Wood | Successfully Jumping Through the Rings of Fire
an emily blunt interview
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.
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."
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."
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.
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].
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 and
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!"
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
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!"
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. '
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. "