Silver Star sends along this LONG transcript from the Elijah Wood and Sean Astin talk at ORC this weekend.
Notes from the talk, to the best of my memory. I’m not a court reporter and may easily have misheard things, forgot, or otherwise messed up. So please forgive any mistakes!
Sean: how many people are here from the LA area? [hands up] From other places?
To the locals: Wassup my peeps? To the others: welcome
Sean: [mock serious voice] I prepared an entire soliloquy.. [audience laughs]
Elijah: There once was a girl from Nantucket…. [audience laughs]
Sean: Sings “Wise men say / only fools fall in love / But I can’t help / Falling in love with you”
Elijah: [problems with mics] Fucking thing [audience laughs] Is this the year that swearing’s banned at ORC? [more laughter]
Sean: I’m not allowed to swear at home, my wife doesn’t like me swearing, so I cringed on your behalf. Allie says that Elijah swears all the time, but we don’t mind.
Elijah: When I’m around her, I say oh fuh— and then sorry, sorry, sorry and she says “that’s okay”
Elijah: I thought Billy Boyd was going to be here today. I’m excited because i haven’t seen Billy since I’ve seen you [to audience].
Sean: I’ve doing publicity for 24, saying i haven’t seen anyone but I kept saying that I’ll see them at ORC
Elijah: We all have our own lives
Sean: I heard a eulogy for the pope, heard the pope had died the moment i was walking past St. Patrick’s cathedral in New York. I told my wife, “I’m going in,” and heard a great eulogy.
[they discuss how to take questions, Elijah takes a poll to ask whether they’d rather sit down or stand up to line up for the questions, they vote to stand up. Sean proposes ten questions, Elijah comes up with the idea of a speed round at the end.]
[The screen behinds them starts up and shows their images, they turn around to check it out]
Sean shakes his booty
Elijah: Did you just shake your ass?
Sean: Yeah… among other things…
Elijah turns around and lifts up his jacket, slowly, uncovering the back of his jeans.
[they play with the infinite reflection of their back views]
Elijah: admires orc costume, turns out to be the judge for the costume contest
Sean: Suggests a round of applause for costumers and the contestants.
Question: about Elijah plans
Elijah: talks about “Bobby”: really proud to be a part of, ensemble, powerful and interesting movie, amazing how politically relevant his is message now.
I’m looking for work…
The Iggy Pop movie, will start by the end of the year, which will be kinda strange
Someone asks about Happy Feet, Elijah answers: I’ve been working on that for about three years.
It will be out in November, gonna be really funny and special
Q: Did you get together with LOTR friends for Christmas?
Elijah: I was with family for Christmas, which was great. Sean was too. It was New Year’s we were getting together. It’s hard to arrange it, seeing friends.
Q: kinds of memorabilia did you take from other movies?
Sean: From the Goonies, a couple of doubloons, the … the skull key that turned and started the revolving thing, and the inhaler. I moved out when I was 18 and my mom moved up to Idaho… [explains things just got lost]
Q: sell them on eBay?
Sean: The thing is, authenticating… There was a 20th anniversary of shooting the Goonies, I came out of the Lion’s Head Inn and there was Mikey’s bike — some guy had made a perfect replica, no way to tell. I rode it around a bit. And there were duplicates, but I only too the ones I handled.
Elijah: the “Hero Props” perhaps? [audience laughter]
Sean: … RING BOY [they laugh, audience laughs]
Elijah: You know, people have called me a lot of things, but no one’s ever called me that. [everyone laughs]
Sean: I collected the back of the chairs, the director’s chairs with my name on them.
Elijah: I did too, but I don’t know where they are.
Elijah: From Everything Is Illuminated, I took the glasses and a suit, a great black suit, also a kindof blue tuxedo that didn’t make it into the movie. There’s a lot of stuff you’ll see on the dvd, dream sequences.
Sean: I took the helmet from Rudy
Elijah: I took the costume from Huckleberry Finn… it doesn’t fit … funny that [laughter]
Elijah: [Points at Sean] He just made some reference to dolphin poo
Elijah: I didn’t take anything from Flipper. Maybe t-shirts, I was excited about the bands.
Sean: Memphis Belle
Elijah: did you take the plane? [audience laughter]
Sean: One of the planes we used crashed. [Tells story of a b-17 crashing, while he’s there, he takes a bit of the broken plane, 50 caliber machine gun, then has to get it through airport security]
Elijah: I took the poster in Huckleberry Finn, the wanted ad for Jim the slave, the knife from that. Collecting things from movies is really fun, but if you’re lucky to work a lot, you amass things. I’m such a packrat, and i have a small house…
Q – I really liked Everything is Illuminated [Sean & audience clap, Elijah looks pleased]
Q – How to send demos to his record company?
Elijah: don’t know how many people check simianrecords.com, I feel so guilty that there’s nothing there. I’m taking my time, going to work on the web site first, PO box to send stuff. Learn as much as I possibly can, the business side i’m not familiar with, learn and grow. The web page will be updated eventually, keep an eye on it.
Q – What are your plans for your birthdays?
Elijah: i don’t have anything planned. I’ll probably go out to dinner with my family. And it’s funny, it’s a fairly significant birthday, I think 25 is pretty significant [audience claps]
Sean: i had my first child at 25 [audience laughs, there’s some byplay I missed]
Elijah: I’m so weird about birthdays, never make plans, some people make really significant plans, and I…
Sean: This year i have a good answer. February 25th is my birthday [audience yips, he talks about sharing with George Harrison, sings a little]
Elijah: There’s TORN, even if we forget, people know.
Sean: I’m going to be with you at Mardi Gras in New Orleans!
Sean: returning kings of Bacchus, everyone should come and [something about safe and reasonable] bring life back to New Orleans.
Elijah promises to say Happy Birthday to Sean [little interchange about how he only has to say it once]
Sean: [in a theatrical voice] “Sean won’t come out. Why? Because Elijah hasn’t wished me Happy Birthday. [everyone laughs]
Q: Is it easy or hard to cry in a scene?
Elijah: We have a similar process…
Sean: I can’t remember what mine is. It depends on the day, depends on the moment. … certain lines of dialog, can start crying. Other times…
Elijah: I dunno, you know, it’s, um, there are a lot of actors who are very good at crying on cue and getting into an emotional state. But I find it difficult to get into an emotional state. There are actor tricks of the trade as it were. [laughs] There are like these menthol drops and things you can blow in your eye, the technical part. but the emotional part…
Q: How many takes does it take?
Elijah: It depends on the emotional state on the set, how long it is. You can blow yourself out early [missed some bits]
Sean: Depending on what the process is. [Does a Russian accent] it’s personal process, a lot of people have their own. [Back in his own voice] My father would advocate a very specific technique to the craft of acting, that you know who you are and what your instrument is that you know. But in this day and age… you want to achieve something special … want to find the moment … the genuine real and moment.
Elijah: Fear of yourself, the moment, the pressure…. the fear and that pressure helps to create some of that emotion as well. it’s hard to describe … so many elements .
Sean: This movie was different, we were in those tender moments, those sad moments, it was like being in the 16th mile of a marathon.
[They had continuing problems with the mics, had to hold them in funny ways]
Q: How does having a family affect which roles you take? And my wife loves Forty First Kisses, could you answer in Dougie’s voice?
Sean: [Lisps] Doug doesn’t have any children that he knows of. [In his own voice] I’m in another Adam Sandler movie — one word: SPEEDO
Sean: Family, yeah. I just turned down a job in Australia that I might otherwise have done. Just didn’t want to be away. That’s my “sentimental, tender side”. [audience laughs] So yeah, it definitely… I’m willing to take roles with material that might not be appropriate for them. I dunno, biggest thing is the amount of time… I’m blessed I’ve made enough money that I don’t have to work when I don’t want to. Eventually, in the near future, Alexandra will have a voice in my future. She’s on stage, her favorite show is Friends (we’re bad parents and let her watch it) – she loves it.
Elijah: I had a dream about this, about Allie coming up to me all Friended out, or, or maybe it was deja vu
Q: You’re devirginizing me, it’s my first convention [audience laughter]
Sean: [Pops his mouth]
Elijah: We did nothing, we didn’t touch you. [more laughter]
Q: What’s the deal with your fingernails?
Elijah: I have serious nail biting problem, I didn’t curb it during the movie, it’s not a character thing that I did on purpose. Ian McKellen said it was brave but…
Sean: Richard Taylor heard people nervously complaining that fingernails were chewed and dirty. So he explained that for special effects makeup artist — they’re real.
Q: What happened when Sam had to give the Ring back?
Sean: That was Barad Dur? [Audience: Cirith Ungol] Right, Cirith Ungol, we tried it a couple of different ways. first time, played it as though he was just returning the object. Didn’t want to mess with the purity of Sam, so it was just a momentary thought, then he returned it. Also, I remember we tried it with him being really aggressive, Sam really wanted it. Fran directed and we didn’t know what Peter wanted. They were trying to choose, even as late as the looping in London 2003 they were still trying to decide. I first saw at the first premiere in Wellington.
Elijah: Did you know, Peter saw the whole thing first at Wellington?
[back and forth bit]
Sean: The result, with the music, is up for individual audience members to interpret. I think, little bit, he might want it. He was a little tempted, for a moment, not too much… mesmerized by the power of the ring… not separate from the forces operating on Frodo… affected by it
Elijah: I’m having flashbacks. [to audience] If you have Sting, hold it up, is it glowing blue?
[audience member holds it up it is blue, everyone laughs]
Q: Could you show the tattoos? [Elijah pulls his top up and pants down, but it’s in shadow so everyone just enjoys the experience]
Q: How many times have you watched the movies you’re in?
Elijah: I generally see the movie a couple of times on the press tours, go to the premieres, and then a couple of times. The pre-screening cast and crew kind of thing, then kindof seen it enough. But the Lord of the Rings, it’s on TV a lot, going through cable, hey Two Towers! [Mimes sitting down and watching, audience laughs]
Sean: I just watched in he middle of the night a movie that I did when i was sixteen, and I just loved it. [mumbles the name of the movie] Remembering back to when i was sixteen, that was really cool. [Elijah agrees]
Sean: I watched Return of the King with Alexandra, the last hour of it, the two of us were sitting there, she’s crying, I’m crying…. [audience awwwws]
Q: What made you so enthused about being Frodo?
Elijah: I was familiar with Tolkien, I had read the Hobbit, had a copy of Lord of the Rings on the shelf at home, which counts
Sean: have you read it?
Elijah: let’s not talk about that.
Elijah: I heard that were doing the three books as three movies, and I’m a huge fan of Peter Jackson… They weren’t sending out the script, I had to read it in a locked room, and I was transported. I was driving away, I could swear that goblins were chasing the car. [missed some bits] Also the prospect of living in a foreign country, i was 18… it was the best opportunity, enriched my life in ways I can’t even explain.
Q: What do you hope other cast members learned from you?
Elijah: It’s hard to answer questions like that. I never think about myself, I’m always learning from other people, never think what other people learned from me. [talks about Sean,] It was the two of us, we felt everything and experienced everything together, incredible experiences, really hard. It tested each individual that worked on those films, had to go through a lot of things they’ve never been through in their lives. Sean and I lived in this microcosm together, either one of our trailers, for months on end. We learned a lot from each other, and relied on each other.
Sean: I heard that question and I had this image of myself climbing a steep mountain, and at the top was a yogi. I asked, “What can other people learn from me yogi?” The yogi said, “not yet”. [much audience laughter]
We learned unbelievable amounts of stuff from each other about life, professional ethos, music, …. we were laid bare through the whole experience. We learned that which doesn’t kill you, doesn’t kill you.
Q: This is for Sean Austin?
Elijah: [looks upset]
Sean: you can say ASS-TIN
Elijah: i was gonna say ASS-tin
Q: What made you do 24?
Sean: I’m an impulsive person, I made that decision in a split second. A while ago, my agent sent tape of pilot, for directing job. I thought it was a brilliant show, and there was no way I’d get to direct. I decided to wait for the dvds for 3 years, and then watch all in one go, no commercials.
Elijah: We don’t need commercials any more we’ve got TiVo
Sean: [long story: his back was hurting, he went to a chiropractor, met the the Joel Sernam creator of 24, who was also getting his back fixed.] Joel asked, “Are you a fan”, and Sean said “Absolutely.” Joel asked, “You wanna be on it?” and Sean said “Yes.” So he was.
Elijah: that is amazing! that’s the stuff of legend!
[Elijah and Sean act out the interchange, Sean tells Elijah to lie down as though he’s Joel Sternam, but not like that, and then they go through it. very cute]
Sean: I went across the street and bought the three years of DVDs and told my wife, “Honey, I have to watch these!” I called my agent and said, “Remember I want to be in a show wearing a suit?” and my agent says “I’m working on it,” and I said, “I took care of it, make me a good deal and earn your percent”. And there I was, a little while later, in my suit.
Sean: And the chiropractor fixed my back up, I was better instantly
Q: Do you watch Dom’s show LOST?
Elijah: Obsessively. I love it. I started watching it out of love and respect for Dom, and now I’m hooked. [bit more about the show]
Sean: [bit about his brother Mackenzie getting a job on there]
Sean: Dom and I talked on the phone maybe a month or two before he got Lost.
Elijah: and now he’s found [audience laughter]
Sean: It was hard. There was a worry that we’d all become part of the Galaxy Quest [audience laughs]
Sean: It was hard for Dom for a little while, he was really hurting, he didn’t want to be feeling it, he didn’t want to be – as a professional actor, you don’t want to be thinking at that 32 you’re hanging it up. I was reassuring, I said that I was sure something big would happen for him, and the next month, he got Lost.
Elijah: It’s easier for us, we live here, he moved here, from Manchester
Sean: He revered American movie making, could quote movies better than anyone else, really rough for a while.
Q: What’s your favorite character on Lost?
Elijah: I don’t know… [doesn’t want to answer, audience laughs] Locke I think. It’s difficult to pick a favorite character in that show, because there’s a duality to each character. You can follow a character for four shows, and then there’s a flashback, and they’re different people. I think it’s awesome, all the secrets and stuff, the symbols…. you know when the boy, what’s his name? [audience: WALT!] comes out of the words, he speaks backwards [audience member quotes about pushing button good, not pushing button bad]. I look like a bad fan now.
Sean: I think you’re in. You’re not the sharpest, but you’re in.
Q: What’s your favorite scene?
Sean: Carrying him, on the volcano. [Elijah nods, audience awwws] You have the entire 270 million dollar franchise on your shoulders…
Elijah: [Complicated mutterings about some guy named Zane Weiner, prank wars, Viggo’s involved]
Q: What would you like to learn, that you don’t know how to do?
Sean: Play the piano
Elijah: Musical instruments, I used to play the piano, I’d like to play again, learn guitar, bass, drums…
Sean: To pilot the space shuttle
Elijah: I don’t know a foreign language which is really embarrassing.
Elijah: I feel like a total student of life, I’m fascinated by anything and everything.
Sean: Piano, space shuttle, Latin. The space shuttle seems the least likely.
Q: Could you say hi to a little girl?
Elijah: Hi cutie, cute [wiggles his fingers, very sweet]
Q: Elijah, how many movies have you made in all?
Elijah: I don’t know. More than ten.
Sean: You can’t trust IMDB, it lists a bunch of movies I’m supposed to be filming that I’ve never heard of
[discussion, comes to about forty two]
Q: [comment] Really liked Sin City.
Elijah: it’s awesome!
Q: What’s your favorite part of the Lord of the Rings book?
Elijah: The Shelob trap, it’s an extraordinary chapter, especially the way it reflects, perhaps, the way Tolkien views women.
Q – [something about drama?]
Sean: [tells stories about his dad at Johns Hopkins, daughter doing regional theatre, mom in Montana doing regional theatre. something about telling stories around the campfire. ]
Q – preparing for Sin City?
Elijah: I didn’t have to worry about speech – it was about the way Kevin looked and the way he moved. Frank Miller was also co-director, so man who created them was on set. I was a huge fan, I knew the character. Because we were shooting the film essentially frame-by-frame from the books, you had a total visual reference from the start. Kevin moves a lot and has a very fluid movement, and we tried to keep it. It’s hard to move and keep your mouth from opening, it’s a reflex.
A couple of weeks before, I inquired if there would be action. They said, “do you have any wire experience?” and I said “no” because I’ve been in a harness, but… I get there I’m doing full-on wire work, in a very unprofessional way, God darn the editing makes it look good. It was a full day, I was doing kicks, I couldn’t move the next day.
Q – As far as pranks go on the [LOTR] set, what was the worst?
Elijah: There was a long-running prank, [to audience] Does anyone want to call it out?
Audience: Tig [much laughter]
Elijah: I love you guys. Amazing. [a bit about tig] I think they didn’t mean it as a prank, to start
Elijah: I’m pretty gullible
Sean: Trusting, like the mind-reading thing [some bits about that I missed]
Elijah: [mock-sad, back to Tig] I found out a year later, I felt like my whole life was a lie!
Sean: Did they steal it from “Friends”? [talks about the made-up game Cup in “Friends”]
Elijah: I know Dom and Bill were “Friends” fans
Sean: They stole it!
Q – How long have you guys known each other? How long have you been friends?
Elijah: We met at the Hotel Sofitel at Vincente and La Cienega. I was leaving my wig fitting and Sean was going in for his wig fitting. We saw each other, gave each other a massive hug, and have been friends ever since
Q – About the california sea lion docudrama
Sean: Rio films, lots of fun. [makes sea lion noise] I think i look like a sea lion
Q – How did you decide to get tattoos?
Elijah: The idea came up months and months and months prior, we ultimately decided on it about two months before filming finished, all got them together. Except John Rhys Davies, his stunt double got it. And Sean Bean.
Sean: He got his in New York, Orlando was there.
Elijah: and me.
Sean: When I got mine, I was scared and in pain. But now I’m happy I did it.
Q: About “The Faculty”
Elijah: I haven’t thought about that in a while, it was amazing experience, working with Rodriguez who I’m still friends with, living in Austin, one of my favorite places. A lot of young people… making a movie about aliens taking over a high school, we didn’t take it very seriously! Such a great group of people, fun time. All sorts of things, like the things coming out of my face — they did a reverse shot of things going in…. I made a lot of friends, who I’m still in touch with, not so much the actors.
Q – What’s your favorite game?
Sean: Age of Empires
Elijah: Of all time? ummmm, I’m huge fan of the Silent Hill series. By the way the trailer for the movie is online and it looks like someone finally got it righhhhht They’ve been making movies of video games for a long time… Mario Brothers, Resident Evil [incredulous whistle] they didn’t play the game! But Silent Hill looks good.
[They get a five-minute warning and go to what Elijah calls the “Speed Round”]
Q: You both grew up in california, Trojans or Bruins? [USC or UCLA American Football teams]
Elijah: I’m smack dab in the middle.
Q: Iggy pop preparation?
Elijah: a lot of exercise, drum lessons, a lot of physical changes
Q – do you own an xbox 360?
Q – Did you carry Elijah up the mountain?
Sean: Most of the scenes were in front of a blue screen, but for one scene I had a harness, but Elijah didn’t. We were thousands of feet up…
Q: What kind of risk do you take [acting]?
Elijah: Risk, it’s vulnerability.
Sean: Every time, you risk sucking
Elijah: Disappointing people
Q – Will you quit acting, if your record label succeeds?
Elijah: No, I’ll never quit acting
[some joking around, that it might become a hobby]
Q – Elijah, where did you get blue eyes?
Elijah: From my mother. I’m half Polish, too.
Q – How do you make each other laugh?
Elijah: Eating chinese food [something about teriaki]
Sean: Starts to sing, walks over to Elijah, then says, “Brokeback Mountain” [audience laughs and whoops, Sean & Elijah are laughing too]
Q: What do you think of parodies?
Sean: If they’re good, you love them, if they’re bad…
Elijah: I love them
Q: What are your favorite movies?
Sean: “Patton”, and “Gandhi” to balance the militaristic and pacifistic
Q – Who was your closest friend in the movies, besides other hobbits?
Elijah: Besides hobbits? Ummm, Viggo.