It was the late 1990s, and 3,000 young actors around the world were scouted for the role of a lifetime. On the ride home from school, Devon Michael’s mom told him he’d be auditioning for one of the most anticipated movies ever. “The Phantom Menace” — then the next installment of the “Star Wars” franchise — was in production, and they were searching for young Anakin Skywalker.
Growing up, Michael had small roles in commercials, television shows and movies. At 9 years old, he understood that an opportunity like “Star Wars” could change his life. From 3,000, the producers narrowed it down to three, and soon Michael was at Skywalker Ranch doing a test screen with George Lucas and Natalie Portman. The role ultimately went to Jake Lloyd, who experienced a level of criticism and bullying that would be alarming for even an adult actor. In Ben Proudfoot's "The Unchosen One," Michael shares his experience as a child actor and urges the public not to forget that they’re just kids.
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Director: Ben Proudfoot
Editor: Minh Hieu Bui
Featuring: Devon Michael
Producers: Elizabeth Brooke, Abby Lynn Kang Davis, Gabriel Berk Godoi, Ben Proudfoot, Brandon Somerhalder, Sarah Stewart
Co-Producer: Jeremy Lambert
Cinematographer: Bryan Kopman
Original Score Composed and Orchestrated by: Nicholas Jacobson-Larson
Supervising Sound Editor and Re-Recording Mixer: Sean Higgins
Colorist: Stephen Derluguian
Post Production Supervisor: Dillon Brown and Laura Carlson
Cultural Consultant: David Faddis
Assistant Editor: Cody Wilson
Sound Designer: Tom Boykin
Additional Music: Erik Kertes
Musicians: Nicholas Jacobson-Larson, Erik Kertes, Garth Neustadter, Saxophone Greg Agid
Vocals: Loren Battley
Story Reported by: Dillon Brown
Consulting Cinematographer: Brandon Somerhalder
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Op-Docs is the New York Times’ award-winning series of short documentaries by independent filmmakers. Learn more about Op-Docs and how to submit to the series. Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@NYTopinion).