Comic-Con 2011: 'Wilfred's' Elijah Wood on 'Lord of the Rings,' Being a 'Nerd at Heart'
The actor’s dream panel? George Lucas and Gary Kurtz debating “Star Wars.”
With hundreds of thousands of people attending San Diego Comic-Con every year and the July 20-24 event quickly approaching, The Hollywood Reporter chatted with the big names in television to discuss their favorite memories and tips for attending the annual event. THR’s Live Feed will talk Comic-Con with actors, writers and producers in the days leading up to the event so check back soon for interviews and the latest news on panels and screenings.
Geek Cred: The Lord of the Rings
Upcoming: The Hobbit
Comic-Con panel: Wilfred, Thursday, July 21, 6:15-7:30 p.m., Room 6A
THR: What stands out from your Comic-Con experiences?
Wood: My first Comic-Con was before the first Lord of the Rings was released and I could actually walk the floor. I’m a nerd at heart and love collectible toys and comic art and all of the different elements that come together at the convention. There was a sense of excitement about Rings and there was a predominant feeling that we were unleashing something that Comic-Con people would be excited about. I was there with folks from WETA Digital and it was fun to share that experience with a number of Rings technicians. It was like a portion of the New Zealand family had infiltrated San Diego.
THR: How has your experience changed over the years?
Wood: It became very apparent that I couldn’t realistically walk around, which was a bummer. I loved the festival so much and it was a shame to realize I couldn’t enjoy it. I’ve always wanted to get a mask or costume to walk around in. It’s probably the only place if you want to enjoy a festival where, if you wear a costume or a mask, it’s completely normal.
THR: What would your costume be?
Wood: I'm going to Comic-Con for a Wilfred panel, so it might be the year that I get my shit together, get a mask and walk around. Initially my plan was to do a Stormtrooper costume. But I’m downgrading it straight to a mask because the full costume would get too hot. I think Simon Pegg walked around once with a Joker mask on, too.
THR: What’s your favorite Comic-Con memory?
Wood: I ran into Patton Oswalt, which was very exciting. I think he’s hilarious. He’s kind of like Simon Pegg -- in an elite group of super-nerds. He introduced a panel and I met him backstage. And I was lucky enough to see James Cameron and Peter Jackson’s panel last year really resonated with me.
THR: What panel would you stand in line all day to see?
Wood: If they did a panel for Batman, which I don’t think they’re going to do, I’d stand in line for that. I think Chris Nolan’s Batman series is exceptional and I’m excited to see how he’s going to tie it up. If there was a panel for that with some kind of information as to what the next film’s going to be, I would stand in line for that.
THR: Who would be on your dream panel?
Wood: George Lucas and Gary Kurtz, his main producer for Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars, who ultimately did not produce Return of the Jedi. Their vision of Star Wars diverted: The vision that his producer had is very much in line with the vision that his fans have and I’d love to see a panel them discussing those specific points. It wasn’t supposed to be Ewoks, it was supposed to be Wookies; I think the Ewok choice was more about marketing to children. I would love to see that panel; it would never happen, but it would just be so amazing.
THR: What tips do you have for Comic-Con first-timers?
Wood: I like staying away from the Convention Center so I’m not right in the middle of it. It’s nice to get a breather otherwise you feel like you’re living at the Convention Center.
THR: You’re there this year for FX’s dark comedy Wilfred -- are you prepared for Lord of the Rings questions?
Wood: That and Hobbit questions I’m more than prepared for. I’m used to it at this point. Especially there; that environment is so conducive to asking about those particular projects. It’s totally to be expected.
THR: What can you tease about Wilfred?
Wood: I’m really excited to see where the show goes; the guest stars are amazing: Dwight Yoakum is in a lot of episodes; Mary Steenburgen plays my mom and we’ve got Rashida Jones and Ed Helms. They only serve to elevate the work that we’re doing.