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The Sci-Fi Flop That Ruined Hayden Christensen's Career

In the mid-2000s, Hayden Christensen was one of the biggest names in Hollywood. His role as Anakin Skywalker in the latter two "Star Wars" prequels may have rewarded the actor with fame and fortune, but the overwhelmingly negative response to the prequel films at the time also left a burning mark on his short Hollywood resume. Though Christensen would never suffer as much as the last young actor to play Anakin Skywalker, he quickly became an easy target for criticism.

Of course, some of the flak was arguably deserved. Plenty of the acting and dialogue in the "Star Wars" Prequels was less than stellar. He even won a Razzie for the role. At the same time, however, some people attributed these flaws to poor writing and directing on George Lucas' part (via Indiewire). Regardless of the reason, Christensen's name shortly became synonymous with bad acting among fans.

That being said, Christensen had pulled good performances in the past. Critics often point to his role in "Shattered Glass" as a benchmark for his abilities. So, when it was announced that Christensen would star in a film adaptation of Steven Gould's popular "Jumper" novels about people with the ability to teleport via personal wormholes, it was natural to give the young actor the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, "Jumper" might be more of a critical flop than the "Star Wars" Prequels, so much so that it ruined Christensen's acting career.

How did Jumper axe Christensen's time as an actor?

To be fair, Christensen technically never stopped acting, even in the wake of "Jumper's" exceptional flop. He appeared in many movies throughout the years. It's simply that none of the films that followed "Jumper" were major blockbusters produced by Hollywood (via IMDb). The real question here is, how did "Jumper" mess up so badly that it caused Christensen to abandon (up until recently) Hollywood entirely?

Well, the short answer to that question is that it messed up very badly. Though the film had a ridiculously massive budget, a hot up-and-coming director in Doug Liman, a role played by Samuel L. Jackson, and a pre-established audience from the source material, the movie suffered from a variety of on-set issues. Also, according to SyFy Wire, the expectation that the film would receive a sequel or two ruined its chances at having a digestible, focused narrative.

Combine this with the fact that by the time "Jumper" was released in 2008, Christensen had already been branded bad news by the "Star Wars" fanbase for three years. It was a recipe for disaster, and though "Jumper" actually made a killing at the box office, it became a critical failure. The film only has a 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, and (as you probably already know) did not receive any of its planned sequels.