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Elijah Wood: "My obsessions are all healthy"
The actor who was Frodo in the Lord of the Rings trilogy talks about The Oxford Murders, which opens today. Besides a prolific career, at 27 he also has his own record label, because music is one of his passions.
[Photo caption] ACTOR AND MUSIC PRODUCER TOLD US BY PHONE ABOUT HIS DESIRE TO VISIT OUR COUNTRY, AS WELL AS HIS CONVERSATIONS WITH HIS FRIEND VIGGO MORTENSEN.
Elijah Wood is in no hurry. He's not working, he's at home in Los Angeles, goes out with his friends, watches DVD's, dreams about his next projects. His accent, given that he's American, is decidedly British. A bit contradictory, since in The Oxford Murders he plays Martin, who from an Argentinian in the novel by Guillermo Martínez (Crimines Imperdeptibles) became an American in Alex de la Iglesias' adaptation.
For the guy who was Frodo in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, is there a theme to The Oxford Murders? "There are several, but I think obsession is one of them. There's a thread of obsession running through the film. My character is obsessed with mathematics and distances himself from the world. There's also the opposition between living your life and analyzing it, which is an important theme. My character sets himself the task of finding out who the killer is. It's a path of illumination, but it pulls him away from love, for example, and from the simple pleasures of reality."
Are you obsessed with anything?
Of course, I don't have any that could be considered dangerous. I like music a lot and you could say that in the past I've been kind of obsessed by it. But my obsessions are all relatively healthy. There are many things I'm passionate about, but real obsession is something that takes you away from other aspects of your life. Real obsession is dark. I just feel passion for a lot of things.
Had you read the novel before you were offered the part?
No, I hadn't read it. In fact, I didn't even know it was a novel. Once we started working on the script and rehearsing, I found out it was a novel, but I hadn't seen a copy.
Afterwards, did you meet with Guillermo Martínez, the author?
I met him in Spain when we went to the premiere. He came to the screening and to meet us. A pleasure. It's always moving to meet the creator of a work. When you dedicate time to a project, you hope that what you did reflects what the author intended. Martínez was very enthusiastic about what we'd done and he was proud of Alex de la Iglesia and our work.
Martínez is Argentinian. Do you have any connection with our country?
Partly, yeah, because I'm close friends with Viggo Mortensen and we talk a lot about Argentina. I've always wanted to go, mostly because of my relationship with Viggo and everything he says about your country. But I haven't had a chance to do it. I'd love to be able to go. I know he's a big football [soccer] fan.
San Lorenzo. Now that's an obsession.
He's got tickets to the games all year round, so I'd have to go with him sometime.
Do you like football?
Yes. To be honest, I'm not really into any sport; I don't pay much attention to it. I've seen a few games, I've got a lot of English friends that are allied with different teams in England. If I were a sports fan, I'd be into football.
Do you maintain contact with other Lord of the Rings actors?
Yes, in fact yesterday I went surfing with Dominic Monaghan and Billy Boyd, like in the old days.
Regarding the Hobbit, which will be directed by Guillermo del Toro ("a very good choice"), he punts: "I haven't the slightest idea what it will be like," he says. "I know as much as anybody. They're saying it's going to be two films, one of which will cover the gap between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. One would think some of the characters from The Lord of the Rings will return, but I don't know anything about it. I'm very curious."
You were a Lord of the Rings fan before the film...
Yes, particularly The Hobbit. I remember I read it when I was very young and I loved it. That's why I'm as or more enthusiastic about it being made into a movie. It's a brilliant adventure novel.
Elijah says he loves to go to the movies. "It's always a great experience. But it's been a while since I went to the theater. The last thing I saw was Cloverfield, and I had a great time. I liked Inside (ŕ l'intérieur), a French horror film. Did you see it? It's one of the best horror films I've seen in my life. It's by Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury. I think it's a remake of Hellraiser, by Clive Barker," he tells us. He also says he's very curious about the next Indiana Jones, although he's a bit scared. "I think everybody feels that way. In the end, I'm more enthusiastic than scared." His favorite film is Harvey, the one about the rabbit. "That's it. It's a lovely story and awesome acting by Jimmy Stewart."
You play piano, right?
It's funny, I used to play. I took piano classes when I was a kid, but I didn't keep it up. Maybe I could play if I practiced a lot, but I haven't done it in so long that I can't play now.
You have a small record label. What kind of music do you like to produce?
All kinds of music. I always imagined that if I had a label, I wouldn't dedicate myself to one genre. And the first record I produced was The Apples in Stereo, a retro band, 60's or 70's style. The group I'm working with now is Heloise and the Savoir Faire, an electro rock band. I think everything I do is going to be different, which is good.
You lent your voice to several animated films. What the most pleasant thing about that kind of work?
Animation can be incredibly liberating. You don't have to depend on your physical presence. Everything comes through your voice and so there's something very relaxed and liberating about it. I love animation. To be able to play a part in an animated film from a purely vocal perspective is brilliant. It's a fun process.
You've had a very good career in a short time and you've made very different films. Which one is, if not your favorite film, but the part of your career that you prefer?
(He thinks.) It would be the last few years since The Lord of the Rings, because I'm older and I've had more opportunities than before. I've also got some favorite films. I think The Ice Storm is extraordinary. I love Everything Is Illuminated [Spanish title: An Illuminated Life] and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. There are films I'm proud to have participated in, and those are some of them.
**Thanks to Serai for the translation