You may think you know a lot about actor Elijah Wood. After all, he’s been in the public eye since he was a kid, in films like “The Good Son” and “North.” He’s probably most recognized for his role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. But did you know Elijah is a part-time Texan?
He bought a home in Austin a few years ago and he’s attended six or seven South by Southwest festivals. “I’d come out to Austin just to see bands and to catch live music,” he says. “It wasn’t until 2005 or 2006 that I came with a film.”
Wood’s in Austin to promote “The Trust” – a hard-to-classify film that mixes comedy with drama and the heist genre with a corrupt cop plot line. In short, Wood says two low-rung cops (Wood alongside Nicolas Cage) find an opportunity to seize money and stage a heist, which they’ve never done.
“It has fun with the fantasy of these two guys who are so unlikely in regards to being a pair and trying to achieve something like that,” he says.
Wood says the chance to work opposite Cage drew him to the project.
“I think the film will remind people how funny (Cage) is,” Wood says. “The character is complex – he’s a little goofy… but he also is quite dark. The tone of the film gets darker and darker as they delve deeper and deeper into this thing that is way over his head.”
Wood’s character David has only a hint of a backstory – that’s he’s unhappy with both his personal and professional life.
“What I loved about the script, and ultimately the film, is that it doesn’t overly explain,” he says. “The information is there for you to experience.”
Wood says he’s long loved Austin, since his first visit in the late 1990s while filming “The Faculty.” His brother lived here for five years working in video games and he discovered Austin-area gems like the Alamo Drafthouse and the city’s annual sci-fi film festival Fantastic Fest.
“It just got to the point where every time I would come here, I’d have this overwhelming feeling of ‘I belong here, why don’t I live here?'” he said. “Austin’s a really special place – it has everything you’d want out of a big city… and yet, it also feels like a small town.”
Wood says though he works elsewhere, people have always been welcoming. “I’ve been coming here a long time, but I’ve also always been treated like a local, which I think is unique to Austin.”
Tax incentives would go a long way to making Austin, and Texas in general, more feasible for filmmakers, Wood says.
“It’s still expensive to make movies here,” he says, “and it’s a shame because there are so many resources …. It just seems like a missed opportunity.”
Austin has the proper infrastructure for a fully realized film industry: studios, crews, long-time filmmakers and fresh batches of film school graduates.
“On a local level, people know their shit,” he says. “They’re super enthusiastic for film. It just makes sense that it’d be a place where film was made.”
Listen to the extended interview with Elijah Wood in the audio player above.