4 Acting Careers Ruined by Star Wars
Even before the backing of Disney and their seemingly bottomless pockets, you would think Star Wars was big enough to launch unknown actors into superstardom, without breaking much of a sweat. Unfortunately, that wasn't always the case. In fact, such fame and fortune wasn't for everyone, nor was it enough to guarantee future success. So, with that in mind, here are 4 acting careers left worse off by Star Wars.
Number 04. Mark Hamill
We kick off today's list with a name you might not expect, as one would only presume success for the focal point of the original trilogy. And while Mark Hamill has since returned to the galaxy far, far away to teach Rey the ways of the Force, his career in-between has been rather underwhelming. The world was truly at Hamill's feat in the late seventies and early eighties, yet he somehow traded megastardom for b-rated films and voice-over work. Sure, bringing the animated Joker to life is – *cough* no joke – but how could such a rising star fade off into obscurity? Was it due to the infamous car crash? Was he simply destined to be typecast? Or was it all down to his acting ability? Well, as it turns out, it was none of those things. You see, Mark didn't really want to become a Harrison Ford-esque talent, and was happy enough to pursue comic and stage work. And hey – who needs to pursue fame and fortune when you've already starred in one of the greatest trilogy of films ever made?
Number 03. Natalie Portman
When asked to portray Queen Amidala in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, 18-year-old Natalie Portman must have jumped for joy. Little did she know that her “breakout” role would leave her desperate for work. Partly due to the lackluster writing of the prequel trilogy, her performances were heavily scrutinised, to say the least. Indeed, while speaking with New York Magazine in 2014, Natalie recalled how her career fell from grace seemingly overnight:
“Star Wars had come out … and everyone thought I was a horrible actress. I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me.”
Thankfully, Portman's work in Cold Mountain and V for Vendetta reassured directors of her acting credentials. She even went on to win an Oscar for her performance opposite Mila Kunis in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan.
Number 02. Hayden Christensen
Just like his on-screen love interest, Hayden Christensen was panned for his performances as Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Fans simply hated the character's whiny attitude and general dissimilarity to the iconic Darth Vader. And who can forget about his hatred for sand? Despite his lengthy acting career before his time in Star Wars, however, Hayden felt that he didn't deserve his newfound fame – as revealed in an interview with Vulture in 2015:
“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. I didn’t want to go through life feeling like I was just riding a wave.”
Ever since, Christensen has only appeared in a handful of films, preferring the quiet life of a farmer to the intensity of a Hollywood A-Lister - although he hasn't ruled out a return to the silver screen.
Number 01. Jake Lloyd
The sad truth of Jake Lloyd's acting career is something we've covered numerous times already on this channel, so we won't go into too much detail. But simply put, Lloyd was extensively bullied for his portrayal of young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. In fact, so upsetting was the filming process and the subsequent blowback that he vowed to never act again. If that wasn't bad enough, Jake was arrested in 2015 after a high-speed police pursuit in South Carolina. He was then transferred to a psychiatric facility after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. And while Lloyd is said to have recovered well, perhaps his career and life would have drastically changed for the better if he had simply turned down the role of a lifetime...
Know of any more acting careers left worse off by Star Wars? Let us know in the comments below.