By Alesia Stanford For Dailymail.Com
19:01 10 Feb 2024, updated 19:24 10 Feb 2024
Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen admit being cast in the Star Wars prequels was a dream come true, but the roles came with some concerns as well.
The actors, who portray star-crossed lovers Padme/Queen Amidala and Anakin Skywalker/future Darth Vader are revealing what taking on the iconic parts meant for them in an interview with Empire magazine.
The publication has released two different covers to go along with the article commemorating the 25th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Both will be released on February 15.
For Natalie, 42, her biggest concern was the ramifications taking on the role might have on future opportunities.
‘I was worried about doing it, that I wouldn’t be able to do anything else after, because the series carries such a mythology in American life. But that was precisely why it was such an incredible opportunity,’ she told the publication.
In the long run, ‘It bridged my career from a child to an adult.’
The actress, who would go on to win a Best Actress Oscar for 2010’s Black Swan said a childhood experience helped her prepare for the regal side of her character.
‘When I was in Japan doing press for Léon as a 13-year-old, I had the opportunity to see Kabuki theatre. When I saw the designs for the costumes and hair and make-up for Queen Amidala, I immediately thought of that,’ she explained.
‘I tried to use some of the ways I observed the characters moving their eyes, the slow and regal way they moved their bodies, as inspiration for the role.’
Hayden Christensen, 42, won a very intense competition to win the part of Anakin Skywalker, the young Jedi who would eventually turn to the dark side of The Force.
The Canadian actor joined the franchise for 2002’s Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.
‘The scope of the opportunity — the enormity of it all — was exciting to me,’ he recalled.
‘It was obviously a little daunting too, but there’s a saying: “Pressure is privilege”. I just felt very lucky to have it.’
The young actor enjoyed the opportunity to explore Anakin’s journey from light to dark.
‘I was really thrilled that I was gonna get to express George’s (Lucas) mapping out of how someone goes from good to bad.’
Looking back at the impact the role has had on his career, the actor said, ‘It’s been a remarkable experience… I guess if I were to have some advice for me during that general time, in my life, it would be: “Patience.”‘
‘My journey with the character and with Star Wars has, at times, been a bumpy one… but I’m in a good place with it now. And so that’s why I say “patience.”‘
Patience, or lack of, may be the reason Liam Neeson, 71, who portrayed Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace, was happy to have his character killed off.
‘It was an appeal. I’m delighted and honored to be part of George’s mythical storytelling, but I didn’t quite fancy signing up for two or three potential sequels,’ he explained.
Working alongside Liam was a joy for Ewan McGregor, 52, who tackled the role of the young Obi-Wan Kenobi.
‘I was so fond of Liam. He’s such a generous and wonderful man — playing it was super-easy, because he was right in the moment with me, and I was in there with him.’
The actor inhabited the character once again in the 2022 Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The two veteran actors were upset at the backlash against Jar Jar Binks, because they were so fond of Ahmed Best, 50, who played the controversial character.
‘Ahmed was so funny and inventive. Myself and Ewan were personally hurt and offended by the critical reaction to the character,’ the action star explained.
Ian McDiarmid, 79, who began his Star Wars career in 1999 as Senator Palpatine and returned to the franchise to play Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, is quite happy with his character’s legacy.
‘The thing that I’m most pleased about… is that every single evil act in all of the Star Wars franchise is either directly or indirectly down to that character.’ he revealed.
‘That is total evil, and that’s strangely satisfying as an arc. I do feel fortunate to have been able to do it — and other villains of cinema now have to compete with that.’