When he was hired at the tender age of 8 to play the lead in Star Wars: Episode I, Jake Lloyd wanted nothing more than to take the iconic character of Darth Vader and reveal his heretofore-unexplored inner, giddy child who really enjoyed pod-racing, laughing, and saying, “Yippee!”—thus establishing a dramatic bookend to his innocence-destroying, “Nooooooo!” Unfortunately, Star Wars fans were less than thrilled about meeting Darth Vader as an adorable young moppet, and they soon laid into him with a rancor uncharacteristic of Star Wars fans, except those Star Wars fans whose favorite character is the Rancor.
But as Lloyd revealed in a recent interview, that was nothing compared to what he got at home: “My entire school life was really a living hell,” the now-23-year-old Lloyd said by way of explaining why he entered “early retirement” from acting at the age of 12, which was certainly by choice. According to Lloyd, not only was he bombarded with “up to 60 interviews a day,” he was taunted by “really mean” schoolmates who would “make the sound of the light saber every time they saw me”—until finally he could take the logistically unlikely attention and scathing sound effects no more, let the hate flow through him, and “destroyed all of his Star Wars memorabilia.” Goood. Goooood.
These days, Lloyd not only won’t watch Episode I—blaming George Lucas for failing to "meet the standards of the public"—he wants nothing to do with the franchise at all, noting that he’s “only reprised his role as Anakin for five video games” (Only five!), and avowing that he’s learned to “hate it when the cameras are pointed at me.” Except, of course, when attending fan conventions, where he can then autograph those cameras’ photos and charge them for the privilege. But even this is small consolation for the hell we continue to put him through.