“The Unchosen One” is a curiously moving short doc (15:58), directed by Ben Proudfoot, about how feelings of loss and hurt have lingered inside ex-child actor Devon Michael, now 32. They resulted from Michael not being chosen by George Lucas to play Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace (’99).
Would things have turned out any better if Michael had been chosen? Perhaps not given the quality of Lucas’s film and the presence of Jar-Jar Binks, but my sense is that he probably would have been better than Lloyd, partly because of a certain curt intensity and directness of manner — guarded but watchful — and partly because almost anyone would’ve been an improvement over Lloyd. I’ve always presumed that Lucas chose Lloyd at least partly because of his cute looks.
I’m again recalling that moment when hundreds (including Paul Thomas Anderson) poured into Mann’s Village in Westwood to see the world premiere of the Phantom Menace trailer. It happened in the early afternoon of Thursday, 11.6.98. Every Los Angeles film fanatic with blood in his or her veins was there. The movie that nobody stayed for after the trailer was shown was Edward Zwick ‘s The Siege, which the crowd was mocking with a chant….”Siege! Siege! Siege!”
And then The Phantom Menace opened on 5.19.99, and the whole thing came tumbling down. It doesn’t matter how much money that mostly tedious film made. In the minds of many it destroyed the Star Wars theology. True believers were shattered, crestfallen.