@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
A Case For Hayden Christensen
Okay, okay… so if you’re not a Star Wars fan you could maybe skip this blog, or don’t, it doesn’t matter to me that much anyway. I mean, I do appreciate you being here, as always. I appreciate your reads. Whatever, I’m continuing. I’m continuing this blog about Hayden Christensen.
The success of what is easily one of my favorite shows of all time, “The Mandalorian,” has inspired other to come Star Wars universe TV shows. This pleases me. We’re getting more Asoka, more Obi-Wan and more pre-Vader, Anakin Skywalker, played by Hayden Christensen in the Star Wars prequels movies that are largely agreed upon as the worst Star Wars movies.
Now, pitching Mando to non-Star Wars people has been an obstacle for me, because they know I’m already a space nerd (I have an r2d2 garbage can). However, the show is brilliant because it’s great even if you’re not very familiar with the Star Wars universe. Of course, if you have watched some of the animated series like “Clone Wars” (thanks, Greg Stone), you appreciate more, as Jon Favreau has proven himself the most valuable person in Hollywood for making a show that is both amazing to so-so fans and die hard fans alike.
Anyways, some people are not happy with Hayden returning in his role, as they blame him for ruining the backstory of easily one of film’s most iconic bad guys. But that’s why I’m here. Your favorite contrarian.
Here’s my case for Hayden Christensen. First of all, as much as a genius George Lucas was/is, he is shit at writing dialogue. Even in the original films. Harrison Ford is a treasure for many reasons, and one of them being is he has a gift for making poorly written dialogue seem… well.. .believable. Maybe this is because Ford notoriously didn’t care that much for franchise. It was a job to him. And his neutral attitude towards the whole thing truly makes him Han Solo. And lovable to boot. But when you re-watch those films, it’s obvious dialogue was Lucas’s weak point. He’s great at pretty much everything else but writing realistic/flowing dialogue really isn’t his forte. And maybe that has to do with creating such a fantastical world, who knows… But generally speaking every writer has strengths and weaknesses (my strength happens to be dialogue, so maybe someone steer Lucas to my blogs/screenplays).
Christensen did receive big acting nods in his young but short acting career up until being cast in Star Wars. And while he hasn’t done that much after, he was still good in that action movie, “Jumper” and bio-pic about Steven Glass. But here is where it’s easy to defend the Canadian… Natalie Portman.
Natalie Portman plays Padme, as Hayden’s love interest/wife/politician/self fulfilling prophesy as to why Ani turns to the dark side. It’s a pretty tragic love story and it fails us because their chemistry is… well… non existent. But Portman is just as bad in these movies as Hayden. Her acting is straight up cringe worthy from time to time. But Natalie is undeniably a great actress. From as a kid to today, she has been amazing in a wide variety of roles.
Additionally, unlike the original Star Wars, which used a lot of puppetry and sets, the prequels used a TON of CGI (most of which doesn’t hold up well these days). So they are acting in front of green screens with no sets or even real people around them, all of which is rather difficult.
Way back when I was a teenager, I used to work at this catering hall, The Venetian Yacht Club. I have written a bit in the past about my tales and adventures as a caterer in my years there, where we had some good times but there were also a lot of “what the actual fuck is happening” moments. It was a high-end catering hall on the Great South Bay in Babylon. I wore a tuxedo.
Hayden Christensen happened to be a guest at a what I believe was a Christening celebration, though I could be wrong… it was definitely a party in the day in the smaller room of the catering hall.
Anyway, I wasn’t working that party, I was working a party in the another room but was told Darth Vader was a guest at the party. Now, I was a Star Wars fan, but at this point in my life just an average fan (more on this later). I remember the Polish guys laughing because they thought he was so scrawny… “I can’t believe that’s Darth Vader!” they laughed in the kitchen.
Of course, I had to get a look for myself. This wouldn’t be the first or last time we’d have big name celebrities at our tables. When I had some down time, I went to the party room where he was. He was sitting with a bunch of old ladies and I thought he looked very cute and sweet with them, as they all conversed. I didn’t laugh at all… I had thought, “wow, he has a really great smile.”
Anakin was not my Star Wars crush. In the originals it was Luke, not Han. And overall, it was Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan. My heart did and still beats for him. It wasn’t until this happenstance “meeting” where I ever found Christensen attractive. Up until that point, I was with everyone else on how bad he was.
My best friend Jimmy is pretty convinced I was brain washed into loving Star Wars. Because not long after that day, I would suffer my first bout of insomnia. I didn’t have a TV in my room, so I ended up staying up late in the basement watching TV. This was in my senior year of high school. I had a lot of unnecessary anxiety, mostly about grades. Spike TV, a channel I’m unsure exists anymore, but it was a channel targeted to a male audience (so of course I loved it) used to play the then all six Star Wars movies in a row on a loop. So, in my insomnia where I’d drift in and out of sleep for very short intervals, I just watched Star Wars… all night long, for a weeks end. This was good because I already had seen the movies and knew the story so at whatever point I’d be in and out, I was never really lost. Anyway, it was in this stretch of time I really started to love Star Wars. As Jimmy would say, “that’s how people get brainwashed, sleep deprivation and playing something over and over.”
In my (many) re-watches of the films, I also felt I was being too harsh on Hayden. And he was also a person to me now. A person who entertained his grandma/great aunts and smiled at me. Look, maybe I’m wrong, but I’m glad to see he’ll have some sort of redemption opportunity on Disney +. Hey, maybe he just needs a good dialogue writer and a wife from Long Island. Isn’t that what everyone needs?