Interview with Elijah Wood of "Wilfred" on FX 6/18/12
FX NETWORK: Wilfred
June 18, 2012/9:00 a.m. PDT
Scott Seomin – FX Media Relations
Elijah Wood – “Ryan” on FX’s Wilfred
PRESENTATION Moderator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to
the Wilfred Conference Call. At this time phone lines are in a
listen-only mode. As a reminder, today’s call is being recorded. At this
time I’ll turn the conference over to FX Media Relations’ Scott Seomin.
Please go ahead.
S. Seomin: Good morning, everybody, and thanks for joining us and thanks
for joining us with Elijah Wood. We want to thank Elijah for spending
some time with us on this Monday morning. It’s a good way to start off
the week. We wanted to talk about Wilfred and Season 2, which started a
little differently this year. We had a special preview episode, that
launched on video on demand as well as online, last Thursday, June 14th,
and it also aired on FX.com and the Wilfred Facebook page. That episode
will also air this Thursday, the 21st, at 10:30. That episode, this
special preview episode I’m talking about, will be preceded by an encore
run of Wilfred’s Season 1 finale at 10:00. Then next week, on June 28th,
Wilfred moves to its regularly scheduled time period of Thursdays at
10:00 p.m. And enough from me, we have Elijah Wood on the phone. Let’s
take some questions.
E. Wood: Good morning, everyone.
Moderator: Our first question today is going to come from Kyle Nolan with
K. Nolan: Hi, Elijah. Thanks for taking time to talk to us today.
E. Wood: Yes, you’re welcome.
K. Nolan: Wilfred is manipulative and like the anti-Jiminy Cricket. Why
do you think that “Ryan” continues to stay with him despite all the
schemes and all the lies?
E. Wood: The scheming and the lying, that’s a good question. I think that
as much as “Wilfred” cannot entirely be trusted I also think that almost
entirely those sorts of schemes and those lies end up in “Ryan” learning
something and “Ryan” continuing to grow and advance as a person despite
the method for getting him there. I think deep down “Ryan” has a sense
that “Wilfred” does have his best interest at heart, even though his
methods aren’t exactly to be trusted. I think he’s aware of the fact
that he’s on a path of self-discovery and a journey to bettering himself
, and it’s his friend, it’s the person that knows him the best, it’s the
person that understands him the best, again, despite the difficulties
present in their relationship sometimes. It’s the person that he can
actually rely on and that can truly understand what makes “Ryan” who he
K. Nolan: Yes. Some of the funniest moments on the show have been the
improved in-character banter between you and Jason [Gann] at the end of
each episode. Will we be seeing more of that this season, and can you
talk a little bit about the improvisation? E. Wood: Well, actually none of those moments are improvised. The scripts
are very finely tuned. We don’t actually have a lot of time for
improvisation. We’re doing four day episodes, we’re running somewhere
between six and nine pages a day of dialogue, so we’re moving relatively
quickly. The pace is fast, so it’s difficult to get time for that kind
of thing. And those beats, those couch moments of them sitting together
and hanging out and smoking weed at the end of the episodes are also
kind of finely tuned little character moments. But, yes, you will be
seeing more of them now that we’ve established that the basement does in
fact still exist, which we can now reveal since people have seen the
episode. Yes, we will see them hanging out in that space more for sure.
Moderator: Thank you. We’ll take our next question from Lena Lamoray from
L. Lamoray: Hi, Elijah.
E. Wood: Hi. Good morning.
L. Lamoray: Good morning to you. In the season finale we saw a different
side of “Ryan,” a side that even made “Wilfred” cringe, so what was it
like to unleash “Ryan’s” dark side, and will we be seeing him again this
E. Wood: It was a lot of fun. It provided a color to the character that
was very different from the character we were introduced to and that
we’ve only kind of ever alluded to that side of him in the first season
until we saw it at the end, so it was great fun to play. It provided
another layer and sort of insight into the darkness that lies within him
that ultimately led him to the place that we found him in at the
beginning of the first season. We won’t necessarily see that darkness
again. He allowed himself to get to the precipice a little bit, and in
doing that he almost lost everything that was holding him together,
“Wilfred” included, and so we see him now having come out of that space,
and I don’t think it’s likely that he’ll return there any time soon. But
we now are aware of the fact that that exists, and to a certain degree I
guess more importantly that is ultimately what led to his initial
downfall, it was that sort of selfish activity and doing things that he
knew was wrong despite the fact that he knew them that put him in the
place that made “Wilfred” come into his life in the first place, I
L. Lamoray: Can you talk about working with ... and ... because it was
hilarious. E. Wood: What was that?
L. Lamoray: Can you talk about working with Don Swayze and filming that
scene, because it was hilarious.
E. Wood: It was great. It was great. One of the elements of the show
that’s so wonderful is that we do get to include these wonderful
characters and then doing that get some wonderful guest stars that come
and join us and color our world. He was fantastic. His character is very
funny and he was super game to play a relatively nefarious character,
and it provided quite a lot of laughs for us and I think he had a really
fun time doing it. He was great.
Moderator: Thank you. We’ll go now to the line of Earl Dittman.
E. Dittman: Elijah, how are you this morning?
E. Wood: I’m very well. How are you?
E. Dittman: I’m doing great. I’m doing great. I’m looking forward to
Season 2, but I have a question for you. I’ve got a two part question.
Did the filming of The Hobbit get in the way of Wilfred, or was it timed
well where you didn’t have to worry about jumping from one place to the
E. Wood: Oh, it was all done prior to the second season –
E. Dittman: Oh, it was. Good, good.
E. Wood: Yes, they’ve been filming The Hobbit for about a year and I
jumped on to it in July, a little bit in July last year and a little bit
in October, so it was all done prior to starting on the second season.
E. Dittman: Well, now you’re creating an iconic figure in Wilfred, you
did it with “Frodo,” and you’re doing it with Wilfred. What’s it like,
the differences for you, television versus film?
E. Wood: The pace is more intense, we move at a much faster rate than
films typically do. Like I said earlier, we’re doing about four day
episodes, so it’s quite a lot of material in a short amount of time, so
the pace is fast, I’m having to keep up. I have just about enough time
to get home every night, go over the next day’s work, get some sleep,
and go at it again. So that’s a marked difference. And I think the thing
that was interesting for me, this is all relatively new being on a
television show and being within a comedy, and what was so interesting
last year is when it first aired the realization of the fact that it was
in people’s living rooms every week, it was such an interesting
experience. I never experienced that. I’m used to making something over
“x” amount of time, releasing it on to the world in cinemas, and then it
goes away. But we were in people’s living rooms for the course of the
summer, which was so interesting, it was the thing that was kind of
happening every week and that people were constantly reacting to, and it
was an enjoyable experience and I’m looking forward to people seeing it
again and reacting to more of what we’ve done.
Moderator: Thank you. We’ll go to the line of Nancy Harrington with Pop
N. Harrington: Thank you so much for talking to us today.
E. Wood: You’re welcome.
N. Harrington: You mentioned some of your co-stars a couple of questions
back, can you tell us a little bit about working with Robin Williams?
E. Wood: Oh, it was a joy, it was such a treat for all of us. We’re all
massive fans of his. And I’ve had the pleasure of working with Robin a
number of times in the two Happy Feet films doing voice work, and he’s
just a delightful human being, so incredibly humble and so hilarious,
and obviously an icon, and to get a chance to bring him in to our world
on Wilfred was a total joy. And it was funny, we were sitting across
from each other doing a scene and we realized that, and he said it, that
this is the first time that we actually got to play a scene together in
the flesh, like in front of each other and on film, and he was saying
how enjoyable that was, which was wonderful. It was great to actually
have a tangible space to work in as actors. It was great. I think he had
a wonderful time. He worked with us for a few days and I think he loved
our crew, and he regaled people with stories and he spent almost all of
his time hanging out on set. It was wonderful. It elevated our episode
as well. It was a real treat for us.
N. Harrington: Yes, absolutely. We particularly loved the episodes last
season with Mary Steenburgen. Will we be seeing her again this year?
E. Wood: You will be seeing Mary again. And we particularly love working
with her, she’s amazing. The one shame about doing these small episodes
is that we only get our guests in for a short amount of time. Sometimes
a character will feature literally for an episode only and so we only
get them for a couple of days, or three days. And that was the case
obviously last year with Mary because she was only in that one episode,
but it felt like working with her, she left and we missed her. It felt
like she was with us the entire time. She just has this beautiful
presence to her and such warmth and kindness and ... incredible in the
role. She has the right amount of madness and sweetness in the character
and I think she gave great insight as to where “Ryan” comes from. We
were so excited to see her again and to work with her again this season.
Moderator: Thank you. We’ll take the next question from Ann Bayley with
A. Bayley: Good morning, Elijah.
E. Wood: Good morning. How are you?
A. Bayley: I’m just fine. Is “Ryan” a difficult character for you to get
into, or can you relate to him easily?
E. Wood: Is “Ryan” (audio cutting in and out) to get into? A. Bayley: Right.
E. Wood: I (audio cuts out) much that I can relate to. “Ryan” is
constantly at odds with himself and the world around him, and I don’t
necessarily relate to that. I think (audio cuts in and out) hugely
informed by Jason. A lot of the time “Ryan” is reacting to the world
around him and reacting to the scenarios that “Wilfred’s” putting him in
and trying to hold things together and to hold on to his own sense of
..., and ... , and what helps me as an actor is working with Jason. He
provides me with a wealth of things to react to and different versions
of his character that makes my job so much easier and helps to establish
the character as well.
The next season, I think what’s interesting about it is that you’ll
find, the first season obviously we came to know these characters, we
came to know “Ryan” as he came to know “Wilfred” and accepted “Wilfred”
into his life, and I think was a little bit more easily fooled because
it was all new to him, and I think what you’ll find this season is
“Ryan” is less quick to be fooled by, he’s wised up a little bit to
“Wilfred.” “Wilfred” can still pull the wool over his eyes a little bit,
but he has a little bit more sense of control and autonomy this season
than he did in the first.
A. Bayley: Speaking of Jason, how hard is it for you to keep a straight
face with him in that costume when he’s doing things like humping
E. Wood: Oh man, yes, I must say it’s really funny. I was actually
talking about this on set the other day, but the first season I rarely
broke. It was actually funny, we were about a day or two before we were
finished on the first season and “Wilfred” had this line, it was a
nebulous line, it didn’t seem particularly funny or outlandish but he
just said something that, I think “Wilfred’s” line was “I wasn’t
finished yet, Ryan,” or something, I had interrupted him, but I clearly
hadn’t, and it was that line, I didn’t break all season for some reason,
even though everything we were doing was hilarious and Jason was
constantly funny, but I never broke until that line. It was the weirdest
thing to break in.
And this season has been the total opposite. I laughed so much this
season and broke in so much more. I don’t really know why that is. I
don’t know if it’s because the material is funnier this season or if, I
don’t know, if I’m more comfortable with what we’re doing and what we’re
creating that I’m laughing more, but Jason has made me laugh a lot this
season. It’s been hilarious. And I can’t quite put my finger on it. I
literally was talking about this the other day, it’s like what the ...
is it about this season, why am I suddenly laughing at everything. And
we’ve had a couple of moments, like doing some of those couch ... at the
end, where there was one thing, he changed a line of dialogue in one of
the couch ... and you’ll see it in the season, he changed one word and
that one word change made the line so ridiculously funny that I broke
and then every time we tried to do it again I knew it was coming, so we
literally had to walk off set and clear the air, because he was laughing
as well. It was great. It’s been a really fun season. It’s sort of
ridiculous how much fun it is to come to work. It’s just one of those
jobs where every day I look forward to seeing everyone, every day I look
forward to the material that we get a chance to make come to life. It’s
really a blessing. It’s awesome.
Moderator: Thank you. We’ll go to the line of Kristyn Clarke with
K. Clarke: Hi, Elijah. Thank you so much for talking to us today.
E. Wood: Yes, you’re welcome.
K. Clarke: Personally, what do you feel it is about Wilfred that
resonates well with viewers? It’s done so well. E. Wood: I don’t know. The thing I love about the show, and I don’t know
if this is why people respond to it so much, but what I love most about
the show is that it can be enjoyed on multiple levels. And I think that
it’s a very multi-layered show, and I think that it really became even
more multi-layered toward the latter part of the first season. And I
love that about it. I love that there are some episodes that aren’t as
reliant on comedy, that are actually about characters and internally
what’s going on and there’s this underlying theme of the cerebral to the
show that I love, and yet it can also be enjoyed on this level of just
being hilarious, that a guy is talking to another guy in a dog suit. And
I think it’s those things that I love most about it. I suppose that’s
why people respond to it. I think it’s definitely unique. I don’t think
that there’s anything quite like it on television.
I think those are some of the elements that I was most intrigued about
and why I was excited to be a part of it. It doesn’t feel like a typical
sitcom or comedy, it feels like we have the opportunity to take some
interesting risks and to delve into stories that aren’t altogether
common in the comedy space, which feels really exciting, and we have the
freedom to do that on the network that we’re on. So maybe that’s why it
feels to me like a breath of fresh air, not to be presumptuous, but I’m
assuming that that’s probably why people like it. But at the end of the
day it’s also a guy and another guy in a dog suit sitting around smoking
pot, so that’s intrinsically funny as well.
K. Clarke: Absolutely. Your body of work as an actor has always been so
diverse, from indie films, blockbuster films, to TV like Wilfred. How
important is it for you to keep that diversity in your resume as an
E. Wood: It’s important. I think it’s always been important to me. I
think there’s probably a few reasons why I think, first and foremost,
it’s just about my own interest in the art form, and I’m interested in
all kinds of genres and all kinds of storytelling mediums, so I’m
interested in new challenges and new experiences and different kinds of
storytelling. But also as an actor that kind of diversity provides a
constant challenge for me, this being a very good example, I’ve never
done comedy, I’ve never done television before, so it was a brand new
experience, and I think I’m always looking for new experiences. But I
also love actors who have a diverse catalogue and have a diverse career,
you can’t really peg them. I never would want to be in that position
where it’s anticipated the kinds of things that I will be part of or
that I’ll do. Constantly doing different things frees me up as an actor
to continue to do different things and do things that people wouldn’t
necessarily expect. Moderator: We’ll go to Curt Wagner with RedEye.
C. Wagner: Hi, Elijah, how are you doing?
S. Seomin: I should warn you, Elijah, Curt is obsessed with “Bear.”
E. Wood: We’re kind of obsessed with “Bear” as well.
C. Wagner: I am obsessed with “Bear,” but I actually did not have a
question about “Bear” at this time.
E. Wood: Oh, okay.
C. Wagner: I was wondering – can you hear me?
E. Wood: Yes, I can. Can you hear me?
C. Wagner: Yes, okay. They wrote you guys into a corner at the end of
Season 1, or a closet, I guess. How pleased were you with the way that
they wrote you out of it?
E. Wood: I love what they came up with. It was definitely a challenge, I
think, in writing that. It was an exciting end to our first season and
something that David [Zuckerman] had told us about, about a month or so
before it was written, so we knew where it was going. But to leave
people on a bit of a cliffhanger in such an extreme way was really
exciting, and then trying to figure out how best to come out of that was
an interesting challenge, I think, for David. But I love the way that he
ultimately did. We have an interesting finale this season as well that
I’m very excited about, and I think what I’m proud of with the show, and
I spoke to this a little bit earlier, is where it goes in that first
season, and I think we have a similar trajectory this season. We became
very multi-layered toward the end of that first season, which allowed us
to make that kind of finale work, and I think we do a similar thing this
season as well, where from episode 7 on things get a little bit more
complex in the storytelling, and those are some of my favorite episodes.
C. Wagner: The first season… “Wilfred” helped “Ryan” to stand up for
himself a little more, and I was wondering, how does “Ryan’s” newfound
ballsiness change the dynamic in Season 2?
E. Wood: There’s a little bit more of a push and pull now. As I was
saying earlier, I think “Ryan’s” a little bit more aware of the ability
for “Wilfred” to trick him, so I think he’s constantly trying to look
ahead to any of the things that “Wilfred’s” suggesting as possibly being
a trick or a manipulation. So there is a bit more of a fight between
them, a struggle between the two of them this time around. The dynamic
is that “Ryan’s” a little bit less passive. I think he’s a lot more
active in trying to almost stay ahead of “Wilfred.” He’s not always
successful, but he has his eye out. He’s keen on where “Wilfred” can
potentially be taking him this time around.
Moderator: Thank you. We’ll go to the line of Scott King with Chicago
S. King: Hi, Elijah.
E. Wood: Hi, how are you?
S. King: I’m good. I just wanted to know what was the favorite role
you’ve done and your most challenging role, and why for each one,
E. Wood: Wow. I think one of my favorite experiences in my life was
obviously doing the Lord of the Rings because there’s nothing really
that compared to that. It was such a unique opportunity and a unique
experience, and there will never be an experience quite like it in my
life. So that was extremely special to me, for a variety of reasons. I
was 18 at the time, I was 22 when it was all over, and it was a huge
growing period of my life, and living in New Zealand was an
extraordinary experience. And playing the role was a unique challenge.
I think a turning point in my life as an actor was probably The Ice
Storm. I was 15 when I did the film, 15 or 16, and I had never had that
kind of challenge as an actor before with that sort of material. All of
the actors that worked on the film were given packets of information on
the 1970s as research, and we each had a questionnaire for our
characters to fill out. It was really immersive and a different approach
to the craft than I’d ever had before and it felt like a massive growing
experience. I always cite that.
And another favorite experience of mine was working on Eternal Sunshine
of the Spotless Mind. I think the character was interesting and dark and
a bit skeevy, but the joy of that film was just simply being a part of a
piece of art that I was in love with. In some ways I remember getting
the script and thinking I would just as almost happily be doing catering
on the film. I just wanted to work with Michel Gondry and with Kaufman.
I was such a huge fan. That was a particularly special experience for
S. King: Also, can you talk about what it’s like making the transition
from being a child actor to an adult actor?
E. Wood: To be honest, it’s not even something that I was that aware of
until I was already into my adulthood. There’s no real equation there.
There isn’t a way for me to answer that that can be quantified in
specifics. Thinking about it, I was very lucky at a young age to never
work on anything that made me a recognizable name really quickly, really
early on. I think that had a lot to do with it. I had the gradual growth
in terms of people being familiar with who I am. I never really worked
on films that were specifically made for families and kids, and I think
that helped as well, so I was never typecast as a young person. I think
I was only interested, and I became increasingly as I grew into an
adult, in being a part of different kinds of films and playing different
kinds of roles, and I think that really helped. And also on a personal
level humility was drilled into me from a young age from my family, I
had a really strong family dynamic at home and a major sense of
normalcy, so as a person I was always very grounded and had a relatively
realistic perspective as to what I was doing in the world around me, so
But I don’t know that there’s any way to really say. I’ve also just been
simply lucky. I’ve had great opportunities to work with wonderful
filmmakers and to work on a relatively diverse group of films, and I
always thought as I became an adult, well, as long as I can continue to
work and to work on different things I’ll hopefully still have the
opportunity to continue.
I’m 31 now, which I can’t really believe, and I’m still working. I was
actually just in Baton Rouge and I did two days on a film called Pawn
Shop Chronicles that’s going to be ... amazing, I think, the film. It’s
a big ensemble piece. I was working with Matt Dillon for two days, which
was a joy, and Wayne Kramer, who directed The Cooler and Running Scared
directed it, and I just had these two days, it was an absolute joy and
we did some ridiculous things that I think are going to be really
exciting. It just reminded me what a gift it is that I get to do what I
do. I’m very lucky to still be working and I never take that for
granted. Transition, I suppose I have made that transition, but I don’t
really think about it. I just think about the here and now and what I’m
doing and hopefully what I’ll get to be doing in the future.
Moderator: Thank you. We’ll take our next question from Michael Gallagher
M. Gallagher: Hey, how’s it going?
E. Wood: Hey, how are you?
M. Gallagher: Good. What are some of the things you’ve learned about your
co-stars over the course of this season that you didn’t know when you
started the show?
E. Wood: What were some of the things – what about my co-stars?
M. Gallagher: That you’ve learned about them.
E. Wood: That’s an interesting question. I don’t know, I felt like I got
to know them pretty well in the first season. I don’t know if I’ve
learned anything new about them. Fiona [Gubelmann] is the nicest person
I’ve ever met. She is the sunniest, most positive individual ever. She
kind of brightens our set every time she’s on it. ...Dorian [Brown]…
That dynamic of the brother and sister relationship gets explored even
more in the second season and I adore her and I love working with her.
I’m so glad that I’ve gotten to know her over the seasons. I got to know
Jason very well in the first season and I don’t think I learned anything
about Jason that’s anything new, but the guy positively blows my mind
with what he comes up with, with his character. I think on the surface
one would assume that “Wilfred” is a hilarious, relatively dark,
manipulative character, but it’s amazing the amount of color that he
brings to it constantly. There’s actually a lot of freedom in the
writing that allows Jason to actually add all of these multiple layers
to where he’s almost multiple characters in one, and that’s always
constantly surprising and funny to me. Again, personally I don’t know if
I’ve learned anything more about them. I think I’ve just gotten closer
to them. We’re like a family. I think that first season cemented that,
or started that, and this season has cemented it.
M. Gallagher: Charlie Sheen’s also got a show coming out.
E. Wood: Yes, yes.
M. Gallagher: It’s coming out on the same night as yours. What’s your
take on a new Thursday lineup for FX?
E. Wood: I haven’t seen his show, nor have I seen Russell Brand’s show,
so I don’t have a take per se. I’m excited to see both of them. As a
result of their being included, we have this comedy lineup of four shows
now. I’m a huge, huge fan of Louis’ [C.K.] show. I think Louie’s show is
perhaps the best comedy on television. I’m very excited to see his third
season. But it’s exciting to be a part of a block of comedy. FX makes
very interesting and unique choices, and I’m looking forward to seeing
how it all fits together. I’m curious to see it. Again, I can’t really
say any more than that seeing as I haven’t seen the show.
Moderator: Thank you. We’ll go to the line of Danielle Turchiano with LA
D. Turchiano: Hi, Elijah. Thanks for doing the call.
E. Wood: Yes, of course.
D. Turchiano: At the end of the preview episode there’s a great moment
where “Ryan’s” told to keep digging and then the next couple of episodes
though it’s a little bit more of the general humorous antics with
“Wilfred” and a little less of that introspection. Can you talk a little
bit about how and when “Ryan” will start to dig again?
E. Wood: Yes, a very fine observation on your part. Yes, it’s true. The
first few episodes back we find ourselves in a familiar Wilfred ... in
terms of the comedy and the construct of the show. But as the season
progresses some of those existential questions and complications start
to arise again, and we’ll see more of that, of the digging, I suppose,
and of his self-discovery and growth, or lack of growth, as the season
progresses. Like I said earlier, I think from episode 7 on it starts to
become a little bit more like that, which represents, again, an element
of the show that I think I’m most in love with. I love the first
episode. I love this preview episode. It is totally emblematic of when I
think the show is at its best. I love the comedy too, and I love those
episodes, and we’ve got some very, very funny, ridiculous episodes this
season, but we will definitely be getting back to more of what you’ve
seen in this first preview episode as well.
D. Turchiano: What can you say about “Allison’s” [Mack] character and how
she may challenge “Ryan,” because it seems like obviously she’ll get his
mind off of “Jenna” a little bit, but it also seems like she’s more
aware of “Wilfred” than everybody else.
E. Wood: Interesting. Yes, that whole arc is a very interesting one for
“Ryan.” There’s not much I can really speak to beyond the fact that
initially what she represents for “Ryan” is a sense of normalcy, a
connection with someone outside of the immediate world around him, and a
way for him to really connect with someone that isn’t “Wilfred,” that
isn’t “Jenna,” that does not represent the immediate world around them,
and it represents a major step forward for him. But also being in the
work space, it gets him out of being in this house smoking pot with the
dog and allows him to grow and to connect with people, and I think it’s
a very interesting arc that we’ll see over the course of the season. It
gets far more interesting than what I’ve just described as well.
Moderator: Thank you. We’ll take our next question, and it’s from the
line of Diane Morasco with Morasco Media.
D. Morasco: Hi, Elijah. It’s great to speak with you again today.
E. Wood: Oh, thanks. D. Morasco: I want to say that, about the air and the laughter, it must
be something a little green that you guys are smelling to make your
laughter this season, so I want to say on behalf of –
E. Wood: Perhaps that’s what it is.
D. Morasco: I have to say what aspects of your own personality, or your
own idiosyncrasies, did you bring this season to “Ryan”?
E. Wood: I don’t know. That’s a good question. ... maybe some of me in
there, maybe some of my more awkward quirkinesses that lie in there
somewhere gets applied to the character in some of the funnier moments.
I also don’t know that there is that much of me in there. “Ryan”
inherently is somebody who’s trying to do good and is trying to be the
best person that he can be, and those are things I can relate to, so I
suppose that part of me. There’s a lot of heart to “Ryan” and I think
that it’s an element of him that I relate to.
D. Morasco: Okay, so what elements of “Ryan” have you taken for your own
newly adopted traits perhaps?
E. Wood: Hopefully nothing. “Ryan’s” really struggling most of the time
and is constantly questioning himself and the world around him and is
not always in the most comfortable of places, so hopefully none of that
has rubbed off on me.
Moderator: Thank you. We’ll go now to the line of Jamie Ruby with
J. Ruby: Hi, Elijah. Thanks so much for doing the call today.
E. Wood: Yes, you’re welcome.
J. Ruby: Is there something specific that you’d like to see happen in the
future on the show that hasn’t yet, if you could write it the way you
E. Wood: There’s a lot of ideas that get thrown around. I would love to
see “Ryan” as “Wilfred” at some point, in some kind of strange
existential dream. I’ve always thought that that visually would be
J. Ruby: It would.
E. Wood: What else? I don’t know if there’s anything else. I have an idea
of where I want it to go. I have an idea of how I’d like the show to
end, which I’d probably rather not say in case it lets the cat out of
the bag in regards to something that we might actually do.
J. Ruby: Yes, that’s ... .
E. Wood: But yes, there are a lot of things that I think we can explore.
My favorite elements sometimes of the show are when the show gets really
trippy and you don’t quite know what’s real and what isn’t. There are
some episodes like that this season and I’d like to see some more of
that. I think there’s a lot we can explore with that, exploring
symbolism and fever dreams, which I think give insight into what is
psychologically happening with the character. I’d like to see more of
that, where we can put our audience in a place of not quite knowing
where they are and what’s really going on, so I’d like to see more of
D. Morasco: Also, I just wanted to ask quick, was it easy, hard to get
back into the role of “Frodo”? What was that like coming back?
E. Wood: It was a joy. I actually watched The Fellowship of the Ring
prior to working on The Hobbit again. I thought it would be a good idea
to do a refresh, but it was actually easy, and I think what surprised me
most about it, I expected it to be very strange and trippy in a way, and
what was almost more surprising is how normal it felt. I remember I was
on set in Bag End and I was looking around and I was in the feet and wig
and ears and in my costume and I was looking around and it felt like no
time had passed and we were just still working on Lord of the Rings. And
I think in some ways that tripped me out more than anything, at just
how, like, oh yes, here we are again, this is what we’ve been doing all
Moderator: Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Ernie
Estrella with BuzzFocus.com.
E. Estrella: Hi, Elijah. Thanks for talking with us today.
E. Wood: Of course.
E. Estrella: Can you go a little further into the addition of the biotech
company and the mystery of it. It seemed like in Season 1there was this
dance between what was reality and what was in “Ryan’s” head. Does the
biotech company ... that in this season, being sort of an escape from
E. Wood: Hang on one second. There’s this big truck that’s very loud in
front of me and I can’t really hear your question. But I have a feeling
that the truck’s going to be moving soon. Hang on one second.
E. Estrella: Okay.
E. Wood: Okay, go ahead and ask your question again, sorry.
E. Estrella: Okay. In Season 1 there’s a dance between what was reality
and what was hallucinations. With the addition of a biotech company, is
that going to play a similar role for “Ryan,” being an escape from
“Wilfred,” at least an opportunity to escape from “Wilfred,” as well as
making new connections?
E. Wood: It certainly is. It’s the first time that we see “Ryan” in the
workplace interacting with other people, having responsibility,
accepting being a lawyer again, getting out of his house, really,
literally and getting ahead of ... and interact with other people and
grow, and not so much to stay away from “Wilfred,” but to grow as a
human being to psychologically be healthy enough to be in a workplace
with other people. It was the most logical place for us to go, I think.
E. Estrella: With the second season ... Chris Klein becoming more of a
regular presence and also a common villain now, before “Wilfred”
referred to him as this jerk, but now we see his effect upon “Wilfred.”
Can you talk more about Chris’ role in Season 2?
E. Wood: Yes. Chris’ character represents what “Ryan” doesn’t have.
There’s this infatuation with “Jenna,” his neighbor, and there is a
battle in his head about Chris’ character, “Drew,” and what he gets and
what he doesn’t get, which I think has more to do with “Ryan” (audio
cuts out) ...conflicts, and Chris is brilliant at playing that
character. I think ... a lot more this season.
E. Estrella: Thank you.
Moderator: We’ll take our next question from Sheldon Wiebe with
S. Wiebe: Good morning. Thanks so much for doing this. E. Wood: Yes, you’re welcome.
S. Wiebe: One of the things I like about Wilfred is that while “Wilfred”
may be the catalyst, “Ryan” really works out his issues through his
interactions with other people. This season, for example, he’s working
through issues with his father with his relationship with his new boss,
and he’s trying to get over “Jenna” by going out with this hot
co-worker. I’m wondering if you could talk a bit about these challenges
in his life and also what’s it like working with the incredible Steven
Weber and Allison Mack.
E. Wood: They’re both wonderful. Steven does an incredible job playing my
boss. He’s very funny and has some really funny moments. And Allison is
fantastic as well. She’s a beautiful human being. She’s a very soulful
individual and a very wise individual and I think imbues the character
with that. As much as she’s also a hot co-worker, there’s real depth to
Allison as a person that she brings to the role.
I don’t know that these are, they’re not really minor distractions, but
they are ways for him to work these things out. I think with Allison’s
character it’s much more realistic for him, the “Jenna” infatuation is
an infatuation and I think Allison’s character represents the
possibility of a real connection with someone who’s available and I
think she might understand him and get him in a way that “Jenna” may
not. I don’t know that he’s necessarily working out father issues with
his boss. I suppose there’s a similar dynamic, but his father, which
we’ve only ever heard of and at least spoken about, obviously has a
major role to play in “Ryan’s” difficult psychology and the head space
that he’s in, and also ... that he’s not proud of that led him to the
place that he’s in, and the shadow of his father is felt a lot in this
season as well. So it’s something that we’re constantly exploring.
Moderator: Thank you. We’ll take our next question from Krista Chain with
The TV Megasite.
K. Chain: Hi, Elijah. How are you today?
E. Wood: I’m well, how are you?
K. Chain: I’m good. My question is, you mentioned Allison Mack a while
ago and some other stars that are coming on in the second season, was
that a conscious effort to try to get more big stars on your show for
the second season? E. Wood: I don’t think we’re ever looking for just simply big stars on
the show. I think we have a distinct disinterest in ... . I think we’re
always looking for people that feel right for the characters, and we’re
certainly interested in actors who are familiar to people, and we’re
excited to get a chance to work with people that we’re fans of, but at
the end of the day I think our casting decisions really come from a
place of wanting to fill out these characters with the best possible
people that can make them come to life in the way that they’ve been
written, and this season is no exception to that. Rob Riggle was
absolutely wonderful. He plays a co-worker. We have a few returning
characters from last season. I don’t know if that’s been announced, I
can’t really say, but there’s a really wonderful guest performance from
an actor, who I’ve actually worked with before, who you’ll see later on
this season, and that’s really exciting.
It’s really a fun show to cast, because the characters that do come in
to interact with “Ryan” and “Wilfred” are extremely well written and
really funny, and some of them are quite bizarre, so they’re always
really fun to cast, and it’s a joy for us to bring in people that we
love, that we’re a fan of, and more often than not these wonderful
actors tend to elevate the work that we’re doing, which is great.
K. Chain: Great. My second question, I was curious to know how many dog
suits for “Wilfred” there are.
E. Wood: There are a few. I think there are two or three, but they made a
couple of extra this season. And I don’t know if anybody saw the promos,
but there was a promo with “Wilfred” as an (audio cuts in and out.) He
has one suit that’s pretty ..., and is trying to look his best in the
scenario in a freshly groomed suit, which tends to actually be a lot
hotter for Jason because there’s far more fur, it’s very well coiffed.
Moderator: Thank you. We have a follow up question from Earl Dittman of
E. Dittman: Elijah, good to see you again. I was going to ask the
question, you were saying how much you were enjoying doing the season,
so do you see this going into Season 4, 5, 6, if everybody still loves
it as much as they do now? Would you like to do it long term?
E. Wood: I would like to do the show as long as I feel like there are
stories to tell. What I would hate to happen is for us to tread over
similar ground and tell stories that are rehashing things we’ve already
explored. I think as long as there’s a story to tell and the characters
are progressing as a reason to tell these stories, then I would love to
carry on. But I would hate for it to feel like we’re milking something.
E. Dittman: Yes.
E. Wood: Yes, yes. Integrity is extremely important to me and I want its
integrity to remain intact and I would hate to just do a bunch of
episodes over and over again just to do them. So I don’t know how long
the shelf life is. The construct is very unique. It’s about a guy who’s
in recovery psychologically and –
E. Dittman: But you’re on a great network too. FX is a great network to
E. Wood: It’s fantastic. No, it’s fantastic. They are huge supporters of
our show and as a result we do get a lot of creative freedom to make the
kind of show that we want to make. I think as long as we get to make the
show that we want to make and we feel like there’s enough for us to
continue to explore, then I’m happy to keep doing the show, yes. I
absolutely love it. But also I must say I’m a huge fan of shows that
also know what their shelf life is. I look to shows like Extras or The
Office, or any number of British television shows that only lasted two
seasons because they told a story over the course of those two seasons
and it was enough. So we’re clearly going to hopefully go beyond two
seasons, but I don’t see this running seven, eight, or nine seasons
S. Seomin: This is Scott with FX. I think we have time for just one more
Moderator: Thank you. That comes from Curt Wagner with RedEye.
C. Wagner: Since “Bear” was mentioned before, not to sound like a
fetishist or anything, but I noticed that sometimes “Wilfred” calls
“Bear” “he” and sometimes “Wilfred” calls “Bear” “she,” and I was
wondering if that’s going to remain a mystery?
E. Wood: “Bear’s” gender will never be defined, I’ll say that. We’ve
actually, I think, taken to calling “Bear” “it,” I’m pretty sure I’m
correct in saying that, so “Bear” doesn’t actually have a gender. It’s a
totally ambiguous gender. It’s funny, I suppose he probably has called
him “he” I need to check back on the first season. I can’t really
remember. But “Bear” is an undefined gender. “Bear” features a lot this
season. “Bear” really comes into its own. I love that character. And I
think what’s so interesting about the relationship between “Wilfred” and
“Bear” is “Bear” is to “Wilfred” as “Wilfred” is to “Ryan” in a way, and
it’s clearly something that’s internally happening with “Wilfred” and we
definitely explore that a little bit more this season. It’s very funny.
C. Wagner: Great. The last thing, are you going to play kickball again at
... this year?
E. Wood: Oh man, I wish I could. I’m not going to be in town. I’m going
to be away in Spain shooting a film, so unfortunately I’m not going to
be able to make it. But I’d love to. I had a blast last season. It was
S. Seomin: I want to thank everybody for participating on the call,
particularly our star, “Ryan” aka Elijah Wood. Thanks for your smart
questions, everyone. This Thursday at 10:00 Wilfred Season 1 finale gets
an encore run, followed by our special preview episode at 10:30, FX, and
then Thursday nights at 10:00. Thank you all. If you need anything I am
at 310-369-0938. Thanks, everyone, and thanks, Nick.
Moderator: You’re welcome.
E. Wood: Thanks, guys. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much. Moderator: Thank you, Mr. Wood. With that, ladies and gentlemen, that
does conclude our conference for today. We thank you for your
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