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Elijah Wood

Elijah Jordan Wood (born January 28 1981) is an American actor. Acting since the age of eight, he includes among his many film roles, Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Making his film debut at age eight with a minor part in Back to the Future Part II (1989), he landed a succession of subsequent larger roles, and became a critically acclaimed child actor by age 13. After his role as Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, he has resisted typecasting by choosing varied roles in critically-acclaimed films such as Bobby, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sin City, Green Street and Everything Is Illuminated. Most recently he starred in the film Day Zero (2007) and provided the voice of the main character, Mumble, in the award-winning animated film Happy Feet. He also played an American tourist turned vampire in Paris, je t'aime. In 2005, he started his own record label, Simian Records. His next project is The Passenger (2008).

In 2006, he became a well-known voice actor in video gaming and would soon become the voice of the video game icon, Spyro the Dragon, starting with The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning.

In 2008, he set a new world record when he became the first person ever to cross the Victoria Falls on ropes whilst appearing on Jack Osbourne's hit show Adrenaline Junkie.

Early life

Wood, the second of three children, was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Debra D. (née Krause) and Warren W. Wood, delicatessen operators. He is of German, Polish, Irish and English descent. As a child he took piano lessons from Marlene Loftsgaarden in Cedar Rapids. He took to the stage in his elementary school's staging of the play The Sound of Music. The following year, he graduated to the title character in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He also served as choir boy during the production of See How They Run, produced by the Marion Creative Council.

Career

Early career

Wood modeled and did local commercials before moving with his family to Los Angeles in 1988. It was there that Wood got his first break: a small role in a video by Paula Abdul - "Forever Your Girl," directed by David Fincher. Film work followed almost instantly in Back to the Future Part II (1989). It was Wood's role as Aidan Quinn's son in Barry Levinson's 1990 film Avalon (the third film in the Baltimore trilogy containing 1982's Diner and 1987's Tin Men) that first gave Wood attention, as the film received widespread critical acclaim and was nominated for four Academy Awards.

After a small part in the Richard Gere pot-boiler Internal Affairs (1990), he secured his first starring role in Paradise (1991), in which he played a young boy who brings estranged couple Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson back together. He received good reviews for his performance - some said it was one of the best things about the film - and from there, he went on to co-star with Mel Gibson and Jamie Lee Curtis in Forever Young and with Joseph Mazzello in Radio Flyer (both were released in 1992).

In 1993, he co-starred with Macaulay Culkin in The Good Son, and in the same year he had the lead role in The Adventures of Huck Finn. In 1994 he starred in The War (1994), with Kevin Costner. His performance in this movie gained him a nomination for a 'Young Star Award' (for which he was nominated four times, and won twice), and Roger Ebert said in his review of the film that:

"Elijah Wood has emerged, I believe, as the most talented actor in his age group, in Hollywood history".

Also in 1994, he had the title role in North. In 1995 he appeared in the music video for The Cranberries’ "Ridiculous Thoughts". The following year he got the lead role in Flipper (1996), which was not very successful, but the subsequent critical and financial success of Ang Lee's The Ice Storm (1997) provided a positive development in the young actor's career. As the soulfully dazed and confused Mikey Carver, Wood gave a portrayal remarkable for its rendering of the thoughtfulness and exquisite hopelessness inherent in the character.

In 1997 he starred in Oliver Twist, as The Artful Dodger. 1998's Deep Impact and The Faculty did not allow Wood the same degree of character development, but were great financial successes and further stepping stones in Wood's evolution from winsome child star to impressive young actor.

Wood's next role was as the boyfriend of a wannabe hip-hop groupie in James Toback's problematic Black and White (1999). He followed this with a role as a junior hitman in Chain of Fools.

1999–2003: The Lord of the Rings

Wood further developed as an actor in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the first installment of director Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's literary trilogy. His most hotly anticipated project, the 2001 film gave Wood top billing as Frodo Baggins, alongside a glittering cast that included Sir Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Sean Bean, Viggo Mortensen, and Liv Tyler.

The Lord of the Rings was filmed in New Zealand and, before the cast left the country, Jackson gave Wood two gifts: one of the One Ring props used on the set and Sting, Frodo's sword. He was also given a pair of prosthetic "hobbit feet" he wore during filming. That same year, the young actor could be seen in less mystical surroundings, courtesy of Ed Burns' Ash Wednesday, a crime drama that also featured Oliver Platt and Rosario Dawson.

In 2002, Wood lent his voice to Disney's straight-to-video release of The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina. Of course, his most substantial role of 2002 is inarguably his return to the role of hobbit Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

2003 proved to be a similar year for Wood; after two relatively small jobs (his role credited as 'The Guy' in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and his stint as First Assistant Director in Sean Astin's The Long and Short of It served purely as a break for Elijah), he starred in All I Want and once again resumed his role as Frodo Baggins for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003), the last chapter in Tolkien's trilogy.

2004–present: Recent career

Hot on the heels of the trilogy, Wood quickly appeared in his first post-Frodo role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), playing an ethically challenged lab technician who helps erase heartbreaking memories but then uses his knowledge of the past relationship of an unknowing former patient (played by Kate Winslet) to woo her.

He then had a chillingly silent turn as the cannibalistic, bespectacled serial killer Kevin in director Robert Rodriguez and writer-artist Frank Miller's visually arresting adaptation of Miller's crime noir comic book series Sin City (2005), appearing opposite Mickey Rourke in the segment "The Hard Goodbye". On May 12, 2005 , Wood hosted a program called MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed, when the new Xbox 360 was launched.

Also in 2005, Wood starred in Everything Is Illuminated, in which he plays a young American Jewish man on a quest to find the woman who once saved his grandfather during the Second World War, and Green Street Hooligans, as an American college student who falls in with a violent English football firm. Both had limited release, but were critically acclaimed.

Wood shot a small part in Paris, je t'aime, which consists of eighteen 5-minute sections. Each section is directed by a different director. Wood’s section, called "Quartier de la Madeleine", was directed by Vincenzo Natali. The film opened on May 18 at 2006 Cannes Film Festival and was shown at 2006 Toronto International Film Festival. First Look Pictures acquired the North American rights, and the film opened in the US in early 2007.

One of his most recent films was Emilio Estevez's Bobby, in which his character gets married to change his draft classification. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was released on November 17, 2006 in New York and Los Angeles. Wide release followed on November 23.

In Happy Feet, Wood provided the voice of Mumble, a penguin who can tap dance, but not sing. Happy Feet was released on November 17, 2006 and has grossed over $380 million dollars worldwide. The movie also received a Golden Globe Award nomination and won an Academy Award and a BAFTA for Best Animated Feature.

Wood has finished filming Day Zero, a drama about the draft, in which he portrays Aaron Feller. The film had its debut at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival.

On November 19, Wood hosted the special "Saving a Species: The Great Penguin Rescue" for Discovery Kids Channel, for which he has been nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the category of acting in a children/youth/family special. On January 4, 2007 Wood joined Screen Actors Guild President Alan Rosenberg to announce the nominees for the 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards®.

Wood also has finished filming The Oxford Murders, film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Guillermo Martínez, in which he plays a graduate student, who investigates a series of bizarre, mathematically-based murders in Oxford.. It was released in Spain on January 18th, 2008.

Wood also is set to star in The Passenger, a biopic about singer Iggy Pop as young man. He has finished recording voice work for Tim Burton's upcoming animated feature film version of the short film 9.

Other work

Elijah Wood is one of the biggest collectors of music in Hollywood. In 2005 Wood started his own record label called Simian Records. On September 19, 2006 Wood announced that Simian had signed The Apples in Stereo as their first band, with their new album New Magnetic Wonder released in February 2007. In addition he also directed the music video for "Energy". The other band signed to Simian thus far is Heloise and the Savoir Faire. Wood declared he is a big fan of these two bands.

Wood has also provided voiceovers for videogames, providing the current voice for Spyro the Dragon since 2006's The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning, as well as reprising Mumble in the game version of Happy Feet. He also contributed his talents to fellow Lord of the Rings star Viggo Mortensen's album pandemoniumfromamerica, singing and playing various instruments on the album.

Wood has signed to co-produce the film Black Wings Has My Angel, based on the noir novel of the same name, with Anthony Moody and Rob Malkani of Indalo Productions.

On April 11, 2008, Elijah was the guest host of Channel 4's Friday Night Project.

Personal life

Wood likes to keep his personal life away from the media spotlight, and is particularly private about his romantic relationships. In 2005, Softpedia reported that he is dating Gogol Bordello's backup dancer Pamela Racine; the relationship began sometime after they met on the set of Everything Is Illuminated in 2004.

In an interview about Everything Is Illuminated, director Liev Schreiber commented that Wood has a "generosity of spirit" and a "sincere goodness as a human being. He also has supported several campaigns for charity as Keep a Child Alive or ALDO/YouthAIDS In addition to charity work, Wood is a known music buff who admits to owning something in the range of 4,000 CDs, and once cited his favorite band as The Smashing Pumpkins. His personal playlist of favorite songs can be accessed on iTunes.

Wood has a tattoo of the Quenya-mode Tengwar symbol for "nine" just below his waist on the right side, a reference to his involvement in the Lord of the Rings and the fact that his character was one of the nine members of the Fellowship of the Ring. The other actors of "The Fellowship" (Sean Astin, Sean Bean, Billy Boyd, Ian McKellen, Dominic Monaghan, Viggo Mortensen, and Orlando Bloom) got the same tattoo with the exception of John Rhys-Davies whose stunt double got the tattoo instead. He also keeps the One Ring given to him by Peter Jackson in a box inside a box in his attic. Although he has joked in several interviews he is still afraid of it, he's mentioned it's merely because he does not want to lose it.

In May 2006, Autograph Collector Magazine published its list of 10 Best & 10 Worst Hollywood Signers, Wood was ranked #7 on the list of Best Signers. Wood has, on occasion, been mistaken for Tobey Maguire and Daniel Radcliffe.

He smokes clove cigarettes - a habit he picked up from his The Faculty co-star Josh Hartnett.

Filmography

Films

Year Title Role Notes
1989 Back to the Future Part II Video-game boy #2 bit part
1990 Child in the Night Luke TV
Internal Affairs Sean Stretch minor role
Avalon Michael Kaye
The Witness Little Boy short film
1991 Paradise Willard Young
1992 Day-O Day-O
Forever Young Nat Cooper
Radio Flyer Mike
1993 The Good Son Mark Evans
The Adventures of Huck Finn Huckleberry Finn
1994 North North
The War Stuart 'Stu' Simmons
1996 Flipper Sandy
1997 Oliver Twist Jack 'The Artful Dodger' Dawkins TV Film
The Ice Storm Mikey Carver
1998 Deep Impact Leo Beiderman
The Faculty Casey Connor
1999 The Bumblebee Flies Anyway Barney Snow
Black and White Wren
2000 Chain of Fools Mikey Direct-to-video
2001 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Frodo Baggins
Ash Wednesday Sean Sullivan
2002 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Frodo Baggins
The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina Tom Thumb (voice) Direct-to-video
All I Want aka Try Seventeen Jones Dillon Direct-to-video
2003 The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Frodo Baggins
The Long and Short of It first assistant director short film
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over The Guy Cameo
2004 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Patrick
2005 Sin City Kevin
Everything Is Illuminated Jonathan Safran Foer
Green Street Matt Buckner
2006 Bobby William Avary
Happy Feet Mumble (Voice)
The Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning Spyro Video Game
2007 Paris, je t'aime David
The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night Spyro Video Game
Day Zero Aaron Feller US Release: January 18, 2008
2008 The Oxford Murders Martin Spain Release: January 18th, 2008
Christmas on Mars TBA
9 9 (Voice) post-production
The Passenger Iggy Pop pre-production
The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon Spyro

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1994 Frasier Ethan (voice) Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast - TV Episode
1996 Homicide: Life on the Street McPhee Broadman The True Test- TV Episode
Adventures from the Book of Virtues Icarus (voice) Responsibility - TV Episode
1997 ''Oliver Twist Jack 'The Artful Dodger' Dawkins TV Film
2002 The Electric Playground ? TV Episode
2003 Saturday Night Live Host TV Episode
2004 The Osbournes Himself TV Episode
King of the Hill Jason (voice) Girl, You'll Be a Giant Soon- TV Episode
2006 Robot Chicken William David Reynolds (voice) Sausage Fest - TV Episode
American Dad! Ethan (voice) Iced, Iced Babies - TV Episode
Punk'd Himself TV Episode
Saving a Species: The Great Penguin Rescue Host and Narrator TV Special
2007 Yo Gabba Gabba! Himself TV Episode
2008 Friday Night Project Himself Guest host
2008 Celebrity Adrenaline Junkie Himself Rafting down the Zambezi. Became the first person to cross the Victoria Falls on ropes.

Music videos

Awards and nominations

Young Star Awards

  • 1995 Nominate Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama Film The War 1994
  • 1997 Nominated Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Comedy Film Flipper 1996
  • 1998 Won Best Performance by a Young Actor in a Drama Film Deep Impact 1998
  • 1998 Won Best Performance by a Young in a Miniseries/Made for TV Movies Oliver Twist 1997

Young Hollywood Awards

  • 2002 Won Hottest, Coolest Young Veteran - Male N/A

Young Artist Awards

  • 1991 Nominated Best Young Actor Starring in a TV Movie, Pilot or Special Child in the Night 1990
  • 1991 Nominated Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture Avalon 1990
  • 1992 Nominated Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture Paradise 1991
  • 1993 Won Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture Radio Flyer 1992
  • 1995 Nominated Best Young Actor Starring in a Motion Picture North 1994
  • 1997 Nominated Best Performance in a Drama Series - Guest Starring Young Actor Homicide: Life on the Street 1993
  • 1998 Nominated Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actor The Ice Storm 1997

Visual Effects Society Awards

  • 2003 Won Best Performance by an Actor in an Effect Film Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 2002

Teen Choice Awards

  • 2002 Nominated Film - Choice Actor, Drama/Action Adventure FOTR 2001
  • 2003 Nominated Choice Movie Actor - Drama/Action Adventure TTT 2002
  • 2004 Nominated Choice Movie Actor - Drama/Action Adventure ROTK 2003
  • 2005 Nominated Choice Movie Bad Guy Sin City 2005

ShoWest Convention USA

  • 1994 Won Young Star of the Year

Screen Actors Guild Awards

  • 2002 Nominated Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture FOTR 2001
  • 2003 Nominated Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture TTT 2002
  • 2004 Won Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture ROTK 2003
  • 2007 Nominated Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Bobby 2006

Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards

  • 2002 Won Best Ensemble Acting FOTR 2001
  • 2003 Won Best Ensemble Acting TTT 2002
  • 2004 Nominated Best Ensemble Acting ROTK 2003

Online Film Critics Society Awards

  • 2003 Won Best Ensemble ROTK 2003

Blockbuster Entertainment Awards

  • 1999 Nominated Favorite Actor - Horror The Faculty 1998
  • 1999 Nominated Favorite Supporting Actor - Sci-Fi Deep Impact 1998

National Board of Review USA

  • 2003 Won Best Acting by an Ensemble ROTK 2003

MTV Movie Awards

  • 2002 Nominated Best On-Screen Team FOTR 2001
  • 2003 Won Best On-Screen Team TTT 2003

Kids' Choice Awards

  • 2002 Nominated Favorite Male Butt Kicker FOTR
  • 2003 Nominated Favorite Male Kicker TTT

Empire Awards UK

  • 2002 Won Best Actor FOTR

DVD Exclusive Awards

  • 2003 Nominated Best Animated Character Performance The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina 2002
  • 2003 Nominated Best Audio Commentary, New Release FOTR
  • 2003 Nominated Best Audio Commentary (New For DVD) TTT

Broadcast Film Critics Awards

  • 2004 Won Best Acting Ensemble ROTK
  • 1999 Nominated Favorite Actor - Horror The Faculty 1998
  • 1999 Nominated Favorite Supporting Actor - Sci-Fi- Deep Impact 1998

Saturn Award

  • 1994 Won Best Performance by a Young Actor The Good Son 1993
  • 1995 Nominated Best Performance by a Younger Actor North 1994
  • 2003 Nominated Best Performance by a Younger Actor TTT
  • 2004 Won Best Actor ROTK

Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences

  • 2004 Won Outstanding Achievement in Character Performance - Male ROTK

Hollywood Film Festival

  • 2006 Won Best Ensemble Cast for Bobby

Daytime Emmy Awards

  • 2007 Nominated Outstanding Performer In A Children/Youth/Family Special - Saving a Species: The Great Penguin Rescue 2006

Further reading

  • Sibley, Brian. The Lord of the Rings Official Movie Guide. Houghton Mifflin, 2001. ISBN 0-618-15402-7.

References

External links

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