Born on January 28, 1981, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Elijah Wood began acting as a child, with roles in the films Back to the Future II, Paradise and The Good Son. He was later cast as the hobbit Frodo in the blockbuster The Lord of the Rings film series (2001-03), and then returned to play the character for The Hobbit trilogy (2012-14). Wood's eclectic film and TV career also includes Sin City, Everything Is Illuminated, Happy Feet and Wilfred.
Elijah Jordan Wood was born on January 28, 1981, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His mother Donna Wood got him into modeling and he soon landed a major professional gig, appearing in Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl" music video in 1989. Movie roles followed, with Wood garnering parts in Back to the Future II (1989) and Avalon (1990).
Wood's career would see him grow up on the big screen and allow him to be hailed as a prolific actor before adulthood. Some of his more prominent roles included work in the dramas Paradise (1991), Radio Flyer and Forever Young (both released in 1992), with much media buzz surrounding his part in 1993's The Good Son, featuring Macaulay Culkin. Years later, critical attention was given to Wood's portrayal of a teen suburbanite in director Ang Lee's stark drama The Ice Storm (1997).
'The Lord of the Rings'
After a few more years of film work, a landmark moment came when Wood was cast as hobbit Frodo Baggins, the lead character in Peter Jackson's epic adaption of The Lord of the Rings book series, by J.R.R. Tolkien. Wood's Frodo was an earnest, gentle being who was dedicated to fulfilling his mission of destroying a ring of evil, though it meant much outer and inner conflict for himself and his friends.
The Rings film trilogy, which was released in theaters from 2001 to 2003, was a massive worldwide success that assured fans across the world would know of Wood's work and emotional depths as an actor. Yet he didn't continue down the path of blockbuster stardom and instead chose movies that were more eclectic and low-key.
"It's definitely not been an intentional thing to shy away from mainstream cinema," Wood said in a 2011 interview with The Guardian. "It's more about seizing opportunities that I think are interesting."
Eclectic Array of Work
Starring in a small-budgeted film Ash Wednesday (2002) immediately after filming Rings, Wood then chose two more intriguing characters to depict—that of an amorous, manipulative technician in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), opposite Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey, and a feral killer in the brutal, moody comic-book noir Sin City (2005). That same year, he was the lead in the richly rendered journey film Everything Is Illuminated.
Wood has continued his big-screen work with a filmography that includes Bobby (2006), Paris Je T'Aime (2007) and animated releases 9 (2009), Happy Feet (2006) and its sequel Happy Feet Two (2011). He has also been featured on the small-screen, starring in a 2011 U.K. adaptation of Treasure Island and in the surreal FX series Wilfred, about the emotionally beleaguered Ryan and his friendship with a dog-suited ruffian. Adding another dimension to his oeuvre, Wood has also done voiceover work for the online sci-fi series Red vs. Blue.
Wood happily returned to the world of Middle Earth in Peter Jackson's 2012 adaptation The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first installment of a trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. He was also cast to star in the thrillers Maniac (2012) and Grand Piano (slated for 2013).
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