Elijah Wood on 'Maniac' and Hollywood Remake Fever
By David Weiner
Elijah Wood is a big fan of horror movies, but he's not the biggest fan of remakes, which makes it all the more interesting that he would choose to star in Maniac, a remake of Joe Spinell and William Lustig's ultra-violent 1980 cult classic slasher film.
"It's risk management at the end of the day, isn't it?" Elijah tells ETonline about Hollywood's current remake fever. "It's just far easier, which is a shame, because I often times think that remakes are not necessarily made because there's a burning creative desire to tell something new within the context of something that's familiar. … And it's rampant in the horror genre too."
So what justifies his particular remake? "My initial response to this was, 'Ahhh, it's a remake, I don't know.' But as soon as I realized that it was such a different take on the original – I think if you're going to remake something and you're doing something exciting and different with it, then it has merit. There's a reason for its existence."
In limited release now in New York and Los Angeles and available on VOD, director Franck Khalfoun's (P2) Maniac is shot entirely from the killer's point of view, putting the audience in the head of a man with a compulsion to kill. Elijah plays Frank, an outwardly timid mannequin restorer who is at constant combat to repress his violent tendencies to kill and scalp women, resting his bloody trophies on the expressionless heads of his plastic companions. When a beautiful photographer (Nora Arnezeder) shows an interest in his work, he must struggle to contain the maniac within.
"I'm a fan of the genre. I like horror films. But I'm also attracted to roles and experiences that are different from anything that I've played," says Elijah, perhaps best known for trekking through Middle-earth as Frodo in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy. "I found [Maniac to be] such an intriguing prospect, the idea that the audience would be sitting through a movie experiencing what the killer is sort of subjecting them to. I found that could yield some disturbing results."