Elijah Wood made a name for himself as a child actor in films like The Good Son and North, and then again as an adult actor in The Lord of the Rings films as protagonist Frodo Baggins.
Since then, he’s done a lot of different work in different segments of the industry – indie films and TV shows – and this weekend, he returns to the world of big-budget action-fantasy with The Last Witch Hunter (you know, the “Vin Diesel has a beard and a mohawk” movie).
We had the opportunity to interview Wood a couple weeks back and discussed his role as a pseudo-priest named Dolan in the film, as well as his work on the video game Broken Age (the original Double Fine Kickstarter game) and his love of graphic adventures.
Screen Rant: What drew you to The Witch Hunter? Have you just always had a desire to play a priest?
Elijah Wood: [Laughter] No, I did not have a hidden desire to play a priest. Although, I’m a big fan of ‘The Exorcist’ –
SR: Sure, yeah.
EW: – and the sort of priest imagery from that movie is something that kind of holds in my memory. When I think of a priest in that sense, I think of that movie. That’s just the kind of person I am. But no, honestly, what drew me to it was the script. I was kind of impressed with something that was as detailed as this was. I mean, it’s an action-adventure-fantasy movie, but it’s actually got a lot of depth to it. It felt like they wrote something with a great amount of detail, a relatively intense kind of historical myth and mythology that I thought was really interesting. It’s rare that you read something at this budget level that’s an entirely new idea. I just found that refreshing.
SR: Yeah, it had some really great worldbuilding going on.
SR: Since your Lord of the Rings days, you’ve made a lot of smaller indie films and TV shows like Wilfred. What was it like to return to a big action movie like this, with huge sets and setpieces and special effects? Did you miss it?
EW: It’s fun. I mean, I’ve had little dalliances into that world since ‘Rings.’ Certainly going back and doing a little bit on ‘The Hobbit.’ Miss it? Yeah, I suppose. It’s fun. It’s certainly fun to work on that scale. When you’ve got the kind of budget that can build you giant sets. There’s something that makes you regress to a child a little bit. Placing yourself into the fantastical realm with all of this incredible detail around you is really fun.
SR: So I loved Broken Age. I’m a huge graphic adventure game fan.
EW: Oh, rad. That’s awesome, so am I.
SR: And you did a really wonderful job.
EW: Thank you.
SR: I know you’ve done other voice-acting work in video games. In Spyro, in the Lord of the Rings games, and recently in Lego Dimensions.
EW: Yeah, yeah.
SR: Is that something you enjoy? Do you plan on pursuing that further in the future?
EW: I’m always open to it. I’m a gamer. I like playing video games. ‘Broken Age’ – that is a really good example of it being such an extraordinary opportunity for me because I’m a big Tim Schafer fan.
SR: Yeah, me too.
EW: I grew up playing all those Lucasarts games. And so when I found out that he was making another adventure-based game, he ended up contacting me via Twitter and asking me if I’d do a voice for it. So that was purely like a dream come true for me. It’s a creator I’ve wanted to work with for a long time and someone I’ve admired. He had a big impact on me in my teenage years. So yeah, I mean, I love games, so the opportunity for me to go in and voice a character – especially something as interesting as that is really fun.
SR: What’s your favorite adventure game, Broken Age aside?
EW: Of all time?
EW: Somewhere between ‘Full Throttle’ and…I mean, ‘Curse of Monkey Island’s incredible. ‘Secret of Monkey Island.’ I also love ‘The Day of the Tentacle.’
SR: Yeah, me too.
EW: ‘Sam and Max Hit the Road.’
SR: Yeah. They’re all good.
EW: They’re all good. I also love ‘The Dig,’ which no one talks about.
SR: I was never as big a fan of that one.
EW: ‘The Dig’ was the tail-end of all that, because – I think it came out just before ‘Grim Fandango,’ and ‘Grim Fandango’ was kind of the end of the era. And ‘The Dig’ was this thing that Spielberg produced right in the middle of the end of that era, and it feels like everyone forget. I actually think ‘The Dig’ was really interesting.
SR: I think – I mean, the reason I didn’t –
EW: It’s a little slower.
SR: Well, it’s more serious, and as a kid, I didn’t enjoy as much for that reason.
EW: There’s not many jokes, but there’s like, alien life on other planets, all sorts of larger implications. I like that game.
SR: What’s next for you acting-wise? I know you’re going to be in a movie with Nicolas Cage next year. What else?
EW: There’s a movie called ‘Cooties’ that’s out right now. It’s a horror-comedy. Aside from that, I’m not really sure what’s up next. But as far as Spectrevision and our company, we’ve got a movie that we’re going into production in January on called ‘Bad Vibes,’ which is a psychedelic werewolf movie with Ariel Pink doing the music for it. That’ll be the next thing we do.
The modern world holds many secrets, but the most astounding secret of all is that witches still live amongst us; vicious supernatural creatures intent on unleashing the Black Death upon the world. Armies of witch hunters battled the unnatural enemy across the globe for centuries, including KAULDER, a valiant warrior who managed to slay the all-powerful QUEEN WITCH, decimating her followers in the process. In the moments right before her death, the QUEEN curses KAULDER with her own immortality, forever separating him from his beloved wife and daughter in the afterlife. Today KAULDER is the only one of his kind remaining, and has spent centuries hunting down rogue witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost loved ones. However, unbeknownst to KAULDER, the QUEEN WITCH is resurrected and seeks revenge on her killer causing an epic battle that will determine the survival of the human race.
The Last Witch Hunter is directed by Breck Eisner, stars Vin Diesel, Elijah Wood, Rose Leslie, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Julie Engelbrecht, and Michael Caine, and is produced by Bernie Goldmann, Mark Canton, Vin Diesel, and Samantha Vincent.
The Last Witch Hunter hits theaters October 23rd, 2015.