While talking to the press at the Winter Television Critics Association (TCA) gathering for his show Wilfred, questions naturally drifted towards The Hobbit for star Elijah Wood. Peter Jackson has returned to Middle Earth for the prequel to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy and now Wood gives us some new insight as the man returns to playing Frodo.
The first thing that struck Wood was Jackson’s use of 3D cameras to bring Tolkien’s world to audiences. "It’s totally amazing. It’s really cool to see the 3D on set, and to know what the images ultimately look like. The technology is so good now,” Wood said.
The actor also reported that getting a feel for what you were shooting as an actor has never been more effective than as Jackson is employing on The Hobbit set. “I remember, years ago, video assist was really rudimentary and watching playback was so rudimentary. It only gave you a sense of what the image was really going to look like, especially when you were shooting on film and getting a video feed. Until you actually see dailies, you can’t see what the image looks like,” Wood added. “Now, because The Hobbit is being shot digitally, we’re seeing a full HD image, in 3D, pretty much exactly as it’s going to look when it’s thrown up onto a big screen. That’s amazing! And, it takes a lot of the guesswork out of it.”
Wood also stressed that, although technology has grown, success has infused the prequels with some comforts that the original three movies did not have -- but at the end of the day it’s still about Jackson’s vision and bringing a beloved story to life.
“The thing that’s great about The Hobbit is that, returning to that space, it’s largely the same group of people who had made The Lord of the Rings -- a lot of the same crew members and creative heads of departments,” Wood said. “I was definitely aware of the fact that there were more trucks now and more trailers, and the production feels larger in scale. On a technological level, obviously that’s a huge part of it, as well. But, at the end of the day, it’s still the same group of people, making it very much in the same spirit as The Lord of the Rings, so that intimacy and that family aspect on set is still the same.”
Although his role in The Hobbit is minor, he clearly appreciated his return to the Shire. “My involvement is so small. It was a gift to go back and return. I was in Hobbiton again, for the first time in 11 years. I turned 19 in Hobbiton. I’m 30 now. That put a lot of things into perspective,” Wood said and smiled. “It was beautiful. It was just beautiful to go back. I only worked a small amount when I was there. I was there for a month, and the majority of my time was just going to set every day and meeting a lot of the new cast members, catching up with old friends, and being in Wellington again. It feels like home, and those people feel like extended family to me. It was such a treat to go back. It was awesome!”