HOLLYWOOD, May 12, 2000 - Hayden Christensen, who? For most, the 19-year-old Canadian was an unknown until he became the (still-unconfirmed) lock to play Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode II." But to a handful, the actor was not only already a household name, but virtually a part of their lives.
Welcome to the Hayden Christensen fan culture, which -- much like the fandom of other idiosyncratic interests -- consists of a ring of do-it-yourself Web sites dedicated to the actor's honor. This week, we discovered at least six Christensen fan sites (see below), some run by teenyboppers "girls" ranging in age from 14 to 20.
"I first saw [Hayden] in 'Trapped in a Purple Haze' [a 2000 TV-movie]. I think that he is an amazing actor," says Shawna, the 20-year-old Web master of www.haydenchristensen.net, who asked to be identified only by her first name. "It only takes a few minutes of seeing him in action before you're a fan for life, and that's an awesome quality in an actor."
Shawna tells Hollywood.com that she created the site about a month ago. Her mission? To create a community and provide fans with photos, news, and other information on Christensen. (The actor's favorite color? "Apparently blue," the site tell us.)
And if the above testaments still leave room for doubts as to the heretofore questionable existence of Christensen fans, just talk to Heidi -- creator of the optimistically titled The One and Only Hayden Christensen Web site. She first spotted the actor on the Fox Family Channel movie "Freefall" in 1999.
Like Shawna, Heidi (last name also confidential) says she was instantly taken by the actor's clean-cut good looks and acting talent.
"[Hayden] is a very talented actor with a lot of potential, and he is also hot," the 14-year-old tells Hollywood.com.
Her site also was launched pre-"Star Wars" buzz -- drawing about 7,660 visitors in the past two to three months, Heidi says.
And if fame begets adoration, new converts are likely to soon join the ranks of these dedicated Christensen fans. But despite the fact that they're among the actor's first fans, neither Shawna nor Heidi see themselves as having a proprietary claim over him. And the two certainly harbor none of the snobbish, I-liked-him-first attitude toward new fans.
As Shawna succinctly puts it: "I think a fan is a fan. I don't think there should be seniority as far as fans are concerned."
Agrees Heidi: "There are a lot of Hayden fans, and I think I am just one of the many who truly are dedicated. [As to the exposure a 'Star Wars' movie would bring], I think it's great that Hayden finally will have a lot of fans, he'd probably appreciate all the support also."
Here's a rundown of the Hayden Christensen cyber clubs currently floating on the Web:
HadenChristensen.net (www.haydenchristensen.net) The First Official Hayden Christensen Fan Page (www.angelfire.com/celeb/haydenchristensen/) The One and Only Hayden Christensen (http://www.geocities.com/akaprincess_1999/page.html) Absolute Hayden Christensen (www.angelfire.com/celeb/haydenishot/) Hayden Christensen Page (http://www.angelfire.com/celeb/haydenchica/) Hadyen Haven (http://www.angelfire.com/celeb/haydenhaven/index.html)