Hayden Christensen Interview

In a remote mountain range, six girlfriends meet for their yearly adventure, a caving trip into the arteries of the earth. The group makes their way through the remote cave system, enjoying the hazardous but beautiful surroundings. Then, deep inside the cave, disaster strikes when their route back to the surface is blocked by a rock fall. When they learn that Juno, always pushing herself that little bit further, has brought them to an unexplored cave, and that no one is coming to rescue them, the group starts to splinter. Left with no other option, they push on through the cave, praying for another exit. The women battle through this harsh underground world, pitting their strength and determination against each new challenge. Unbeknownst to them, there is something else lurking under the earth, a race of monstrous creatures hidden from the light, evolved to live perfectly in the dark. As the friends realize they have become prey, they are forced to unleash their most primal instincts to face the creatures. As old wounds break open and loyalties disintegrate, the women realize the horrible truth-they have most to fear from one another.

Sometimes, a line of questioning can push a man to the edge. As Hayden Christensen soon discovered when he sat down with Paul Byrne recently…

When I ask Hayden Christensen if he’s going to be completely honest when he answers my next question, he lets out a very nervous chuckle.

Perhaps he thought I was going to push him that little bit further on those rumours. The rumours that started with an ‘outing’ by an American publication back in 2002 – who stated that Christensen was ‘definitely gay’ – and continued on when the actor passed through London for the Star Wars prequel trilogy premieres, where he would be referred to in parts of the English press as ‘a friend of Kevin Spacey’s’. Who, in turn, is often referred as ‘a friend of Peter Mandelson’s’. Who, you know, is alleged to be ‘a friend of Dorothy’s’.

Christensen dismissed the claims as ‘hilarious’, but his face has still gone a tad ashen right now. Being the upright, uptight and sometimes out-of-sight journalist that I am though, such a line of questioning never even entered my head. I was simply curious to discover if Hayden Christensen, like so much of the cinema-going public out there, thought the Star Wars prequels were a bit crap.

Christensen’s latest outing, Jumper, is certainly a bit crap, a teleporting actioner that gets all dressed up and then finds it has no particular place to go. Christensen takes the lead, alongside Jamie Bell’s fellow jumper, and the childhood sweetheart of the piece is played by The O.C.’s Rachel Bilson. Samuel L. Jackon is, once again, the panto baddie.

Q: What grabbed you here – Steven Gould’s 1992 novel, working with director Doug Liman, the exotic locations, getting to fondle the lovely Ms. Bilson…?

CHRISTENSEN: Eh, Doug, Doug Liman was probably the biggest draw. I think he’s really one of the great filmmakers right now, and I’ve always enjoyed his work. Him, with the concept of teleportation, I just found really interesting.


Q: Working with Doug is what swung it for Jamie Bell too, but he wasn’t aware of the simple fact that Doug is mad, demanding take after take after take. How was it for you?

CHRISTENSEN: Honestly, I love it. He definitely pushes his actors to work in this acting marathon, but I like a good challenge. I like a director who really gets in the thick of it, and gets into it with his actors. Doug wanted you to get into the thick of the stunts too and you ended up with an injured hand, a split-open ear, and a hyperdilated pupil that needed hospital treatment… I was aware that there was going to be a physical part to making this movie, and that I would get knocked about, but you never really expect to get those sorts of injuries. But, yeah, whatever, it wasn’t anything really severe.

Q: What might have been more difficult to deal with was the fact that, at the 11th hour, you replaced original lead Tom Sturridge, a few weeks before cameras rolled. A few weeks after cameras rolled, Rachel Bilson replaced Teresa Palmer. Tough?


CHRISTENSEN: When those sorts of things happen, it definitely makes you feel a little unsettled. That said, there’s also a safety net to it, because you know the filmmaker is going to make sure he gets everything right, everything the way he wants it. So, it was a little difficult to recast, but I think it all worked out at the best.

Q: You’re a very busy man right now, with Awake and Virgin Territory heading our way, and Beast Of Bataan and Neuromancer in the works. Keen to make sure people realise you’re not the new Mark Hamill?

CHRISTENSEN: To be honest, it’s not something that I’m conscious of. I’m fully aware of the fact that it’s a part that’s going to follow me around for the rest of my life, so, therefore, I just make my choices according to what appeals to me. I’m not trying to make my choices so I can change other people’s perception of me. So, it’s really about finding work will challenge me to do different things, and that, at the end of the day, I’m going to enjoy. That’s where the buck stops for me.

Q: You’re obviously an honest young man…

CHRISTENSEN:  Hopefully.


Q:And you’d never lie to me, right?


CHRISTENSEN: Well, what are you going to ask? [laughs]

Q: Well, now that the dust has settled, and all the money has been counted up, what’s your honest opinion of the Star Wars prequel trilogy? And remember, George Lucas can have us both shot – by lunchtime – if we say the wrong thing.


CHRISTENSEN: You know, I think those films, the last three movies, you know, they’re very sort of specific, and don’t necessarily operate within the same context of film today. I think it’s maybe going to take maybe 20, 30 years before people are going to be able to step back and have an honest judgement of those movies. But, I think George made the movies that he wanted to make, and I was very proud to be a part of them.

Q: Very diplomatic answer. Been to Ireland?


CHRISTENSEN: No, I’ve never made it. Although it’s my brother’s favourite country, he’s always over there.


‘Jumper’ is now showing at Irish cinemas nationwide