Hayden Christensen On His Post-Anakin Hiatus — Plus, Remember When Leo DiCaprio Almost Got the Part?
Hayden Christensen wanted the world to forget about him — and it almost worked. Not long after his turn as Anakin in the Star Wars prequels, Christensen left the movie biz in the dust and moved to a farm, citing imposter syndrome as his reason:
I felt like I had this great thing in Star Wars that provided all these opportunities and gave me a career, but it all kind of felt a little too handed to me. I didn’t want to go through life feeling like I was just riding a wave.
This explanation feels a little bit off to me, given that Christensen actually had a very successful years-long career as a young actor before Star Wars got “handed” to him. There’s no doubt in my mind that he deserved the role at that time — he was a promising fresh face who had received critical acclaim and a lot of decent roles pre-Star Wars. Also, even though his performance in Star Wars was not well-received, it did lead to more opportunities for him — although clearly they weren’t opportunities that Christensen thought he deserved.
In weirder news, let’s recall that Christensen almost dodged this bullet entirely. The world has since forgotten in the intervening decade, but back in the early 2000s, Leonardo DiCaprio revealed that he was considered for the role of Anakin. Ultimately, though, he “didn’t feel ready to take that dive” — or so he told The Short List years later. DiCaprio was also considered over Tobey Maguire for the lead in Spider-Man, and tons of other stuff too — he was a pretty hot ticket in the ’90s post-Titanic, so he pretty much had his pick of project. Still does, I would bet, given that he’s held in high esteem to this day.
That said, I’m not sure DiCaprio would’ve been any better than Christensen in the role, had he accepted it. It seems like whatever problems led to the actors’ wooden performances didn’t have much to do with casting, given that almost everyone in the casts of the prequels has turned in better performances elsewhere. Perhaps DiCaprio would’ve had an easier time bouncing back emotionally from those films than Christensen did, however — or perhaps he would’ve ended up going on an extended hiatus as well. Maybe it would’ve doomed his entire career. Who knows?
Any cross-dimensional time travelers want to let us know how it worked out for Leo in that alternate timeline?
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