Frodo’s journey has come to an end in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and so has Elijah Wood’s journey for the amazing epic trilogy. We talked to the star about the Peter Jackson films and the most-anticipated one of them all, opening Wednesday.
Wood says that all the scenes in the entire trilogy were shot out of sequence. “We’d literally be doing something from film three one day and film two the next day, so, it was really kind of a scene to scene sort of basis in terms of the focus of where in the progression or the depletion of Frodo we would be. It was kind of just about ironing out the very specific moments along the journey that were the key moments in terms of the way that he was depleting. It’s difficult to describe, but it was really just about, okay we’re doing this scene today, where are we along the journey? Okay, we’re here, so he’s going to be this much far gone, and so he’s gonna have to look like this and feel like this.”
In the end, everything of course worked out perfect and the scene progression looks flawless. “I’m so glad it came across. It was the biggest challenge, I think the greatest challenge of playing Frodo and the greatest challenge in the way we were filming because it was out of sequence, it became so difficult to try and iron out those moments and make it look like it was one long progressive journey and made sense over the course of that time. You’re taking one scene at a time and it’s all over the place. I didn’t know how it was actually going to look in terms of chronologically, and how it was gonna pan out, but I’m glad it panned out well.”
Elijah also talked about what is was like leaving the production behind after filming ended. “We’ve had kind of various ends along the way. After the first principal photography, so the 16 months of actual shooting time of the three films, when I went home after that, that’s when I felt the difficulty of re-assimilating into life and leaving that film and that world that I had been so encompassed by for so long, and leaving the family that I had made in New Zealand and all the friends that I’d made, coming home to Los Angeles and not knowing what my life meant anymore. All of those things I sort of dealt with after principal photography. And then we started going back for pick-ups every year and I kind of got used to that and we sort of said goodbye at the end of each set of pick-ups. And then now we’ve just had the set of pick-ups for the last film which for me, a lot of people are asking now-is this process of releasing this last film, is it an emotional process, and are you kind of worried about saying goodbye and all these things. But not really, because, I am, but the real end for us, for the whole experience, actually happened when we were there for the last set of pick-ups, because that was actually the end of our experience working on the movies with the crew, with the cast in make-up with the character. To say goodbye to that is actually very difficult.”
One thing he won’t have to say goodbye to is the character of Frodo. “The truth is Lord of the Rings will be around forever. It has been embraced in such an incredible way by the world and it somehow eeked its way into pop culture. It’s become this really massive thing that I think will carry on for years and years to come as a film. I think the relationships made on the film are so pure and so strong that the Fellowship in many ways will carry on for the rest of our lives, even after the movies. I think that we will always know each other and be together in one way or another for the rest of our lives. That’s the thing I think we’re all holding onto.”
So is the third film his favorite? “I’d say that my favorite is probably this one. I need to see it some more, I think, before I fully commit to it, but it was always my favorite making it. It was always my favorite part of the story, so yeah, I’d have to say this one. It’s the end of the journey, it’s the culmination of all that we’ve working on for so long, it’s the most emotional part of the story, it’s the most intense, it’s the darkest, and so we all loved this particular part of the story the most and put the most into it. In terms of from an acting perspective, for all of us it was the most challenging and the most interesting because each character is faced with their ultimate end and their conclusion so there’s quite a lot tied into that. In terms of the final product, the thing that it does the best is that it blends the visceral intensity of the Two Towers and the emotion of the Fellowship into one really well.”
You’ll next see Wood in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, directed by Michel Conry, written by Charlie Kaufman and co-starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslett and Kirsten Dunst. “I’m a huge, huge, Kaufman fan and Michel Gondry as well, so to be able to work on that, it was a great way to start the New Year. But it’s a very interesting story about a couple who are together, but they’ve broken up, Kate Winslett and Jim Carey. Kate Winslett had Jim Carey erased from her memory. He gets a letter saying that he’s been erased from her memory, so he decides he’s gonna do the same thing. So he goes to this clinic to have his memory erased, and they come to his house and they start erasing his memory of her, and he gives them all reference of her so that he can completely take her out of this life, and midway thought he process in his mind, he realizes he doesn’t want this to happen. He has no control over the process so he constantly grabs her and throws her into memories that she doesn’t belong trying to hide her. I play a technician who works for that company and falls in love with Kate Winslett, and knows that her mind has been erased of him, and that he is being erased from her, and so I end up trying to step in where he left off, essentially, and sort of manipulate myself into her life. Yeah. Slightly complicated, very Kaufman.”