VMAN7

ARTICLE MICHAEL MARTIN

PHOTOGRAPHY MARIO TESTINO

STYLIST ANDREW RICHARDSON

CREDITS ARTICLE CONTENTS

MOVE! TO BRAZIL

DYNAMIC DUO HALL OF FAME

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN

EXTRA CREDITS

HAIR CHRISTIAAN  GROOMING JAMES KALIARDOS  PHOTO ASSISTANTS ADAM WHITEHEAD, SIMON PERRY, PETER KOECHLIN  STYLIST ASSISTANTS JAMES VALERI, MARZIA ALOISI, FRANCESCO COMINELLI  LOCATION 165 CHARLES STREET BY RICHARD MEIER (ALEXICO GROUP)  PRODUCTION ART PARTNER  PROP STYLING BILL DOIG  DIGITAL OPERATOR  FEDERICO DE ANGELIS (DTOUCH)  PRINTING AND RETOUCHING R&D

MORE TO LOVE

KATE & THE GYPSIES FALL IN MOTION BACKSTAGE: TOMMY HILFIGER MEN ZAHIA\'S SPRING HAS SPRUNG!

HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN

PHOTOGRAPHY MARIO TESTINO
FASHION ANDREW RICHARDSON
TEXT MICHAEL MARTIN

#THROWBACK 2006:

IN THE SPIRIT OF OUR NEXT GEN ISSUE, WE REMINISCE ON SOME OF OUR FAVORITE CELEBRITIES WHO WERE BUT STARS ON THE RISE WHEN WE FIRST CELEBRATED THEM IN OUR PAGES


Hayden Christensen’s face is covered with a clear viscous substance. He looks shellacked. After a day of being snapped at and prettied up, now he’s been fitted into a Hefner-style smoking jacket, pajamas and beauty mask.  

Nevertheless, he’s in a great mood. Howyadoing? he says, grinning as much as the substance will allow. He extends a hand, cigarette dangling from his mouth—a trouper. As the shoot continues, he points one gloved hand over Manhattan, jokes around with the crew, and stares into the camera not with a Zoolander pucker but with a wry flash of the eye. There’s not a trace of the petulant or blank characters he’s essayed on screen.

Someone once said that the hardest part of being a success is continuing to succeed. On that note, the 25-year-old native of British Columbia faces a few challenges—like choosing which of the variety of success he’s sampled is the one he’ll choose to pursue. After graduating from a Canadian soap opera to good reviews and receiving a Golden Globe nomination for the indie film Life as a House, Christensen was sucked into the big-time Hollywood machine courtesy of the three Star Wars prequels that just finished unspooling last year. His performance as Anakin Skywalker, a.k.a. Darth Vader, was controversially received but undeniably put him one romantic comedy away from superstardom. He responded with a mature, fully realized performance as the complicated plagiarist of Shattered Glass, opposite Peter Sarsgaard.

In the next year, he has three small, unusual films coming out: Factory Girl, the Edie Sedgwick biopic with Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce and Jimmy Fallon; an MTV-ified remake of The Decameron starring Mischa Barton; and Awake, a real-time thriller where he plays a man who undergoes anesthetic awareness during open-heart surgery.

After the shoot, we headed back to his penthouse suite at the Soho Grand Hotel, where we worked through half a dozen mini-bar bottles of Jack Daniels and all the concerns of being Hayden Christensen: the reports that he's the fourth wheel in the Sienna Miller-Jude Law tabloid party bus; the curiously intense online speculation that he’s into guys (reinforced by his refusal to discuss his sex life in interviews); and why he’s digging holes in his parents’ backyard.

You just had your twenty-fifth birthday. I read that a casino threw you a party.
HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN They offered to fly my friends out, so I had a hard time saying no. But I can't spend too much time in Vegas, that place is depressing. It was more exciting when I was younger and not allowed to be there. When I was 18, I went to a casino with my older brother’s I.D. I sat down at the tables, won a little money, and went to cash it in. The cashier was like, “This isn't you!” Eighteen years old, and I had serious baby face. The manager comes over with five intimidating security guards, and they're all passing my ID around. One guy asked me what my star sign is, so I just say “Aquarius” and he said, “That's him.” So I run upstairs to my brother and say, “Tove, you'll never believe it! I just guessed your star sign!” And he said, “Sagittarius?”  

Life is bluffing.
HC I feel like that more times than you would guess.  

Your next film, Angels and Virgins, is based on The Decameron and has been described as a comedy set in the time of the Black Plague.
HC It will be unlike most films that are out there right now. It’s definitely not a history lesson. I play this sort of wayfarer type named Lorenzo, who is constantly seeking adventure and getting himself into trouble. Throughout the movie he's trying to evade Tim Roth's character. I spend most of the film on the run, finding love and all that good stuff.

How is this character different from others you've played?
HC I don't talk a lot, actually. There's a large portion of the film where I'm pretending to be deaf and dumb, trying to seek refuge in a convent. I end up enjoying myself with the sisters. It's a straightforward comedy, and I've never done that before. It was an opportunity to say I did a comedy, but “did” is the operative word. I would do a black comedy in the future but I'm really not a comedic actor. That's a whole skill into itself and I don't pretend to have it—at least not onscreen.

Pasolini’s original version of The Decameron was known for its explicit sex. Did you have to go there?
HC There’s a lot of nudity and sex in ours too, but it’s irreverent. Poking fun at it. There are sexually explicit scenes but you don't see me naked. A breast every now and again, and then they cut away. Mischa Barton plays a girl I have a thing for and she ends up in the convent, and we get together. I had to kiss her but no love scenes. It was fine, you know.  

Tell me about your role in Awake.
HC It's about this young well-to-do guy who needs a heart transplant. A heart becomes available, and I go into the operation, where I experience anesthetic awareness, which has got to be one of the most terrifying things imaginable. I talked to people who had it: you lie on this operating table in varying degrees of consciousness totally unable to do anything about it. Some people will experience little things, others will feel every cut and incision. The film gets more fucked-up from there. It will be a different thriller. What Jaws did to being in the water, this will do to the operating room.   

What was it like working with Terence Howard?
HC He’s the real deal and is going to become one of the defining actors of his generation. He plays the doctor. He and I became chess-obsessed. It was something we did because we both liked chess and we're very competitive, but it was also a tool for our work. It kept us interacting and playing off each other. I also did that with Peter Sarsgaard in Shattered Glass. A bit of chess and a lot of ping-pong.   

What about Factory Girl
HC It's a biopic about Edie Sedgwick, her real life story. I play this folk star sort of guy who is based on Bob Dylan. My role was originally Bob Dylan, because they had an affair, but the film couldn't get the rights to use his name. So we couldn't use his name or any of his music, but essentially I'm playing Bob Dylan. I did a version of the voice and the mannerisms—sort of mumbling. I got to write a song sort of in the Dylan vein, which was very cool. I had to learn to play the guitar for the part.     

While you were shooting the film, the whole Sienna Miller-Jude Law tabloid frenzy was going down. 
HC It was definitely something everyone was aware of, but not something that was made too big of a deal. She was a very focused actor, and you don't want people to think about that kind of stuff when it’s going on, so she made more of an effort.   

There were reports that you and Sienna were dating. Were you?
HC I don't really talk about my love life in interviews. I don't think it's really people's business.  

There’s a sizable online contingent that’s very invested in the idea of you being gay. Why do you think there's so much speculation about your sexuality?
HC To be honest, I think it’s because I encourage it.   

Why?
HC Because it's fun, entertaining, and a bit of a joke. Because who cares what people think. And because I think it’s sort of cool. You see pictures of Bowie wearing eyeliner and looking a little effeminate—to me masculinity is the ability to flirt with the effeminate. I will do things that are a little less masculine. There's plenty of rumors about every actor everywhere being gay. When people catch a picture of Sienna and me, they can speculate, and I don't do anything to dismiss the speculation because rumors are more fun than reality. The less people know about you as you, the more they believe you as a character. And I guess I was sort of setting myself up with Star Wars, as far as people not accepting me as other things, so I made a point of not doing much press, not letting people know much, just because it helps me as an actor.  

So at this point, are you comfortable with saying you’re gay, straight or bisexual?
HC The people I actually relate to know I am what I am. I think eventually people will clue in because there's less I will be able to keep private, but I've been pretty good at it so far. So if they want to speculate that I'm gay, let them. Honestly, I enjoy it more when people speculate.  

I hear you have an interest in architecture?
HC Yes, and it’s something that’s been made a lot more of than it is. A tabloid said I’m quitting acting for architecture; it’s not true. I've always been interested in it, from the time when I was designing my dog's house. I have friends who are into design, and we're thinking about starting our own design company, but I'm not giving up acting for it.  

After Star Wars, were you afraid your career would be hurt? It seems you’re getting good scripts.  
HC You get offered what people know of you. Hollywood operates on that formula. If they can add A+B they'll do it again and again. Life in a House was my first movie, and after that I got offered every sort of conflicted teenager role. Star Wars came out, and there was a lot of action-oriented stuff. I've always waited until someone takes a chance on me to do something I haven't done before. I've only made five or six movies, because I only want to do what excites me. Star Wars afforded me the possibility of not having to work all the time, so I can approach acting from a more artistic perspective. Actors gain their general concept of what people and the world are like not from working but from living. Right now I’m landscaping my parents' backyard and moving dirt around. You can’t bluff your way through re-grading land. I'm getting my pilot's license, and I'm learning hot to fly-fish. My goal is to get a floatplane and go explore Canada. The great thing about acting is that it allows you to do other things when you're not working. A lot of actors get caught up in an insular world, and when they're not acting they're doing something very close to it. They almost cut off their nose to spite their face.  

Have you watched Star Wars since it came out?
HC I haven't seen any of my movies since the premieres.  

How do you look back on your performance in those films?
HC Not with great ease. I really can't complain about Star Wars because it was unequivocally a phenomenal experience for me and for my family. But the work isn't necessarily what you think it's going to be. You have to make everything accessible to seven year olds. It's like still photography—having to achieve a result. That said, once you've accepted that you're a hired hand, as much as a grip, as much as the visual artists who sketch out the scenes, then it's fun. Every day there's a new toy to play with. But if you approach it from a standpoint of "I'm a serious actor and I'm going to do my best work," then you can get a little lost.  

Have you had any weird run-ins with Star Wars fans?
HC Not just Star Wars fans—teenage girls too. I've had instances where they get hysterical and start to cry, and hold on to you and literally won't let go, and that's unsettling. I mean, I don't think it's completely crazy, because I'm a huge hockey fan, and I remember the first time I met Wayne Gretzky. But it's like, I didn't score the winning goal. I auditioned for a role and some guy liked the way my nose sat on my face. You really don't feel like you've earned it. It's a bizarre thing. But not quite as bizarre as old men who are Star Wars fanatics who come up to you and ask every question in the book. You can chalk that up to an adolescent thing, but once you get to a certain age, you want to say, come on.  

How did it feel to win the Razzie for worst supporting actor two years, for Star Wars?
HC
The Razzie didn't bother me. I sort of laughed at it. I also won the MTV award for that role, but I don't necessarily care about the MTV award either. I also never got off on the Golden Globe nomination for Life as a House. They all seem to be on the same level of superficial. I originally got into acting because it was fun, and then I decided to pursue it as a career because I felt it was something that was really worthwhile. And I think I took the worthwhile thing a little too far. If you're trying to do something that's really important, you don't sign up to be an actor. You do it because you want to avoid the things that are seemingly important. And I guess that's what's allowed me to discard all the superficial things that are put on the profession—the awards, the fame. My friends and family force me to take things with humility. My older brother was a huge Star Wars fan, and then his little brother gets cast as Darth Vader? It's like, you're kidding me.

EXTRA CREDITS

HAIR CHRISTIAAN  GROOMING JAMES KALIARDOS  PHOTO ASSISTANTS ADAM WHITEHEAD, SIMON PERRY, PETER KOECHLIN  STYLIST ASSISTANTS JAMES VALERI, MARZIA ALOISI, FRANCESCO COMINELLI  LOCATION 165 CHARLES STREET BY RICHARD MEIER (ALEXICO GROUP)  PRODUCTION ART PARTNER  PROP STYLING BILL DOIG  DIGITAL OPERATOR  FEDERICO DE ANGELIS (DTOUCH)  PRINTING AND RETOUCHING R&D

MORE TO LOVE

KATE & THE GYPSIES FALL IN MOTION BACKSTAGE: TOMMY HILFIGER MEN ZAHIA\'S SPRING HAS SPRUNG!
Close page

YOU'VE GOT V-MAIL

SIGN UP TO RECEIVE UPDATES, ALERTS AND MORE FROM V MAGAZINE!

FacebookFACEBOOK
TwitterTWITTER
TumblrTUMBLR
PinterestPINTEREST
EmailEMAIL

V MAGAZINE|V MAN|HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN | VMAN7 PHOTOGRAPHY MARIO TESTINO | FASHION ANDREW RICHARDSON

FASHION INFO |SHARE | |CLOSE X

FacebookFACEBOOK
TwitterTWITTER
TumblrTUMBLR
PinterestPINTEREST
EmailEMAIL