Wow! I think this is the shortest time ever between posting chapters! This is Chapter 36 -'An Evening In Paris' - mainly covering the TTT premiere in Paris (now there's a surprise!). Have also included an online interview and a magazine interview around at the time - and some happy Hobbits out shopping in New York! Frodo's Journey covers the Council of Elrond. Hope you enjoy it:)
For anyone unfamiliar with my pet project, 'A Journey With Frodo' (a work in progress) is the story of Elijah Wood's experience in becoming Frodo, from back in 1998 when the LOTR movies were just a whisper up to the triumphant Oscars of Feb 2004. In reliving Elijah's journey, and mine, I am using everything I can lay my hands on - behind-the-scenes material from the various dvd's, magazine articles, books, internet sites, tv coverage, word-of-mouth info, etc. Previous chapters can be found here:
"A JOURNEY WITH FRODO"
CHAPTER 36 is here:
6th December 2002:
Still in New York, the hobbits go shopping together!!
There were so many interviews of all kinds around at this time - tv, online & magazine! Obviously I can't cover them all, much as I'd like to, but this ZDF interview was one of my favourite online interviews. These are some extracts and as the interviewer wasn't English I've made a few small adjustments to some of her wording:
Elijah attempts to pour himself a drink before the camera rolls, but fails.
ZDF : "Take your time - drink a sip. No problem!"
ZDF : "Being Frodo for such a long time - how often did you dream about him. How often did you take the set into your dreams?"
E : "Oh my God! All the time! In fact, because of the schedule - we were working 15 hour days, we'd start at 5 in the morning, get home at about 8 o'clock, 9o'clock and then have to start it all over again so there was a very small period of time we had to ourselves and so when I'd go to sleep oftentimes I'd dream of work and it would feel like I'd never left which is a terrible feeling when you're trying to get away at least for a couple of hours every day and to have your own time to kind of relax so yes - lots of work dreams."
ZDF : "The Hobbits are the better people, the people - they are more evil. The Hobbits have all the good qualities."
E: "Well, I think that Tolkien really put on the Hobbits the ideals of humanity - the purity of humanity. All that is good, all that is pure and that also extends to their land, the Shire is also all that is good, all that is pure. And so it also makes them less susceptible to the powers of the Ring because of the fact they're so pure of heart."
ZDF: "When you were growing up what kind of picture of human nature did you have? Did you see the good in people from the beginnning because a lot of people think people are born good and only see the good in people."
E: "Well, I look for the good in people. It's difficult in the world that we live in not to acknowledge reality 'cos I think the reality is that there are far too many people who exhibit qualities that aren't so good. But I tend to look for the good in people and I think I trust people maybe too quickly and too easily but yeah, I certainly look for the good in people. I believe that there is good in everyone which is oddly enough I think one of the themes of our story, that even in the most seemingly wretched of creatures like Gollum there is still good to be extracted, still good to be found. And I think everyone is born with some good in them no matter how evil they are or how led astray they are."
ZDF: "When you were growing up - which books did you read, did you read at all or did you more go to the movies?"
E: "I read. When I was growing up I read. 'The Hobbit' was quite popular with me when I was growing up. I didn't have a real grasp on what the youth was into. I read a lot of classic literature, you know like 'Dracula', 'Jane Eyre' and things like that, so fantasy was something I was never massively into although it's still I think quite popular with the youth, with the geeks!"
ZDF: "In reading the books, before you took your part, did you find the magic in it, could you find it?"
E: "The magic in the books? Absolutely. I think there's magic in the world that he created, in Middle Earth, there's magic in the Elves, you know - a kind of majesty in the way that they hold themselve, there's magic in the Shire, the kind of purity of that place and how beloved it is.
I think there's magic all over these books but real magic, magic that we can relate to. I think the stories were written in a very realistic sense. In some ways the story seems like a history so when you read them that magical quality is something that I think we can all relate to, that we can almost equate to the world we live in, you know?"
There's magic all around us - you just have to search hard."
ZDF: "And find it! Thanks so much Elijah - it was a pleasure. Have fun!!" :)
In the last chapter I posted part of an interview where Elijah had kept the interviewers waiting. In this one Elijah was the one kept waiting. So, how does he react? Does he blow his top, throw a hissy fit? Read on - a couple of extracts:
Emma Forrest, Daily Telegraph:
"I wish I could say it was Orcs and Ringwraiths that caused me to be 15 minutes late for my interview with Elijah Wood, rather than New York's public transport system. Fifteen minutes is a long time when you're dealing with a box office behemoth like The Lord of the Rings. As Frodo, the tormented heart and soul of the trilogy, Wood has found that his promotional time has been planned down to the minute. By the time I arrive at the Regency Hotel, I'm fighting back tears of frustration (who could have predicted that tackling the Times Square subway was going to be like entering Middle Earth?). But Wood, whom I have never met before, puts down his cappuccino and wrestles me into a bear hug that belies his diminutive stature.
"Don't worry! Please don't worry. I've just had my first 15 minutes of reflection in a week. Do you want a shot of whisky? I'll have one, too."
To the horror of his legion of internet devotees, Wood's hair has been cropped into a skinhead. In his shirt and V-neck sweater, he looks like someone who would write letters to the NME, complaining about its Queens of the Stone Age review. When he smiles, he flashes the gappy baby teeth of a child. But the most youthful thing about him is, perversely, the very feature that - as a child actor in films such as Avalon and The Good Son - made him seem old beyond his years: his saucer-round, cornflower-blue eyes, framed by long, dark lashes. When he was a child, they looked fearsomely adult, the way girl-child Liz Taylor's did. Now, they give him the air of an infant, unmarked by fame or cynicism.
Just this morning, a maid entered Wood's Manhattan hotel room and, though the 21-year-old insisted that it didn't need cleaning, she ignored his protestations, proceeding to dust busily and growling: "Where's your momma?"
"I feel so much older than I am, and I don't even look my age, so it's a double problem," he sighs, polishing off his whisky. "All my friends are in their thirties, and yet I meet people and they think I'm 16. I can't win."...
Wood himself seems to possess a basic goodness that inspires devotion from women and men. Dominic Monaghan, who plays fellow Hobbit Merry, comes over to our table to give him a hug. Orlando Bloom, rushing for the airport, hugs him tightly and then, for good measure, hugs me, too. The nine actors who make up the Fellowship each returned from the New Zealand shoot sporting a tattoo of the number "9" (written in Tolkien's Elvish). Off screen, the Fellowship banded together against the New Line marketing monster.
"There was a time when they [New Line] seemed cagey in terms of the film's promotion and marketing. Early on, they started releasing posters that Pete didn't have the OK over. They were doing stuff under the carpet, not showing it to him. We felt that wasn't proper and that they didn't have a good idea of what the film was about. The kind of material they were releasing wasn't in keeping with the quality of the film we felt we were making, so we got involved." The Fellowship prevailed."
09th December 2002:
Elijah & Co arrive in Paris for the European premiere:
They attended the opening night of the Tolkien Exhibition at the Canadian Cultural Centre. Due to copyright, I can't include the actual pics here as they're on John Howe's website so instead I'll give the links below:
Each of these links is to a pic of Elijah at the exhibition, some with caption by John Howe:
The following link is to the first page covering all the pics of the exhibition including many of other LOTR cast and crew:
10 December - Photocall:
At some stage during their time in Paris they managed to celebrate Dom's birthday which was actually on the 8th!
The REX theatre in Paris was transformed into a Middle-earth fantasy land for the Paris premiere of 'The Two Towers' :
Elijah told ENews, "It's an absolutely beautiful city and I want to come back to spend some time here."
"Here, the Fellowship has been fractured into three separate story lines, with mixed results.
The best of the bunch involved Frodo (Elijah Wood), Sam Gamgee (Sean Astin) and Gollum (based on Andy Serkis) on their journey towards Mordor. This is a subtle, superb slice of drama. The darkness of this film comes not just from the hideous collection of creatures - orcs, Uruk-hai, wargs and Liv Tyler - but from the spectacle of Frodo's mental and moral decline. Jackson presents us with a boy who is into heavy Rings addiction, and, like all addicts, denies that he has a problem. (Invisibility, Omnipotence, Eternal life? Hey, I can handle it!) But Sam is worried: "You hardly eat, and you hardly sleep." The Two Towers brings into focus a central theme in Tolkien: the question of temptation and what a man will lose to gain the greatest buzz of all - power.
We can see Frodo's screwed-up future in the hideous face of his new friend Gollum, who has the cadaverous, junkie demeanour of one who lives only for the high of the Ring. Gollum's bulging blue eyes - which echo the innocence of Frodo's - look as if they want to pop out of their sockets, rush off and score.
There's a beautiful pathos in the scene where Frodo reminds Gollum of his pre-Ring life as a hobbit called Sméagol. But best of all is Gollum's frenetic, Hamlet-like soliloquy as good and evil fight for control of his soul.
What's so interesting about both Ring films is that they deliver an old-fashioned message you rarely hear in popular culture any more: that it is through struggle with adversity and sacrifice to a greater cause, and not a life of comfort and consumerism, that we bring out the best in ourselves." (Sunday Times)
"The rest, though, are assured, improved, and entertaining. Elijah Wood makes the slow deterioration of Frodo's mind a troubling process. When he sees Gollum, we realize he is looking into a mirror that shows his future. He lurches between weariness, rage, fear, and despair. We can already catch glimpses of the monster he will become. At his side, poor Sean Astin is reduced to two modes – pouting and delivering inspirational speeches – but he pours himself into it." (Jeffrey Overstreet)
"Let's get this right out of the way: The Two Towers is a triumph, a marvel, a feat, and it is easily my favorite movie of the year. It is fast paced, exciting, packed with action, but somehow finding room for brilliant moments of character and grace, beauty that shines through even here, in a movie as dark and violent as any PG-13 film has ever been." (Devin Feraci, Chud)
"Elijah Wood takes his portrayal of Frodo to a new level, as the ring begins to lay claim on him, even turning him against his devoted friend Sam." (Efilm critic)
"Frodo of course is still the ring-bearer and his relationship with Sam and Smeagol/Gollum, although not as action oriented as the other sections of the movie is emotionally weighty. Wood probably will not get the acting attention he deserves because much of what he must play in the film is a gradual deepening of being under the effects of the ring. His performance is excellent and central but also natural and understated enough that it doesn't punch you in the face and win him awards, but it certainly serves the story. I cannot fathom another person playing Frodo. Sam is given life here when compared to Fellowship and Astin and the character soar. Along with Gollum the three have a fascinating on-screen dynamic". (Torn Staffer)
"Like all stories that endure, the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy contains a certain ambiguity. It's suffused by a longing for leadership in the mythic sense; hence the appeal of Aragorn and Gandalf. Yet at their core, the books are more deeply invested in the notion that the least must do what the great cannot. It's to this viewpoint that "The Two Towers" ultimately tilts, with Frodo, the every-hobbit carrying the fate of the world, being himself carried by the humble Sam, whose honest, chubby face in the movie's final moments becomes a portrait of courage and developing wisdom.
Think of "The Two Towers" as an allegory of the spirit. That's why its fantastical architecture and locations register not as tricks but as psychological interiors, the interiors of the spirit. Whether we're shown the vast wasted structures of subterranean cities, or the buttresses of an evil empire, the visual statement reinforces the real scope of the drama: The greatness and ruinousness of the human mind, and its choices." (Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle)
"And as in the first film, we continue to experience the terrors of the heroes' quest through the blue of Elijah Wood's wide eyes. Wood manages the very difficult feat of playing a good character without becoming sappy or dear. When the Ring starts to weigh him down (literally) we fear for Frodo because we are confronted with the real possibility that this good hobbit will go bad." (Susan Stark - Detroit News)
"Elijah Wood, in another fine understated performance, brings out the pernicious impact of the Ring on his psyche. Simultaneously, he shows up George Lucas’s hammer-stroke development of Anakin Skywalker through the current Star Wars trilogy". (efilm critic)
"I love these films. Not in that idle sort of, “Oh, I just loved it,” kind of way, but in that deep marrow of the bones type of love. Aching love, needy love, that roll around with a smile on your face, can’t wait to see it, be near it, just be close to it kind of obsessive love. I love FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING and THE TWO TOWERS the way you can’t think of anything, but that object of your affection. It’s just sick how much I love these films. It is dangerous, it scares me, because I get the genuine sense of worry that I’ll never find films that I’ll love this intensely again. These are stories being told for this age and beyond. Plucked straight from the crazed wonderful mind of a Kiwi that didn’t know better than to try to tell the impossible on the screen. And I love it. Love it through and through. I see it, I recognize it for what it is. I know these films will live far beyond any award race we see today. Past the cynicism of the naysayers. These movies will permeate tomorrow’s consciousness and become a part of the best history of cinema, the films that live forever." (Harry Knowles, Ain't It Cool News)
Sorry this is so blurry but I know the Lijah/Sean folks would want it included!!
A Lij sandwich:)
The following evening was the UK TTT premiere. Elijah did not attend but I doubt it was really for the reason stated in this report:
"Advice to organisers for next year: premiere events close to Dom's birthday are probably not a good idea if the cast and crew have been out helping him celebrate! Notably absent, although present at the Paris screening the previous night, were Elijah Wood, Christopher Lee and Richard Taylor. "
I expect it was actually because of all the tv interviews etc. that he'd been assigned to - as soon as he landed back in the US from Paris he was taking part in an AOL online chat with fans IN THE CAR FROM THE AIRPORT - plus there was a special screening the following day(which will be covered in the next chapter).
My Journey continues:
At this stage it was really more of the same - nervously awaiting the release of TTT. The movie tie-in books had been bought, plus the cd of the soundtrack. There were, of course, many online discussions and rumours of what would be in, what would be left out,, etc. From the many clips and promo pics it was obvious that the 'feel' of this film would be completely different to 'Fellowship'. Although deliriously excited, I also had moments of apprehension. What if I didn't like it? But I quickly dismissed that possibility - however different this film, it was still my beloved Frodo, played by Elijah who, by now, I quite simply adored. How could I not enjoy it?. But what if everyone else hated it!! One thing was certain - I would soon find out!!
Frodo's Journey continues:
The Council of Elrond:
Elijah, dvd: "The scene that took five days to shoot! Ohhh man!"
Strangers from distant lands, friends of old ...
You've been summoned here to answer the threat of Mordor
Middle Earth stands upon the brink of destruction, none can escape it. You will unite or you will fall.
Bring forth the Ring, Frodo!
In Imladris it dwells;
There shall be counsels taken
Stronger than Morgul-spells.
There shall be shown a token
That Doom is near at hand
For Isildur’s Bane shall waken
And the Halfling forth shall stand."
It is a gift - a gift to the foes of Mordor! Why not use this Ring?
You cannot wield it, none of us can. The Ring answers to Sauron alone. It has no other master.
You have only one choice. The Ring must be destroyed.
What are we waiting for?
The Ring cannot be destroyed Gimli, son of Gloin, by any craft that we here possess.
The Ring was made in the fires of Mount Doom.
Only there can it be unmade.
It must be taken deep into Mordor and cast back in the fiery chasm from whence it came.
One of you must do this.
Not with ten thousand men could you do this! It is folly.
Have you heard nothing Lord Elrond has said?
"A great dread fell on him, as if he was awaiting the pronouncement of some doom that he had long foreseen and vainly hoped might after all never be spoken. An overwhelming longing to rest and remain at peace by Bilbo's side in Rivendell filled all his heart. At last with an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words, as if some other will was using his small voice.
'I will take the Ring,' he said, 'though I do not know the way".
(The Fellowship of the Ring : The Council of Elrond)
I will take it!
I will take it!
Phillipa Boyens, dvd: "One of the things we were reaching for with Gandalf was the thought that he has a sort of understanding that Frodo is the only person who can carry this but he knows that he cannot force Frodo to do this. But we also wanted a sense of great sadness and loss at the moment when he does volunteer.
PJ: "I said to Ian that he should imagine that he's just heard his son volunteering to go join the army in World War One ..."
PB: "Understanding that it must be done ..."
PJ: "Understanding that it has to be done but it could kill him."
I will take the Ring to Mordor!
Though ... I do not know the way.
I will help you bear this burden, Frodo Baggins ...
as long as it is yours to bear.
If by my life or death I can protect you, I will
You have my sword.
And you have my bow.
And my axe!
You carry the fate of us all, little one. If this is indeed the will of the Council...
then Gondor will see it done.
Mr Frodo's not going anywhere without me!
We're coming too! You'll have to send us home tied up in a sack to stop us!
Anyway, you need people of intelligence on this sort of ... mission. Quest. Thing.
Well that rules you out Pip!!
So be it. Nine companions. You shall be The Fellowship of the Ring!
Great! Where are we going?
TO BE CONTINUED
"But the most youthful thing about him is, perversely, the very feature that - as a child actor in films such as Avalon and The Good Son - made him seem old beyond his years: his saucer-round, cornflower-blue eyes, framed by long, dark lashes. When he was a child, they looked fearsomely adult, the way girl-child Liz Taylor's did. Now, they give him the air of an infant, unmarked by fame or cynicism."
LINK TO ALL CHAPTERS:
"A JOURNEY WITH FRODO"
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