Innovation & Design

Elijah Wood's Got Game


The actor, known for his role as Frodo in Lord of the Rings, and avid gamer discusses the evolving relationship between the video game industry and Hollywood

The actor who has starred in a number of Electronic Arts' The Lord of the Rings video games as Frodo spends a lot of his free time playing games. That was one reason why Microsoft selected Elijah Wood to host the MTV unveiling of Xbox 360 a few years ago. He's also known as the voice of Mumble in Warner Bros. Home Entertainment's Happy Feet movie, which is out now on DVD, Blu-Ray Disc and HD-DVD. Unsurprisingly, Midway Games adapted the tale of a tap dancing and tone deaf penguin for Wii, PlayStation 2 and GameCube. It marks the first time that Wood, whose brother Zach is a producer at Midway's San Diego studio, has worked with the game maker.

Wood, who is currently filming The Oxford Murders, took some time to talk us about his love of gaming in this exclusive interview.

What's your favorite video game of all time?

It's always difficult to pick one single favorite of anything. One of my favorite series of games is the Silent Hill series. It has an incredibly sinister and foreboding atmosphere that is very immersive and genuinely frightening at times.

Can you talk about how you've seen video games evolve in Hollywood in the time that you've worked there?

The game industry and the film industry haven't, until recent years, fused their collective abilities in a natural way that has been conducive to quality games or films. That has certainly changed as film licenses have been taken more seriously within the game industry to produce games that contain the same or similar atmosphere to their film counterparts, and films based on video games seem to be infused with greater attention to detail, namely Silent Hill. In my experience, with the Lord of the Rings games, Peter Jackson was consulted to ensure that the game fit in with the films that we'd been making. There are more filmmakers, as well, that are taking part in the creative process of making games. The worlds are colliding with interesting results.

How did your experience with the Happy Feet video game differ from your Lordof the Rings video game work?

The experience was relatively similar [in that] since the material for the game was approved by George Miller [the movie's director] and made with the essence of the film.

What are your thoughts on how next generation consoles might open up new opportunities for Hollywood talent?

As the game consoles become more powerful, games are becoming more immersive and more like films. As a result, there is more of a desire to include voices of film actors to help make the games more authentic [in the movie]. Motion-capture is also being employed more often, so I can imagine that actors may be called on to not only lend their voices.

What role do video games play within the Hollywood circle for actors like yourself on set or in your free time?

If there is a large amount of downtime on films, it's always nice to have a game system handy. During The Lord of the Rings, we played PlayStation quite regularly on our time off from set.

You were a big part of the Xbox 360 launch on MTV. Can you talk about what impact the digital distribution of movies and TV shows via Xbox Live VideoMarketplace might have as entertainment evolves?

Xbox Live, with its inclusion of television shows and films for download, has made a significant first move in the home entertainment world involving game consoles. It's an interesting time for digital entertainment and its place in the home as there are many hardware pieces that will offer similar content.

Can you talk about what game systems you like to play and what games you'respending time with these days?

At the moment, I am focused on my Xbox 360 and I've been playing Rainbow Six: Vegas. I can't wait to get into Lost Planet.

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