Using "the Force" shouldn't be so difficult: At least, that's what then-seven-year-old Max Page thought when he starred in a 2011 Darth Vader Super Bowl commercial for Volkswagen. In the super-cute "The Force" commercial, a mini-Darth Vader walks around his home attempting to show his Jedi power by using the Force on random objects, including the washing machine, a doll, and even the family dog, all to no avail. “Is this thing on?” he seems to ask. Eventually, the boy tries out his Star Wars-skills on his parents' new car, and presto — he is indeed a Jedi after all. The so-adorable-it-kinda-hurts commercial was released on YouTube a week before Super Bowl XLV, becoming instantly immensely popular and earning 15 million online views before the first touchdown was even scored. To date, the commercial has been watched on YouTube nearly 61 million times, but what has mini-Darth Vader himself, Max Page, been up to since then?
First, Page overcame a huge hurdle. In June 2012 — very soon after he was thrust into the public eye from his standout commercial — Page underwent an eighth heart surgery to fix a congenital disorder called Tetralogy of Fallot. Patients who have Tetralogy of Fallot are born with it and typically suffer from a hole between the right and left chambers of the heart (called a Ventricular Septal Defect); an enlarged aortic valve; a narrowing of the pulmonary valve of the heart, creating a blockage), and a thickening of ventricular walls, making it harder for the heart to pump blood. That 2012 operation was his final operation for the foreseeable future — the two-hour surgery gave Page a porcine valve that's expected to last for 10 to 15 years. Thankfully, his prognosis is good.
He's Still Acting
Page’s surgery certainly hasn't slowed him down from his love of acting: Since the commercial, now-nine-year-old Page has been steady at work, with stints on shows like Special Agent David Oso: Three Healthy Steps, NBC’s short-lived drama Prime Suspect, Extant, Sketchy, Disney Channel sitcom I Didn't Do It, FX's border drama The Bridge, and the long-running soap The Young and the Restless, on which he’s been playing Reed Hellstrom on and off since 2009.
But He's Got Other Ventures Too
Page also acts as a reporter for Hasbro (how adorable is that?), covering events like The Guardians of the Galaxy’s red carpet premiere.
He's Already An Advocate For Children's Hospitals
Page has also become a superhero in his own right: He makes appearances at children's hospitals across the country, raising money for uninsured kids and, of course, using a bit of the Force to cheer up their patients. He's even a junior ambassador for Children's Hospital Los Angeles (where all of his own heart surgeries were performed), and Page has convinced donors to churn up over $75,000 in proceeds for the hospital. Page is now an advocate for Children's Hospitals on behalf of Speak Now For Kids and frequently travels to Washington, D.C. to speak in front of Congress.
What does superkid Page tell other children also facing tough situations? "If you use your force and dream big, you can achieve anything. We may be small but we are mighty," he says, according to a Childrens Hospital press release.
Small but might, indeed.