Elijah Wood became one of the most recognizable faces on the planet in 2001 when he landed the highly coveted role of Frodo Baggins in the billion-dollar Lord of the Rings movie franchise. Since the end of the trilogy in 2003, Wood’s likeness has lived on every Halloween in the people across the world who don the now-iconic hobbit costume.
However, as the fantasy film franchise began to lose popularity over the years, in favor of the Marvel and DC superheroes who have dominated the entertainment industry since Iron Man premiered in 2008, so did Wood’s notoriety. Despite being one of the most recognizable faces in the industry, the Iowa-born actor, with his defining bright blue eyes, watched on hopelessly as his promising career in Hollywood was left behind like the empty cartons of popcorn in the cinemas he’d once captivated. The young actor, who had his first big break with a minor part in Back To The Future Part II, went on to try and shake the hobbit image that he’d inevitably been trapped with by playing a variety of roles, such as a serial killer in Sin City. But, despite his best attempts, people continued to associate him with Frodo. Speaking of this issue in 2013, Wood told The Independent:
“It’s been eight years since the last Lord of the Rings movie came out – almost nine. To me, I’ve been working on characters that are completely different for a long time. But I guess in terms of popular reference… a lot of people consider me to be that character predominantly.”
No doubt this type-casting he’d inadvertently been subjected to was painful to accept considering that fellow Lord of the Rings cast members had no issue in landing exciting new work. For example, shortly after playing Legolas, Orlando Bloom transitioned almost seamlessly into the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, playing Will Turner alongside Hollywood heavyweight, Johnny Depp. Sir Ian McKellen, an industry veteran, was able to slip back into his role as Magneto in the up and coming X-Men franchise after his iconic portrayal of Gandalf, and of course, Sean Astin – who played Samwise Gamgee – made headlines this year when he appeared in the hugely popular Netflix series, Stranger Things. But, what about Elijah Wood? Well, he lent his voice to the popular penguin animation, Happy Feet in 2006. The movie would go on to gross a staggering $380 million, but at the time very few people realized that the lead character was voiced by Wood. Just when things were starting to get eerily quiet on his IMDB page, it was announced that Wood would reprise the role of Frodo Baggins in 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first film of The Hobbit trilogy. But, currently Wood has no acting roles lined up for the New Year. Instead, it appears that he is using his talent to produce films instead, with some very impressive titles in the pipeline, including Mandy an action thriller starring Nicholas Cage, set for release in 2018. Meanwhile, the 36-year-old actor has openly discussed his belief that organized child abuse is a problem in Hollywood. “Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood. It was all organized,” he told The Sunday Times in 2016. “There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind. There is a darkness in the underbelly – if you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.” Wood went on to say that he’d been protected from this dark side of the industry by his mother, who didn’t allow him to go to industry parties. “She was far more concerned with raising me to be a good human than facilitating my career,” he said.“If you’re innocent you have very little knowledge of the world and you want to succeed. People with parasitic interests will see you as their prey.” In light of recent events in Hollywood, it is safe to say that Wood owes a lot to his mother. So as the New Year approaches, be prepared to see Wood’s name roll in the credits, but not as an actor this time. The young star is also very active in supporting multiple children’s charities, so no doubt he will be focused on his charitable pursuits. We wish him all the best for 2018!