In the first Happy Feet, vocally challenged penguin Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) got the girl, so it only makes sense that Happy Feet 2 finds Mumble grappling with fatherhood — something new for the young actor best known for playing a hobbit.
We caught up with Wood to talk about his penguin alter-ego growing up faster than he is and the joys of job security now that his series Wilfred has been picked up for a second season. Plus, he gives an update on that other franchise he’s a part of.
I’m pretty sure you’ve never played a father before.
Oh no (laughs). Only in the digital realm. I mean I’m 30 now, so I suppose it’s not altogether unbelievable anymore.
How was that to take on as an actor?
It was cool. I think it was a natural progression for Mumble. You know, after he sort of cements his relationship with Gloria at the end of the first film, it’s sort of natural that they would have an egg and a baby — the natural progression. So it was cool. It presented a unique, new step in his life. And the relationship between him and Eric was a fun relationship to play out.
Wilfred got pretty dark in the season finale. Will it continue that tone in Season 2?
I hope so. I love the whole season, but the latter half of the season, where it started to go with being a little bit more of a blend of the cerebral and surreal with the comedy and the darkness, is kind of my favourite combination of what the show is capable of. What I love about the show is that there are real things happening. Ryan is really, truly trying to recover and is in need of help — as we are keenly aware by the end. And Wilfred is genuinely — well, he’s helping him in his way. And he’s a manifes... he’s potentially a manifestation of Ryan’s own psyche, and there are all these things that are happening that are kind of real. I don’t know, I’m curious as to where their going to take it.
Geeking out over the Hobbit: Ever since starring as Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings films, Elijah Wood has become a go-to for info on all things Tolkien. And the upcoming two-film adaptation of the Hobbit is no exception.
“I do have a small part in it, and I was actually just there,” he says of the project, currently in production in New Zealand. “I was there for a month doing my little part and also just hanging out and catching up with friends. It’s going to be incredible.”