Since his film debut in “Back to the Future Part 2,” Elijah Wood has grown up before our eyes. From the young boy dealing with life in films like “North” and “The War” to the adult hobbit Frodo in Peter Jackson’s Academy Award winning “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, he has never failed to impress an audience. This week he continues the third season of the highly popular television show “Wilfred,” which airs Thursday nights on FX. While promoting the show, Wood took some time to answer some questions.
Media Mikes: Do you sometimes have a hard time just holding it together and keeping a straight face when you film?
Elijah Wood: Oh yeah. I would say even more this season oddly enough than other seasons. For some reason I sort of busted up more this season because of what Jason [Gann] was doing than ever before. I’m so used to seeing him in the dog suit and to a certain degree the context of a lot of the situations I’m very used to but it still definitely serves to make me laugh. It’s a wonderful environment to work in. It’s something that all of us as a crew are kind of constantly laughing so it’s a pretty wonderful thing to go in to work to that every day.
MM: Do you think Wilfred should have a fixed ending point or can it just continue on indefinitely? EW: That’s a very good question. I think that the structure of the show that’s been created is such that it’s about a guy who is essentially in recovery and trying to figure out what his path in life is. This manifestation of ‘Wilfred’ has provided essentially a push for him to kind of figure that out. I think that can only really last for so long to believe that we are dealing with a man who is kind of struggling for answers to these questions and in this sort of existential question period of his life and in recovery. I don’t know that we can believe that for ten seasons. I think to a certain degree there has to be a resolve or a move in a certain direction, so I don’t know. I think…to the fairness of the construction of the show… I think it can only survive for so long. I would hate to make the show kind of carry on for too long and it not necessarily support what we’ve created, if that makes sense.
MM: Definitely. When you play Ryan, do you have in your mind an answer to why he sees Wilfred in order to help you play him?
EW: I do yeah. I have an idea. I’ve kind of made up my mind as to what I think Wilfred is. I don’t know that that’s reflective of what the character has decided though, and to a certain degree I think Ryan—when Ryan meets Wilfred in the first season it’s really within an episode in a way that he sort of accepts Wilfred’s existence. I think from there on out even though there are these questions and he does question what ‘Wilfred’ is—I think there’s a deeper level of acceptance and recognizing that ‘Wilfred’s’ purpose albeit uncertain as to where he’s manifesting from and what it means—his purpose is ultimately positive and that is helping him. I don’t know what Ryan has decided because I think Ryan is clearly questioning, but I have an idea. I think that perspective probably does help me in playing the character, but I think overall there’s just a sense of general acceptance for Ryan.
MM: When you approach a character, as far as developing it, do you take a different approach as opposed to when you’re working on a film and episodic television?
EW: Not really. I mean the only real difference between television and film—I mean there are a few I suppose, but predominantly it’s the pace to which you work. But the development of the character or the process for playing the character isn’t necessarily different. The other main difference between film and television is that you have the opportunity to flush out a character over a longer period of time whereas a film you’re confined to two hours, three hours, whatever it may be. But really it’s very much the same approach that you would take when you play a character in any medium I think.