Evening Post
February 4, 2000

Rings Star Happy Here

Hollywood star Elijah Wood - who plays the lead character in The Lord Of The Rings movies - says Wellington has become his home away from home.

Wood, 19, who plays Hobbit Frodo Baggins, chatted on an American entertainment website yesterday about wearing giant feet in the $360 million project, working with director Peter Jackson and living in Wellington.

"I don't feel that far from home. I know I am, but I'm so at home here. I feel like Wellington is my home away from home. I just got a house - I had an apartment for a while - so I'm totally settling in.

"I feel so comfortable. And New Zealand's just a great place to work, it's a really relaxed and constantly beautiful atmosphere, so it' s a lot of fun."

Wood said he is was usually picked up at 5am for filming, that began with a 2-hour makeup session - including fitting prosthetic ears, a wig and big hairy feet.

"I get into my feet, which takes about an hour. They actually are very comfortable, thank God. But it does take a while to put them on."

Wood said he'd been impressed with an earlier Jackson film, Heavenly Creatures.

"I absolutely fell in love with that movie and I really wanted to work with him," he said.

Jackson and screenwriting partner Fran Walsh were also open to ideas from actors.

"We have open meetings where we talk about scenes and where our characters are going. It's kinda everyone's film in a way."

Yesterday British actor Sir Ian McKellen detailed his impressions of New Zealand.