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‘The Acolyte’ Star Admits Comparing Herself To Hayden Christensen In The Set

The upcoming ‘Star Wars’ series takes place about 100 years before the events of ‘The Phantom Menace.’

Amandla Stenberg recently discussed her role as a former Jedi Padawan in the new ‘Star Wars’ prequel series with Entertainment Weekly. She said of her stunt scenes in ‘The Acolyte:’

“I was such a pain in the ass for producers when I got there,” Stenberg says with a laugh. “I’m just a really analytical person, and I have to dive deep into everything and gather as many pieces of information as possible in order to not freak out, especially when it comes to taking on something like ‘Star Wars.’”

Stenberg spent weeks training in Wing Chun to learn martial arts basics before filming. She also arrived six weeks early on set to work closely with her stunt doubles, Cassie Jo Craig and Kellina Rutherford. The actress compared herself to Anakin Skywalker actor:

“I remember saying something along the lines of: ‘Well, Hayden Christensen trained for this amount of weeks, and I’m only training for this amount of weeks!’ And they were like, ‘It’s going to be fine. You’re going to work with your master, and it’s going to be okay.’”

She Was Set For The Lead Role From The Beginning

Assistant fight coordinator Lu Junchang trained Stenberg for her fight scenes, including a key duel with Carrie-Anne Moss shown in the trailer. She shared her training experience:

“It was so rewarding. I’d never really had a relationship to martial arts before, but my master was very patient with me and just a delight. He guided me firmly but with a lot of joy. As we continued filming, I got faster and faster at learning sequences, so by the end of the show, oftentimes I was learning sequences on the spot, and then we would film them. It was incredible for me to acquire that ability.”

Leslye Headland created ‘The Acolyte’ with Amandla Stenberg in mind for the lead role. Stenberg said she ‘flew out of my body’ after seeing the concept art of her character.

The actress also found the series’ setting appealing as it was a time long before Anakin Skywalker’s birth and the rise of the Empire.

The Show Will Connect With Both Old And New Audience

‘The Acolyte’ is the first live-action work set in the High Republic era of the ‘Star Wars’ universe. Stenberg believes the series introduces elements that will connect with today’s viewers while linking to the earlier prequels.

She told TotalFilm in April:

“We are the prequel to the prequels. And the prequels have this kind of prestige to them, this monarchical vibe. So one of my main questions going in was: are we going to maintain that sensibility? And yes, in many ways we do, while also incorporating elements that feel really contemporary and relatable. When I watched [the finished episodes] I was really struck by how universal the story was.”

‘The Acolyte’ follows Jedi Master Sol (Lee Jung-jae) as he faces Amandla Stenberg’s Mae during a time of relative peace. The show comes out on June 4, 2024.

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