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Dissecting Actor Elijah Wood

Apr. 30, 2013by: Ammon Gilbert

Elijah Wood

Buy THE LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY here!

Growing up in the 80s and 90s, there were a few actors I was able to relate to who were more or less the same age as me. One of those dudes was HOME ALONEs Macaulay Culkin, which was cool at the time, but then became really uncool not long thereafter. And Elijah Wood, which was cool for a time and its actually still pretty cool, as the dude has continued to have quite a career, choosing cool and interesting projects along the way, and for having an obvious interest for the genre, starring in more than a handful of scare flicks / thrillers, and made the ballsy decision to headline the upcoming remake of MANIAC. So to prepare ourselves for Wood as a psycho-killer of women, lets dive into his career in the genre and see whats worked and what hasnt over the years.

BEST WORK

Buy SIN CITY here!

Some people will look you straight in the eye and tell you that Woods best work is what hes done with Frodo Baggins in THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy (and subsequent THE HOBBIT trilogy), but Im here to tell you that that assumption is false. While those movies have their merit and hes good in them, his best movie/role to date has to be as the cannibalistic f*ck Kevin in Robert Rodriguezs SIN CITY. Goddamn hes good in that, and such inspired casting to put the once hometown boy into such a down and dirty role and it works perfectly. His mellow demure is what makes the role so creepy, and lets not take anything away from those glorious bug-eyes of his, which heightened the creep factor tenfold over.

But thats not all hes done thats quality lets not forget his role in the other asteroid hitting the world movie DEEP IMPACT, the TV show where he trips balls and talks to giant man-sized dog WILFRED, the animated post-apocalyptic movie that is for anyone but kids in 9, and the highly underrated killer kid flick THE GOOD SON co-starring the then rival actor Culkin as the little bastard thats up to no good. Having these two face off in a battle of good versus evil was genius for the time, as they seemed to be rivals on and off the screen. So put them up against each other in a movie, have Culkin drop F bombs and destroy his HOME ALONE image, and have Wood win in the end (much like real life, as it turns out) calls for 90 minutes of early 90s joy.

WORST WORK

Buy THE OXFORD MURDERS here!

The guy shows up in every type of genre there is, from big blockbusters to indie romcoms, and everything in between. Were just focusing on the genre we know and love, so its nice to report he doesnt really have all that much that sucks under his belt. THE GOOD SON, mentioned early as one of his best, is also one of his worst if you watch it now for the first time, if you dont have any nostalgia for the movie, and you never watched it when it came out and those two were on top of the world (the world of child actors, that is). Watching it now is tedious, painful, and a bit ridiculous. I still like it, dont get me wrong, but I can also acknowledge that it is, in fact, kind of a piece of shit.

But one flick of his that I honestly feel is his weakest is THE OXFORD MURDERS, co-starring the great John Hurd. This movie tries to be an intellectual whodunit, on the trail of a serial killer through the prestigious world of Oxford University, as if it were a scaled down DI VINCI CODE or something as edgy. But its not. Its just an OK murder mystery, and Wood delivers one of his worst performances to date. Most of his line delivery feels and sounds like hes reading them from a placard off-screen, his acting is stiff, his character is whiny and unlikable, and the whole story with its twist and turns is just rubbish trying to play itself off for something bigger and better than what it is. Hurd is awesome in it, but everything else is simply rubbish.

TRADEMARKS

Buy THE GOOD SON here!

Wood generally stars as the kid the next door, hes the nerdy guy you can actually relate to in the movie, and the guy youd probably get along with the most. His role in THE FACULTY pretty much sums up what he normally plays, and that works for his advantage. Whether its his mellow demeanor, or his gigantic bug-eyes that looks like hes on Mars without a helmet, he almost has this cat-like look about him that people cant help but like. Hes also short. So when he takes on roles in shit like SIN CITY and MANIAC, where hes playing against type, hes all the more effective in what he can accomplish as the bad guy. because were all used to him being the good guy.

HIDDEN GEM

Buy THE FACULTY here!

SIN CITY wasnt the first time Rodriguez had worked with Wood. Nope, they came together in the late 90s and gave us one of the most underrated my teacher is an alien movies out there from writer Kevin Williamson: THE FACULTY. This little flick has a great cast of up and coming stars (some big just at the time, some even bigger now), and the whole aliens taking over the high school is what high schoolers daydream on a regular basis. Rodriguez and company just knew enough to actually make it happen and make it work. Yes, its said Rodriguez hates the movie and its why he doesnt work for studios (except his own) when he makes his movies, but taken as a pure ride of entertainment, its not one to be missed. And Wood as the dorky photographer is the type of classic role Wood excels at.

NEXT PROJECT

Buy the original MANIAC here!

One of the most surprising remakes on its way to theaters (and already out in some parts of the world), is the remake of MANIAC, a sick little movie about a serial killer of women running rampant in New York City. Its pure schlocky exploitation, yet its also disturbingly entertaining but mostly, its f*cked. Not the usual type of flick to be remade for todays audiences, which makes the casting of Wood as the serial killer in question all the more interesting. Wood as a psychopath? Sounds awesome. Im down. And early word on the street is saying he does a pretty damn good job, and that the movie is surprisingly good. It hits theaters (limited, of course) next month, so keep an eye out for that bad boy. Wood also has the rest of THE HOBBIT movies coming out, though his role as young Frodo Baggins isnt vast more like a cameo than anything else.

OVERALL

Buy 9 here!

Few child stars are successful both early on in their careers as kids as well as later in their careers as adults. Most develop unhealthy drug habits, they find other lines of work that fit their fancy more than acting, or they simply fall out of the limelight once theyre no longer the marketable child star. But not Wood. The dude did his time in kid movies, then graduated into the acting realm of teen movies, young adult, and now hes a bonafide actor, choosing new and against-type gigs all the time, with a serious knack for the genre. From THE GOOD SON to SIN CITY, from THE FACULTY to the upcoming MANIAC, Wood knows how to pick a solid genre effort and run with it. And even if there are a few OXFORD MURDERS out there, Wood prevails. I cant wait to see what else he does down the line, and I hope the reception of MANIAC is overwhelmingly positive it could only mean good things for both serial killer movies and Wood going forward.

Extra Tidbit: What's your favorite Elijah Wood movie?

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11:34PM on 04/30/2013
Another hidden gem is Forever Young. Although Mel Gibson is the main star but Wood is also a driving-force character of that movie.
Another hidden gem is Forever Young. Although Mel Gibson is the main star but Wood is also a driving-force character of that movie.
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12:30PM on 05/01/2013
Good call, yo! I was sticking with his genre movies, but his coming-of-age dramas like Forever Young and Radio Flyer are also excellent.
Good call, yo! I was sticking with his genre movies, but his coming-of-age dramas like Forever Young and Radio Flyer are also excellent.
10:32PM on 04/30/2013

Longevity and Versatility!

Elijah once said that he's grateful he didn't begin his acting career with a huge blockbuster film. That can ruin a kid and a career. He kept working in wonderful films such as Radio Flyer, Paradise, The War and The Ice Storm giving strong, subtle performances. He's among the top actors who can say a lot without saying much. Nothing shows this better than Everything Is Illuminated which I feel is his best work on the big screen. And his acting in Wilfred is amazing. I had hoped the biopic of
Elijah once said that he's grateful he didn't begin his acting career with a huge blockbuster film. That can ruin a kid and a career. He kept working in wonderful films such as Radio Flyer, Paradise, The War and The Ice Storm giving strong, subtle performances. He's among the top actors who can say a lot without saying much. Nothing shows this better than Everything Is Illuminated which I feel is his best work on the big screen. And his acting in Wilfred is amazing. I had hoped the biopic of Iggy Pop had become a reality because I think he would have been fantastic! I've read many great reviews for his work in Maniac and I can't wait to see it.
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9:51PM on 04/30/2013

He Is An Interesting Actor

I knew Elijah from his work as a child actor (The Good Son, North, Radio Flyer, etc.). I liked that he was able to avoid the career issues that Macaulay Culkin had as he grew up. His quite turn in the amazing The Ice Storm alerted me that he was becoming an actor to keep note of and not just a kid actor tying to make a "splash" in an adult film. He was really good in the LTOR series and Sin City but the film that I've herald as his best is Green Street Hooligans. I mean any film where you
I knew Elijah from his work as a child actor (The Good Son, North, Radio Flyer, etc.). I liked that he was able to avoid the career issues that Macaulay Culkin had as he grew up. His quite turn in the amazing The Ice Storm alerted me that he was becoming an actor to keep note of and not just a kid actor tying to make a "splash" in an adult film. He was really good in the LTOR series and Sin City but the film that I've herald as his best is Green Street Hooligans. I mean any film where you believe that lil' Elijah Wood can kick your @ss all day, every day is aces in my book. But, he is just as awesome in Sin City.
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12:31PM on 05/01/2013
I love Green Street Hooligans! Good call!
I love Green Street Hooligans! Good call!
+0
7:17PM on 04/30/2013
Loved him in SIN CITY , can't wait to see him in MANIAC ....two glorious bits of casting excellence .
Loved him in SIN CITY , can't wait to see him in MANIAC ....two glorious bits of casting excellence .
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5:29PM on 04/30/2013
Sin City is my all time favorite movie so I'll agree with you in saying it's his best and that his casting in it was a stroke of genius.
Sin City is my all time favorite movie so I'll agree with you in saying it's his best and that his casting in it was a stroke of genius.
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4:07PM on 04/30/2013

The War

I really like his choices in movies. Kevin in Sin City could NOT have been embodied by any other actor today. He made that role his.

Tidbit: Haven't seen it in YEARS, but i remember The War as especially heartbreaking (but good!) considering its themes of poverty and racism.
I really like his choices in movies. Kevin in Sin City could NOT have been embodied by any other actor today. He made that role his.

Tidbit: Haven't seen it in YEARS, but i remember The War as especially heartbreaking (but good!) considering its themes of poverty and racism.
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2:05PM on 04/30/2013

Love Elijah

I adored him as Frodo (and he did an excellent job playing an iconic literary character). It's great to see he hasn't fallen to the wayside. On the same not, it's good to see him try a variety of projects, whether they are considered mainstream entertainment or not. He's a great actor and a hip dude, and it's always interesting to see what he'll do next.
I adored him as Frodo (and he did an excellent job playing an iconic literary character). It's great to see he hasn't fallen to the wayside. On the same not, it's good to see him try a variety of projects, whether they are considered mainstream entertainment or not. He's a great actor and a hip dude, and it's always interesting to see what he'll do next.
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11:39AM on 04/30/2013

Sorry

Double post
Double post
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11:33AM on 04/30/2013

Great Actor

Not a movie, but the greatest thing he's doing is on the show Wilfred on FX. Him playing a mentally broken man is the best thing he's done. That show is so great. If you only watch the show as a man talking do a dog, then the show is kinda silly and dumb at times. But when you pick up on the undertones of the show and deep meanings, the show can blow your mind at times.
Not a movie, but the greatest thing he's doing is on the show Wilfred on FX. Him playing a mentally broken man is the best thing he's done. That show is so great. If you only watch the show as a man talking do a dog, then the show is kinda silly and dumb at times. But when you pick up on the undertones of the show and deep meanings, the show can blow your mind at times.
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12:32PM on 05/01/2013
Wilfred is pretty flippin' funny! Totally agree with you here. It's funny... but it's dark, too. Good stuff.
Wilfred is pretty flippin' funny! Totally agree with you here. It's funny... but it's dark, too. Good stuff.
10:29AM on 04/30/2013

Extra Tidbit

Pretty cliche, but Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite Elijah Wood movie. I had very little experience with the story or the books before that movie came out, and I of course jumped right on the middle earth bandwagon!
Pretty cliche, but Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite Elijah Wood movie. I had very little experience with the story or the books before that movie came out, and I of course jumped right on the middle earth bandwagon!
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