If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about Hayden Christensen, that’s because his plan is working. As the former Anakin Skywalker told the L.A. Times, his rise to fame in the Star Wars prequels left him with the world’s biggest case of imposter syndrome, which was only assuaged by retreating from the movie biz to spend years on a farm. “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,” he explained. “I didn’t want to go through life feeling like I was just riding a wave.”
Christensen’s latest film, the faith-based drama 90 Minutes in Heaven, comes after nearly five years out of the business*, and the actor says he’s happy with the fact that his star dimmed since the Jumper days. ”You can’t take years off and not have it affect your career,” he says. “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.’” In other words, it’s probably a good thing they didn’t put him in Force Awakens.
*This post originally stated that 90 Minutes in Heaven was Christensen’s first film in five years. It is one of three films he has made since coming out of hiatus.