Joel Edgerton is one of those character actors who’s been in so many movies, it’s hard to remember them all. Right now, he’s getting a well-deserved moment in the spotlight for his lead performance in Loving (in theaters now), the true story of the Virginia couple whose 1967 Supreme Court case invalidated laws against interracial marriage. But Edgerton’s first big Hollywood moment was something quite different: the decidedly not-true story of Anakin Skywalker. While promoting Loving, the Australian actor spoke to Uproxx about playing Owen Lars (future Uncle Owen to Luke Skywalker) in the Star Wars prequels Attack of the Clones (2002) and, very briefly, Revenge of the Sith (2005).
“I found out I was doing Star Wars on my birthday,” Edgerton recalled. “My brother had bought me a video player, and I thought that was pretty rad, and then I got a phone call saying I could do Star Wars. And so that was one of the greatest birthday presents that I’ve ever had.”
Though Edgerton was in Attack of the Clones for — in his own words — “like three minutes,” he discovered that nothing opened doors in the film industry like being a friend of Obi-Wan. “It became my big swindle to meet agents in Hollywood,” Edgerton said. “Because George Lucas took 18 months to put the movie together. And all I had to say was that I was in Star Wars and they were like, ‘Oh, come in. Sit down. Let’s talk.’ And then it was, ‘By the way, I’m not in the movie for very long.‘”
Though it’s far from his most notable role, Edgerton is constantly reminded of his Skywalker lineage by die-hard Star Wars fans. “We were coming into the AOL building today, and there’s people there, you know, there’s always people with photographs for you to sign. And there’s this photograph of me, I must be 25 or 24 or something, in my Uncle Owen outfit,” he said with a laugh. “And I was like, “Oh, no.”
Watch Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga talk about the story behind ‘Loving:’