Elijah Wood, better known as Frodo baggins is twenty one, but still looks 15, something which his poor fluffy beard can’t really help. Elijah has become one of the most popular movie stars on the planet since the release of ‘fellowship’, but there is not a single trace of arrogance: he’s just as enthousiastic, fresh and uncomplicated as a teenager that is allowed to a school party for the very first time.
HUMO: When we spoke last yer, the fellowship of the ring was still to be released, and you were wondering if the movie would speak to the ppl. How do you look back on the past year?
ELIJAH: it’s been a wild, exhausting ride. Somebody just told me that the fellowship was in the fourth place of “best films ever”, and that sure is something ! I spent 2 full years of my life with LOTR, it now feels good to get a reward for all the hard work.
Besides, not all the work is done yet. Last summer we all spent another full month in NZ for a few reshoots. It was like coming home again.
HUMO: Is the bond between the actors still as strong as it was two years ago?
ELIJAH: yea, we’re incredibly attached. Dom Sean and Viggo live in LA, like me, and we tend to go out for a drink every once in a while. Recently we all went to Mexico, where we went to visit billy. We always exchange these warstories of our own, like we’re veterans that have just survived a war (laughs) Sometimes we even have real Hobbit-Reunions (laughs)
HUMO: Has your life changed an awful lot since the fellowship came out?
ELIJAH: I keep getting recognised in the street. Mostly ppl just call “hey frodo” but there are also people that stop me in the middle of the street to talk to me, or try to make me tell stuff about the sequels. I don’t have any problems with that, if a fan comes up to me and goes crazy then I just join in (laughs). Truly hysterical scenes I haven’t really seen yet… However, a little while ago a woman came up to me and she fell on her knees right before me , grabbed my legs and started crying. She yelled “ frodo frodo! Poor boy! Poor boy!”. I didn’t know how to react to that, and left that woman there one the pavement, something I felt quite terrible about afterwards.
HUMO: has frodo changed a lot in TTT?
ELIJAH: He’s become melancholic, more down. The closer he gets to Mordor, the heavier the Ring gets on his mind. Frodo starts seeing everything from some sort of dark side, which puts a lot of pressure on his good relationship with Sam.
For anyone that is expecting the same sort of fairytale as “fellowship’ was, they’ll be disappointed: the tone of ttt is totally different. You could say that frodo and sam come out of this fairytale world and step into a pitchblack nightmare.
I also lived that myself during the filming in NZ. When we were filming in the Shire, in Hobbiton I was having a great time, but as soon as I walked onto the Mordor sets I got all down. The mordor scenes really got me depressed.
HUMO: You’re not really giving TTT very much publicity! If you keep this up the people will think they’ll end up with some dark psychological drama story!
ELIJAH: (laughs) don’t worry, there’ll be enough happening. TTT is full of spectacular battles. The climax is of course the battle by night, in helms deep, where aragorn and others fight about 10 000 orcs (laughs). Three months they spent on that battle, always by night, in the mud, and in icy pouring rain. It even got that heavy that the shooting threatened to become some sort of “apocalypse now” thing, and that some of the actors were thinking about quitting the whole thing. But the result is stunning.
HUMO: in “fellowship” , the role of frodo was somewhat limited to that of a guy that just ran along. Are we going to see him chop off some orc heads in ttt?
ELIJAH: no, unfortunately, that privilege is only for the rest of the fellowship (laughs). Frodo is a peace-loving guy right. He does have a sharp sword, but I think he only uses it to skin his potatoes… (laughs)
I wished that frodo could pull his sword some times and just go for it, instead of walking around with his head to the ground all the time (laughs) but well, frodo is in a war himself too right, even if the war is only in his head; he constantly has to fight the temptation of the ring, a bit like how a junkie fights his addiction.
In the third part , ROTK, frodo’s inner battle reaches its climax. At that point he’s completely lost his innocence and purity, and he’s nothing more than a shadow of his former self. He even gets a bit evil. In the end there’s this totally tragic scene where sam takes the completely exhausted frodo on his shoulders and calls: “ I cannot carry the ring, but I can carry you”. I always burst into tears when I see that scene.
HUMO: so I take it you have already seen part three?
ELIJAH: only a rough cut. I can only tell you that the last part will be even more somber and tragic. Peter has already announced part three to be his personal favourite.
HUMO: “fellowship’ got 13 oscar nominations, but you only received 4 ones, in minor categories. How big was the disappointment?
ELIJAH: They ripped us off, it’s as simple as that. But well, we had seen it coming. On my way to the Oscars I was in the same limo as Peter. I told him: “you know we’re not gonna win right” and he just said “I know. It’s gonna be nothing”. Fantasy films just never win an oscar, it’s like the genre isn’t being taken seriously.
During the Award Show ppl kept looking at us really funny, like we were part of some weird gang from NZ, that had just come into the room without permission.(laughs)
HUMO: You look incredibly young for your age. Isn’t that a disadvantage when you are looking for a part to play?
ELIJAH: Sometimes, yes. I rarely get offered big, serious roles. I’ve always looked extremely young; if I go out to buy a pack of cigarettes, they often ask me for my age. (laughs) the weird thing is that I’ve always felt older than I really am. When I was a teenager I didn’t feel at home with ppl my age; probably because I’ve worked in Hollywood since I was a child, among adults. A normal childhood is something I never really had.
HUMO: next year you’ll have to go to NZ again, for the reshoots for ROTK. Aren’t you sick and tired of the whole thing?
ELIJAH: Not at all! On the contrary, I’ve read the books by Tolkien several times now, and I keep finding new things in there. LOTR will be a part of my life forever, I don’t WANT to say goodbye to it. But I’m also keeping myself busy with other stuff though. I’m always looking through books and scripts, looking for interesting projects. I’d love to film “girlfriend in a coma’ by Douglas coupland. But it looks like I’ll have to produce it myelf, but it’s a fat chance I’ll play the lead part myself. The main character in the book is somewhere in his late thirties, so that wouldn’t work. I look a little too young. (laughs)