Just turned twenty-one, this hobbit hero is a fool for love, tattoos and much more. Here are excerpts from a “Rolling Stone” interview.
Wood is pleased about the next two chapters of Rings. In these, the story – and Frodo in particular – grows progressively darker. It was suggested to Wood during the filming of Fellowship that the lure of the ring, which confers a power that insidiously corrupts, was akin to heroin addiction. He found that useful, but suggests the ring’s grip may be tighter: “It’s an obsession as well as an addiction.”
During the time its cast members spent making the Rings trilogy, they entered a parallel world. “As the airplanes landed in New Zealand, it was like Dorothy’s house landing in Oz,” says Sean Astin, who plays Frodo’s hobbit friend Sam. Wood agrees. Trying to tell me what fun he and his co-stars had, Wood says, as though it were the most normal thing to say, “Hobbits know how to have a good time.”
You all lost your minds, didn’t you?
“Yes,” he says. “Well, we referred to each other as hobbits [Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan joined Wood and Astin in the hobbit fraternity] and still do. But lost our mind in a good way. We gave in to the world of The Lord of the Rings and Middle Earth. It was about brilliant friendship and a closeness.”
Famously, the actors’ bond was cemented when they all got tattoos showing the number nine written in Elvish. Roger’s Tattoo Parlour in Wellington opened specially for them one Sunday morning. Wood opted for a spot just below his waistline on the right. “I certainly held his hand while he was having his tattoo done,” McKellen recalls. “Not that he was not feeling brave, but we were all chums down there.”
Now, more than a year later, Wood is considering another Lord of the Rings tattoo. In the first movie, Frodo is stabbed above the heart, a wound that never truly heals. Wood wants to get that wound inscribed onto his chest, just a simple black line or a white scar on his flesh to mark where the blade entered and the injury remained. “It would be a really brilliant personal Frodo tattoo to have,” he says. “That little scar that would never go away.”
Peter Jackson explains how, at first, he had to spur on Wood to inhabit the darker side of Frodo. “He was having to summon up feelings of genuine hatred that he didn’t enjoy doing,” says Jackson. “Those were the times when I had to say to Elijah, ‘I’m not quite believing it – let’s do it again.’ ” And when they did it again, he was there.
Elijah Wood has the ring. There were other rings, used for different shots, but he has the ring he wore: the ring that was the ring. Jackson gave it to him in a wooden box as he left New Zealand at the end of filming. “It is the one ring,” he says, “which is a pretty great thing to have.”
He keeps the ring in his office. It’s put away, out of sight.
I ask Wood whether he often takes it out and fondles it.
“No,” he says. “I haven’t taken it out in quite some time. I’d rather just keep it hidden away for now.”
He has the ring. He mentions that he also wants the sword, but they still need that for pickup shots. Elijah Wood is talented and successful and desired and strangely secret and smart and self-possessed. He has the ring, and now he wants the sword. That’s how it starts. Wood may handle it all better than most, whatever his buried weirdnesses, but there will be plenty to handle nonetheless. He will get his sword, of course, and he will keep the ring, which in fact is nothing sinister or malevolent, just a gold band from a beloved movie. And then, because this is how we are, he will want something else.
To read the rest of the intervew, please click on the link below. (WARNING: Obscene language).