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Jumper - Hayden Christensen interview

Hayden Christensen in Jumper

Interview by Rob Carnevale

HAYDEN Christensen talks about appearing in sci-fi thriller Jumper, the allure of teleportation and whether or not he feels he has escaped the Star Wars association with his career post playing Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader…

What was it like working with Doug Liman?
Hayden Christensen: I think Doug has really made efforts to challenge himself and do something new and original. And he also encourages his actors to try different things as well. Every aspect of making this film was really unique and felt innovative, from Doug’s approach to telling the story to taking a genre that people are really familiar with and trying to reinvent it. We have the guys that created bullet time for The Matrix working on the visual effects on this movie and they were developing technology all the way through the film. So, every aspect felt like you were doing something new.

Q. Was the number of locations part of the appeal of doing the role?
Hayden Christensen: Yeah, I really love to travel, so when I read the script and saw all the locations we were going to cover I got excited. We spent a lot of time on planes, in transit – I wish I could teleport! But we were all over the place. We were using this new camera technology where they could literally have this crew of two or three people and we could just roam around the streets and shoot stuff. There were quite a few times where people would recognise me, or us, working on what was clearly a very small scale operation – some might say it looked like a student film or something. So I look forward to those people seeing the movie and all the action that comes with it.

Q. What was the shortest time you spent in any of the exotic locations you visit?
Hayden Christensen: Well, Doug’s approach to filmmaking in general is pretty unique. He has a range of how he approaches the movie from big scale production to literally sort of showing up with the camera at my door and saying: “Let’s film around New York for the day… Or Paris for the day.” We were in Paris, I think, for five hours. I think he likes the down and dirty guerilla filmmaking.

Q. Did you do any research on teleportation to prepare for the role?
Hayden Christensen: I didn’t do a lot of research on the actual science of teleportation to be honest. I didn’t really feel that it would inform my performance – although, because I spent a lot of time thinking about it, I got really interested in it. Doug and I actually got to go to MIT and sit on a panel with two professors who were experts in quantum teleportation, which is a form of teleportation that actually exists. In a very limited context they managed to teleport a proton particle of light over a distance of a couple of kilometres, which I think is pretty amazing. They spoke very intelligently about the actual science of it – I wish I could do the same – but it was very impressive and it got me excited.

Q. The film looks physical – is that you up there a lot of the time? And did you sustain many injuries?
Hayden Christensen: It was a physical part and I got knocked around quite a bit. But I don’t mind it. I sort of enjoy the physicality of acting and I like action movies. I’m happy to do as much as possible – obviously, they won’t let you do all of it because they won’t let you kill yourself. But I tried to do as much as possible – although that doesn’t mean I did it all [smiles]. I got a nice scar across my hand, I pulled my ear open and I knocked my head really badly so that my pupil got stuck in this extremely dilated position which was really disturbing because I couldn’t see. We kept a list of injuries sustained and it got pretty long by the end of the movie.

Q. Did you ever feel like you were always on planes shooting this movie?
Hayden Christensen: [Laughs] We did spend a lot of time on planes. Actually, Jamie [Bell] and I, when we were travelling from Toronto to Rome, we were on the same flight and after a couple of beers we decided it would be fun to make a kind of mock-umentary of what it would be like for jumpers who couldn’t jump and who had to just travel on a plane and deal with all the nuisances of regular transport. So, I got some footage of Jamie wreaking havoc on this airport and him poking fun at everybody on the plane. He’s got a really good sense of humour [laughs].

Q. How easy has it been to overcome the Anakin Skywalker role in Star Wars? And do you feel that you have?
Hayden Christensen: I don’t know. I don’t know if I have overcome it – that’s for you guys to say. I mean, I think that’s something that will follow me for the rest of my life. There will always be people outside of the hotels waiting with Star Wars pictures. I had a great experience with making those films and I’m very fond of everything that they brought. But I don’t think it’s anything that will ever leave me.

Q. Do you feel that appearing in those films has helped your career and opened more doors for you as an actor?
Hayden Christensen: I don’t think Doug cast me in this off of Star Wars. He was more interested in Shattered Glass and that’s what he spoke to me about. There were certain aspects of my performance in that he was interested in. But Star Wars did open a lot of doors for me and I’m extremely grateful to have been a part of a movie like that.

Q. Do you know anything about a sequel to Jumper and would you be open to it?
Hayden Christensen: Don’t know too much about it but I’d be very open to it. I’d love to do it actually. I think the story lends itself to continuing. I had a lot of fun on this movie and I think there’s a lot of fun to be had with the concept of teleportation. Speaking with the scientists, they explained about all of the possibilities and I think that got Doug excited. He said at a press conference in Rome that he already had the next four stories planned out in his head so we’ll see…

Q. Finally, if you had a superpower what would it be?
Hayden Christensen: I might go for teleportation. Honestly, just the practicality of it is really appealing to me – to not have to get on trains or get stuck in traffic and all the things that get under my skin.

Read our review of Jumper

  1. Here is a video link of Hayden discussing teleportation. Below it is a video called “Jumper” & Real Teleportation. It can really happen one day!

    fparrish    Feb 13    #