I’ve heard many people saying they missed Elijah Wood’s appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, so I thought I’d send this transcript of the show. There are a couple of references during the interview– one about a shnook”, the other about a pool– that allude to Dave’s interview with Mariah Carey earlier in the show, which you wouldn’t get if you hadn’t seen that, but you wouldn’t really be missing much.
From “The Late Show with David Letterman” (CBS)
DAVID LETTERMAN: Our next guest is a talented actor. He stars in the new epic motion picture “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”. It opens December 19th. Heres Elijah Wood.
ELIJAH WOOD: (points to mug on the edge of the desk) Is this for me or is it for you?
DAVE: Its all yours.
ELIJAH: Oh, cheers, man.
DAVE: How ya doing?
ELIJAH: Very well.
ELIJAH: Overwhelmed. This movies coming out; its the biggest thing Ive ever been a part of.
DAVE: Why dont you tell us a little bit about yourself, then well talk about the film. Youre like, a kid, right? Youre going to be 21?
ELIJAH: Im going to be 21.
DAVE: Yeah, thats a kid.
ELIJAH: Thank you, thank you. Ive always felt older than I was, so finally I feel like Im catching up with myself.
DAVE: Tell me about your early life. How did you begin in show business, where are you from, what did you do?
ELIJAH: Im originally from Iowa, actually, and I
ELIJAH: Oh, are there people from Iowa here? Fantastic! And then I sort of moved to Los Angeles, started auditioning, and one thing led after another.
DAVE: You moved with your family? Is that what?
ELIJAH: Yeah, we all moved out there.
DAVE: Why did the whole family go to California from Iowa?
ELIJAH: Basically for me and my brother to kind of pursue acting. My brother got out of it early and I kind of kept going, and here I am.
DAVE: Its turned out pretty well, hasnt it?
ELIJAH: Pretty well. Im very lucky.
DAVE: And you did this movie in New Zealand, is that correct?
ELIJAH: I did. I lived there for 16 months, unbelievably.
ELIJAH: It was a life experience. It was profound.
DAVE: I understand its physically quite a lovely place, but other than that, what was it like? Were you there on your own?
ELIJAH: I was there on my own, had my own house, had my own car. Aside from making the movie, I had my own life there, which is pretty incredible. And we got into some pretty crazy stuff. I learned to surf while I was there, which is amazing, and did this thing called paraponting
DAVE: Para Im sorry, what is the word? Para
ELIJAH: I think thats how you spell it.
DAVE: Ive not heard of that.
ELIJAH: You get a parachute and you jump off a hill and you kind of ride the air.
DAVE: You can also do the same thing by jumping out of a shnook.
ELIJAH: A shnook. As I was watching. As she was saying.
DAVE: A shnook.
DAVE: And the people in New Zealand have a real zest for life, they love that kind of dangerous stuff, dont they?
ELIJAH: They do. They love bungee jumping, jumping out of planes, snowboarding, that sort of thing. I didnt go bungee jumping. I think I was a little too nervous for that.
DAVE: You were there, you say, a year and a half, and everybody got to know one another, got along pretty well and did stuff as a family.
ELIJAH: As a group, yeah. I mean, we really became a fellowship like that in the film. Some of the best friends of my life, I made on that, so
DAVE: What kind of things would you do, when you werent shooting the movie, with your buddies in the film?
ELIJAH: Uh, we did the surfing I got a wetsuit and a surfboard, got involved in that A lot of bars. Went to a lot of bars.
ELIJAH: (laughs) The local pubs, as you do. I got very ingrained in the English culture, very familiar with that.
DAVE: Was there talk of everybody getting tattoos, did that happen?
ELIJAH: That did happen. We became so close on the movie as a fellowship, we felt that the experience and the profundity of the experience deserved to be branded physically. So we all went to a tattoo parlor about a week before we finished and got branded together.
ELIJAH: Ian McKellen actually got a tattoo as well.
DAVE: I dont see it. I dont know if I wanna see it.
ELIJAH: Its here (points to lower right torso) so I dont think I can show it. I dont think that would be good.
DAVE: And what does it say?
ELIJAH: Its actually Elvish, which is the language of
DAVE: You have a tattoo of Elvis?
ELIJAH: Its Elvish, which is actually the language of the Elves.
ELIJAH: And it stands for “nine,” the nine members of the fellowship.
DAVE: Was it painful?
ELIJAH: REALLY painful.
ELIJAH: Yeah. And the funniest thing about that is, I was asking various people who had tattoos if it was painful, and they were like “No no no, its fine, youre going to be fine.” My GOD
ELIJAH: Ridiculous. Ive never been in so much pain in my life.
DAVE: And how long before you got over, whenever you take a shower, how long did it take you to get over “Oh, jeez!” that? You know what Im saying?
ELIJAH: I know. It took about a couple of months, actually.
ELIJAH: Im very proud of it, though. I still look at it when I get out of the shower.
ELIJAH: Sorry. Its a little personal, I know.
(laughter and applause)
DAVE: How long do you think you can go in a pool? Nevermind.
DAVE: And when is your 21st birthday?
ELIJAH: January 28th.
DAVE: Oh, you got a big celebration planned?
ELIJAH: Im thinking about going to Vegas. I think its time to go to Vegas.
DAVE: Thats the thing to do.
ELIJAH: Were gonna a prerequisite to wear suits, do the whole Rat Pack thing, you know, bring all my friends. I think itll be good. Lots of debauchery. Lots of drinking, as you do.
DAVE: Now this movie, as you talked about, youre very excited, because it looks like its gonna be very and has been widely and decidedly so its gonna be an enormous film, so that must be a big thrill for you. Is it already making a difference in your daily life?
ELIJAH: Its kind of scary. Ive never been a part of anything quite this big before. So yeah, a bit. I think, um, actually, while we were still filming, I came home a few times, and people were already calling me Frodo, which is the name of my character. So its starting to have an impact.
DAVE: Is that all right with you, to be called Frodo?
ELIJAH: (laughs) Im very familiar with it. Im taking the character on as a piece of me, so thats all right. You can call me Frodo. Go on, Dave, its okay.
DAVE: (laughs) All right, Frodo.
(laughter and applause)
DAVE: Whatever you want. This is, uh
ELIJAH: Oh, what do you have there?
DAVE: It looks like I think its your action figure, is that right? You cant have a movie anymore without having action figures? This looks like a chess piece.
ELIJAH: Oh my god.
DAVE: Is that you?
ELIJAH: Is this from Burger King?
DAVE: You know, I dont
ELIJAH: I have one question. Why is one foot invisible and the other not? What is that all about? Have you seen this?
DAVE: I assumed it was part of the movie.
ELIJAH: No, its not, actually.
DAVE: It goes on that thing there (struggles to fit figure on its base) Some assembly required. Ill get it.
ELIJAH: Put it the other way, the other way around, I think.
DAVE: Please, Frodo.
ELIJAH: All right.
ELIJAH: Just trying to help.
(laughter and applause)
ELIJAH: You all right, Dave?
DAVE: It looks like hes standing on a pork chop. I dont know
ELIJAH: It kinda does resemble a pork chop.
DAVE: Is that part of the story?
ELIJAH: There it is.
DAVE: Wow. Thats a nice piece of work, isnt it?
ELIJAH: Very nice.
DAVE: Now, do you get a little case of these, whenever they sell these things?
ELIJAH: I do I actually went to New Line recently and said “I need to be on the mailing list. I want all the merchandise.” I dont wanna be on eBay in twenty years having to search this stuff down.
ELIJAH: Im a total geek for this stuff. Ive been collecting action figures for years, so its really cool to have my own figure.
(Dave continues struggling with the toy)
ELIJAH: Oh, come on, get it right.
DAVE: Lets show them a little bit of the movie here. Do you know what the clip is were going to see?
ELIJAH: I dont, actually.
DAVE: Oh, come on.
ELIJAH: What is the clip?
DAVE: You gotta know what the clip is! I dont know, I wasnt in the movie!
DAVE: You gotta know! You were in New Zealand for a year and a half, for gods sake!
ELIJAH: I think I know what it is. Im being chased by a Ringwraith, a Black Rider.
DAVE: Okay, here we go, being chased by a Ringwraith.
ELIJAH: A Ringwraith.
DAVE: Thats right. Elijah Wood. Take a look.
(clip of “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”)
DAVE: Wow. There you go. All right, well listen, happy birthday.
ELIJAH: Thank you.
DAVE: Enjoy yourself in Las Vegas. December 21st is the movie?
ELIJAH: December 19th for the film.
DAVE: December 19th, great. Well, good. I know its gonna be a big hit. Congratulations.
ELIJAH: Thank you very much.
DAVE: Thanks for being here.
(cheers and applause)
DAVE: Well be right back with Stereophonics.