Birthplace: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Executive summary: Lead in Star Wars: Episode II
Hayden Christensen played young Anakin Skywalker, destined to be Darth Vader, in the final two Star Wars prequels. He also earned good reviews as Kevin Kline's goth son in Life as a House, and as the journalist with an affinity for fiction in Shattered Glass.
Christensen was originally an athlete, and as a youth played hockey and tennis. His father, a sports enthusiast, had told the boy that acting was not a "worthy" way of supporting oneself. His first on-screen appearance was in a Pringles commercial at the age of seven, but when schoolmates asked if it was him, Christensen denied it because he was embarrassed. For years, young Christensen did not feel comfortable admitting he was an actor.
At 13, he began appearing in the Canadian soap opera Family Passions, and at 14 he played one of Mia Farrow's fleet of children in a TV movie, Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story. His first appearance in a feature film was a tiny part in John Carpenter's thriller In the Mouth of Madness. His first major role was in the TV movie Higher Ground, playing a troubled teen who had been molested by his stepmother, turned to drugs to cope, and was sent to reform school in the pilot episode.
He was chosen over hundreds of hopefuls, including Leonardo DiCaprio, to play the role of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Producer George Lucas reportedly picked him because of his "raw talent" and "strong chemistry" with Natalie Portman, who played Queen Amidala. While making his first Star Wars film, Attack of the Clones, Christensen was concerned that his character seemed to be whiny, annoying, and unappealing, but Lucas told him that was what he wanted. There has been some confusion in the public mind, however, between that character and Christensen's own personality, but the actor is always described in interviews as polite and engaging.
In 2003, Christensen made tabloid headlines when he and his brother, Tove, were evicted from a Los Angeles mansion for non-payment of rent. Tabloids have often speculated as to Christensen's sexuality, linking him to Portman, singer/actress Beyonce Knowles, Desperate Housewifes' Eva Longoria, actor Trevor Blumas (Ice Princess), and his long-ago co-star from Higher Ground, Jewel Staite. All deny any romantic entanglements with Christensen, who says only that he currently has no girlfriend, and recently ended a long-term relationship.
Father: David Christensen
Mother: Alie Nelson
Sister: Hesja Christensen (trampoline champion)
Brother: Tove Christensen (film producer)
Sister: Kaylen (b. 1984)
Girlfriend: Rachel Bilson (actress, together since 2007, broken engagement 2010)
High School: Unionville High School, Markham, Ontario
Risk Factors: Smoking
Higher Ground Scott Barringer (2000)
FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Vanishing on 7th Street (12-Sep-2010) · Luke
Takers (20-Aug-2010) · A.J.
New York, I Love You (5-Feb-2009) · Ben
Virgin Territory (17-Dec-2007) · Lorenzo
Awake (30-Nov-2007) · Clay Beresford
Factory Girl (29-Dec-2006)
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (18-May-2005)
Shattered Glass (10-Aug-2003) · Stephen Glass
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (16-May-2002)
Life as a House (9-Sep-2001)
Trapped in a Purple Haze (17-Apr-2000)
The Virgin Suicides (19-May-1999) · Jake Hill Conley
Free Fall (17-Jan-1999)
All I Wanna Do (21-Aug-1998) · Tinka's Date
No Greater Love (1-Jan-1996)
Harrison Bergeron (13-Aug-1995)
In the Mouth of Madness (3-Feb-1995) · Paper Boy
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