September 12, 2001
Wood Fought to be
Elijah Wood told SCI FI Wire that he went all out to win the role of the heroic, Ring-bearing Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson's epic Lord of the Rings film trilogy. "I heard that they wanted to do casting calls," the actor said in an interview. "They were basically asking anyone in L.A. to go into a casting director's office and be filmed against an office background, a white background."
That frustrated Wood, who felt he wouldn't be able to convey his passion in such a sterile environment. "I was so passionate about the role and so passionate about the films that I wanted to do something else that would somehow convey how much I loved it, how much I wanted to be a part of it," he said. "So I said, '[Screw] it, I'll do my own video.' So I got together with my friend. We got wardrobe. I got a book and looked to see what a Hobbit looked like. We shot it, did different angles. I did all that stuff just so I could make it the most realistic I possibly could. Then I sent it off."
Wood, of course, went on to beat out all comers for the coveted role, and he subsequently spent 16 months in New Zealand, sharing the screen with the likes of Ian Holm (Bilbo), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), Christopher Lee (Saruman) and Frodo's loyal Hobbit pals, Merry (Dominic Monaghan), Pippin (Billy Boyd) and Sam (Sean Astin). "There's an innocence about Frodo, but also a strength and a courage that is sort of unlike other Hobbits," said Wood, whose previous genre credits include Back to the Future II, Forever Young, The Faculty and Deep Impact. "Most Hobbits tend to want to stay in the Shire and live off the land. They find comfort in it. They don't want to know what goes on outside their world. Frodo, like Bilbo, is intrigued by what's out there. He wants to travel. He loves Bilbo's stories. He knows that there's this amazing world out there, and he's fascinated by it. And I loved that about him."