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Hayden Christensen (born April 19, 1981) is a Canadianmarker actor. He appeared in Canadian television programs when he was young, then diversified into American television in the late 1990s. He moved on to minor acting roles before being praised for his role of Sam in Life as a House, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. He gained international fame portraying the young adult Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) in the second and third films of the Star Wars prequel trilogy and David Rice in Jumper.

Early life

Christensen was born in Vancouvermarker, British Columbiamarker, Canadamarker, the son of Alie, a speechwriter for the heads of large companies, and David Christensen, a computer programmer and communications executive. His father is of Danish descent and his mother has Swedish and Italian ancestry. Christensen has an elder brother and sister, Tove and Hejsa, and a younger sister, Kaylen. Raised outside Torontomarker in Thornhill, Ontariomarker, Christensen attended E.J. Sand Public School, Baythorn Public School andUnionville High Schoolmarker in Unionville, Ontariomarker, Canada. He was an athlete in high school, playing hockey competitively and tennis on a provincial level. He spent summers in Long Islandmarker with his maternal grandmother, Rose Schwartz, and attended the Actors Studiomarker in New Yorkmarker as well as the Arts York program for drama at his high school. He was "discovered" when his older sister Hejsa, a former trampoline champion, was shopping around for an agent after he landed a role in a Pringles potato chips commercial.

1993–2000

Christensen's first acting role was on the television series Family Passions, which aired on Canadian television in September 1993, when he was 12. The following year he acquired a minor role in John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness. From 1995 through 1999, he appeared in several movies and television shows, including Harrison Bergeron, Forever Knight, Goosebumps, The Virgin Suicides, and Are You Afraid of the Dark?.

He acquired wider notice while starring in Fox's Family Network television series Higher Ground in 2000, portraying a teen who was sexually molested by his stepmother, and then turned to drugs in his despair.

2001–2005

While Christensen's critically acclaimed portrayal of a misunderstood teenager in Life as a House (2001) earned him Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations as well as the National Board of Review's award for Breakthrough Performance of the Year, the performance didn't receive widespread public notice. For his part in the movie, Christensen lost 25 pounds through a special diet. He eventually gained the weight back during the filming for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

His role as Anakin Skywalker (who was previously played by David Prowse, James Earl Jones (voice), Sebastian Shaw and Jake Lloyd) in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) made him a star. Although his performance was met with mixed reviews by critics (earning him the Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor in both Episodes II and III) he became very popular among audiences, being named in both People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People and Teen People's 25 Hottest Stars under 25. He went on to receive good reviews for 2003's Shattered Glass, which tells the true story of journalist Stephen Glass, who was discovered fabricating stories as a writer for The New Republic. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone writes "Hayden Christensen is sensational as Glass, finding the wonder boy and the weasel in a disturbed kid flying high on a fame he hasn't earned."

Stock footage of Christensen was used in the controversial 2004 DVD release of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, where he was inserted in place of the actor Sebastian Shaw. This was an unpopular change for many. Christensen insists this was done without his knowledge, an act that is confirmed by Lucasfilm itself in the featurette "Return of the Jedi: What has changed?" as seen on the official website to commemorate the 2006 DVDs.

In 2004, Christensen appeared as a model in Louis Vuitton's advertising.

2006–present

Between 2006 and 2007, he starred in Awake, with Jessica Alba, which tells the story of a man who remains awake but paralyzed during heart surgery, and in Factory Girl, opposite Sienna Miller and Guy Pearce. Christensen next starred with Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Bell and Rachel Bilson in the film Jumper, the story of a young man who discovers he has the ability to teleport; the film was released on February 14, 2008. Bilson and Christensen co-starred again in the same segment of the film New York, I Love You. Christensen also appeared opposite Mischa Barton in Virgin Territory, which was released directly-to-DVD in North America in August 2008. The film, based on The Decameron, is about a group of people who escape the Black Plague epidemic by hiding out in a Tuscan Villa in Italy.

Christensen was slated to appear in an adaptation of William Gibson's seminal cyberpunk novel, Neuromancer, set for a 2009 release, but has since been removed from the IMDB cast list. In September 2008 it was announced that Christensen and Paul Walker signed onto the crime drama Takers set for a 2010 release. He will play a young detective alongside Matt Dillon. Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey will be the fourth film in which Christensen will co-star again with Samuel L. Jackson. In October 2009 he started shooting the horror film Vanishing on Seventh Street, directed by Brad Anderson, alongside Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo.

Christensen performed a public service announcement for Do Something's Teens for Jeans Campaign in 2008. He was also recently named as the face of Lacoste's newest fragrance, Lacoste Challenge.

Personal life

Christensen currently resides in Uxbridgemarker, north of Torontomarker, Canadamarker. Christensen and actress Rachel Bilson became engaged in December 2008, over the holidays.

Filmography

Film
Year Film Role Notes
1995 In the Mouth of Madness Paper Boy
Street Law Young John Ryan Limited release
1998 The Hairy Bird Tinka's Date
1999 The Virgin Suicides Jake Hill Conley
Free Fall Patrick Brennan Limited release
2001 Life as a House Sam Monroe Young Hollywood Award One to Watch - Male

National Board of Review - Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actor

Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture

Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture

Nominated - Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
2002 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Anakin Skywalker Cannes Film Festival - Male Revelationmarker

Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor

Nominated - Saturn Award for Best Performance by a Younger Actor

Nominated - Saturn Award - Cinescape Genre Face of the Future Award

Nominated - Chicago Film Critics Association Awards - Most Promising Performer

Nominated - Teen Choice Awards - Choice Movie Actor: Action/Adventure

Nominated - Teen Choice Awards - Choice Chemistry (Shared with:Natalie Portman)
2003 Shattered Glass Stephen Glass Las Palmas Film Festival - Best Actor (Shared with:Peter Sarsgaard)

Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
2004 Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (2004 re-release) Anakin Skywalker Replaced original actor (stock footage of head only)
2005 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Anakin Skywalker/ Darth Vader ShoWest - Male Star of Tomorrow

MTV Movie Award for Best Villain

Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor

Nominated - Saturn Award - Best Actor

Nominated - MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (Shared with:Ewan McGregor)

Nominated - Teen Choice Awards - Choice Movie Actor: Action/Adventure

Nominated - Teen Choice Awards - Choice Movie Bad Guy
2006 Factory Girl Billy Quinn Also credited as Musician
2007 Awake Clay Beresford Jr.
Virgin Territory Lorenzo de Lamberti Limited release
2008 Jumper David Rice Nominated - MTV Movie Award for Best Fight (Shared with:Jamie Bell)
2009 New York, I Love You Ben
2010 Takers Jake Welles (post-production)
Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey Jammer (voice) (post-production)
Vanishing on Seventh Street Luke (filming)
Television
Year Show Role Notes
1993 Family Passions Skip McDeere Soap opera
1995 Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story Fletcher Television film
Harrison Bergeron Eric Television film
1996 No Greater Love Teddy Winfield Television film
Forever Knight Andre Episode: Fallen Idol
1997 Goosebumps Zane Two episodes
1999 Real Kids, Real Adventures Eli Goodner Episode: Paralyzed: The Eli Goodner Story
Are You Afraid of the Dark? Kirk Episode: The Tale of Bigfoot Ridge
The Famous Jett Jackson Steven Episode: Popularity
2000 Trapped in a Purple Haze Orin Krieg Television film
Higher Ground Scott Barringer Television drama


References

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/03/10/magazine/space-boy.html?pagewanted=2
  2. Johnson, Derek. "Star Wars fans, DVD, and cultural ownership: an interview with Will Brooker; Interview," Velvet Light Trap, 22 September 2005, pg. 36–44.
  3. Ebert, Roger. "Anakin's fans strike back," Chicago Sun-Times, 1 May 2005, Sunday Showcase (section), pg. 3.
  4. Neuromancer at the Internet Movie Database
  5. Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey at the Internet Movie Database


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