There's a valid debate to be had about the cosmic justice in news that Hayden Christensen this week agreed to a three-picture deal with Screen Gems. Beyond the obvious indignation that directors like David Lynch (and his cow) are reduced to promoting his films on the street while Werner Herzog remakes American B-pictures (when he's not remaking his own), we might look to the more bracing reality that a man best known for pouting his way through two Star Wars films as Anakin Skywalker has been entrusted with the development of three movies for Sony's genre offshoot. Is it oversimplifying to wonder where this faith came from, or what Screen Gems thinks it will get out of this? Have you ever once heard anyone walking around on a studio lot, at festivals or elsewhere intoning, "I want to be in the Hayden Christensen business?" Seriously, yes or no: Is there a demand for three Hayden Christensen films?Not that we have anything against Hayden Christensen; Shattered Glass was wonderful, and it's not his fault Star Wars set fire to its own legacy. He's not waving the Hayden flag on some hubristic victory lap this morning, either; the word slipped out via Variety, which reported that Christensen and his brother's shingle Forest Park Pictures will bring projects directly to Screen Gems when he's not invited to participate in the studio's own films. The first film under the pact, the thriller Bone Deep, shoots later this fall (also starring T.I. and Chris Brown, who curiously have SG deals as well), and the two remaining projects are yet to be determined. "Hayden is a very talented and versatile actor with a proven worldwide box-office history," Screen Gems president Doug Culpepper told the trade paper. Again, nothing against Christensen's talent (we've seen better than pretty much any actor under 30 these days), but "proven worldwide box-office history"? Excepting Star Wars, which you kind of have to do considering what little he's been able to whip up in their "proven worldwide box-office" aftermath, Christensen's only score was Jumper, a generally reviled $220 million grosser that lost money Stateside and cost almost three times what Screen Gems is going to pay to make and market any of Christensen's upcoming projects — genre films like Awake, which did less than $30 million worldwide in 2007. Obviously this isn't the worst deal Screen Gems could make; there's always that home-video and Flopz™ afterlife. (Or only life, as with his straight-to-DVD 2007 effort Virgin Territory.) Still, though: In this economic climate, Hayden Christensen is a player? Does Screen Gems know something we don't? And if so, can we have stock tips while they're at it?
- http://www.link.com">Hayden Christensen is Screen's gem [Variety]