January 28, 2022 9:49:03 am
It has been more than 20 years since Elijah Wood first appeared as Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Wood has done many roles in his career, but be it a blessing or curse, the actor is still remembered for his breakout turn in the first adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s beloved fantasy trilogy. Still in his teens when he first landed in the picturesque New Zealand to film the feature (he was only 18 at the time), Wood slipped into the role of the hero quite easily, or so it seemed at least.
It was this natural charisma, and of course the gumption and courage he brought to the part that pulled in the viewers. “It was totally overwhelming,” Wood had told Esquire as LOTR turned 20, adding, “I didn’t know what to feel, to be totally honest with you. I knew I loved it, but I couldn’t process it.”
Despite, and perhaps because of his youth and inexperience, Wood pulled off Frodo with incredible conviction. Over the years, while watching LOTR movies on several occasions, I have tried to picture someone else doing the part, but cannot seem to think of anyone better. The book’s Frodo and the movie’s Frodo were always in tandem with each other. Elijah especially got the innocence of Frodo down to the dot. One of the more impressive aspects of Elijah as Frodo was clearly seen in the Gollum act, when he first comes face to face with the creature. Frodo’s reluctance to carry the ring takes a backseat as he realises that Gollum is just a distorted hobbit brought to ruin for his greedy ways. The wordless empathy and the glint of recognition in Elijah’s blue eyes as he feels some sort of kinship with Gollum was a show-stealer.
As it turns out, Elijah was already a fan of filmmaker Peter Jackson and the Tolkien universe before even landing the role. So once he was convinced by his friend and agent to audition for the lead role, Wood went to great lengths to secure the part. An uncommon practice at the time, but Wood decided to completely immerse himself in that fantastical world, so much so that he decided to send a video tape to the makers. In a chat with GQ, the actor revealed that he even took help from a voice coach to get his ‘Shire’ accent right. As we know, finally, he ended up getting that call from director Jackson. And just like that, Elijah Wood became a precious (pun intended) part of western cinema’s history.
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