09/10/2001 at 01:00 AM EDT
One day, Hayden Christensen, 20, was a little-known actor with some obscure TV and movie credits, though he did appear in last year's "The Virgin Suicides." Then George Lucas picked him to play Anakin Skywalker in the next "Star Wars" movie ("Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones"), and possibly the one to follow - which means that the world is his oyster. (Not just this world, but also an entire galaxy, far, far away.) "It's been quite the leap," Christensen was quoted by Reuters as saying at the Toronto International Film Festival, where he is promoting his new film "Life as a House," starring Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas. "An exciting journey so far. And very bizarre, because it's sort of come out of left field." Christensen was born in Vancouver and has lived in Toronto since he was 6. He still lives at home with his parents. Since his casting by Lucas was announced last year, additional attention has been paid "Life as a House." The film stars Kline as a dying architect who tried to reconnect with his family, including his embittered son (Christensen), by building a dream house. Said Thomas of her young costar, "I think (moviegoers) are going to be interested in him now because of his performance in this. I hope that he manages to get more of these smaller kinds of films in before 'Star Wars' comes out and he becomes too famous and too much of a movie star."