We’re not going to lie: The whole Jacques team kind of digs on Elijah Wood. A Jacques subscriber from Issue #1, Elijah’s been a long-time supporter of our magazine – and we’ve always been fans of his work.
Born in Iowa, but raised in the bright lights of L.A., Elijah’s rocked our socks in iconic Hollywood blockbusters like “The Faculty” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, but also made us feel like one of the cool kids after spotting him in blink-and-you’ll-miss ’em cameos in shows like Nick Jr.’s “Yo Gabba Gabba” and the Beastie Boy’s video “Make Some Noise.”
And even better, it seems like the attraction is mutual – so much so that when Editor-in-Chief Danielle sent Elijah a Twitter invite to come hang out in Williamsburg’s trendy Hotel Delmano, he accepted (and she didn’t even need to Tweet him a photo of her tits first).
Over cocktails, Danielle and Jacques contributors Brian and Kristopher conducted what must be one of the most laid back interviews ever. It wasn’t until months later that Jacques’ team of forensic scientists were able to listen to a recording of this epic, four-hour drinking session and piece together the following highlights:
Elijah Wood on…
“I love photography,” says Elijah. “It’s never something I’ve taken seriously enough, but it’s something I’ve done as a hobby for years. It’s something I’ve always wished I could spend more time with, because it’s something I love doing.”
“Digital or film?” Danielle demands, somewhat aggressively.
“Cool,” nods Danielle. “I can give you some lessons.”
Moments later, he confesses: “I mean, I have a digital camera too, but I prefer film.” And quick as a flash, Danielle slyly purrs: “But, of course, you have to say that.”
“But it’s true!” Elijah explains: “There’s nothing like the feeling of shooting and then not knowing exactly what the results are going to be until you get them back.”
Danielle: “That’s the worst feeling!”
Elijah laughs. “That’s the best feeling!”
“Well, if you’re trying to have only one session with somebody, and everything’s riding on that, then I guess it’s the worst feeling. But if you’re just shooting for yourself, then the results are fun and surprising whatever the end ends up being.”
“Okay,” Danielle looks skeptical. “So, if you were going to take a photograph what would your subject be? Landscape? Girls? Friends? Parties? What? Are you a concept photographer?” She leans forward, flashing her white teeth: “Go nuts.”
“I don’t know,” Elijah shrugs. “I tend to just try and capture the world around me - and that can be anything. From landscapes to cityscapes to, you know, bits of architecture or people. But I don’t like posed photography, so I don’t, like, gather people together.”
Elijah Wood on…
…making horror movies
“I just started a production company,” Elijah tells us. “With a couple of friends of mine about a year ago. We produce horror films.”
“I’d love you to talk more about The Woodshed, because I’m really into horror movies.”
“Yeah, so am I,” Elijah’s equally enthusiastic. “That was the whole idea. The company that produced it is actually called Spectrevision now. ‘Spectre’ like a spirit.”
He leans back in his seat.
“So basically, I met my producing partners, Daniel and Josh, a writer and director respectively, on another project we were going to develop together and we became really good friends. In the process of becoming really good friends, we discovered that we had a shared love of horror films.”
“And I’d been wanting to get into film production – to develop things from their inception to their completion – and I thought: “Hey, why not start my own company to make the kind of horror films I want to see?””
Elijah continues: “I think it’s a genre that’s, you know, riddled with shit – but as a fan you’d kind of subject yourself to anything because you love the genre so much. But it’s changing. I think some of the best movies are coming out of Europe right now, and Asia…”
Brian nods: “Yeah, there are a lot of foreign horror movies right now.”
“It’s incredible,” Elijah says. “Especially over the last ten years, with things like Let The Right One In, and there are some amazing films from Spain like Kidnapped.”
“Yeah!,” Brian whistles. “Kidnapped was terrifying.”
“It was fucking phenomenal,” Elijah emphasizes. “There’s also a movie you might have already seen called REC. And France had a really great run with films like Martyrs.”
Oh, yeah,” Brian and Elijah are clearly on a roll. “Martyrs is another great one.”
“It was fantastic. And Inside? Did you see Inside?”
“So, we were really inspired by those movies,” Elijah continues. “And those movies from the seventies like Don’t Look Now or The Wicker Man – although that’s late sixties. And then there’s John Carpenter’s version of The Thing, and The Shining, The Omen and The Excorcist. You know, that was a really amazing time because people were taking those stories seriously.”
Danielle interjects: “So, what’s the last great horror movie you ever think got made?”
“Oooh,” Elijah clearly sees this as a challenge. “The last great horror movie ever made?”
“I’m serious.” Danielle has her don’t-fuck-with-me face on. “What year?”
“Great is a very…” Elijah stares cool, despite Danielle’s intense stare. “It’s subjective.”
“Okay, so what’s your all-time favorite? So you’re being subjective?”
“The last great horror movie? That’s really hard. I mean, I think The Exorcist will always be a classic. But you know what? I always say my favorite is Halloween. I always go back to that film.”
“Really?” Danielle looked like she’s about to fall off her chair, and not because of the cocktails.
“Totally,” Elijah is emphatic. “It’s kind of a masterwork.”
Danielle performs her version of the McKayla Maroney “not impressed” sneer: “I expected better from you!”
Elijah leans closer. “It’s actually quietly brilliant.”
The sneer softens. “Why so?”
“Because!” and then seeing that Danielle demands more, he explains: “Because I watched it again recently, and while it has an immense amount of sentimental value, there’s also just brilliance in that film.”
He continues: “For instance, when the girls drive up to the store and the police father’s out there talking to the girls and you just see the station wagon drive by in the background. There are a lot of subtle things that are done in that movie that I think are brilliant. Oh, and the opening sequence alone with the reveal again that it’s the child who committed the murder?” Elijah smiles. “It’s just fucking brilliant.”
“I think John Carpenter and that whole era of John Carpenter are just amazing,” Brian adds, “but unfortunately I don’t think he’s done anything great lately.”
“I think that Carpenter doesn’t care anymore,” Elijah explains. “And as an artist, I think if you cease to care and you cease to have a fire for creation, then you’re not going to do anything worth anything.”
Elijah Wood on…
…starring in horror movies
“What about Maniac?” Brian asks. “I feel you’re probably best known for being Frodo, so how do you think your fans will react to you being a psycho killer? I mean, you have in the past like in Sin City, but it was brief.” “Yeah,” Elijah nods. “and it’s far more brutal as well in Maniac. I love the original,” Elijah agrees, “But this is very different. Primarily because it’s shot from the POV of the character for the most part. And that’s kind of what interested me more than anything, because I don’t normally like horror film remakes. There are exceptions, but we’re on this huge kick at the moment with remakes in general and I just feel like it’s kind of lazy. I think what separates a good remake from a bad one is a desire, a passion, to do something different. And Alex Aja, who did Haute Tension – you ever see High Tension? – The French film?”
Brian wears his are-you-fucking-kidding-face. “Of course. He did The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha 3D, too.”
“Yeah, exactly,” Elijah’s impressed. “He wrote the story for Maniac, and I was a fan of his and I really wanted to work with him and I was just really intrigued by the notion of playing a character that in 80% to 90% of the movie you don’t see him – and I just found that kind of fascinating as an actor.” “So it’s cool,” Elijah continues. “And in terms of whether it’ll disturb people or my fans… I don’t really know… I don’t know if I was thinking of that when I was doing it. How people would respond.” He rubs the tufts on his chin. “Maybe I took a slight amount of glee at the idea that it might disturb people and take people off guard.”
Elijah Wood on…
“Do you ever see yourself getting into directing?” Danielle asks.
“I would love to, yeah. Eventually.”
“Why eventually?” Danielle demands. “Why not now?”
“That’s a good question! Maybe fear? You know? Self-doubt?” Elijah leans back in his seat. “Look, in a lot of ways I feel like I’ve been going to film school for 22 years. I’ve been so fortunate to work with so many incredible directors and so many varying styles. I feel like I have a lot of knowledge about how one could direct a film. I’ve just never done it.”
“Can you get bossy?” Danielle demands – bossily.
“That’s really all it is.”
“No, I can’t.” Elijah repeats. “But I think a bigger part of directing is delegating and problem solving and it’s not… I don’t believe it’s so much that you need to be bossy. But I think you need to have a clear vision. You have to be a good leader, that’s for sure. Same as running a magazine.”
“Yes, Danielle smiles that beautiful smile of hers – and then ruins the moment by admitting: “Although people think I’m just bossy.”
Elijah continues. “Sometimes I just love being part of a collective creative force, not directing it. Sometimes it’s specific to a script and a role, and I’d say good writing has a lot to do with it. For instance, with a movie like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, that to me… I could have done anything on that movie. I just wanted to be a part of what Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry were doing because it was so unique.”
“A challenge for me, as an actor, is always important and something to look for. But I think that a lot of my favorite experiences tend to be the smaller experiences, you know? When there’s less money involved there tends to be… I don’t know... the people are there more because they love the films, so it’s a great equalizer. There’s this kind of collective “everybody’s working together” towards a goal feeling, and those are my favorite kind of creative experiences to work in.”
Elijah Wood on…
…growing up in the movies
To read more with Elijah and see what he has to say about growing up in the movies, sex scenes and more; get your copy of issue #8 today!