The Great Lengths Lord Of The Rings Alum Elijah Wood Went To In Order To Land His Frodo Baggins Role

Frodo Baggins (Elijah Wood) holds the One Ring on a long chain in 'Lord of the Rings: Return of the King'

Sometimes actors just know when a role is right for them. When that happens, they’re usually willing to go to some pretty extreme lengths to prove they should be cast. In Elijah Wood’s case, he went all out to make sure that he made as strong a case as possible that he should play Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Nearly two decades ago, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters. Fans all over the world were captivated by the scenery, the special effects, and the cast -- including Elijah Wood, whose wide-eyed portrayal of the ring bearer Frodo Baggins helped cement the film as a modern classic. These days, Wood is staying busy with new film and TV roles (and occasionally playing Animal Crossing). But he still has vivid memories of his time as a hobbit. In a segment for GQ, the actor went into detail about how he tried to book the role that would propel him to global stardom. It turns out he went above and prove he was the man to play Frodo:

So, I'd never made my own audition tape before, and this is long before the time when that was common. … [I] was going to a vocal coach for the dialect and enlisted some friends, including George Huang, who is a writer and filmmaker. We went out to the woods in Griffith Park and shot two of the audition sequences there and one at my house. And there’s three scenes, each one was sort of a different aspect of Frodo along the journey, the last one kind of like [Frodo] being deeply affected by the ring.

Elijah Wood also remembered the extra lengths he had to go to in order to get his audition footage to director Peter Jackson, since this all happened well before the digital age fully took hold. And his comments are sure to bring up memories for certain people:

We went to the Miramax offices that night, when Miramax was still a thing, and cut the scenes together And then I took that tape, it was output to VHS [laughs], to Victoria Burrows' office and they FedEx'd it to Peter. I got a call from Peter himself, which was amazing, totally mind-blowing and the adventure and the opportunity of a lifetime.

That opportunity included moving to New Zealand to film all three of the Lord of the Rings films, which was an experience that obviously left an indelible impression on the actor. He recently shared his dismay at the news that Amazon’s LOTR series will be moving to the UK for Season 2 -- but he would know better than almost anyone how important the location is for getting Middle Earth right.

Elijah Wood isn’t the only Lord of the Rings alumnus who has opened up about the casting experience for the trilogy. Funnily enough, Ian McKellen doesn’t have a clear memory of how he ended up being cast as Gandalf -- though it’s safe to assume it didn’t involve trips to the park and late-night tape edits.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is currently available to stream on HBO Max.

Katherine Webb