Hayden Christensen ready for big screen in films with Oscar winners Cage, Brody
Hayden Christensen, a cast member in "Takers," arrives at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010. (AP / Chris Pizzello)
Lauren La Rose, The Canadian Press
Published Monday, February 17, 2014 3:52PM EST
TORONTO -- Hayden Christensen says it was "quite the adventure" filming the period piece "Outcast" in China -- an experience that was heightened by his co-star Nicolas Cage.
The Vancouver-born actor of "Star Wars" fame said he was in and around Beijing for nearly four months shooting the action movie which is set in the 12th century.
"We were filming out in the rural countryside for the most part and some incredible environments. And then working with Nic Cage was a real treat," Christensen said in a recent phone interview.
"He's everything that you expect and more. A super, super nice guy and one of the most professional actors I've ever gotten to work with."
Christensen said that he and Cage portray knights from the Crusades in the film. When the Canadian star first crossed paths with the Oscar winner, Cage already appeared well on his way towards being immersed in his on-screen role.
"First time I met him, he was full on in character and didn't break character for the first couple of weeks," Christensen recalled. "He did a full-on English accent, he had like this wound on one eye, so he was walking around with one eye shut all of the time....
"(He's) just a very dedicated guy. Showed up, he knew all of his lines for the entire movie before we started filming. Just incredibly prepared, and it was really cool to get to work with him because I was a fan."
Christensen dabbled in fashion with a recent collaboration with homegrown retailer RW&Co. A 20-piece capsule collection released last year was inspired by time Christensen spent at his Ontario farm during the holiday season. But the 32-year-old -- who has starred in films including "Shattered Glass," "Jumper" and "Awake" -- appears poised for a return to the big screen. In addition to shooting the recent project with Cage, he is set appear alongside yet another Oscar winner, joining Adrien Brody in "American Heist."
Filmed in New Orleans, Christensen said the pair portray brothers who get caught up with the wrong crowd and "decide it's a good idea to go rob a bank."
"It's a heist movie with some action elements, but it's very much a character-driven drama that's really about the relationship between these two brothers," said Christensen. "I think that relationship is really what the movie is about."
Christensen catapulted to international fame with his starring role as Anakin Skywalker in two of the "Star Wars" prequels: 2002's "Episode II - Attack of the Clones" and "Episode III - Revenge of the Sith," which was released in 2005.
The storied sci-fi franchise will be revived once again with the Walt Disney Co. producing a new "Star Wars" trilogy set to take place after the original three space epics.
J.J. Abrams -- director of two recent big-screen adaptations of the "Star Trek" franchise -- will be helming the first film in the new "Star Wars" series. Shooting for "Star Wars: Episode VII"' is slated to begin this spring and is due for release in 2015. Original "Star Wars" stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are expected to play smaller, supporting roles in the new movie.
"I think it's in good hands," said Christensen of the sci-fi film series reboot. "I think they're going to take the franchise probably into a new direction. I'm not really involved, so I wish them the best.
"I saw George Lucas not too long ago, and he's definitely moving on to a new phase of his life," Christensen added in reference to the famed "Star Wars" creator, who remarried last year and also welcomed a baby girl.
"It will be interesting to see what Disney does with it, and what J.J. does with the first film."
With files from The Associated Press