Elijah Wood, famously known for playing Frodo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings movies has opened up about the new films planned by Warner Bros. and his comments are honestly unexpected. You would think that he would play it safe and not say anything that could rock the boat. It’s Hollywood after all. But he was actually more honest than expected in his interview with GQ Magazine.
First up, Wood was excited. Of course, this is the franchise that set off his career and opened doors for his over 100 acting credits. This will undoubtedly change the lives of whatever actors join the project. “I’m fascinated and I’m excited. I hope it’s good. I’m surprised—I don’t know why I’m surprised because, of course there would be more movies.”
Wood was also honest that “at the core of that, is a desire to make a lot of money.” Now that comment was surprising. Because we know it. But we’re the audience. We’re the critics. And you never really hear actors say, “It’s not that a bunch of executives are like, ‘Let’s make really awesome art.” He followed that up by clarifying that art and commerce can go hand in hand, obviously trying to smooth things over.
But look, Wood isn’t wrong. “Lord of the Rings didn’t come out of that place” where commerce came first. The Lord of the Rings movies came from a place of passionate nerds who were dedicated to bringing to life a beloved property because they wanted to create. And sure, a tiny part of it was motivated by money. It’s the industry after all. But there was something so honest, intricately detailed, and spoke to a generation of adults who had grown up with Tolkien.
So I get it when Wood says, “It came out of a passion for these books and wanting to see them realized” I feel it deep in my soul. Because the “reverence for Tolkien’s material and enthusiasm to explore it” should take precedent when it comes to creating. If not, you end up with a series of movies that are big in budget, actors, and CGI but hollow in the heart and lessons that this unique world has taught us ever since we picked up the books.
And before anyone jumps in that The Rings of Power was some sort of travesty to Tolkien, the Prime Video series understands where it comes from. You can see that every time showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay talk, completely showing off how dedicated they are to Tolkien. Then there are the storylines. They fit into who these beloved characters were and who they become. And they enrich the world Tolkien created by opening the door to even more people to see themselves in this world.
That doesn’t mean that all hope is lost for the new The Lord of the Rings movies. Maybe they will hire nerds dedicated to the material. The same thing could happen with the writers, costume design, and cinematography. But with a Hollywood that consistently cancels diverse and LGBTQ+ shows and then goes and supports/elevates abusers, TERFs, and more for a quick buck….it’s not easy to trust. So until The Lord of the Rings movies land, we’re going to be cautiously optimistic. And probably watch the OG movies after reading the books.