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Hayden Christensen is making a return to the studio world.
The actor, who famously portrayed Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels, will star in Marco Polo, the co-production between Paramount and China Film Group. Also involved are Chinese firms Yuehua Entertainment and Huahua Film & Media Culture, as well Phoenix Entertainment, who all are co-producing the project.
Rob Cohen is directing the feature, which is being positioned as a fantasy-action movie.
Polo was the Venetian merchant who embarked on a 24-year journey into China in the 13th century. His adventures later were chronicled in a book that is widely considered to be the introduction of Chinese culture to Europeans.
Polo is one of history’s great figures who also has great currency in China. Polo’s early years in China currently are being dramatized on a Netflix series.
The last time Christensen acted in a studio movie was with Screen Gems’ 2010 crime-thriller Takers, which also starred Paul Walker and Matt Dillon. He last toplined a studio movie with 2008’s Fox sci-fi adventure Jumper.
The actor was nominated for a Golden Globe for 2001’s Life as a House before nabbing the part many in Hollywood were angling for: Anakin, the man who would be Darth Vader.
While the actor got a bit of a post-Star Wars bump, he also developed a reputation for being choosy. After a several-year absence from acting, Christensen slowly has been on the comeback trail and recently wrapped an indie drama titled 90 Minutes in Heaven, which co-stars Kate Bosworth and was directed by Michael Polish (Twin Falls Idaho).
The actor has an international following, which helped him nab the role.
Christensen is repped by Paradigm and Matt Luber of Luber Roklin Entertainment.
Paramount had no comment.
9 am, April 10 Updated to correct that Christensen was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in 2001’s Life as a House.
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