A/V Room









Star Wars Episode III - Hayden Christensen interview

Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. The iconic scene for you is when we see the rotted, melted face of Anakin just before Darth's mask is placed on him. Was that moment worth all the pain and suffering you went through, make-up wise?
The pain and suffering actually came when you took the prosthetics off. They made his full-body prosthetic and they would glue every inch of your face. So putting it on was fine but taking it off was a different story. But it was full-on make-up that looking at yourself in the mirror made you react to yourself, which was nice in that your unrecognisable in making that transformation.
But it was a thrilling moment, lying there on the operating table as that mask came into frame.

Q. How did people react to you when you became Darth Vader?
That was what was brilliant, getting to put it all on and experiencing the sensation of being Vader was great. But watching everyone take it in for the first time was what was really cool. People that I had befriended and spent a lot of time with, who knew I was in the costume, would see him and, though there was an excitement and a certain awe, there was also a fear and a respect that needed to be paid. So I'd walk by and their eyes would light up but then they would sort of lower their heads and take a couple of steps back. It's a very empowering feeling.

Q. So was that an event in the filming?
Oh yeah, it was Vader's day. It was the last day of filming as well and everyone from the production offices and everyone working on the film came out to bear witness. It was an exciting day.

Q. What was the best thing about turning bad?
I mean obviously in this film getting to become Darth Vader and putting on the costume. I have that in my back pocket now, the Darth Vader part.

Q. Was acting always your true destiny?
I fell into it actually. I grew up playing sports and though I was acting from a young age, it was more of a hobby than anything else. I studied it in High School and that's when I sort of felt my passion for it.

Q. Were you always pleasantly surprised by Natalie Portman's hairstyles?
A. [Laughs]
There was a new hairstyle every day, more elaborate than the next, but good for her, she can pull them all off.

Q. One of the most shocking scenes in when Anakin actually kills the children. Did you ever think this was a step too far?
It took me by surprise when I read it in the script for the first time. But it was a necessary evil, though. All the Jedi had to go, so what can I say? Even the children. But yeah, it's a dark film and Anakin does dark things.

Q. It's the Macbeth moment isn't it?
Ian McDiarmid:
It's true, it has the Shakespearean tragic arc. It does.

Q. Early on in the film you get to terrorise Christopher Lee, a man whose terrorised millions over the years. So did he give you any tips?
He's full of tips. He's full of stories. What a man. He is a well of knowledge and experience and happy to share it all. He was the one that I always tried to sit down with whenever I could and get a story out of him.

Q. You get to play the good guy and the bad guy in these films, so which do you prefer playing?
Definitely the bad guy in this one. This was the time in Anakin's life that I had been looking forward to in making that dark transition to Darth Vader. There's just more fun to be had and more emotions to explore. I really enjoyed this one.

Q. Given the story arc in this one and Anakin's eventual transformation, was there ever a morning where you looked in the mirror and thought 'Christ, I've really got to deliver'? Were you ever nervous?
Of course. It's a daunting task taking on a role that has such attention. As much as possible, you try to disregard all of it. But there were a few very pivotal scenes that were a challenge. Obviously the one with myself, Ian and Samuel L Jackson was a big one, so yeah, you go to work those days thinking 'I've got to deliver'.
Thankfully, George had conceived such a well-drawn character that all I had to do was follow the script.

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