"I wish they taught green screen acting classes." Hayden Christensen
Canadian actor Hayden Christensen became widely recognized for his portrayal of lead character Anakin Skywalker in George Lucas' sci-fi hit movie Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002) and its sequel Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005). The young actor first received praise while playing a troubled teen in Life As a House (2001), and was also noticed in Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides (1999), the Fox series Higher Ground (2000), Trapped in a Purple Haze (2000, TV) and Shattered Glass (2003). He is currently filming the upcoming movie Decameron: Angels & Virgins, along with Mischa Barton and Tim Roth.
Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, Hayden Christensen was named as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People by People Magazine in 2002. The 6' 1" tall mix of Swedish and Italian ancestry was also listed as one of Teen People Magazine's 25 Hottest Stars Under 25 in that same year.
Childhood and Family:
"All I want is all what my mother wanted for me when she raised me - to be happy. For that, I don't need to be in a relationship. I don't need to have a certain level of respect. I just want to care very much about what I do and be kind to everyone in the process. It's important that I can feel that. That's happiness." Hayden Christensen
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on April 19, 1981, Hayden Christensen later spent his childhood in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His parents, David and Alie Christensen, worked in the family Christensen Communications business. The third child of the family, Hayden has three siblings, sisters Kaylen Christensen (born in 1984) and Hesja Christensen (Junior World Trampoline Champion; older), and brother Tove Christensen (actor; older).
"I have two sisters and a mother, obviously, so I grew up with a household of girls. Maybe I have a greater respect for women because of it." Hayden Christensen
Hayden attended Unionville High School in Toronto, Ontario, where he played competitive hockey and tennis, as well as was a "ball boy" for the Canadian Open tennis matches. He graduated from Baythorn Public School in 1995. Now a rising movie actor, Hayden, who lives in both Toronto and Los Angeles, loves to spend his off time with his family, hanging out with friends, listening to blues and jazz, and playing the piano.
Life As a House
Hayden Christensen entered the film scene in an uncommon way. He followed sister Hejsa (appeared in a Pringles commercial) while she was searching for an agent because there was no one at home to baby-sit him. His sister then met a promising agent that encouraged little Christensen to get an agent also. Soon, seven-year-old Christensen was seen in commercials, theater and television. He once recalled, "When she went to meet a talent agent, there was no one to baby-sit me so I went along for the ride."
The small part of Skip McDeere in the daily Canadian soap opera Family Passions (1993) was Christensen's first role. He debuted on the big screen with a cameo role as a paperboy in John Carpenter's mystery thriller In the Mouth of Madness (1994) and appeared in his first TV movie Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story (1995). He also played Young John Ryan in the low-budget martial arts feature Street Law (1995, a.k.a. Law of the Jungle) and played roles in Showtime's sci-fi satire, taken from Kurt Vonnegut's story, Harrison Bergeron (1995) and the NBC romantic movie, Danielle Steel's No Greater Love (1996).
Christensen was subsequently asked to guest star on several TV shows. He was spotted in the USA Network vampire-turned-cop series Forever Knight (1996) and costarred as Zane, a teen haunted by creepy puppets, in two episodes of the Fox primetime thriller special Goosebumps: Night of the Living Dummy III (1997). He also appeared as a guest in the kids' series, Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark and The Disney Channel's The Famous Jett Jackson in 1999.
Meanwhile, Christensen also played roles in the 1998 teen flick Strike (starring Kirsten Dunst and Rachael Leigh Cook) and the 1999 plane crash-themed thriller Free Fall. He also played character Jake Hill Conley, a boy that accompanies the Lisbon sisters, in Sofia Coppola's acclaimed directional debut The Virgin Suicides.
Starring as Scott Barringer, a sexually molested and drug addicted teen, in the Fox Family Channel's drama series Higher Ground (2000) earned Christensen a lot of exposure. He then co-starred with Jonathan Jackson in the ABC heroin addiction-themed movie Trapped in a Purple Haze (2000), playing the supporting role of Orin Krieg.
"All my characters have characteristics I don't know anything about and that's the joy. Being able to justify their actions, and find sympathy in their wrongs, and understand their accomplishments. After Life as a House, I took a while off and tried to remember who I was at the beginning of the film. You obsess, and it's exhausting, to lose your sense of self." Hayden Christensen
In 2001, Christensen became Kevin Kline's troubled young son Sam Monroe in Irwin Winkler's family melodrama movie Life as a House. His performance received rave reviews and nabbed him both Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for Best Supporting Actor. He also won the National Film Board of Reviews for Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actor.
"It was absolutely overwhelming, just from the aspect of getting to act behind a mask. That is a very freeing position to act from, and to have that mask be the mask of Darth Vader is extremely empowering... I almost got this sort of beastly sense when I was in it. What was really cool was watching everyone else sort of look at me, people I knew and was friends with, you know. Their eyes would light up with sort of a glimmer of fear, or there was a respect that needed to be paid. They had to step back and sort of lower their heads. It was a day I'll never forget." Hayden Christensen
Anakin Skywalker (later become the villain Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of Sith and apprentice to the evil Emperor Palpatine), the coveted role Christensen played in George Lucas' smash hit epic Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002), hurled Christensen toward stardom. The new Hollywood celebrity followed it up with the starring role of journalist Stephen Glass, a hasty young plagiarist in the low-budget biopic Shattered Glass (2003), which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. He also debuted on the London stage, acting in a production of "This Is Our Youth" and established a production company, Forest Park Productions, with his older brother Tove.
Christensen recently reprised his role of Anakin Skywalker in the 2005 installment of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (with Natalie Portman), which hit theaters in May of 2005. He is also busy filming his upcoming film project, director David Leland's comic adventure Decameron: Angels & Virgins, with Mischa Barton and Tim Roth. The film is about the black plague and based on the tales of Boccaccio. Additionally, Christensen modeled for the Louis Vuitton Fall 2004/Winter 2005 campaign and is reportedly signed to star in Uli Edel's adaptation of Noah Gordon's European bestseller, The Physician.
"Actors are observers. They're trying to have an understanding of human sensibility. And how do you have that accurate observation if you regard yourself as someone of great importance? When you're the one constantly being observed, because they view you as a celebrity? It's all wrong." Hayden Christensen