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Elijah Wood: "Finding Nigerian records is quite difficult"

ShortList chat DJing, Daniel Radcliffe and detectives with Elijah Wood

Elijah Wood: "Finding Nigerian records is quite difficult"

We tracked down everyone’s favourite ex-hobbit to extract his thoughts on DJing, detectives and being a Daniel Radcliffe doppelganger.


I was just watching a brilliant video in which Dominic Monaghan interviews you as a German interviewer and only unmasks himself at the very end.

Oh yeah. It’s got long legs, that video. I see people retweeting that every couple of months.

Gemma Chan recently tried to fool journalists by having a robot version of herself answer interview questions over Skype. How do I know you’re not a robot Elijah Wood?

I assure you I am the human. I have a slight cold so I think that would be difficult to replicate.

Perfect. You may not be aware, but in an online ranking of celebrity autograph signers, you’re highly rated. Have you ever been offered anything you wouldn’t sign?

Nothing truly bizarre. I’ve signed people’s skin, which I always find funny because it’s so temporary and weird. But that’s fine, I suppose. I’ve signed sports memorabilia. I find that bizarre. They’re often going to sell them, but why have an actor’s name on a baseball? In the sports memorabilia collecting world I don’t imagine that would go for very much.

Samuel L Jackson told ShortList that he has signed dildos.

That’s never happened to me. It makes more sense for Sam Jackson, for some reason. Not that it makes sense; it doesn’t at all.

You’ve mentioned it’s annoying you’re so frequently mistaken for Daniel Radcliffe. Does it actually happen in the flesh?

All the time. It’s amazing. It doesn’t upset me; I find it really amusing. It shows no signs of dying. I was just in Europe; I did an 11-day short DJ tour, and I met somebody who asked for a photo and said that they loved me in Swiss Army Man. And I was like, “Yeah, OK.” It just persists. It probably will until one of us does something drastically different with our face.

Speaking of which: you’re a tiny guy. Would you ever be tempted to get huge for a boxing role?

I find physical transformations terribly exciting. The idea of jumping into something that requires a certain amount of discipline over x amount of time is an exciting thing. For Grand Piano, for instance, I had to rigorously play the piano and learn music.

Could you cope with seven months of non-stop chicken?

Sure. The job’s a physical discipline anyway. If it meant I had to eat chicken every two hours, I’m sure I’d be up for it.

Earlier this year you were in a strange, wonderful film called The Trust opposite Nicolas Cage. What was the man himself like?

I’ve never met anyone like him. It was an absolute treat for me. I’ve long been an admirer of his work. He’s taken on this bizarrely beyond-human role in the film industry, largely perpetuated by the internet; people sharing videos, and making videos of his weirdest performances. At the heart of him is an extraordinary actor who just takes risks. It was fascinating to watch his mind work. It was just the two of us for most of the shoot, so I felt like I got to know him and see how his mind works. I would occasionally catch a wry grin on his face and I knew he’d have something in his head that would be a weird choice, or that might not fly with the directors. It’s exciting to be around someone who’s always trying things. He still has such enthusiasm for film-making.

You DJ in a duo as Wooden Wisdom. What would your solo DJ name be?

I never had a DJ name. There was actually one Zac [his DJ partner] was thinking about using at one time: ‘DJ Choices’. I like the idea of a name having some reference to what you do. Effectively, you’re a selector. At the end of the day my strength, if there is one, is just curating good songs.

You collect records. Which do you think might be your most valuable?

I have a lot of original Nigerian pressing African records that are in pretty good condition. With the recent spat of reissues for a lot of those albums, the value has gone up considerably. Finding Nigerian records in any clean, playable state is quite difficult now because so many collectors have bought them. I have a lot of Turkish LPs that are in really good condition. Turkey has been rummaged through pretty intensely by collectors in regards to the high-quality unfettered versions of those. Those are really valuable to me, as well.

In Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency you’re Todd, the detective’s assistant. How will the character develop?

Todd becomes more active towards the middle and the end. We just got picked up for a second season, so in terms of his being active in the detecting aspect of that relationship, he will be much more involved.

And if you were a detective yourself, what would your catchphrase be?

I haven’t thought of any. 

Mine would be “Oh yes. There’s the cream.” 

Ooh, I like it. Oh yeah. There’s the cream.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency will be on Netflix on 11 December.