Christensen is Beast of Bataan
Hayden Christensen is to star in Beast of Bataan, the true story of the trial of the Japanese General who was executed for his part in the death of thousands of American and Filipino prisoners of war during a forced march to captivity in 1942, commonly called the Bataan Death March.
Hayden Christensen is set to play the young lawyer who defended General Masaharu Homma throughout his trial in the Philippines, and word is that Koji Yakusho, Willem Dafoe and William Hurt are also in talks for roles in the film, names that lend more weight to the film than Christensen's.
The Bataan Death March saw tens of thousands of U.S. and Philippine soldiers marched from the Bataan peninsula to prison camps while they were subject to horrific physical and mental abuse. According to the Wikipedia article these ranged from:
“Beheadings, cut throats and being casually shot were the more common and merciful actions — compared to bayonet stabbings, rapes, guttings (cut open bellies and left to die), numerous rifle butt beatings and a deliberate refusal to allow the prisoners food or water while keeping them continually marching for nearly a week (for the slowest survivors) in tropical heat. Falling down, unable to continue moving was tantamount to a death sentence, as was any degree of protest or expression of displeasure.
Prisoners were attacked for assisting someone failing due to weakness, or for no apparent reason whatever. Strings of Japanese trucks were known to drive over anyone who fell, resulting in a corpse resembling squashed tomato. Riders in vehicles would casually stick out a rifle bayonet and cut a string of throats in the lines of men marching along side the road. Accounts of being forcibly marched for 5–6 days with no food and a single sip of water are in post war archives including filmed reports.”
As always with war stories I think that this is something that really should be committed to film. My only concern is that it concentrates on the trial and we aren't made fully aware of the horrors of war that happened on the deadly march. The story of the casting comes from Yahoo News.
However this does mark a continuing move away from the big blockbusters by Hayden Christensen, perhaps in an attempt to distance himself from the role of Anakin Skywalker and his pretty basic performance of the character. Even the pretty big films of Awake and Jumper are still smaller films than Star Wars.
Perhaps that's not entirely his fault though, maybe the script and direction could be to blame, at least partially, for his labelling after the Star Wars trilogy. That, or just maybe he isn't that great an actor after all.
I think it's fair to say that Beast of Bataan will stretch him more than anything else to this day, although Jumper and Awake are both interesting projects for him.
Do you think he can really act though? Does he have the depth or have his good looks helped him get this far?