Friday, July 27, 2012

Jake Lloyd

Jake Lloyd is a former child star best known for his role as the young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Phantom MenaceStar Wars fans generally disliked The Phantom Menace and cast much of the blame on Lloyd, effectively killing Lloyd's acting career and causing him to grow up to become incredibility bitter young man.

Lloyd was born March 5, 1989 in Fort Collins, Colorado and broke into acting in 1996, when he had a recurring role on the TV show ER and appeared in the TV movie Apollo 11 and the motion picture Unhook the Stars. Although most people know Lloyd as "the kid who ruined Star Wars," more astute movie buffs may also remember Lloyd as "the kid who ruined Jingle All The Way." In Jingle All The Way, Lloyd played Jamie Langston, the incredibly bratty son of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Howard Langston character. Perhaps Lloyd was instructed to be a little brat in the movie, although even if he was following directions, his character was nevertheless very grating and annoying and generally detracted from the overall movie experience of the casual viewer.

Notwithstanding his performance in Jingle All The Way, Lloyd continued to receive choice role and appeared to be heading for stardom.  Lloyd appeared in several episodes of the moderately successful NBC drama, The Pretender, between 1996 and 1998.  In 1999, Lloyd really hit the big time when he was cast as the young Anakin Skywalker in the first movie of the long-awaited Star Wars prequels, entitled Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

Lloyd played the young boy who would become the Jedi knight who turned to the Dark Side of the Force and later became the evil Darth Vader.  Lloyd seems to have been horribly miscast as Anakin Skywalker in large part because he seemed to be far too young for the role.  The start of a romance with the much older Padmé Amidala (played by Natalie Portman) was difficult to believe, as Lloyd was only 10 years old when the movie was released, whereas Portman was 18 years old.  Fans also complained about Lloyd's inability to deliver his lines in a believable manner and with realistic emotions.

Lloyd also had to give up to 60 interviews a day, which is a lot of ask of a 10-year-old boy.  Lloyd quickly grew to resent Hollywood in general and blamed George Lucas for putting him through the ordeal.  Lloyd effectively stopped acting after The Phantom Menace, although he did lend his voice to several Star Wars video games.

Lloyd claims that all of the criticism from his appearance in The Phantom Menace made his life a living hell.  He says that his classmates would tease him by making light saber sounds whenever they would see him.  Here is an itnerview where Lloyd complains about treatment by his former high school and college classmates:

Lloyd became so angry and bitter that eventually destroyed all of his Star Wars memorabilia. I bet that Lloyd is also angry because he appears to have stopped growing at age 10. Lloyd looks pretty shrimpy in this photo:

Even though more than 10 years have passed since The Phantom Menace was released, Lloyd is still very angry, as is evident in this 2009 interview at the Supanova Pop Culture Expo held in Perth, Australia. Lloyd apparently traveled to Australia to meet Star Wars fans, yet he came across as a complete jerk in this interview:

Despite having little apparent acting talent and ability, Jake Lloyd was a successful young actor who received choice roles. However, fairly or unfairly, Lloyd received much of the criticism from fans unhappy with The Phantom Menace. Lloyd has grown up to become a very unhappy and bitter young man who is still hung up a role he had when he was 10 years old. He still goes to conventions because he presumably is paid to do so and needs money, yet he seems angry when asked about his experience in The Phantom Menace. For this and the other reasons discussed above, Jake Lloyd is one washed-up celebrity!

*** Update - June 21, 2015 ***

Jake Lloyd was arrested on South Carolina police on a 25-mile high-speed chase at speeds up to 100 mph on Saturday, June 20, 2015. Lloyd reportedly crashed through a fence while attempting to evade police. Lloyd told the police that his name was "Jake Broadbent." He has a $10,700 bond and is being held on charges of resisting arrest, reckless driving, driving without a license and failure to stop.