Being a child actor isn’t easy. Portraying the younger version of Darth Vader in Star Wars was, in hindsight, probably too much to ask of any actor of such a young age. Nevertheless, George Lucas cast Jake Lloyd as Anakin Skywalker in 1999’s The Phantom Menace. The actor would appear in only one Star Wars film, but from there Lloyd found himself propelled down his own dark path. A recent statement from his family sheds some additional light on Lloyd’s troubles.
Much of the criticism surrounding The Phantom Menace centered on Lloyd’s acting. In most ways unfairly, the young actor was thus thrust into a negative spotlight. After that, unfortunately, Jake set off on a self-destructive, downward spiral. A high speed police chase in 2015 led to a psychiatric arrest. Three years later, the “shattering” death of his sister in 2018 drove Jake Lloyd from Hollywood’s gaze for good. In speaking with friend of That Hashtag Show Dave Gremillion at geeknewsnow.net, however, Lloyd’s mother Lisa provided a positive update on her son’s health and well-being.
Family Statement regarding Jake Lloyd
We would like to thank everyone for their kind words, their support, and goodwill. Jake has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but unfortunately he also has a symptom called anosognosia which causes a lack of insight into his illness. This only adds to the struggle he faces, which has been very difficult after the tragic loss of his younger sister, Madison. He has moved closer to his family and we are all working hard to help him with this. He is still a kind and caring person and we hope to have him back to his fun and entertaining self as soon as possible. Jake will continue to make progress with the love and support you continue to show.”
Like his co-star Ahmed Best, and later fellow Star Wars actor Kelly Marie Tran, Jake Lloyd became the target of unwarranted hatred and cruelty. That he is now on a path of progress, surrounded by those he loves, should be welcome news to all, true Star Wars fans. We certainly wish Jake and his family all the best as he continues on his journey.
[UPDATE: In response to several comments received, I’ve amended some of my wording as some thought I meant to suggest that Phantom Menace backlash was the root cause of Jake’s Schizophrenia. Of course that was not my intention. For more information on the topic of Schizophrenia, please visit the Mayo Clinic’s website HERE.]