Elijah Jordan Wood (born January 2, 1981 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) is a U.S. actor of English, Irish, German and Polish descent. He is the middle of three children born to Warren and Debbie Wood, who nicknamed Elijah "Spark Plug" because he was a manically energetic child. He has a brother Zack, a video game producer and seven years his senior, as well as a younger sister Hannah, a poet and actress who has had small roles in a number of his films. He has been a professional actor since the age of nine.
Wood is a huge music buff who claims to own something in the range of 3,000 CD's, and claims his favorite band to be the Smashing Pumpkins.
He briefly dated German actress Franka Potente and model and singer Bijou Phillips. He is currently dating a New York music student but she rarely appears with him in public and they do not want their relationship in the spotlight. During a recent interview with Conan O'Brien, he laughed off long-standing rumors that he is gay, even recommending one website which makes such claims, calling it "hilarious".
Wood is a Catholic and claims to still pray every night.
While filming The Faculty he learned that casting had begun for New Zealand director Peter Jackson’s epic production of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Wood immediately had his friend, director George Huang, film an audition tape of him running in the fields with crudely made Hobbit feet, and sent the tape to Jackson. Despite Jackson’s initial assertion that all of the Hobbit characters would be played by British actors, he was immediately won over by Wood’s audition and the American Wood was cast in the lead role of Tolkien’s diminutive hero Frodo Baggins. Jackson later said he could not possibly imagine another actor in the world who would be better-suited to Frodo.
The cast of the Rings movies was nominated for Best Ensemble Acting at the Screen Actors Guild Awards for three years in a row. They finally won in 2003, for the third film The Return of the King. For his performance as Frodo Baggins, Elijah Wood was nominated by the MTV Movie Awards and for the final installment, The Return of the King, he was nominated for a British Academy Award for Best Actor.
- "There's a lot more to life than Hollywood."
- "Child acting is a cutthroat world, which is pretty frightening and really silly in retrospect. But it's the parents who are evil. It is a really difficult world to live in if you don't have a base, if you don't have a strong sense of yourself. My mom wanted me to maintain a reasonable degree of normalcy and to enjoy my childhood. Family is so important. I rarely meet families who are as close as we are. I feel really blessed."
- "I find it offensive that it reflects on us that we as a society are fascinated by other people's lives and need that kind of information and it's more sensitive when you are kind of in the middle of it and you recognize that that could kind of be you at some point or people could be that interested in your private life and it's a weird thing. It's bizarre. I still find it incredibly strange, the breakup of Brad and Gwyneth made the front page of newspapers. That's our focus? That's kind of sad."
- "I will be completely honest. I am not a huge fan of awards shows. It's a little -- it can be a little overwhelming -- it was fun for Lord of the Rings and I enjoyed the process, the first couple of times for the first couple of award shows, but once you've been to five in a row, it's a lot of fanfare that gets kind of old, especially if you're not particularly interested in the awards. I don't find it to be all that important. I would rather be home watching those kind of things on television. My God, the Oscars were -- I think it was like five hours. I was nearly falling asleep on camera. It was funny."
- "I'm kind of insane when it comes to music, a little obsessed."
- "I think being different, going against the grain of society is the greatest thing in the world."
- "There's a real purity in New Zealand that doesn't exist in the states. It's actually not an easy thing to find in our world anymore. It's a unique place because it is so far away from the rest of the world. There is a sense of isolation and also being protected."