There are few actors more geared toward the world of genre cinema than Elijah Wood, still probably best known for playing Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” fantasy trilogy, but who has also maintained a presence in horror via his production company, Spectrevision.
This coming Friday, Wood can be seen in Lionsgate’s “The Last Witch Hunter,” and though he isn’t the title character — that would be Vin Diesel as Kaulder — Wood plays Kaulder’s handler (of sorts) Dolan, a priestly member of the Order of the Axe and Cross, a group formed to keep dark sorcery in check.
“It being an action-adventure fantasy movie, I just didn’t know what to expect,” Wood says about his first read through the script. “I think I was really surprised with the level of detail and the world-building that was being attempted and the sort of very detailed, articulate mythology and backstory. I found my character a fascinating character as well — there are different layers to who he was, which made him more interesting.
“The whole package was interesting to me,” he continues. “Particularly because in this day and age, more often than not, there aren’t original concepts being made or invested in at this budget level, so it was sort of refreshing to read something that was going to be done on a large-scale but it wasn’t based on a pre-existing novel or wasn’t a reboot or a sequel. It was its own thing.”
The story takes place in New York (though it was filmed in Pittsburgh for tax reasons), and Wood expanded upon why he thought the city makes the perfect setting for witches to congregate.
“It’s a city filled with people but there’s clearly so many things happening under the surface that no one would know,” he says. “I’m sure there are witches, maybe even covens in New York.”
Wood can also be seen in the latest Spectrevision release, “Cooties,” a humorous take on the zombie genre with Wood and others playing teachers terrorized by infected school kids.