Jake Lloyd on how Star Wars: The Phantom Menace ended his acting career

Jake Lloyd, the actor who played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, reveals why he no longer acts.

The current 3D re-release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace has brought in, at current count, nearly $90m worldwide at the box office, which should make the bean counters at LucasFilm really rather happy.

Less happy, though, appears to be Jake Lloyd, who in 1999 was cast onto the world stage as the young Anakin Skywalker in the film. Lloyd had already done a bit of acting, most notable in the Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle Jingle All The Way. But The Phantom Menace was his major breakthrough role. As it happened, though, it turned him off acting for good.

[related article: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Darth Maul]

He was eight years old when he played Anakin in the film, but in an interview with Blackbook, he revealed that the role pretty much ruined his childhood. “Other children were really mean to me,” he said. “They would make the sound of the lightsaber every time they saw me. It was totally mad.” Furthermore, the article reports that Lloyd “was so upset by the filming process and the subsequent blowback that he decided he would never act again.”

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And, with the exception of one role over a decade ago, he hasn’t. At most, he attends the odd sci-fi convention, the article reports, but that’s as far as he goes.

He’s rarely talked about his experiences on The Phantom Menace and, now in his 20s, it’s only recently he’s opened up about how tough the aftermath of the film was. “I’ve learned to hate it when the cameras are pointed at me,” he revealed.

[related article: Was Killing Darth Maul George Lucas’ Biggest Prequel Mistake?]

It’s hard not to have some sympathy with Lloyd. He was the centerpoint of a massively criticized film, and took a lot of flack as a consequence of that. But can you blame him? Not really. He wasn’t even in his teens, and to hear him talk about how his school life became a “living hell” as a result of the film seems really quite sad.

You can read the interview here.

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