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Quint interviews ELIJAH WOOD!

Ok folks, here's an interview between QUINT and Elijah Wood. The first day of the interview was MONTHS ago, when Elijah showed up on my doorstep as I showed SIX STRING SAMURAI to Annette Kellerman and Tom Joad. A knock at the front door and I open it to see Elijah with a slightly frantic look upon his brow. "Where on earth is Threadgill's, I'm supposed to have met Quint there hours ago, but I can't find the place." Well knowing Quint, he was probably obsessing about his life sucking while staring at a door or something. So I decide to hop in the Elijah Wood BMW and direct him to Threadgill's. And that's where Quint picks up. The interview is a bit fun, irreverant and who else would dare ask Elijah Wood for his favorite dirty joke, and ya know... it's actually dirty. Be sure to write Quint and tell him what ya think about his interview, tips, dos and don'ts and marriage proposals...

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Y'all know me. Know how I earn a livin'. That's right, Quint here, this time with another grand olÕ celebrity interview (I had the pleasure of chattin' with Mr. Darth Vader himself, David Prowse, aboard The Orca a few months back, go check it out.)

This time I got a chance to chat with Elijah Wood, star of The Faculty. Yes, I, too, appear in The Faculty as an extra. I met Elijah on set my first day as an extra. We chatted about Apt Pupil and various other movie related things. I was a little worried that he wouldn't be cool (thoughts of Teeny-Bopper magazines ran through my permanently-bumped head), but it was all misplaced. Elwood, as he was known on set, was a true film geek.

Anyway, over the course of that week we had many more 'mini-conversations' between scenes, until I finally asked for the interview. Of course he happily agreed. Your lesson for today, kiddies: Bribing does wonders!

So, we figured we'd do the interview before going over to Harry's house for one of The Big Man's Backyard Movie Bashes.

The setting was Threadgills restaurant. The time was 3 on a pretty Saturday afternoon in April. The stage was set. I hired my mother to take pictures. Me, Cameramom and my little brother get to the restaurant at 2:30, stake out a table and began waiting.

Three o'clock rolls around, but I'm still alone in the booth. I remember that these Hollywood people always like to be fashionably late, so I don't worry. Fifteen minutes later I'm siting outside looking for a blue BMW perusing up and down N. Lamar, in search mode. At around 3:20, I see Elijah pulling into the driveway, waving at me, with The Big Man himself riding shotgun.

Harry, Eli and myself sit down at the booth. Elijah orders no food, just an ice tea. Same with Harry. I didn't go with the crowd. I was no lemming. I ordered a huge fuckin' plate of Threadgills' finest chicken breast and veggies.

After sharing battle scars around the table, we start the interview. I decide to get the boring, 'What is your favorite....' kind of questions out of the way first.

A little bit into the interview, Elijah looks at my watch and says something like, "It's four o'clock already? We have a problem."

Apparently, Eli had invited co-stars Josh Hartnett and the beautiful Laura Harris to The Big Man's party and told them to meet him at Geek HQ at 1600 hours. We got through 4 or 5 questions. I still had about 20 more to go.

Elijah and I decided that since he was in town for another 10 weeks or so, we would finish up the interview at another time.

Fast forward 10 weeks. I'm leaving for my annual California vacation (for some reason I never much cared for the east coast. Every time I think about it, all I see is an ocean red with blood and a huge fuckin' shark! I don't care if Amity does mean friendship, I'm going to sunny California!) The interview is still not done. Many unanswered phone calls and emails had gotten me worried that it would never be finished. My only hope was to meet up with Elwood on my 4 day detour in L.A.

I finally got a hold of a live person at the Wood household before I left. I talked with Elijah's cool-as-hell sister, Hannah, for a bit and she told me that they would be back in L.A. on Tuesday or Wednesday of the next week. Problem: I left L.A. on Tuesday. I ended up staying an extra two days in a cheesy motel ("Right out of Barton Fink," Elijah later commented) on Sunset Blvd.

The interview, part 2 was to take place at Jerrys Deli on Ventura Blvd. I find out that there are THREE Jerrys on Ventura. Later I find out he wants to meet at the one in Studio City. Man, life's easier hunting 16 footers off of Montaux.

Anyway, I catch a cab to the deli, get us a table, and wait. It was past one. It was like deja vu all over again.

I go and wait outside. All of a sudden, a car pulls up to the driveway. It was just an old couple (in 60's I think). They stop in the driveway, instead of going to park, thus blocking anyone else from entering the parking lot. Then they attempted to get their MOTHER our of the back seat. Ancient woman needed her walker, so the old couple begin to assemble it.

Another car pulls up behind them as I watch in amusement at the old people slowly putting together the walker. Old people are funny. I glance at the car behind them, a familiar blue BMW, blocked by the old people, half on the driveway, half hanging out on Ventura. Elijah sees me and points, smiling as I return the gesture. He rolls down the window, still unable to continue on to the parking lot, and starts to say something when I open the door and plop down in the passenger seat.

We chat while the old people drudge about. He said that he forgot what day he told me to meet him and that he decided to drive up and hoped I was waiting outside.

Suffice it to say we sat down, finished the interview and had a nice time. He was nice enough to give me a ride back to my cheap motel and save me $20 in cab fare. I can use it to buy more piano wire!

Anyway, this is the interview, in it's entirety. ATTENTION CASTING PEOPLE: read the 'Biggest Misconception' question. I believe he could do it and would love to see him do it.

QUINT:
Some favorite movies?

ELIJAH WOOD:
Movies, good. Not just one. Harvey. It's a great film, one of my all time favorites. Heavenly Creatures is one of my all time favorites. Oh, man, that movie is so deep. It's awesome. Heavenly Creatures, Harvey, uh... hold on here. I gotta take my time. It's so hard, I love so much. (I suggest Star Wars). Somehow I can never put Star Wars with my favorite movies. It's a great movie, but I can't put it in my favorites. The Professional. Love that movie.
Well, Rob Roy for a reason. I didn't love the movie, but I'll pinpoint that movie particularly for Tim Roth's performance. I'll watch it just for that. I mean, it's a good movie, but it's great for him. He's amazing in that. Braveheart. I could go on and on.

QUINT:
Tim Roth is one of your favorite actors, isn't he?

EW:
Yeah. Gary Oldman, too. Gary Oldman never fails. That guy's amazing.

QUINT:
I know that The Hobbit is one of your favorite books. Some others?

EW:
Dracula is probably one of my all time favorite books. Most people think that it's a horror novel, but it's not. It's an awesome, awesome book. It's told all in diaries. Hobbit, Dracula, Farenheight 451, Animal Farm. That's another thing, I just like too many books.

QUINT:
Favorite music?

EW:
Well, I like everything, except for country. The only country I can handle, the only country I can enjoy, this is kinda funny, is Patsy Kline. I'm down with the Kline, man. She rocks. I can only handle her. I don't know why. Walking After Midnight is one of my favorite songs, man. Devil Went Down To Georgia, that song rocks.
Favorite bands are like Smashing Pumpkins, Beatles, Liquid Soul, love Miles Davis. I have to be awake. The only stuff I listen to when I go to sleep is like Classical music. Either that or Rain. Just Rain. You know, like the Nature Sounds. Just Rain, though. I'm not into the like (makes jungle/monkey sounds). I'm not a rain forest person.

QUINT:
What was the last movie you saw? (Remember that this part took place back in April)

EW:
The last in the theater that I saw... you don't want to know. The last movie in the theater was The Wedding Singer. It was the second time I saw it, my brother hadn't seen it. I'm not dissing the film or anything, but it's not like a great film. It's fun. I dig it. It makes the 80's look cool.

(HARRY NOTE TO THE YOUNG ELIJAH---- THE EIGHTIES WERE COOL!!!!)

[This is when Part 1 of the interview ended. What follows is Part 2, done in L.A. last week]

QUINT:
Do you have anything to add to the previous questions (interview Part 1)?

EW:
Yeah, The Graduate is another one of my favorite movies.

QUINT:
So, you collect Star Wars stuff. What do you have in your collection?

EW:
Wow. Um, I guess I'll go through the most prized pieces of my collection. I have...um... God, what's really cool that I have? I've got a lot of the new action figures and vehicles and I've got some of the old stuff. I have some of the old stuff on cards. One of the coolest figures I have is Luke Skywalker in his Stormtrooper outfit. You can take his helmet on and off. I have an old AT-AT. I have an old Millennium Falcon, but they're not in great condition.
I have a lot of variations on the new stuff. When they first released the action figures, they had long sabers, then they shortened the sabers because they thought they were out of proportion with the bodies. So, I have a lot of the ones with long sabers. Stuff like that.. That's the kinda stuff I really dig.

QUINT:
You started acting at the age of 7. How was it being involved in everything at such a young age?

EW:
Well, I was just having a really, really good time. It wasn't weird. It was sort of my reality. I dunno. I think back then I was more care-free about what I was doing and I grew to love it to the degree I do now. I did love it back then, when I was younger, but I think I grew more serious about it, more passionate about it as I grew older.
I think my perspective was just as what any child's perspective would be on anything they do, which is sort of you have a good time, you meet people. I took acting seriously, but not as seriously as I do now. I just had a good time with it, ya know. I feel as if I do that today, I think my approach is just more serious.

QUINT:
You've kinda been rocketed into celebrity status. How has your family handled that?

EW:
Well, it happened gradually over a long period of time....um, they've all grown to deal with it, to accept it. It didn't happen really fast, ya know. I didn't get famous overnight. That would have been more traumatic, I think, more difficult to deal with. But now I've become more and more (bumps my leg under the table)....sorry... more and more famous, I guess, as I've done more and more movies and so we've all sorta grown into it. It's sort of a normal thing now when people notice me. They accept that.
It's just how it is. And I accept that. That's just how it is, ya know. It's something you learn to deal with, you learn to accept.
It really hasn't effected them personally. It's effected me and they've been around it, seen it. Maybe it has. I don't know. Luckily it hasn't effected anyone in a wrong way in my family. You know, everybody's been supportive and stuff.

QUINT:
What are the upsides and downsides to your celebrity status?

EW:
The upsides are that I have more of an opportunity to do more roles. I think more doors are opened up to me.
Um, I think the downside is just that once in a while it's a nuisance, ya know. Then there are influences that enter into the picture the more famous you become. More or the evils of the world become available to you. So I guess that's a downside. I mean, it's only a downside if you choose to accept it. It's more of a temptation than anything. Temptations become more readily available.

QUINT:
What's your average day like shooting a movie?

EW:
During the shooting of a movie....The average day is going to set, going through hair and make-up, getting in wardrobe, usually we'll do a rehearsal before a scene, be comfortable with what we're going to do for the day. Then its just shot after shot, time in between, hang out in between shots. We go to lunch after six hours of work, we work the rest of the day.
Every day in itself follows a general formula, but each day is interesting.

QUINT:
Then you have to go to school.

EW:
That's true. I do have school. Usually on a movie set I have 3 hours of school. We'll do school throughout the day when I have free time.

QUINT:
When you're just hanging out, on vacation, what do you do? What's your average day?

EW:
Well, I love film, so I rent a lot of movies, go to movies a lot. I rollerblade. I love to rollerblade. I read, I love to read. I haven't read in a while, but I love to read. I love to just go out. I like going out to see shows. I like to go out to be with my friends. To go to restaurants. I love to eat. I'm a big foodie.

QUINT:
You know, each time we've tried this interview thing and go out to restaurants, you never eat anything.

EW:
I know, but I love to eat. (Laughs).

QUINT:
(Patting large stomach, rivaled only by Master Knowles)
As you can see, so do I. Of all the films you've worked on, which was your favorite?

EW:
As for finished product, I'd say The Ice Storm. Out of what came out of what we did. For all around experience, I would say The Faculty because the crew was so amazing. Robert was amazing to work with. There aren't enough adjectives to describe how cool it was working with him. He's pretty amazing. He's a beautiful person and he's an amazing filmmaker and I learned a lot from him. Just all around. There was a lot of love on the set. We're all really close, so it was cool.

QUINT:
Any regrets?

EW:
(He gives me a look that I interpreted as, "Do I blast Flipper to death or not?" but that could have just been my imagination.)
No. No I donÕt. No regrets.

QUINT:
What attracted you to Deep Impact?

EW:
Initially, the script was really good and I signed on because of it. There were changes in the script.....it wasn't the same thing I agreed to.
What I think is so cool is originally the idea of a comet hitting the earth, but the movie being about the people and what they went through. I thought that was really cool. It wasn't just a special effects film and I really, really like that. That's why I joined on. It was a unique idea. A question that I think we all deal with at a certain time in our lives which is, like, What would we do if, you know, our lives were going to end in a certain amount of time? I think it's an important question. That's what made the script so interesting, and what I think made the movie so interesting as well.

QUINT:
Tell me about your other project, The Bumblebee Flies Anyway.

EW:
The Bumblebee Flies Anyway is basically about a last ditch treatment center for mentally ill people. I play a patient who's there because he thinks he lost his memory. He wants to regain his memory. So basically, he's a blank slate and he builds relationships with all the children, all the dying children, he meets and that becomes his life. The hospital becomes his life. He falls in love with this one girl and, you know, he creates this life for himself. That's basically what it's about. That's pretty much the gist of the story.

QUINT:
When's it coming out?

EW:
I'm not really sure. I think it's coming out in the fall sometime. We did it over the winter/spring. Apparently there's a rough cut of it done now, I mean its been done for a while, but they're still perfecting it. I'm not sure when its going to be released.

QUINT:
A little off track here, but have you ever had any crazy fan encounters?

EW:
I don't know if I've ever had and CRAZY fan encounters..... This wasn't really an encounter, but I was driving in my car with my mom on the way to a meeting and there was a jeep next to us. We stopped at a stoplight and they look over and they start screaming. That was pretty weird. I started laughing and they were looking at me and pointing.

QUINT:
What's the most common reaction you get when you're recognized?

EW:
It's not every really crazy. I mean, some people are just kind of jittery and strange, nervous and, you know, really excited. Some people play it really cool and say, "We want your autograph, we really admire your work," or whatever.
But I think the craziest kind of experience that I have is when two girls, like, notice me and they come over for autographs. Then they attract, like, other girls. That's crazy.

QUINT:
Not necessarily a bad thing, but crazy.

EW:
(Smiles) Yes, it is.

QUINT:
What do you think about your abundant coverage in those Teeny-Bopper magazines?

EW:
(Makes a nasty face, like he just had a turd in his mouth) I'm not a big fan of it, mainly because..... I don't know. The fact that teens are made as idols is kinda scary. I don't know. It's just kind of cheesy.

QUINT:
Biggest misconception?

EW:
I think a misconception that I'm dealing with now by people, most casting directors and such, since they haven't seen me play anything other than what I've usually played, which is normally pretty nice people, they really don't see me in roles other than that. So that's hard to deal with. It's a misconception because I know I can play dark characters and so forth. I understand they can't see me in that because they've never seen me in that before. Of course, I really can't prove that's a misconception because I've never really done anything like that, so I don't know, but I feel it is anyway.

QUINT:
Why did you choose to do Robert's movie (The Faculty)?

EW:
Because Robert was directing it.

QUINT:
So, if it had Wes Craven instead, you wouldn't have joined on?

EW:
No. No offense to Wes Craven at all. I didn't want to contribute to the genre. I didn't want to be a part of another Kevin Williamson movie. You know what I'm saying? There were a lot of copycats at that time. A lot of scripts were coming out that were dealing with the same things and they were all going to be directed like how Wes Craven directed Scream.
I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to jump on the band wagon and be with everybody else, doing the same thing. But when I heard that Robert was going to direct it, I knew that his style was going to be completely different than any of that and that his spin on the whole film would be so different than anything, but would have gone with that genre and would really step up the film. It would make the film rise in quality. So that's why I joined on. And I'm a big fan of his work and I love his vision.

QUINT:
How do you think it'll turn out?

EW:
I think it's gonna be awesome. Awesome is used too often, but I think it's gonna kick-ass. I mean for a movie like this, you can only really describe it in like really funny terms, like kick-ass. It's gonna kick-ass. It's really going to be so cool. It's going to be a really cool movie, just like all of his movies. They're all really cool.
I think we've got some really good actors in the movie. The cast is really cool. I've seen some of the scenes cut together and the visuals are amazing. The cinematography looks so beautiful. It's really dark, a lot of shadows. I'm really excited. I think it's going to be great.

QUINT:
Is the official title The Faculty now?

EW:
Well, that's what they gave to the press.

QUINT:
Well, this movie should rule because of the extra talent involved.

EW:
(Laughs) Huh?

QUINT:
It's got the best extras talent. They had me, they had Dannie (aka Sister Satan), I mean that's all you need.

EW:
How could you go wrong?

QUINT:
I know.

EW:
They're not going to be paying attention to the actors, they'll just pay attention to the extras.

QUINT:
Yep. I think there's this one scene where I'm following you down a hall and you're like looking madly everywhere and everybody is just gonna be, "Ohhhh, look at how that extra's walking. He just steals the scene."

EW:
Yep.

QUINT:
I'm sorry.

EW:
You know, it is what it is.

QUINT:
What's your next project?

EW:
Summer. I'm taking the summer off. I don't know what my next project is. There are a few things I'm interested in, but nothing for sure.

QUINT:
What kinda things are you looking to do?

EW:
Something that's a little darker than anything I've ever played, or tougher.

[At this point, my tape recorder ran out of tape and I didn't notice until half way through the next question, which had to do with Elijah meeting George Lucas]

EW:
Star Wars to me, and it still is, it's larger than life, you know. It presents itself in a very grand, spectacular way. Everybody loves Star Wars.
When I met George Lucas, obviously I knew who he was, I knew that it was his film and everything, so it was just the coolest thing to be able to meet him, ya know. I was like, "I'm actually meeting the guy that made all this happen. How awesome is that? This guy is so brilliant." It was pretty exciting. I have pictures of it, too, of the meeting. It was fun.

[I might add that Elijah met Lucas a long time ago. I believe he met him on the set of Radio Flyer, so don't go getting any ideas about Elijah playing Anakin in Episode 2, although it would be cool. The character is darker and tougher than anything Elijah's done before.....hmmmm. Tantalizing]

QUINT:
How long have you been reading AICN?

EW:
I'd say....um.... a year now.

QUINT:
How'd you find out about it?

EW:
I believe I found out about it in the newspaper. I think there was an article about it in the LA Times.
Either that or my mom...well, I know my mom told me about it. She'd either read the article or she like read in the trades or somewhere about [Harry]. Some news article about him. So I checked out the site and was like, "Wow! This guy gets all the secret information, spreads it out all over the internet. How cool is that?"

QUINT:
So that's what attracted you to it, was the fact that it had all the news.......

EW:
Well, the fact...... yeah. The fact that he had spies, you know, all over the U.S. and the world getting the information on films that were in the process of being made. You know, films that were really exciting for people to learn about.

QUINT:
Why do you think it (AICN) has been so popular?

EW:
I think its popular greatly due to the news and it became so well known due to the press he was getting about leaking information and having spies...the studios were all afraid of him. That really got him a lot of attention, so a lot of people started going to his site and getting wind of it.
I think what keeps people coming back is that it's just.... well, first of all, he's very personable the way he writes and people like him. They genuinely like him because he presents himself. His page is very open to who he is, so a lot of people feel like they know him. So that's an aspect to the site that keeps people coming back. And then, the news. The top-secret information on Star Wars that people can see, information on people's new movies that are really anticipated, that people are really looking forward to. Things like that.
Then there's reviews of the test-screenings of movies. People go there for that. I certainly do. I remember when the first reviews from the Godzilla test screenings came out and I was like, "Wow! I want to see what people think," ya' know? There's always something interesting there, to me anyway.

QUINT:
I have to admit, I stole this one from The Daily Show, but I think it's a funny question: In your opinion, who is the Walrus?

EW:
I know this question. I saw that episode.

QUINT:
Dammit!!!

EW:
But in my opinion, Paul was the Walrus. It was Paul according to the song and the fact that the Black Walrus meant death and Paul was supposedly dead and all this stuff. BUT, pictured as The Walrus was John Lennon.

QUINT:
Ok...., also accepted would be "I am."

EW:
I'm pretty sure, right? Wasn't it John Lennon on the cover that the Walrus was? It wasn't Paul.

QUINT:
Didn't John Lennon have that egg-head thing going? Or was that just in the movie?

EW:
That's in the movie. I don't know. But, Paul would be the Walrus.

QUINT:
Now this is one I doubt you've been asked before: What's your favorite dirty joke?

EW: (Long Pause)
I'll tell you the favorite dirty joke. Let's see if I can remember it. It's a good joke.
Ok, a guy comes out from a forest and there's this other guy on the beach. The guy comes out.....ah, shit! I don't know if I'm gonna remember this. It's something like (Elijah now goes into an Italian accent), 'They fire me again, they never forget what I did. I cannot believe it'....shit!!!!! (He bangs the table rapidly multiple times trying to remember the joke)
Basically he keeps getting fired from these jobs and he's like, he keeps saying that, "I was this...." Oh, this is it:
(Italian accent back) 'I build big house. Beautiful big house. They don't remember that! Pshew! They don't remember the big house. They don't remember the beautiful pillars and house that I built. I'm not known as the house-builder!
"Then I build beautiful boat. Pshew! They don't recognize me as a boat-builder. Of course not! I build beautiful boat for them, they don;t remember."
"I plant magnificent garden. Do they remember that? No, I'm not known as the gardener! No! But fuck one goat......"
That's a funny joke. I didn't say it very well. I didn't say it very well, but he's known as the the goat-fucker, you see. He does all these wonderful things, but he fucks one goat......

QUINT:
Ok, try this one on: What's the difference between a anal sex and a refrigerator? (Pause)
A refrigerator doesn't fart when you take the meat out.

EW:
(Closes his eyes as the punch line is delivered and smiles).
That's pretty funny.

Oh well, I tried.

Keep your eye out for upcoming interviews with other Faculty cast members, like my future wife, Laura Harris, possibly one with Josh Hartnett and maybe even Mr. Rodriguez himself. But The Big Man will help me with that, won't you, Harry?

You can drop me a line (get it?) at:

Mail you're comments care of a watery grave at AICN Quint@aol.com

Here's to swimmin' with bow-legged women.

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 22, 2002, 2 a.m. CST

    bah

    by Ner

    fuck, i read it. I read the whole damn thing!! I fuckin love Elijah. and i'd read it again, hear that, i'd read the whole fuckin thing again!!