After being cast by George Lucas to play Anakin Skywalker in two Star Wars prequels early in his career, actor Hayden Christensen appeared in only a handful of other films before mostly walking away from the industry.
Now 34, the actor has revealed why he decided to leave his high-profile career behind to concentrate on other things.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Christensen walked away because he did not feel he had earned his superstardom.
After Lucas picked him to play Anakin Skywalker in Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and 2005’s Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Christensen married his Jumper co-star Rachel Bilson in 2007.
The actor, who recently starred in the faith-based drama 90 Minutes in Heaven, left Hollywood and bought a farm in his native Canada.
“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,” he said in a recent Times story about the challenges of finding success at a young age.
“I didn’t want to go through life feeling like I was just riding a wave,” he said.
Christensen’s role as Don Piper in the small budget 90 Minutes in Heaven is one of only three he has taken in the five years since his self-imposed hiatus. Of making his way back to the industry’s A-list, he told the L.A. Times it is likely to be challenging.
“You can’t take years off and not have it affect your career,” Christensen told the paper.
That doesn’t mean he is not looking forward to it.
In a “sort of destructive way, there was something appealing about that to me,” he said. “There was something in the back of my head that was like, ‘If this time away is gonna be damaging to my career, then so be it. If I can come back afterward and claw my way back in, then maybe I’ll feel like I earned it.’”