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Could he be more adorable? Um, NO!Elijah Wood | Successfully Jumping Through the Rings of Fire
an emily blunt interview

 

 

Elijah Wood jumps up to shake my hand and asks me to join him; his big porcelain doll blue eyes beaming at me, all smiles. He's genuinely happy to be here. And why not the 23-year-old actor is not doing so badly in his career. He's a major part of The Lord of the Rings, which is the biggest box-office trilogy in the history of film, has a toy line cast in his image and is currently receiving rave reviews in a wholly different style in a brainy independent film called The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Elijah, or as his fellowship of actors and friend's call him, Lij, has been acting since he was eight. It's a career his folks lead him into as a way "to burn off energy." His first feature film was Avalon when he was nine-years old, followed by Paradise and The Good Son and Flipper (the film). That's probably why he feels resilient and truly unafraid his role-of-a-lifetime as the diminutive wide-eyed Hobbit Frodo will ruin his career ala The Captain Kirk Syndrome. In fact he says, "I don't have too much concern about it. So long as I play different roles from Frodo I think I'll be just fine. Part of it is a I had a career before and was relatively known before Lord of the Rings."

After over five years of filming in New Zealand, a move that could kill a "child-actor's" transitioning from the out-of-sight cliché, Elijah has just now permanently settled back into life in Los Angeles. And refreshingly, even after the final Rings film has been months in play he's still willing to not only talk about his alter ego Frodo, but proudly reminisces unprompted, " I remember every scene. And everyday on the scene it has been a long journey but you don't soon forget. I mean it was long and very intense but it was also very memorable. We've been back every year since shooting completed - so the movies are constantly in our minds."

Lij after-Rings film choices seem to be very wise. He became a part of writer Charlie Kaufman and directing auteur Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine, and will soon start production on multi-tasking film maker Robert Rodriguez's coverted Sin City; which is shaping into a virtual well of impeccable talent like Johnny Depp, Benicio del Toro and Maria Bello due in 2005.

Elijah admits he likes the idea of doing "smaller" films, and says when the script for The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind came along, "It was too good to be true! I loved its sense of romance. I enjoy that. You know, it was kind of nice to get back to the "basics. " A more character involved, focused effort." He's sensitive not pooh-pooh his crowning piece of middle Earth lore quickly adding, "not that Lord of the Rings isn't [a character piece] - but it's such an epic movie that involves so many other elements, to trim the fat away a bit and work simply on a scene that's just actors in a sequence was refreshing. " Searching for the right way to say it, he continued, "It was nice to jump into something that didn't need green screens and two hours of make-up everyday! [laughter].

But why not do another blockbuster film? He said, "After being a part of Lord of the Rings, which is truly a once in-a-life-time, and truly amazing Da Boysand life-enriching in so many ways, it sort of reaffirmed my philosophy that I want to do different movies than I did last. When this film [Eternal] came along it was my chance to indulge in something totally different and not so in the public's consciousness. It was the perfect opportunity to do something completely different and work with Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry!"

And it certainly is different. Mr. Wood has hung up his furry Hobbit feet and shines as a kind of anti-Frodo named Patrick. Elijah giggles, "Yeah, Patrick's a little creepy, and a bit manipulative. But still endearing - in a way. " The actor's ethereal features suddenly seem less angelic as a menacing smirk flashes across his face. Wood's very good at being bad and the role has been critically applauded, proving he's no billion-dollar epic trilogy flash-in-the-pan.

Is there life after Middle Earth? For Elijah there sure is. He knows his next few world premieres probably wont have a city hosted parade, or 125,000 people gathered from around the globe get a glimpse at he and his cast - as LOR: Return of the King did in Wellington, New Zealand last year. Elijah admitted, "It was unlike anything I'd ever seen in my life - and overwhelming. The love and joy the people brought. The next day, thousands showed up at the airport to see us off! There was an airplane with Viggo [Mortensen] and Liv [Tyler] painted across it, parked on the runway. Honestly we felt like the Beatles!"

Even with all the hoopla he's faced in recent years, Elijah insists he's not jaded, "It's easy to be cynical. This industry is at a point right now where it's frustrating because it's harder and harder to make movies. It's hard to exist in this in the industry but these [great scripts] do come around. And I'm not jaded because I still believe there are great films out there, and great directors - it's just going to take more time to find them. '

What about finding love? Lij legitimately blushes a bit and says, "Well, I don't resort to pick up lines. I don't really approach women generally. You know what I mean? I'm not that guy in the bar that approaches women and goes "Hey" [he imitates a lounge lizard]; I sort of wait for it to happen organically. "

END



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