The Star Wars franchise continues to be one of the biggest in film and television history, with millions of adoring fans all over the planet. Unfortunately, the franchise has a dark history that many don’t know about, and some celebrities were caught up in the wreckage. One such actor, Jake Lloyd, quit acting shortly after playing a role in the franchise. Learn more about who Jake Lloyd is, why he quit acting, and what he is doing now.
Who is Jake Lloyd?
Jake Lloyd was born in 1989 in Fort Collins Colorado and began his acting career in 1996. His first role came as Jimmy Sweet in the TV series ER, according to IMDb. He then took on the role of J.J. in the 1996 film Unhook the Stars, which also featured Gena Rowlands and Marisa Tomei. In that same year, he was featured in two more movies, portraying Jamie Langston in Jingle All the Way, and Mark Armstrong in Apollo 11.
From 1996 to 1999, the child star also portrayed the roles of Young Angelo, Timmy, and Ronny Collins in the TV series The Pretender for a total of five episodes. His last big role before entering the Star Wars franchise was playing Jack on the TV movie Host, a sci-fi thriller featuring Peter Gallagher, Mimi Rogers, and Andy Comeau.
Lloyd was cast as young Anakin Skywalker in the first movie of the Star Wars Prequel trilogy, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. He also lent his voice to several video games based on the film, including Star Wars: Super Bombad Racing, Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds, and Star Wars: Racer Revenge.
Why did he quit acting?
Although Lloyd had acted in several projects before his Star Wars debut, he had never experienced the level of fame and recognition that he received after the film. Lloyd earned a Young Artist Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Skywalker, but that didn’t stop critics and fans from unloading criticism, and even disdain, about his performance.
Lloyd was just 8-years-old when he was cast in the role, and he had the bad luck of being involved in a film that was the most highly criticized film of the franchise. Devoted fans were disappointed in the movie, and many took it out on Lloyd, as well as Ahmed Best, the voice of Jar Jar Binks. Looper reports that Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker in the franchise, stated, “I’m still angry at how they treated Jake Lloyd. He was only ten years old, that little boy, and he did exactly what George [Lucas] wanted him to do,”
Because of the poor reviews, and likely school hood jealousy, Lloyd was the victim of severe bullying at school. Best Life reports that Lloyd once stated, ” “Other children were really mean to me…They would make the sound of the lightsaber every time they saw me. It was totally mad.” He also mentioned that “My entire school life was really a living hell, and I had to do up to 60 interviews a day”, which would have been overwhelming for anyone, let alone a young child.
What is he doing now?
Not much is know about Lloyd now, other than struggles with his mental health. ScreenRant reports that he had been studying film and psychology in college, though he dropped out after one semester.
In 2015, Lloyd was arrested for assaulting his mother in her house, reckless driving, and resisting arrest. His mother later revealed that her son was diagnosed with schizophrenia and has since been transferred to a psychiatric facility.
Being a child star isn’t easy, and many young actors face horrible and unique challenges, making many of them feel utterly alone and traumatized. Hopefully, Lloyd is receiving the help he needs, and hopefully directors, fans, and the media have learned how to better support child actors as they navigate an unimaginable upbringing.