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So many views on Elwood
After “discovering” Elijah Wood last year, I’ve been reading up on him. I’ve read reviews from professional critics and comments from ordinary viewers on IMDb, film forums, twitter, etc.  And I'm gradually beginning to understand why Elijah is sometimes underrated as an actor. He just doesn’t fit in with people’s preconceived ideas. I’m sure all long-term fans know this already but it is new to me. It’s amazing how many different forms of prejudice exist about Elijah. At first, I wanted to make a serious LJ post about this. But once I started to include pictures, the post became more light-hearted. In fact, most of the weird opinions people have about Elijah don't deserve serious discussion. So, I decided to make a list of them. Trying to find suitable pictures to illustrate each point was great fun. Finally, I went through my files to find relevant quotes, either supporting or contradicting the statement. Selecting the best quotes from the hundreds I have on file was quite a challenge. Although some of the items on my list were added merely for fun, I am quite serious about others (guess which ones).

Pictures are from Google searches, http://always.ejwsites.net, http://elijah-finds.livejournal.com (Karin and Patrick) and http://www.frodolivesin.us . (Thanks to all!). Twitter comments are all from the last few weeks.

Let me start with the following quote from Twitter. My thoughts, EXACTLY.

So many views on Elwood

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Wow! What a wonderful entry. There is one more rumour...one you may have intentionally not included. That Elijah is gay. This is rubbish...he's not gay, but there are still people who will insist to their dying day that he is.

Have you seen all of Elijah's movies? Just curious.

I don't believe it either. But I gave a hint about the whole issue in item 15. Look again at the Urban dictionary quote: "whether male or female". Too subtle? The poster on Twitter was obviously male. :-D

Yes, I knew what you meant in point 15, but I agree, it was very subtle. Elijah does have some male fans who are gay, but that doesn't really mean anything. I happen to be a huge fan of singer Adam Lambert. He's gay and I'm not. I don't choose friends or fandoms based on sexual orientation. Makes no difference to me one way or the other.

Have you seen all of Elijah's movies. One of your comments made me think you might not have.

Sorry, forgot to answer your question last night (it was late). No, I haven't. Way to go yet. And I have to rewatch some of the older ones because I saw them before I became so "Elijah-conscious" after I watched LOTR for the first time last year.

Can you get them streaming or on DVDs where you live? All but one of his earliest child movies are available on DVD. One was available on video tape only, but that doesn't seem to even be available anymore. Try to see Green Street Hooligans, Everything Is Illuminated and Day Zero. They are wonderful post-LOTR movies.

I usually record the film when it comes on tv. And I bought a few on DVD. Do you know if the tv film Oliver Twist is still available? I've read such interesting comments about Elijah's Artful Dodger.

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I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for your comment.

What a great post! Couldn't agree more.

Another comment I've read on Twitter, I think it was last year, and I never forget it: "Elijah Wood is always frowning, dude, relax your eyebrows"

I don't know if they were talking about photos or movies. He may frown in many scenes in movies, but when you see them carefully (perceptive viewer, like you said), you notice that he's expressing a different emotion in each one of them.

Thanks Patrick. The problem is that people tend to think in stereotypes. A frown can only mean one thing. But I understand why people miss some of the subtleties of E's performance. I only became overawed by his Frodo after seeing LOTR several times, not at the first viewing. At the first viewing I was just puzzled by the emotional impact his Frodo had on me. I couldn't see "how he did it". Glad I watched again.

beautiful post! you did your homework well dear. i especially loved point number 9. i saw ever single range of emotion in that 10 second scene. not many can do that. and EII was the fist movie where i didn't see elijah. he literally fell into that character.

people will have their negative opinions, but you know what they say about opinions. ;-)

Thanks lady. It's interesting how many people commented on point number 9. I feel quite strongly about that myself. It also applies to his Frodo.

Wonderful. This was a total pleasure to peruse! These divergent opinions have been relevant throughout his adult career, but I really appreciate that you were able to find articulations of them that are all recent. It shows how relevant his body of work is. People are talking about him -- not just his current work, but how it fits in with the work he's done in the past, too.

In one of the MTV videos from Sundance, Tim Vincent (the interviewer) said something to Elijah about how he's known for being "a movie star," but he's also known for being "a good actor" -- implying that the two are rather mutually exclusive! Elijah made a "really? thanks, and that's kind of weird" face but didn't comment. But I thought it was a very telling thing for Vincent to say. Elijah does have the clout to command box office numbers, thanks in no small part to LotR. But the older he gets and the more his body of work accumulates, the clearer it becomes that the deep personal integrity he lives his life by is also recognized by his professional peers. He's much more than a pretty face who will be popular until the next one comes along. He is a genuinely talented actor (in my opinion, quite extraordinarily talented). He's not all about the money and the attention -- in fact, he's not about either of those things at all. He takes on projects that he believes in, whether they're large or tiny, and he strengthens and elevates them by giving himself wholeheartedly to the part he plays in them, in terms of acting and of publicity. He has countless connections in his field because people respect him on both a professional and a personal level, and because, well, they LIKE him. I think his transition from "child actor" to "adult actor" is far more successful and far-reaching than perhaps most casual observers of his career might imagine.

Anyway, one of your comments struck me as particularly interesting and insightful. You said, "For internally driven characters you need a subtle actor AND a perceptive viewer." THAT IS SO TRUE. It takes me back to our conversation last week about where meaning resides in a given work of art, and your view (which I haven't had a chance to respond to, but which I heartily agree with) that it's somewhere in the interaction between authorial intent and audience perception. I think a lot of movie/TV watchers are just that -- watchers. There's this idea that a "successful" performance by an actor in a movie or television program should be fully accessible to you even if you just sit back and let it wash over you without ever engaging your brain. (The same could be said of music.) But film and television are forms of art, just as surely as paintings and classical music and anything else. And much of the best and most meaningful art necessitates that the audience "plug in" and interact with it, not just sit back and let it happen to them. The actor can only take a character so far. At some point the audience has to reach out for the character and try to understand him/her and his/her motivations, without being spoon-fed every single thing. I think often a character doesn't work for a given viewer because that viewer has failed to figure out how to receive and engage the character, not because the actor has failed to adequately deliver him/her.

Thanks for another great and thought-provoking post!

You really have a way with words Robin! I couldn't agree with you more. I also noticed Tim Vincent's remark about "movie star" vs. "good actor". As E has said "a star is just a ball of gas" (or something like it). The whole 2nd paragraph of your comment reflects just so exactly how I view Elijah. As much as his fans may dislike it, he isn't pursuing a "succesful acting career", he is chosing projects that appeal to him in whatever way. If I might make a prediction about his future choices it would be that he is going to shift his attention more and more towards the filmmaking process as a whole. He appears to have this ambition of trying to get horror films taken more seriously. And he has already set out along that road by accepting the Maniac role (filmed from the killer's perspective) and founding the woodshed horror company. His detractors will interprete this again as "giving up on his acting career" but they couldn't be more wrong. In fact, it is an organic progression for someone who has been in the business for > 20 years.

Re: your last paragraph. Elijah deserves an award in the Anti-Consumer-Society action program, of which I am a dedicated member! :)

I absolutely agree with your prediction re: the future of his career. I think he'll probably never really stop acting -- he'll take parts here and there when really interesting ones present himself. But yeah, I agree that his moving behind the camera (or even further behind the whole process) is a very natural progression, especially since his interests are so broad. I can't wait to see what WHC produces, because I'm a huge fan of horror, but not a huge fan of brainless slasher movies.

I shall join you in the Anti-Consumer-Society action program! :)

What a great post, thank you.

Thanks for stopping by Addie. Glad you enjoyed it.

Thanks for this. That scene from Everything Is Illuminated is absolutely brilliant (and subtle). It moved ME to tears. There's also a scene in one of his earlier (and stranger) films, The Bumblebee Flies....., that's equally impressive: his character is looking through a photo album with pictures of his mother, who he doesn't really remember and he's totally still, but he's expressing pain and confusion and yearning just through his eyes (blinking, fluttering lashes, tiny tic). Epic. NO ONE else could have done that. He is miles beyond a number of the scenery chewers we have in films these days.

Thanks for stopping by creekside. I haven't seen Bumblebee yet. Being a newbie in the Elijah fandom I have a lot of catching up to do. I fell heavily for his Frodo. No other performance has ever had such an emotional impact on me.

Great post and I agree what the other say He IS a wonderful actor,thanks for posting!:)


Thanks for stopping by mumis. I'm glad you liked it.

Hi Anna
Great job, nice to see you here
Love Carol

Hello Carol, thanks for stopping by! BTW, I'm still checking ejwnewsandevents almost every day. Please keep it up!

I love that you can now talk about Elijah with friends, and thanks for keeping my site going, at one time we had hit counters but now they have taken them down it's nice to know I am not just talking to myself !!

Hey.. you two know each other? That's great! Carol is my dear friend and we meet up regularly. We've been on many Elijah adventures together ;)

What a wonderful post!! I love how you've found relevant quotes to illustrate the points along with so many lovely pictures.

Elijah is wooden!... NEVER!!

'Why does he always play such troubles characters'.. It's called acting ;)

Brilliant.. thank you!

Thanks for your comment Belle. It was great fun to make the post. I thought you might like the "Elijah Wood is sexy" item. Pic #1 in there is the tops, don't you think?
Ha, so you know Carol personally. I've been visiting her site for over a year now and asked for her advice on how to find some kindred spirits online to talk with about Elijah. It worked out brilliantly.

"I thought you might like the "Elijah Wood is sexy" item. Pic #1 in there is the tops, don't you think?"

Didn't i comment on that? I meant to. It was my favourite set of pictures ;) Love them all and pic 2 is special but there's something so sensuous about pic 1.

One of my most favourite pastimes is to talk about Elijah.
I'm so glad that Carol recommended that you join here :)

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