Friday, May 25, 2018

Elijah Wood

Elijah Wood, Toronto, Sept. 13, 2005

I DREW THE SHORT STRAW FOR THIS SHOOT WITH ELIJAH WOOD. Which is to say that, halfway through the film festival, I'd been assigned to a subject without an assigned hotel suite for their interviews, so we ended up in the courtyard restaurant with all the other nomads of the festival press days. I'd been here before at the same time during the last festival, but that didn't make it any easier.

It had been two years since the Lord of the Rings films and the role of Frodo Baggins that Wood realized at the time would define his onscreen career, probably forever. He was here promoting the film adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's book Everything Is Illuminated, which had been directed by fellow actor Liev Schreiber. I'm a big fan of Schreiber, and I also photographed him at the festival, but in circumstances even less fruitful than the Intercontinental's courtyard restaurant (the rooftop terrace, to be precise) and got nothing at all worth posting here.

Elijah Wood, Toronto, Sept. 13, 2005

Without a neutral background available, I had Wood stand in front of some of the greenery in the planters set around the courtyard and went close - really, really close. The actor's most notable features are his eyes, and his big National Health-style horn rim glasses put a frame around them just enough to - hopefully - distract from the potted plants behind him. In any case, I've pulled the depth of field even tighter in Photoshop with these photos, to try and salvage what was a pretty inauspicious shoot.

As he predicted, Wood has never really been able to shake Frodo, so he's moved not only behind the camera - starting his own studio to produce films and doing animation voiceover work - but out of Hollywood, to Austin, Texas. He's basically become a very well-heeled hipster, working as a DJ and starting his own record label when he isn't taking the odd, very un-Frodo role. He seems to have found inspiration, not desperation, in what could have been career-ending typecasting, and good for him.

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