Hayden Christensen was just 19 when he was hand-picked to lead the Star Wars prequels as Anakin Skywalker. Within months he was catapulted into the spotlight, but he didn’t stay there long, opting to step away from the bright lights of Hollywood after his stint in that galaxy far, far away.
Now 34, the actor has revealed why he decided to take a break from high-profile movies and concentrate on less prominent roles after his success in Star Wars.
It seems the sudden fame left him with a case of ‘imposter syndrome’; he had a career any actor would envy, but didn’t feel he’d worked hard enough to get there.
“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,” Christensen has revealed. “I didn’t want to go through life feeling like I was just riding a wave.”
“You can’t take years off and not have it affect your career,” he continued, to LA Times. “But I don’t know — in a weird, sort of destructive way, there was something appealing about that to me. 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.'”