Elijah Wood is jumping feet-first into the world of animated series television with "Tron: Uprising," a new show that takes place in the time between 1982's "Tron" and 2010's "Tron: Legacy." Of course, it's not necessarily new territory for the actor, who's popped up as a voice in films, TV and video games in the past. "Over the last number of years, I'm no stranger to voice work in animation, so I'm used to it," Wood says. "But getting a chance to work within the context of a universe I was already familiar with was really fun. It just gave the whole experience a more special quality, I think."
The familiar universe of "Tron: Uprising" also meant more than just the usual voice-over work, though: "The character happens to be extremely physical, so there's a lot of me standing in front of a microphone, punching and kicking the air, and making myself sound like I'm in all sorts of intense physical scenarios, which is pretty hilarious," Wood says. "I'm sure there's some footage of me standing there looking like an idiot."
Finding the right voice for his character was easy, as it turns out, since the show's producers really just wanted Wood. "It was determined right away that it would be my own voice," he says, though he cautions that with secret identities and hush-hush rebellions on the menu, it's never that simple. "When the character is Tron, or The Renegade, we do change his voice a little bit," Wood explains. "Digitally, they mess with his voice, and I also give it a gravity that Beck doesn't have in his normal Beck mode. The character is split between the two, in a way. Some of those more Tron-Renegade moments definitely have a depth and a gravity to them, and that's fun. It's fun to play around with all of that."
While "Tron: Uprising" and his live-action TV series, "Wilfred," have kept him busy -- not to mention several film projects -- Wood is keeping an open mind when it comes to what's next. "I don't know that I'm ever looking for anything, in particular," Wood admits. "I'm always intrigued by new challenges and things that I've never done before, and new experiences. It sounds so simple, but the primary interest is just something that's good and instills within me some kind of gut feeling that I'm passionate and excited about -- and there can be multiple variables that can instill that. But, I'm always just looking to do things that I've never done before, primarily."
Speaking of franchises
Though he seems to be spending most of his time on TV these days, Elijah Wood has a fairly notable big-screen appearance coming up, reprising his role as Frodo Baggins for a cameo in "The Hobbit." Returning to New Zealand -- and the character that's come to define his career -- was a thrill, Wood says. "It's not often that you have such an intense formative life experience, and then, 10 year later, get to revisit that," he says. "We shot a little bit in Hobbiton, and I realized that I had turned 19 in Hobbiton. I was there 11 years ago. That's bonkers! And it hasn't changed." Well, mostly it hasn't changed: "It just got bigger," he admits. "It's only two movies this time, but there's more trailers than we had last time. It feels bigger, but it's the same atmosphere."
Awesome as becoming Frodo again might have been, Wood does admit that one particular moment didn't quite live up to his expectations. "Putting on the feet was very surreal. It was a mix of being incredibly surreal and yet totally normal, because I'd done that for four years. ... I actually expected it to be more surreal than it was, but in a way it also just felt like no time had passed and suddenly there I was."