Hayden Christensen (born April 19, 1981 in Vancouver, British Columbia) is a American-Canadian actor.
He began his career on Canadian television at the age of 13, then went into US television in the late 1990s. The role that made his fame is undeniably Anakin Skywalker, the troubled young Jedi prodigy who would fall to The Dark Side and become Darth Vader, in the Star Wars prequel trilogy.
He would eventually grow dissatisfied with the Hollywood lifestyle and purchase a farm in Ontario, which he spends his time tending to. He still takes roles here and there, but his A-List days seemed to be well behind him...until 2021, when it was revealed that he would be returning to the Star Wars franchise, once again wearing the black armor and cape of the franchise's marquee villain, Darth Vader, in the interquel series Obi-Wan Kenobi. The favorable reaction this garnered from the fanbase has also led to Christensen saying he'd be open to a series focusing on Vader himself.
Troper. You're shorter than I expected:
- In the Mouth of Madness (1995) as Paper Boy
- Goosebumps (1997) as Zane (episode: "Night of the Living Dummy III")
- The Hairy Bird (1998) as Tinka's date
- Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1999) as Kirk (episode: "The Tale of Bigfoot Ridge")
- The Famous Jett Jackson (1999) as Steven (episode: "Popularity")
- The Virgin Suicides (1999) as Jake Hill Conley
- Higher Ground (2000) as Scott Barringer
- Life As A House (2001) as Sam Monroe
- Star Wars as Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader:
- Shattered Glass (2003) as Stephen Glass
- Factory Girl (2006) as Billy Quinn
- Awake (2007) as Clayton "Clay" Beresford, Jr.
- Jumper (2008) as David Rice
- New York, I Love You (2009) as Ben
- Takers (2010) as AJ
- Vanishing on 7th Street (2010) as Luke
- American Heist (2014) as James Kelly
- Outcast as Sir Jacob
- Little Italy (2018) as Leo
Tropes associated with his work:
- Dyeing for Your Art:
- In his role as the rebellious teenage son in Life as a House, he dyed his hair black or very dark brown to go with the characters goth appearance.
- For his most famous role, as Anakin Skywalker, he gained a lot of weight under a strict diet and workout program to portray the character's older, more battle worn version in Revenge of the Sith. On the other hand, his iconic long hair in this movie was actually a wig made to resemble his natural hair.
- Fake American: He has played several American characters, most notably the infamous journalist Stephen Glass, but he is actually Canadian.
- I Am Not Spock: Averted. He will always be known as Anakin Skywalker and he seems pretty content about it.
- Master Swordsman: One thing that no one can argue against is that Hayden trained his ass off in sword choreography to make Anakin's skills with a lightsaber look legit. His future appearances in Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka show that despite being over a dozen years later, Hayden's still got it.
- Older Than They Look: He looks about a decade younger than he really is, to the point that he could come back for scenes as pre-Vader Anakin in Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ahsoka nearly 20 years after Revenge of the Sith with no issue.
- Playing Against Type: Most of his characters have been shy, soft spoken or angsty young men in one way or another, making the exceptions (such as his Bob Dylan inspired Musician character in Factory Girl an example of this.
- Promoted Fanboy: He was a fan of the original Star Wars (and of Darth Vader in particular) before he got the part of Anakin. Apparently, in his excitement, he ruined many takes by actually making lightsaber sounds during fight scenes.
- Role Reprise: 14 years after Revenge of the Sith, he got a series of job offers from Lucasfilm to play Anakin again, starting with a voice-over cameo at the end of The Rise of Skywalker, followed by an in-person reprisal of Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi, and a Force Spirit and hologram in Ahsoka.
- Shown Their Work:
- He is said to have carefully studied the original Star Wars trilogy in an attempt to mimic Darth Vader's speech patterns and cadence, as well as movements and body posture, which he then tried to incorporate to his own portrayal of Anakin Skywalker. The result is a performance that can superficially appear wooden at first, as well as a rather monotonous speech, but both make a lot more sense when compared to Vader's mannerisms and speech from the original trilogy. Although some fans disliked Hayden's performance, many others noticed this and credit the actor for his keen attention to detail.
- He also studied as much as he could the personality, mannerisms and speech patterns of Stephen Glass for the film Shattered Glass resulting in a generally acclaimed performance.
- When asked to reprise his role as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader for Obi-Wan Kenobi, he watched Episodes II and III, as well as The Clone Wars and other shows involving his character post Episode III to both refresh his memory and get a better understanding of his character's personality and experiences throughout the years. As a result, his physical performance is nigh-indistinguishable from that of David Prowse back in the day.
- Star-Making Role: Anakin Skywalker of course. Interestingly, his most acclaimed role may have been Stephen Glass in the much more discrete Shattered Glass.