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NF-Lee's Gildor and Frodo

Frodo caps, cont'd: The Eyes veiled, in a Purple Lorien....

Posted on 2005.11.16 at 19:43


mechtild at 2005-11-17 17:36 (UTC) (Link)

(Long reply; sorry!)

There is the tendency to build up a person’s character (read a film star), in your imagination, and if/when you meet that person in real life it can be one great disappointment. (…) I know that he is not that beautiful in RL, I meant that if EW, looked that beautiful naturally; without the make-up, lighting, and wig there could be a negative side.

From what I can see on his fan sites and on the EW-centric LJ’s, EW in fact does experience that “negative side” of being though beautiful, LOL. I do think his fans exaggerate the things they see in him that they associate with the Frodo he created. Still, I tend not to give EW enough credit. It is not as though his Frodo portrayal was pasted on, something totally alien to him. From what others around him have said and from his own words and “aura”, it seems that his film-Frodo projected and amplified qualities he already had.
mechtild at 2005-11-17 17:47 (UTC) (Link)

"Long Reply" pt. 2

I can see how one can fall in love with one’s own creation.

I wanted to be clear, Estë, that I didn’t mean that we Frodo lovers “created” our love for him, in that we fully-fashioned him in our minds as we watched the films. I guess I wanted to say that his portrayal both answered long-cherished (if shadowy) notions of the lover we most desired, but also exceeded it.

I used my own personalized interpretation of “Pygmalion and Galatea” to illustrate, but I think it was more misleading than helpful. Sorry! *sheepish face* Usually, the myth is used to show how people fall in love with what they have created. That is a strong theme in Tolkien, too, in his stories about the Elves, especially (and in talking about himself, personally). But I wanted to use that myth to talk about how what is created transcends what was intended. I had always dreamed of some ideal lover (although I had forgotten about it for decades), but what I got was more than and different from what I had been dreaming of.

I think Pygmalion, as an artist, started in to create a statue of a beautiful woman, to please himself as an artist and hopefully his patron. If he were successful, he could look at his work with pride and satisfaction, “Great work, if I do say so myself! I hope it wins first place at the Athens Gala! I love it!” But, in the myth, Pygmalion not only loved “it” but “her” – the woman whose image emerged from the marble under his hands. Who was she? Yes, she would have to be an expression of what Pygmalion most deeply wanted. But, even then, I don’t think he would pine the way he did. I think the woman who emerged would have to have been more than, other than what he wanted. If she were only what he had wanted, he would have “accomplished” her; she still would have no life of her own. It’s the “gift” or “inspiration” part of art that allowed what emerged as he worked to be different than, other than, greater than whatever he consciously or subconsciously wished for. He could see that the person in his finished statue was not just his creation, but had a "life" of its own, which is necessary for having a relationship (i.e. fall in love). You can't have a relationship with what is wholly you own creation, you can only admire it.

I guess I am still mulling over why I have responded the way I have to film Frodo. I have had my crushes on men and famous artists over the years (though not in a long time), but nothing like this, and, on no one like him. In some ways, he’s a fulfilment of what I have always admired in men – such as his art-works-classical beauty and his noble character, kind nature, etc. But he is radically different from the types of men (real life or famous/fictional) I have been besotted with in the past. This swoon for Frodo really has taken me into a new world, and into a new self. It has shown a “me” to me that I hadn’t know was there! In that way, he could not possibly be my creation. His very power over my imagination arises from his ... otherness, his ... unexpectedness.

But why should I be so surprised? He came into my world to lead me into his: Faerie. Tolkien said it was a perilous realm where few go and leave unscathed. Some don’t leave at all.
frodos_mum at 2007-03-11 14:28 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Frodo Baggins & Elijah Wood

As you can see, I have been having a lovely time roaming around your LJ.

I know that this is a long time after the fact, but I wanted to remark on this comment of yours:

"I do think his fans exaggerate the things they see in him that they associate with the Frodo he created. Still, I tend not to give EW enough credit. It is not as though his Frodo portrayal was pasted on, something totally alien to him. From what others around him have said and from his own words and “aura”, it seems that his film-Frodo projected and amplified qualities he already had."

First let me mention that I admit to being quietly interested in Elijah Wood and his post-Frodo career. However, my main focus always was, and still is, Frodo Baggins (as portrayed by EW).
Although I do not claim to know Elijah at all, I believe that he has some Frodo-ish characteristics which, as you say, have been amplified through his role in the film trilogy. His good nature and humility spring to mind for a start.
As to his physical Frodo similarities; his eyes, lips, and skin (oh, the skin...) have to be seen in the flesh to be believed.
His eyes are every bit as superb as film-lit, made-up Frodo's, and there's an interesting aspect to his skin in that it seems to be illuminated from within. (I swear I wasn't a complete Elijah-crazy nut when I observed these phenomena. Lol.)
I was so enchanted that I was able to overlook the short, very non-Frodo hair and moderately unattractive beard he sported at the time.

So, yes, because of his role as Frodo, some of EW's fans do exaggerate the things that they see in him, but haul it in a few notches, and much of it is very possibly true. ;-)

mechtild at 2007-03-11 17:52 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Frodo Baggins & Elijah Wood

You know, Frodo's Mum (Anne), I have reconsidered my position on how much viewers owe to EW for the way film-Frodo turned out -- apart from his [amazing] physical qualities.

Just a few days ago I was answering a comment from Mariole, mulling over why viewers would still like screen-Aragorn, even though the screenwriters had him do such un- and anti- Aragorn things (Mariole Hated screen-Aragorn). I decided it was because qualities that were in Viggo Mortensen himself, offscreen, came through in spite of what Aragorn did in the film, winning audiences anyway. Why paraphrase. I'll find the comment and quote part of it here (posted 3/10/07, in Lothlorien Pt. 2, my emphases added):

Film Aragorn does those things you listed, and more. As for me, I can't get over the fact that the writers had him lop off the head of an official emissary -- something only the baddest of Bad Guys do.

What film-Aragorn conveys that makes me warm to him so is a sense of humanity, a sense you don't have of him, I can see. When I try to discover where it comes from, it must come from the actor himself. Film-Faramir, too, was made to do some terrible, very un-Faramir-like things in the film. Yet simply because David Wenham was playing the role, I nevertheless got the impression film-Faramir was an extremely good, decent, likeable, if not loveable man.

How can that be? It's *got* to be something in these actors' manner or way of being, in themselves. How did Frodo manage to come off as though he had "steely strength" to so many (although not to all, certainly!) on screen, considering the amount of mental and bodily ineptitude he showed? Reflecting on it as I write to you, I think it's because Elijah Wood has that quality himself. It just came through, no matter what they had Frodo do. He's a person who keeps getting up and keeps going, a "plucky little fellow", no matter what. It wasn't the writing, it was the casting. Every fan talks about Frodo's magic, his gentleness. Those, too, I think come from EW himself. Really, Frodo is written as frequently pissy and prone to daft spells; generally neurotic, and often weak. But, with EW doing the role, it comes off as "magical" and "gentle".

So: no matter *what* the writers had Aragorn do, because Viggo Mortensen played the role, Aragorn came off as a decent man, a charismatic leader, and "a real human being". I think this came from the actor, evidenced by Viggo's own on-set qualities, where he was seen to be: a) admired and respected, as professionally talented and serious, b) a strong leader, whose "men" became unmistakeably devoted to him, c) generally empathetic and emotionally warm, yet reserved and private d) in spite of pranks, highly courteous in his day-to-day interactions with all, regardless of rank, and e) beloved of the actors who worked with him.

So, as you can see, I've changed my mind about EW's contribution to film-Frodo. I think it really was qualities innate to him as a person that made Frodo what he was onscreen. When I look only at Frodo's speeches and actions, it becomes clear that the character would have come off very differently -- and lesser -- if someone else had just played what was written. I think this all the more when I bear in mind EW never had read the book, and was not [therefore] informing his portrayal with a lot of positive stuff about Frodo that got left out of the script. It had to come from EW himself.
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