christensen it were his managers who tried to get an audition with George Lucas. A meeting for Hayden with Robin Gurland in Los Angeles was arranged. This half-hourly conversation with her was recorded. George Lucas wasn’t even there.
Already as he opened the door and entered the room, Gurland remembers, she had the feeling that it could become interesting this time. And also through the camera lens this young actor, who just had made some experience in mini acts and only one bigger role (namely HIGHER GROUND), looked very good – in the opinion of the expert. Soon Robin Gurland knew that she would invite Hayden to a screen test with Natalie Portman – and this means something, as of all the hundreds of candidates who have been considered, screen tests were just made with four of them. Anyway, somehow it seems to have been set right after this very first meeting with the casting director, as Gurland called the Skywalker Ranch right afterwards and said: “Anakin just the left the room”. About a month later Hayden was told that George Lucas would like to meet him. The young actor had to pay himself for his journey from Canada to San Francisco, and even for the ride to the Skywalker Ranch. His family, who always has supported him in everything he does, became a little skeptic on this matter. Hayden also found it weird but thought that it would be worth it, just to meet George Lucas.
At the meeting itself there were 45 seconds silence: Lucas studied Hayden’s résumé, but kept looking up on Hayden without saying a word. Hayden also didn’t say anything until asked a few questions about his former work, the subject STAR WARS wasn’t even mentioned. As unusual as the “invitation” was the good-bye, because in most cases the applicant gets some hint at the end of such a meeting, if a cooperation can be imagined: casting director Gruland just said “Thanks for coming, the car is awaiting you outside!”
Although he understood this dry parting as a denial, Hayden didn’t take this to heart, ’cause at least he now could boast with his experiences with George Lucas…
It’s funny that Robin Gurland looks back on this matter in a totally different way. She thought she had given clear signals towards Hayden Christensen that he was their favorite as she really was overwhelmed by him.
After the first meeting Christensen was informed that George Lucas liked him but was not convinced yet that Hayden could look grown-up enough to be believable as an about 30-years old Darth Vader in EPISODE III. Although a date had already been set for the screen test with Natalie Portman Hayden still believed it to be a sure thing that Leonardo DiCaprio would get the part.
From his point of view the screen test with Natalie Portman was very “professional”: She said: “Hi, nice to meet you, let’s go to work.” For the rest the young actress was very busy with using her cell phone. But observers of this scene talked about a special energy of these two in front of the camera which was not visible with the other candidates.
Still there were rumors soon after, that Ryan Phillippe, who also had been invited to the test, would have gained the part. But just one day later Hayden was – back in Toronto – awaken by a phone call of his manager who told him that he is the new Anakin!
The casting had taken some months and was for Christensen quite nerve-wracking as he hadn’t really believed in his chance at no time. The morning he got the pleasant and redemptive news, he first enjoyed the morning breeze at his porch on the 22nd floor. Going back into the flat he pulled a fictive light saber in front of his room mate who knew immediately what that meant, hugged him and started to “scream out cusses”. Next thing on the list was playing the STAR WARS-soundtrack very loud and calling Hayden’s mom. The first thing she heard was the famous music, and she started to cry. Hayden heard his family screaming one by one at the house of his parents.

No fear?
Of course you may ask yourself if – as the first euphoria was over – panic hit the young actor? According to Hayden Christensen that was not the case, as he had the calming certainty that the people who had given him the job knew what they were doing: “At the end I wasn’t nervous at all. I had found the character of Anakin, whom I see as someone existing in a very dark place. I was capable of leaving all my insecurities outside and totally get into this powerful position. I think that was my way to deal with the fear implicating a role combined with such high expectations.
First criterion for George Lucas with his search had of course been the talent of the applicants, and second important was that the actor had to fit to the character. The special difficulty Lucas had to consider was the fact that this was one part in two movies, played by the same actor. He needed someone capable of portraying Anakin as a young, happy man as well as being believable later on when Darth Vader is enraged and embittered.
Still it was important that Hayden felt comfortable about the role, because George Lucas is not know as being a director who sits down with his actors for an hour to philosophize about motivation, technique and arty aims. Therefore he simply has too lot on his plate. But, Hayden Christensen knows to tell, the directions he gives are very accurate and helpful – at least Lucas is the one, who “invented all these characters and the whole crazy universe they live in”…

Blue suffers
Not just the quite inexperienced Hayden Christensen had to suffer with the special challenges the shooting of the star saga brought along. There were rumors that the work in front of the blue screens and with actors in furry-suits and latex-masks was also not easy for other participants. Hayden hadn’t noticed the tears Natalie Portman is said to have cried as she felt so lost and confused while these shootings, but he was very aware of the gradual sagging mood of his far more experienced colleague Ewan McGregor.
Christensen stated that it is extremely frustrating for an actor like McGregor that in a movie like STAR WARS the importance is more lying on the special effects than on the actors. You must have great trust interacting with something which is not there yet and you even don’t know exactly what it will look like, as ILM will add it later. “You just have to put your trust that they take care you won’t make yourself ridiculous” – otherwise it won’t work, says Hayden Christensen.
McGregor is known for being one of the few actors in Hollywood who always supports his co-stars very much and doesn’t slug out power struggles on the set. So it also was in the case with Hayden Christensen. The comparative fledgling often asked the older companion for advise, wanted to know how to deal with a scene or a droid best.
“Ewan and the stunt coordinator Nick Gillard were somehow my soul mates on set. We’ve saved each other. We just went out together and had fun. Thereby we’ve played some matches of pool-billiard together.”
The three also stayed buddies after the shooting was over and when Hayden is in London, he stays at Ewan’s, and the three guys still see each other.
Hayden also had good contact to his film partner Natalie Portman, but the rumors of a hot affair weren’t true – although some journalists don’t get tired of asking Hayden about it. He stays calm: “As long as they ask me about things that never happened, it’s okay. I start to worry if they ask me about something which is true.”

Pothead, Jedi-Knight and fraud
As EPISODE II was more or less done, Hayden stood in front of the camera in a completely different role. In the drama LIFE AS A HOUSE, produced and directed by Irwin Winkler (GOODFELLAS, ROCKY), a father, who was recently confronted with the diagnosis of cancer, tries to make his son to someone he believes is a good person. Simultaneous the new neighbors try to change the father into their imagination of a good neighbor. The father sentences his son, who lives at the mother’s, to help him build a house, and bars him from everything the goth-like teenager with make-up likes: especially the drugs. For still getting his dose of weed the 16-years old is even ready to prostitute himself. At the end father and son – also furthered by the morally tightened neighbors – are able to approximate each other again…
LIFE AS A HOUSE hit the theaters – due to the long post-production time of EPISODE II – before the latter one was finished, but of course it got around that the new Anakin has a leading part in that one. Knowingly Hayden had chosen a totally different role as he was very aware what it meant to be a part of the STAR WARS-universe. Actors like Mark Hamill had been so defined to their part, that they never managed to gain ground in Hollywood ever again. You barely recognize Hayden in his make-up and with the piercing in this sometimes bad conservative tear-jerker – especially when comparing him with the young Jedi-Knight!
He has done well not resting on his laurels but to show that he also can and wants to play other roles. Hayden cannot complain about a lack of offers for parts as already before EPISODE III a further drama with him in it hit the theaters: SHATTERED GLASS is the direction debut of author Billy Ray (wrote the script to VOLCANO and had the idea for the series EARTH 2) and shows Hayden as the young Washington star-journalist Stephen Glass, who has made up more than the half of his articles. The film, based on a true story, reaped lots of plaudit with the critics. Peter Skaarsgard won a Golden Globe for the part of the chief editor and Hayden Christensen a Golden Satellite Award (conferred by the International Press Academy). It’s a little gem which you shouldn’t miss – if it hopefully also is launched on DVD in Germany soon (yet it’s just available as UK-import).
Pushed into by his friend Ewan McGregor Hayden Christensen appeared 2002 in Kenneth Lonergan’s stage play THIS IS OUR YOUTH alongside Jake Gyllenhaal and Anna Paquin (X-MEN) as a churl who is just as rich as he is criminal.

The future…
looks rosy for Hayden Christensen – at least concerning his job. Due to the dramas he had made at the same time as STAR WARS and the new challenges he always likes to face, he hasn’t been a victim of the Hamill-syndrome, but also is a sought-after actor even after the end of the star saga. Four new projects are already in progress or at least in a state of preparation.
Already in post production is DECAMERON: ANGELS & VIRGINS, the film adaption of a collection of stories from the fourteenth century penned by Giovanni Boccaccio. The story which forms the framework is based at a country house in the hills of Florence. Seven girls and three young men escaped there because of the pestilence. To kill time every day one of them is made to king or queen of the companionship and has to take care of the complacency and entertainment of the other people. Co-star in this film adaption of literature by David Leland (BAND OF BROTHERS) is O.C.-star Mischa Barton, with whom Hayden already plugged for the new movie – the German opening date is not certain yet.
About the thriller LESS THAN KIND, which is in the state of pre-production, not much more is known yet than being the direction debut of Kristin Hanggi, telling the story of a young drug trafficker, who during his getaway hijacks the car of a middle-aged housewife who also tries to escape from something. What starts as an act of desperation ends up in tragically incidents…
Also set up is AWAKE (book & direction: Newcomer Joby Harold), a thriller with Jessica Alba (SIN CITY, INTO THE BLUE, DARK ANGEL) and Sigourney Weaver in which Hayden Christensen plays a man waking up during a surgery at the open heart, getting everything going on around him but isn’t in the position to attract attention to that fact…
Announced for 2006 is the comedy OTHER SIDE OF SIMPLE (directed by Joseph THE FORGOTTEN Ruben) in which Hayden will co-star with Don Cheadle and Vince Vaughn.
But there’s much more to it than that, what Hayden has resolved for his future. Together with his brother Tove, who already has functioned as producer of SHATTERED GLASS he has concluded a deal with New Line in which scope the two want to achieve the realization of a few projects. They already have a short list of films they want to bring on screen together. One of them shall be based on a script, Hayden has written with 16 adapted on a favorite book of him. This matter he would also like to produce and put on himself – and of course adopt the leading part…

Instyle-June 2005- Man of Style

Friday, February 27th, 2009

For someone who has traveled the galaxy as Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars, Hayden Christensen is a low-tech guy. “I just got e-mail two weeks ago,” he says. “And I like film over digital. I’m an old-fashioned purist.” Alas, he doesn’t even wear a watch, which may explain why the 24-year-old Canadian is behind schedule when he shows up to discuss the third film and final installment in George Lucas’s epic series. Though he has branched out in contemporary dramas such as Shattered Glass and Life as a House, Christensen says he will miss his intergalactic journeys. Nowadays he splits his time between Toronto, London and L.A., and so far he shows no sign of a dark side.

So how does it feel to see this Star Wars trilogy end? Bittersweet - more bitter than sweet. But my world is much bigger now. When I got the part I had never been outside of North America; now I’ve traveled and lived in different places.

Bet you won’t miss the Jedi costumes - what were they like? Heavy. They look good but aren’t practical. I had to fight with a cloak on, and it just got in the way.
In this episode Anakin finally becomes Darth Vader. Was that costume better? David Prowse, who first played Vader, was taller, so I had lifts in my shoes. It felt like walking around in stilettos with 30 pounds of costume weighing you down.

Where is home for you these days? Toronto. I don’t spend as much time there as I’d like, but it’s where the heart is, where I grew up, and where my friends are. Otherwise I love the sense of history in London. And the weather in L.A.

What were you like as a kid? I loved Curious George books - that sense that you can learn from mischief. I wasn’t a troublemaker, but I was always quick to do things that maybe I shouldn’t have, like icing over the greens on the golf course behind my parent’ house. I just wanted to play hockey there - that’s all it was.
Any embarrassing childhood photos your mom might have? When MC Hammer was big I sported fluorescent orange parachute pants and had long hair that I managed to put in a mohawk with an enormous amount of gel.

Any other sartorial phases? My grandma usd to buy me a pair of corduroy pants every Christmas - all different colors and styles. She is probably responsible for half of my wardrobe. She lives in New York, and I used to visit her sometimes. She’s a cool Italian lady who loves to shop.

So what’s your style like now? Subtle and natural. I wear the same pair of jeans because they look better with more wear and less wash. I’m also big on hoodies - and that preceded my Jedi involvement.
What’s sexy on a woman? Simple is best. I like a girl who doesn’t put style before comfort. I like the natural, unmade-up look - a girl who is comfortable not only in her own clothes but in her own skin.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever given? A Land Rover for my mom. They wrapped it with a big bow and parked it in the driveway. She squealed at the top of her lungs - she was very happy.

If you weren’t an actor, what would you want to be? Captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Actually, I quit hockey for tennis. I was good enough at tennis that I could have won a scholarship, but there are very few Canadians who can go pro, because it’s just not in our blood.

What’s next on your to-do list? Getting my pilot’s license. I grew up on planes. My father has a license, and I have memories of being in the cockpit at age 5. Flying in a Cessna is very serene - like you’re in the heavens.
So you travel a lot? Yes, but I really hate airports - I don’t like large groups of people. I know it’s a complete contradiction, just like the fact I’m a shy person, yet I act in films. That seems to be the story of my life!

GQ-May 2005-The Empires New Clothes

Friday, February 27th, 2009

After five years as a dutiful ‘Star Wars’ soldier, Hayden Christensen grabs Darth Vader’s black mask and finally storms the Republic. But will this stoic Toronto be able to recover from life in deep space? RJ Smith finds out while Christensen hits the motocross trail and channels the rugged elegance of Steve McQueen.

George Lucas, the bearded visionary who invented the saga of the Skywalker family, once called Hayden Christensen the best young actor he’s directed since Harrison Forn played Han Solo in the original Star Wars, in 1977. This is a wonderful compliment for any actor to receive from a legendary filmmaker, unless of course, the legendary filmmaker is George Lucas. In the end, the Star Wars series will consist of six global blockbusters, a combined gross of more than $3 billion, and countless product tie-ins-but it has not spawned many distinguished careers. Between the creaky mythology, the talent-dwarfing special effects, and Lucas’s famously wooden scripts, it’s hard for an actor -any actor- to do much more than grab hold of the Force and hang for dear life. In The Whole Equation, his highly touted history of Hollywood, film critic David Thomson puts it thusly: “I have nothing to say about Star Wars.” Nada: a nothing as large as any Death Star. What Mr.Cranky-pants dislikes about the franchise is its bigness, the scale and hype that makes everything else movies are supposed to be about - Storytelling, character, and artful acting - seem irrelevant. Thomson see it as a black hole sucking the art of movies into its core and then spitting it out in some other dimension, compressed into a Darth Vader action figure.

This spring Lucas’s colossal franchise rests heavily on the capable Canadian shoulders of the 24-year-old Christensen, whose Anakin Skywalker is at the cold heart of the sixth and final film in the series, Star Wars: Episode lll - Revenge of the Sith. And while there’s no denying that Star Wars has made Christensen a hugely visible presence - catapulting him from after-school television to a worldwide audience - its bigness has also kept us from knowing exactly how good an actor he really is. George Lucas’s Movies are lengthy, grueling commitments that keep an actor from engaging in much else until they are completed; and Christensen has devoted the better part of the past five years to Star Wars’ final chapters - Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

The current installment is the most turbulent Star Wars yet; in fact, it will likely receive a PG-13 rating. The movie shows young Anakin Skywalker allying himself with the Sith, an evil order of red-faced miscreants, as he crosses over to the dark side. It is a chronicle of Anakin’s twisted manhood, which he begins as a force for good until - cue the fanfare - he slips on that shiny black helmet and becomes the world’s most enduring villain. As such, this might just be the Star Wars for grown-ups and anybody who has never bought a Wookie Cookie.

Christensen says he loves the stories, though the double-gauge biblical symbolism and myth referencing of the films distinctly underwhelm its lead actor. “Oh yeah, that’s what he talks about, the whole mythology about it. It’s really interesting,” he offers politely. “Really obvious, but interesting.”

It takes some prodding, but Christensen admits: “I’m ready for the next leap in my life. You have to understand, when you put that helmet on, it’s very hot and claustrophobic. Throughout the entire time I’ve been filming, the only thing I have going through my head is Darth Vader’s evil-empire theme.” He hums the ominous tune and smiles a bit sheepishly.

For Christensen, the best antidote for claustrophobia is fleeing town with his brother and some friends to the dirth-bike trails a couple of hours east of L.A. His crew has started a birthday tradition that begins with kidnapping: They’ll seize the birthday boy, throw him in a car, and cruise out of town for a weekend, heading down to Baja, for example, to rent some bikes and rip across the entire peninsula, through desert places where there’s nothing but scorpions, scrub, and the odd little taco stand. Christensen has little tolerance for actorly introspection. He is a man of action, a spirited rider, and a fearless snowboarder whose talents and personality emerge when he’s winding up for a slap shot, pounding a crosscourt backhand, or whipping a lightsaber through the thin atmosphere in a galaxy far, far away.

It’s Sunday in the San Fernando Valley, and Hayden Christensen sips a bottomless cup of coffee at a nonironic greasy-spoon diner. The Naugahyde booths are filled with porn-industry workers and Latino families dressed for church. Christensen is wearing a worn-down Toronto Maple Leafs hat and looks proudly Canadian, right down to his unlaced leather boots. More than win Oscars or rule the world, what he would really like to do is be the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs. In high school, he was good at putting the puck in the net, and he was also a top junior tennis player; his Star Wars costar Ewan McGregor was duly impressed with the natural athleticism Christensen brought to the on-set swordsmanship. “He’s quite extraordinary with his moves and spins. And he puts 110 percent into it. I think he was a baton girl in a past life.”

Christensen describes his family as intensely competitive. His brother holds Canadian long-distance-running records, and his sister was a junior world trampoline champion before she took up aerial skiing. As a teenager, Christensen had a brush with the greatest competitor of them all, John McEnroe. The actor was serving as a ball boy at one of his matches during a tournament in Toronto. When McEnroe hit the ball into the net, Christensen overzealously charged to retrieve it while McNasty vented his frustration by smashing the ball. His narrow miss of the kid’s dome aired on Canadian television that night, marking Christensen’s accidental small-screen debut.

The third of four children, Christensen got into acting by way of familial competitiveness. His elder sister had scored a spot in a Pringles commercial. The 7-year-old Christensen tagged along as she interviewed talent agents, and he ended up being scouted himself. He calls acting “this so-called craft where you pretend to be other people. And when you are 15 or 16 years old and trying to figure out who you are, well, it was something that really caught me interest.”

In 2000, Christensen assumed the role of a troubled teenager who is molested by his stepmother in the Fox Family Channel series Higher Ground, which lasted just long enough to put him on Lucas’s radar. He flew out to L.A. to audition and bested a field of 400 or so others that is said to have included Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Phillippe for the part of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode ll - Attack of the Clones. But the actor’s first big part came playing a death-tripping Goth kid in the 2001 tearjerker Life as a House. Though the movie’s script is pure Mrs. Butterworth’s, and though he is made to say stuff like “What’s in my pants is none of your fucking business!” and act out autoerotic asphyxiation, such is his skill that Christensen becomes a surprisingly appealing character. He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his performance.

Then, rather than lounge around poolside waiting for his agent to deliver the right role, he went out and created his own, becoming a driving force behind Shattered Glass, a biopic about disgraced New Republic reporter Stephen Glass. It was a gutsy move, going from the mall-packing movie even that was Attack of the Clones to the title role in a small-budget indie; from the broad, CGI-assisted strokes of Anakin Skywalker to the creepy depths of Glass, whose professional abuses Christensen smartly undercut by playing him as a fumbling, all-too-likable manipulator. The role convinced Christensen that there was life beyond the Skywalker Ranch - even if it fell to him to go find it.

But nothing comes easy. Once the Star Wars saga is complete, Christensen’s real challenge begins: trying to escape the Mark Hamill syndrome - that is, attempting to leave Star Wars’ gravitational pull and build a conventional movie career. “I haven’t been dealing with that dilemma thus far,” he says. “I’m not really concerned about it, either, though maybe I should be, given how many times I’m asked about it.”

He shouldn’t be overly worried. Soon he’ll be working on The Decameron with The OC’s Mischa Barton and starring in Barry Levinson’s Sixty-six, which will close out the director’s Baltimore cycle. He also has assembled a crew of people he trusts to run his production company, Forest Park Pictures, not simply the vanity confection many young stars attach their names to but an actual creative enterprise that’s currently developing an actual TV series he can’t actually talk about. “There’s a bittersweet sense of relief,” Christensen says of finally putting the monumental mixed blessing of Star Wars behind him. “But very much one of relief. Star Wats has been a huge commitment for me. It will definitely free up a lot of time.”

(Hayden & photographer, Mario Testino)
Returning to shoot for GQ after more than a decade, acclaimed photographer Mario Testino left London for Los Angeles to spend two days taking pictures of cover subject Hayden Christensen, the star of this month’s Star Wars: Episode lll - Revenge of the Sith. When asked which qualities make for an Excellent subject, Testino replied, “Looks, self-confidence, patience, and sociability.” And what about Christensen, whom the Peruvian Testino shot on location in Malibu? “He’s got more than those four.”

Hayden Christensen talks Star Wars

Friday, February 27th, 2009

“Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” will be released on DVD November 1st and last week our colleagues from Coming Soon had the chance to attend a press meeting at the “DVD Junket” and witness a discussion with Hayden Christensen, who portrays Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars Episodes 2 and 3.

Read on for a clip from the interview:

Q: How difficult was it to hold back everything that you knew was going to happen in Episode III while you were filming Episode II.

Christensen: It was challenging-honestly, it was, because you are cast as this character that is the connective tissue to someone that represents all that is evil. So, your natural instinct is to try to take him there. George [Lucas] was constantly asking me to pull back from that and to make him someone who is struggling and someone who allows his frustrations to present themselves in ways that aren’t necessarily perceived as evil, but maybe in other ways. And to keep it at that and to not really show any sort of a character arc in Episode II. The character was more about who he was at that time of his life and Episode III was about changing him and making him evolve to Darth [Vader]-which was why I was very excited to get to Episode III to finally get to do that, which was something that I had sort of built up in my head for so long.

Q: Having built it up in your head for so long, how did it feel when you did get to those last scenes? How did you approach doing that?

Christensen: With great joy and glee. It came very easily because I just thought about it so much already. It was just an eventuality for me, you know? It was orgasmic (laughing). I don’t know. It was amazing. I was waiting and waiting and waiting and finally I got to take him to the dark side.

Q: How did you convince George Lucas to act inside the Darth Vader suit?

Christensen: I just very politely asked if it was possible. And George and Rick - and the kind of people that they are - allowed me that privilege. I just said, “Listen, I’ve read the script. Now I know he’s going to make an appearance at the end.” And I think they were already in the process of meeting with basketball players and really tall people to do that job. And I just said, “I don’t know if you guys can even make this happen but it would be really great for me if I could actually put the suit on.”

Hayden Christensen on Star Wars

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Hayden Christensen, who played Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in the last two “Star Wars” prequels, talked to the press at the Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith DVD junket last week. ComingSoon.net was present at the discussion:

Q: When you have kids and it’s time to show them Star Wars, will you start them with Episode I or Episode IV?

Hayden Christensen: Episode I, as the storyteller had intended it. But yeah, that will be the day! I’ll have to preface it with the fact that it’s just a movie and wait to see their reaction-I’m looking forward to it.

Q: How did you dig deep to find your dark side for the role?

Christensen: As an actor, I usually try to keep my motivation within the context of what my character is going through. So, I don’t think of my dog that died when I was 8 years old and how that made me feel. I try to stay within the psychology of Anakin. So it was really just really letting his frustrations seep in and how that would affect me.

Q: How difficult was it to hold back everything that you knew was going to happen in Episode III while you were filming Episode II.

Christensen: It was challenging-honestly, it was, because you are cast as this character that is the connective tissue to someone that represents all that is evil. So, your natural instinct is to try to take him there. George [Lucas] was constantly asking me to pull back from that and to make him someone who is struggling and someone who allows his frustrations to present themselves in ways that aren’t necessarily perceived as evil, but maybe in other ways. And to keep it at that and to not really show any sort of a character arc in Episode II. The character was more about who he was at that time of his life and Episode III was about changing him and making him evolve to Darth [Vader]-which was why I was very excited to get to Episode III to finally get to do that, which was something that I had sort of built up in my head for so long.

Q: Having built it up in your head for so long, how did it feel when you did get to those last scenes? How did you approach doing that?

Christensen: With great joy and glee. It came very easily because I just thought about it so much already. It was just an eventuality for me, you know? It was orgasmic (laughing). I don’t know. It was amazing. I was waiting and waiting and waiting and finally I got to take him to the dark side.

Q: How did you convince George Lucas to act inside the Darth Vader suit?

Christensen: I just very politely asked if it was possible. And George and Rick - and the kind of people that they are - allowed me that privilege. I just said, “Listen, I’ve read the script. Now I know he’s going to make an appearance at the end.” And I think they were already in the process of meeting with basketball players and really tall people to do that job. And I just said, “I don’t know if you guys can even make this happen but it would be really great for me if I could actually put the suit on.”

Q: How did it feel to put the suit on and walk onto the set?

Christensen: It was indescribable, you know? It was one, the completion of a job. It meant that my sort of five year journey was over coupled with the fact that it was just this incredibly powerful feeling, this beastly feeling that wells up inside of you when you’re playing a character that is Darth. You walk by and people see Darth and you know you watch the reactions on their faces. The days that Darth came out was quite the event on set. Everyone wanted to see what was going on. It was a one of a kind experience.

Q: Was [the suit] heavy?

Christensen: Very heavy. The logistics of actually being in the costume weren’t that great-it was very hot. They tried to make air-condition apparatus that didn’t work. It was very claustrophobic and your vision is very limited. As well, they had to compensate for the height difference, so they had to put these big lifts in the shoes, so it was like walking around with 20-pound weights on your shoulders in high-heel shoes-not that I practiced that way! (laughs) It was something like that.

Q: What did you learn from acting with older actors, such as Christopher Lee?

Christensen: I think I’ve learned the most, from all the actors I’ve worked with, from Ian [McDiarmid]. Not because he’s here, but because it was just an eye-opening experience getting to sit in that opera scene with him and listen to them tell that story and watch the subtlety, and still everything that he’s able to convey within that subtlety. I’d just sit there and shake my head and be like, “Oh, I’m not supposed to be shaking my head. Whoops!” And, he’s such a kind man and is willing to share his wisdom and help you when you ask for it. So, Ian, I’ve learned an awful lot from him.

Q: How do kids react when they see you in person? And are you ready to see a lot of Darth Vaders at Halloween?

Christensen: Now I’ve got two characters that people can dress up as. I don’t know. I was expecting a different reaction, to be honest. Kids still are enamored with this hero and I would have thought it would have changed how they saw Anakin and maybe they would have been a little shy at first. But it really hasn’t changed anything. If anything, they’re just more drawn to him. I still get little kids coming up to me wanting lightsaber training and I play along with it. I love it. But, no, Halloween…I stay at home at Halloween now. But when my mom tells me that there’s someone dressed up as Anakin, I’ll go to the door and give them their candy, which is fun.”

Q: What was more intense: the physicality of the film or the one-on-one scenes with Ian?

Christensen: It was the physical preparation which was probably the most challenging. George asked me beforehand to put on some size - which I’ve since lost. But he wanted me to bulk up and try to physically show the maturity that had taken place between the two films. And I did that in about a 3 month period before we started filming. That was just a very grueling schedule. And actually getting to execute it on set was just good fun. And working with Ian wasn’t really so much challenging as it was rewarding and easy, because it’s very easy when you’re acting with actors who give a lot and are as good as he is.

Q: Throughout the years, where will Star Wars fit in your heart?

Christensen: It will always be dear to my heart, without question. This has been a wild ride for the past 5 years. It has just dramatically impacted my life-90% for the better. I cherish that and feel forever indebted to George for giving me the opportunity.

Q: How good of a gamer are you?

Christensen: Better than you! (laughs) I’m OK. I used to be good. I used to play a lot of video games growing up and still play, not as much. I count myself as a bit of a gamer.

Q: You probably had Luke Skywalker action figures when you were little. What was your initial reaction when you were a part of all of this?

Christensen: It was exactly that. The fact that I was going to have my own action figure. I was going to get to play myself in a video game and how cool was that? I mean, I didn’t personally have them. But I have an older brother who was a fanatic and had all the action figures and memorabilia and so I was very aware of the merchandising aspect of being involved in these films, and at the time was very excited by it. Now you know you walk into a convenience store and see your face everywhere when the film is out - it’s a different story.

Q: You were very involved in the creation of the Revenge of the Sith video game. How did the choreography of that compare to the onset of shooting the movie. Was it more relaxed or more difficult?

Christensen: It was just good fun. They invited me up for a couple of days to help sort of shape the character in the video game. It was a fun group of guys all very excited that they make video games. And Nick Gillard, the fellow who choreographs the fights, came out as well. We just, you know, fought with lightsabers for a couple of days and it was fun.

Q: What kind of role are you going to take on in the future?

Christensen: Ones that I haven’t done before. Ones that are going to challenge me and hopefully make me grow more as an actor and all that good stuff. I don’t know. I just finished a film called ‘The Decameron’ which was very much a departure from what I’ve done in the past. It was more of a comedic thing. I’m about to start work on a film which is a psychological drama/thriller and it will be challenging as well. Just, to be honest, honestly it’s less about the character and more about the story. If I’m drawn to the story, then I’ll find a way to play the character.

Q: Did you get to meet Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher at the Vanity Fair photoshoot?

Christensen: I didn’t. That’s the magic of the computers they use. It was an hour shoot on our day off and everyone who was working on Episode III was obviously there, but Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford and that lot were not there. And through the magic of technology they were in the picture.

Q: When you watch the DVD, is there a scene that you want to watch first? Do you keep props from the movie? Where do you keep them?

Christensen: I keep them in my closet just because it would be a little weird if they were out on display, like on a mantel or something.

Q: Which deleted scene from Star Wars: Episode III will you check out first?

Christensen: I don’t know. I mean there are lots of scenes that are cut. George films a lot and then through post-production, pares it down, truncates the story and gives it more focus. But I think for me…we spent a couple of days in a big vat of water. They made this big water tank for this sort of water sequence, or sequence in which we were supposed to be in fuel, and that, on the page and as we were doing it, seemed like it was really cool. So that’s something I’m looking forward to seeing first because it’s not in the movie.

Q: What is your opinion about Anakin and Padmé’s relationship and love that Anakin has for her?

Christensen: I really like it in that it’s what drives him to commit these sort of horrible acts. He’s doing it, he thinks, for the good of his love. Obviously she doesn’t see it that way so the relationship goes south. But no, I mean that’s what sort of makes it all hit home, I think for me and most audiences. That transformation is something that is driven by love, which is something that I like.

Q: Do you feel that Anakin was wearing a metaphysical mask before he became Darth Vader?

Christensen: As Frank [Oz] would put it, No. That was just who Anakin was. He’s sort of this un-emotive kid who has a hard time with his emotions. There’s a lot, obviously, boiling under the surface and stuff that shouldn’t be there, so he’s very hesitant to show it. And that’s sort of how I saw him.

Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith hits DVD on November 1st. You can read ComingSoon.net’s review of the DVD here.