Playing Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings movies was not only a career-changer for Elijah Wood but a life-changer as well.
The actor appeared on the Today show Wednesday morning and looked back on the making of the Oscar-winning trilogy based on J.R.R. Tolkien's novels as he discussed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, set to unspool on Dec. 14.
Wood returned to the Shire to reprise his role as Frodo for director Peter Jackson's trio of prequels, of which Journey is the first installment. But unlike LOTR, he only appears briefly since the young hobbit is a peripheral figure this time around in a tale centering on his cousin, Bilbo Baggins.
"This is 60 years prior to Lord of the Rings," Wood said. "We learn the story of Bilbo Baggins, which is Ian Holm in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and so this is him as a young man going on his first adventure. It's the story of him kind of becoming the character that he is."
When asked how The Hobbit cast, many of whom are newcomers to the franchise, are feeling about being part of such a huge cinematic legacy, the 31-year-old Wilfred star noted that when he arrived on set halfway through filming it was all business.
"They were so far away from thinking about what the movies were going to mean once they came out. They'll just take it in stride. They'll be fine," he noted.
As for his own earlier adventures in Middle-earth, Wood has nothing but the fondest of memories.
"It was hugely impactful," he added. "The way I think of it is more in terms of how it changed me as a person. I was in New Zealand for four years, made some of the best friends of my life. I kind of grew into being a man. I was there when I was 18 and left when I was 22, basically. So I kind of grew up. It was formative years for me."
In other Hobbit-related news, six new clips from the highly anticipated movie have surfaced online, a few of which are giving fanboys a good glimpse of some of the nasty creatures Bilbo and his dwarvish companions will face on their quest to reclaim treasure from the dragon Smaug. Those include encounters with goblins, orcs and giant wolves called wargs.
Take a look!