Hayden Christensen

Hayden Christensen (born April 19, 1981) is a Golden Globe Award-nominated Canadian 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. He gained international fame playing the young adult Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) in the Star Wars films.


Early life

Christensen was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the son of Alie, a speechwriter for the heads of large companies, and David Christensen, a software program writer and communications executive. His father is of Danish descent and his mother has Italian and Swedish ancestry. Christensen has an elder brother and sister, Tove and Hesja, and a younger sister, Kaylen. Raised outside Toronto in Thornhill, Ontario, Christensen attended E.J sand Public School, Baythorn Public School and Unionville High School in Unionville, Ontario, Canada. He was an athlete in high school, playing hockey at a competitive level and tennis on a provincial level. He spent summers in Long Island with his maternal grandmother, Rose Schwartz, and attended the Actors Studio in New York 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 she landed a role in a Pringles potato chips commercial.


Christensen's first acting role was on the television series Family Passions, which aired on Canadian television in September 1993, at the age of twelve. 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, who then turned to drugs in his despair.


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 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 (even 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 over the original actor, Sebastian Shaw. This version is now considered the canonical version in the Star Wars universe. 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.


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 — as a character loosely based upon Bob Dylan — 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 of 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.


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Night of the Living Dummy III Zane
1998 The Hairy Bird Tinka's Date
1999 The Virgin Suicides Joe Hill Conley
2000 Trapped in a Purple Haze Orin Krieg Television film
2001 Life as a House Sam Monroe
2002 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Anakin Skywalker
2003 Shattered Glass Stephen Glass
2004 Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (2004 re-release) Anakin Skywalker {Ghost} replaced original actor (stock footage of head only)
2005 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader
2006 Factory Girl Billy Quinn (also credited as Musician)
2007 Awake Clay Beresford, Jr.
2008 Jumper David Rice
Virgin Territory Lorenzo
Beast of Bataan TBA on hold (also producer)
2009 New York, I Love You Johnny post-production
Neuromancer Case pre-production


Year Group Award Result Film
2001 National Board of Review Awards Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actor Won Life as a House
Young Hollywood Awards One to Watch - Male Won
2002 Saturn Awards Cinescape Genre Face of the Future Award Nominated Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Cannes Film Festival Chopard Trophy - Male Revelation Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Most Promising Performer Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture Nominated Life as a House
Online Film Critics Society Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Film - Choice Actor, Drama/Action Adventure Nominated Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
Film - Choice Chemistry Nominated Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (Shared with:Natalie Portman )
2003 Saturn Award Best Performance by a Younger Actor Nominated Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones
2004 Las Palmas Film Festival Best Actor Won Shattered Glass (Tied with Peter Sarsgaard for Shattered Glass)
Satellite Awards Best Actor - Drama Nominated Shattered Glass


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