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Anakin Skywalker child actor's tragic life after starring in The Phantom Menace

Callum Jones

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Anakin Skywalker child actor's tragic life after starring in The Phantom Menace

Featured Image Credit: 20th Century Fox/Colleton County Sheriff’s Office

Hollywood is a brutal business - there is no questioning that - so anyone that makes it in the business has certainly done something right.

One of those is the actor who played Anakin Skywalker - in 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which was the fourth film in the franchise and the first in the prequel trilogy.

Of course, Star Wars is a massive franchise and many great actors have graced the franchise over the years.

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So, when you've got the famous faces that have played the likes of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, it is certainly easy to forget some of the less known actors to have graced the franchise.

One of those is certainly 34-year-old Jake Lloyd, after he played the young Anakin Skywalker, back in the late 1990s.

Lloyd has since retired from Hollywood and acting as a whole despite his unusually young age.

Jake Lloyd as young Anakin Skywalker. Credit: 20th Century Fox
Jake Lloyd as young Anakin Skywalker. Credit: 20th Century Fox
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But he still managed to fit in a fair few cameos during his stint.

He was also known for starring in festive favourite Jingle All the Way, in which he played Jamie, the son of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Howard Langston.

But other than a handful of small roles, Lloyd went on to do little after that on screen, having retired from acting after dramas Die with Me and Madison.

At the time, he cited being bullied at school as one of the key factors, having also had to endure up to 60 interviews a day at one point in his career – saying his life became a ‘living hell’.

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"Other children were really mean to me," he told Blackbook in 2012.

"They would make the sound of the lightsaber every time they saw me. It was totally mad. My entire school life was really a living hell - and I had to do up to 60 interviews a day."

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He added: "I've learned to hate it when the cameras are pointed at me."

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In June 2015, Lloyd was arrested in South Carolina for reckless driving, driving without a license and resisting arrest.

He had been driving in Charleston when the Sheriff of Colleton County started pursuing him, with a chase enduring for 25 miles before Lloyd lost control of the vehicle and ploughed into a fence - continuing to drive along a road before reaching a wooded area, where the pursuit ended.

He was imprisoned until April 2016, before being moved to a psychiatric facility - with mother Lisa telling TMZ that Lloyd has schizophrenia, adding that she could ‘already see an improvement in his personality'.

Since the release of the Star Wars prequels, they have become some of the most controversial mainstream movies of all time.

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Jake Lloyd also starred in Jingle All the Way. Credit: 20th Century Fox
Jake Lloyd also starred in Jingle All the Way. Credit: 20th Century Fox

However, despite the mixed reception, Lloyd’s former co-star Liam Neeson is still proud of them.

The Irish actor played Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which also featured, Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala.

It was maligned by critics and fans alike, but Neeson is happy about his work on the series.

In a 2020 interview with SiriusXM’s Andy Cohen, he was asked about his feelings on The Phantom Menace since its release in 1999; more specifically, how he’d defend the movie.

Neeson replied: “I know a lot of fans and critics didn’t like it… I’m very proud of the film. I got to be a Jedi. I got to play with those wonderful lightsabers and stuff. It was terrific, Andy, it really was.”

He also defended Ahmed Best, who played the much-derided Jar Jar Binks, adding: “He came into a lot of criticism, I mean to the point where it really hurt his career. And I have to say when I was making that film… he was probably one of the funniest guys and talented guys I have ever worked with.”

Topics: Film & TV, Film and TV, Star Wars, Celebrity, Entertainment, Crime

Callum Jones
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