Happy 31st Birthday Elijah Wood!
I have a schoolgirl crush. No maybe an obsession would be a better term. Today, I take a moment to gush about the diminutive actor with the big blue eyes. I’ve been a fan for a long time, and coming from a theatrical background, I’m pretty picky about my actors. I will not fixate on a pretty face without talent. This face is mucho talented (and mucho pretty, which never hurts).
AP Image from Wilfred
The first performance in which Elijah Wood made an impact on me was in the excellent Barry Levinson film, Avalon. I love this movie about a Jewish immigrant (Armin Mueller-Stahl) and his family making their way in Baltimore. It has so many quotable lines, including my family’s Thanksgiving favorite delivered by the great character actor Lou Jacobi, “You couldn’t even wait to carve the toikey?” Little Elijah lights up the screen in a memorable scene where his teacher enforces the difference between can and may. It’s adorable and just so funny. It’s a wonderful film. If you haven’t seen it, you must.
Then there is The Good Son. How many of us were rooting for Wendy Crewson to let sociopath demon seed Macaulay Culkin fall over the cliff in order to save Elijah?
Of course, being the big fantasy geek that I am, the movies that solidified my Elijah fandom were the three Lord of the Rings films. Frodo is a thankless role in a lot of ways. Aragorn is the heroic reluctant leader, Legolas is the glamour boy and Gandalf is just plain badass. Much of Frodo’s struggle is an internal one, battling the insidious evil the ring exercises over the bearer, but Elijah Wood brings a maturity and sensitivity to the role that is light years beyond the capabilities of most eighteen-year-old actors. I still feel the films’ acting performance were unfairly passed over by the Academy Awards and other award entities. Mr. Wood had my vote.
If you haven't seen Wilfred yet, do. It's really out there, and that's why I love it. It's always a blast to see Mr. Wood playing against his sweetness and light.
Mr. Wood has made memorable appearances in films such as Sin City, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Everything is Illuminated, but to end my tribute today, I have to mention a movie close to my heart. I’m a big Avian enthusiast. I keep six exotic birds, including a Timneh African Grey parrot. Yes, I am the crazy old bird lady who writes slightly kinky vampire novels. My husband used to joke that if Elijah Wood ever played a bird I’d be beside myself. You can imagine his reaction the day I read about Happy Feet going into production. A tap dancing penguin? And a vocal tribute to Freddie Mercury by the late Brittany Murphy? What’s not to love?
Interviewers always ask me who would be my choice to play my conflicted Immortyl hero, Kurt Eisen. Well then I have to admit where I got the inspiration for Kurt’s beautiful eyes in the first place.
Happy Birthday Mr. Wood! I’m counting the days until the release of The Hobbit.