Elijah Wood for Men’s Book Atlanta

Lord of The Ring's Elijah Wood photographed by John Russo for Men’s Book Atlanta.

From Men's Book Atlanta.

Elijah Wood could be forgiven for feeling a tad schizophrenic this year.

Professionally, that is. The 31-year-old actor’s putting the “multi” in multifaceted with a packed slate of diverse projects that each show off a different, well, facet: There’s Wood the television comedian—returning for a second season of the hit cable series Wilfred; Wood the voice artist, vocalizing the digital hero of the new Tron: Uprising animated series; Wood the indie actor, offering an against-type stint in the romantic dramedy Celeste and Jesse Forever; and—perhaps most significantly—Wood the screen icon, who once again walks in the sizable feet of Frodo Baggins as he reprises the role that made him a global superstar for Peter Jackson’s two-part film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings precursor, The Hobbit.

And yet, after trying and retrying on all those different identities, Wood reveals himself to be an apparently—and, among many of his onetime-child-actor peers, perhaps remarkably—centered personality. “It’s only when people kind of reference the fact that I’m really busy that I realize that I am really busy,” he says of the seeming uptick in his current creative output. “But it’s wonderful. Everything I’m doing is relatively varied—which is exciting and keeps it interesting. To have the ability to do that—I’m very happy. It’s awesome.”

It’s not at all the norm to see a career that began at the age of 8 still going so “awesomely,” but Wood has successfully navigated the oft-dangerous waters of a showbiz childhood, maturing through a much-praised succession of boyhood roles into an impressive roster of films any actor of his generation would envy—The Ice Storm, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sin City and Happy Feet among them—all without addictions, mug shots or stormy romances playing out in the headlines.

“Humility was drilled into me at a very young age,” says Wood, crediting his family’s steadying influence with his drama-free transition into adulthood. “I was never able to accept special treatment. I was never able to consider myself any better than anyone else simply because I was an actor,” he says about his conventional upbringing. “Having a really strong separation between the work that I was doing as an actor and my home life... All of that went into building that foundation for myself and ultimately made for a very healthy upbringing that I think probably kept me away from your average trappings.”

The actor also points out that there’s a strong distinction between the good notices his early work drew and actual celebrity-dom, which also played a factor. “I was lucky to have a career as a young actor that was relatively gradual in its growth and progression in regards to people knowing who I was,” he explains of his slow accumulation of fame, a commodity he was wary of. “It’s kind of an awful scenario, and I don’t really wish it on anyone: to sort of be in relative obscurity and then become really famous really quickly. I think it’s too much of a head-f***. At that stage you don’t have any of the tools. You don’t know how to deal with it. It’s completely foreign.”

“Sometimes when you’re 15, 16, 17 and you become super-famous and you’re handed a lot of money and people want to give you everything, I think that can screw with you,” he admits. “I was just extremely fortunate to have an incredible home base, an amazing family and an incredible mother, who I totally credit with the person that I am now.”

There is more at Men's Book Atlanta.