Best known to the world as Frodo, actor Elijah Wood is ready to take on another adventure seeking character in Shane Acker’s animated stitch-punk film, 9.
In the movie, he plays number 9, the last creation of a scientist who dies while 9 is “born.” With no idea of who or what he is, or what happened to the world around him, 9 sets off on a journey. It was this character’s exploration of himself and what exists around him that initially attracted Wood to the project.
“I absolutely fell in love with 9’s journey,” explained Wood. “He comes into this world where so much has already been established. He meets number 1 and the others who have established a community that is ruled by fear, where they don’t ever leave their boundaries. 9 doesn’t even have a concept of what he is or what befell humanity.”
“9 is introduced into their situation with all these questions that throws a wrench into their existence. I liked that my character questioned things so that they could figure out their place in this world and work together to combat the machines,” Wood added.
Wood was also drawn to the animated feature 9 because of Acker’s Academy Award nominated short film, by the same name.
The actor said, “They first sent me the short, some concept art and the feature script and I was hooked immediately. I loved the animation style and this world that Shane created. There is no dialogue in short film so I found that immediately intriguing. I knew I wanted to explore who these characters were and what was happening in the world around them.”
“I love animation and I think it’s a really interesting medium to tell stories,” Wood added. “It definitely can be an interesting place to create worlds when it’s done right. I knew that 9 was going to be a great opportunity to tell a different kind of story and do it in a format that was visually appealing too.”
While most people see animated films as something “for kids,” Wood champions the art-form as something that can also be as appealing towards older audiences too.
Wood explained that, “The notion here in the US is that animation is more family-oriented and overseas animation is more adult and action-focused. I saw 9 as a chance to bring that type of animation here to the states. So with this film, we have an action adventure story that can appeal to a different kind of audience that maybe you don’t always get with animation.”
Even though both Wood and Acker worked on Lord of the Rings (Acker did animation on part three of the trilogy), the pair had never met before Wood joined the cast of 9.
“I didn’t meet Shane with Lord of the Rings even though I did stop by the animation studio a few times,” said Wood. “So working with him for 9 was a completely new experience. He had so many hats to wear with this movie too. Here you have the filmmaker not only leading the ship, but also has this animation experience so he’s essentially the creator of this world. He had to manage a lot with 9.”
“What was really great about Shane is that he was really helpful to me as an actor because he could explain these scenes and sequences to me in great detail before they were even finished. We’d discuss his vision and how he saw everything coming together so that was invaluable for me to have him as a leader and a resource,” Wood added.
So are there more journeys in store for number 9? Wood thinks the chances are good for audiences to see his character explore this new world even more in the future.
Wood said, “As a fan, I want to see where Shane could continue to go with the characters he created. We just get a glimpse in this movie, especially since we don’t know how long it’s been since everything has happened.”
“Shane definitely leaves it open so that we could explore this world again and I know Shane has said that there are so many different ways he could tell stories that exist in the world of 9. So I would definitely be thrilled to come back to be number 9 again,” Wood added.
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