Hayden Christensen Quit Hollywood After ‘Star Wars’ Because He Felt He Didn’t Earn It

Hayden Christensen wasn’t a complete unknown when George Lucas personally picked him to play Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. He had been working semi-frequently since the early 1990s, mostly appearing in TV movies (Love and Betrayal: The Mia Farrow Story) and random episodes of children’s shows, like Are You Afraid of the Dark? and Goosebumps. But signing up for Star Wars meant a whole new level of fame.

Which Christensen feels he didn’t earn. He spoke to the Los Angeles Times about finishing the prequels and using his Star Wars (and Jumper!) money to buy “some farmland and largely [retreat] from Hollywood.”

“I guess 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,” the actor said this fall, promoting his first movie in five years, a faith-based drama called 90 Minutes in Heaven. “I didn’t want to go through life feeling like I was just riding a wave.” (Via Los Angeles Times)

Even Christensen would probably admit his acting is terrible in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but so was Natalie Portman’s, and she’s an Academy Award winner, and he did fine work in Shattered Glass. You try to sell lines like, “I killed them. I killed them all. They’re dead, every single one of them. And not just the men, but the women and the children, too.”

(Okay, Daisy Ridley could probably sell it.)

Christensen knows his Obi Wan- and Luke-like exile hurt his career, but that’s the point. “If this time away is gonna be damaging to my career, then so be it,” he said. “If I can come back afterward and claw my way back in, then maybe I’ll feel like I earned it.” Just stay away from monologues about sand.

And hey, at least he’s doing better than Jake Lloyd.

(Via the Los Angeles Times)

Now Watch: All The Rey Theories From ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Explained