Hayden Christensen made headlines in the spring of 2000, when director George Lucas announced that the 19-year-old actor would play the much-coveted role of Anakin Skywalker in Episode II and Episode III of the venerable Star Wars franchise. Born in Vancouver but raised in Toronto, Canada, Christensen became involved with Canadian television productions at a young age and carried his skills over to American TV movies and series in the late '90s. Though he would appear briefly in 1999's The Virgin Suicides for director Sofia Coppola -- a family friend of Lucas' -- it was Christensen's work in the Fox Family Channel's drama series Higher Ground which convinced Lucas to give the actor a reading. Adamant in his desire to find new talent for the role, Lucas passed over such potential adolescent Anakins as Ryan Phillippe, Jonathon Jackson, and even Leonardo DiCaprio in favor of Christensen. It remains to be seen whether the young actor will survive the typecasting that a similarly unknown Mark Hamill suffered some two and a half decades prior, in Episode IV.
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Before Episode II made it to the screen, Christensen won accolades -- including a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor -- playing a troubled goth teen in the family melodrama Life as a House. The stage thus set for his blockbuster debut, Christensen would be omnipresent on magazine covers and talk shows in the months leading up to Attack of the Clones' release. The film grossed more than 300 million dollars stateside, but sharp opinions on the movie's script did little to help Christensen's career. Even before the final Star Wars prequel Revenge of the Sith was released in 2005, Christensen began moving on as an actor, taking on more meaty character roles, like real life journalist Stephen Glass in the thriller Shattered Glass, and a fictional stand-in for Bob Dyaln in 2006's Factory Girl. He would als make a name for himself in thrillers like Jumper, Vanishign Point, and Takers. ~ Michael Hastings, Rovi