Focus (F): You have just appeared in the German show "Wetten dass...?" for the first time. Did you like the show?
Elijah (E): Yes, it was great fun. My God, what a long show...
F: Does anything like that exist in the US, too?
E: Not that I know of - live, with so many guests and these bets...
F: When you went to New Zealand in 1999, to start with work for "The Lord of the Rings", you left home only for the second time. Can you name the countries that you've been to since then?
E: I could name five or six, it weren't that many. The promotion tours mainly took us to the most important countries.
F: Let's do a small test. Where's the Matterhorn?
E: Hang on, that's in Switzerland, isn't it?
F: Yes. But I meant a different Matterhorn...
E: Oh yes, you meant the bar with that name in Wellington. It was our second home, we always drank and partied there, just now again, after the world premier of Return of the King.
F: In the end titles of Return of the King it says, in large print, "The End". Have you already finished the Lord of the Rings Experience?
E: I am more like in the middle of it still. We are still on tour with the film and after that there'll be the DVDs. There are still some things that we have to do for that. But the experience of being together for such a long time, that gives us the feeling that we never really have to say goodbye, that it's only for a certain amount of time.
F: So you don't have to worry about a christmas time depression?
E: No, honestly not. The people, as well as in New Zealand as the actors, they've become such an important part of my life, it's really a sort of family.
F: You've grown up without a father. Has Peter Jackson become a sort of replacement for that?
E: Rather some kind of uncle, a crazy, good mooded chum, who has led us through this insanity.
F: But with authority?
E: Yes, everyone accepted him as a leader,without him having to somehow stress that. We all believed in him and we all did what he demanded of us. But all of that happens in a warmhearted, friendly atmosphere. Everyone, from the team to the actors, always felt involved in everything.
F: And your three co-hobbits, did they become a sort of brothers to you.
E: Totally, we did a lot together, and we still meet to this day. We were the youngest on set, so we found together immediately. Working on Lord of the Rings started with us from day one.
F: You haven't done many other films in those four and a half years?
E: There have been a few, yeah. But with all the pickups, the sound work and the promotion tours there wasn't much time left.
F: One film that you did was Try Seventeen. Did that actually ever make it to the screens?
E: Oh, let's rather not talk about that. That was re-named to "All I Want" and went directly to video sales.
F: Franka Potente was in that film, too. You were given the original ring from The Lord of the Rings, and you keep it in some box at your appartment. But on your right hand you wear another one.
E: Yes, that's Franka's ring. She gave it to me.
F: Are you still in touch?
E: Yes, of course, we spent some time together in LA this summer. She's a wonderful, beautiful and very sweet woman. We wanted to meet again, but she's in London right now.
F: Aren't you a bit jealous that Orlando Bloom has landed another box office hit with "Pirates of the Carribbean"?
E: Not at all, we are very proud of him.
F: In the Return of the King he's got a very daring stunt scene, in which he surfs down a battle elephant. It looks like an Hommage to "Pirates"...
E: Yes, that's really funny, that's what many people have said. But that scene was in there before Pirates.
F: Right at the beginning, you have done a video in costume, hopping around the woods, just to get the part of Frodo Baggins. Weren't you scared to look ridiculous?
E: Not really. Normally, with screenings, you sit in front of a white wall and say your text. I wanted to show my passion for the part and the film, I really wanted to be part of that, and at the start they said that they wanted to cast the hobbits with British actors only.
F: Is this video tape on the DVDs?
E: Not yet, but it has been asked for. I think they want to use it for the Trilogy-DVD, which is planned to come out in a year and half.
F: You are one of the child actors who has made it to adult age without having had a breakdown, going to prison or sue his mother. Are you the nice American Boy from Next Door?
E: it seems so. I am just me. I was just lucky to get to where I am. I do feel that it's a blessing.
F: But it is very difficult to imagine that it's possible to enact such a long sequence of this hard, depressing path of suffering to Mount Doom without having made the experience of depression, horrors or other sorts of human disasters?
E: Well, nonetheless I can't say that I've had these experiences. I don't think that you have to experience all that you are portraying.
F: But there have to be some emotions that you can relate to?
E: Yes, but it's enough if you can just relate to and understand the temptation, this addiction, with which Frodo is confronted.
F: During the Promo-Tour for the second film it was feared that The Two Towers might be seen as propaganda for the war in Iraq.
E: Well, that was put forward by the journalists mainly, because there were certain parallels. We were a bit scared that you might see a message supporting the war in it, but that fear disappeared after the start of the film. The film just treats universal themes, and ironically the story was looked at as a message of peace by the Hippie-culture. The heart of the story beats for nature, environment and peace.
F: You've lived in Los Angeles until recently, but you've kept your distance to the showbiz...
E: I never really meant to do that, but it has to do with the fact that most of my friends aren't stars.
F: But you starred in "The Ice Storm" with Tobey Maguire. Hasn't he introduced you to the famous-infamous clique with Leonardo di Caprio and others?
E: He was just around 20 at that time, and I was a teenager. And as you know, at that age, you don't really want to have anything to do with younger ones. Apart from that I don't really do the hangouts and clubs in LA. I prefer a good, well cooled beer in some bar.
F: So you're doing better in your new hometown of New York City?
E: Absolutely, the bar culture there is just wonderful. Alone all these little English and Irish pubs in my part of town, along with the jukeboxes and pool-billiards are great. In this atmosphere I feel a thousand times more relaxed comfortable than in the exlusive in-bars of LA.