I have to admit I’m biased about this issue since he was my first big celebrity crush, but I don’t think anyone reading Elijah Wood’s Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) yesterday could deny that he’s one of the nicest (if not the nicest) stars out there. The phrase “ask me anything” really rang true for him, since he answered questions running the gamut from favorite foods to life advice — and he gave lengthy, kind responses. Consider my preteen crush reignited.
I’m not a Redditor, but when my friend told me Elijah was doing an AMA, I of course created an account and asked a question. Even though it ended up at the bottom of the thread and I thought he’d never see it, he answered me, and my 12-year-old self felt a disturbance in the force. You’re welcome, 12-year-old me. But it was his cumulative answers to everyone else’s questions that really impressed me. Like I said, I’m not a Redditor, so I can’t tell you where his AMA stands in the overall ranking, but I do know that some people kill it and other people disappoint. I can’t compare Elijah’s AMA to any others, but I can say he was amazingly nice, intelligent and funny. We have fun writing snarky stuff about celebrities here, and believe me I’ll be back to that shortly, but I just wanted to take the time to gush snark-free about a celebrity (and a former child star, it’s important to add) who remains humble, passionate and appreciative of his fans. So without further ado, I present the 10 best answers from Elijah Wood’s Reddit AMA.
To start off with, he answered a fan’s four-question post with a long, detailed response for each question (including a specific account of how he got into acting) and then responded to the poster’s request that he appear on his podcast:
For the podcast, private message me and I’ll forward it to my publicist.
Multiple users commented on what a perfect way to start an AMA this was. But oh, this was only the beginning. Another user asked if he’d ever dealt with depression and if he had any advice about it. A lot of celebrities would likely ignore such a heavy question or give a brief, predictably compassionate answer. Elijah not only wasn’t afraid to respond, but he displayed amazing empathy:
I can’t say that I’ve dealt with depression, because I think that’s a really heavy thing, and I think that people sometimes use that word really lightly in reference to being blue or depressed. So no, I’ve not dealt with depression, but I deal with anxiety on a minor level. It’s something that I’ve had most of my life, and it never manifests on an uncontrollable level with panic attacks, it’s just more reflective of a sensitivity to everything around me. Most of the time, I just accept it or try to understand what I’m feeling anxious about, and work through it – sometimes if I’m nervous, I talk about it, and that helps. You know, all you can do is sort of ride it out, because sometimes it has a mind of its own. Also I tell myself that it’s manifested out of my mind and emotions – I think a real understanding that I came to about anxiety specifically is created by what you’re sort of unconciously telling yourself.
He was also willing to talk about a variety of projects he’s been involved with, not just the ones he was there to promote (Wilfred and Maniac). He answered two questions about the awesome alien movie The Faculty (WATCH IT) and of course plenty about Lord of the Rings. He also gave a refreshing answer when a user mentioned they saw him on a date years ago and asked how it went. (His use of the word “then-girlfriend” and not “ex” just really stands out to me here.)
That’s awesome. I was with my then-girlfriend at the time, so it wasn’t a first date. We had been dating for a couple of years at that point, but we’re no longer together. But it was a great trip to Vermont. A retroactive hello, though.
He gave advice about auditions and gave that same user SIX recommended musicians to listen to.
Well, I still get nervous for auditions. I don’t know if that will make you feel any better. I find that sometimes, if I articulate that I’m a little nervous, it helps. I also find that to find a comfort zone for myself by communicating – just having a chat with people in the room prior to actually getting into the audition part helps. To just talk about something else and relate to them as people – it humanizes the experience, and takes it away from being a judgement hou.
He also gave some of the most eloquent advice I’ve ever read about getting into the industry and staying grounded. This part stood out to me:
I think it’s important to hit the ground running to a certain degree. And it’s easy to get discouraged, so perseverance is important. As a kind of guiding principle, integrity is of the utmost importance – so decide whether you want to be an actor because you want to be famous, or because you find it creatively gratifying because those are 2 very different things. As long as you’re being true to yourself, you can’t really go wrong.