May 11, 2013

Elijah Wood: Fear of the Buddy-Bond

Unlike his Lord of the Rings costar Sean Astin, Elijah Wood never got much play as a teen hunk, and he didn't do a lot of buddy-bonding roles; the only one that springs to mind is Radio Flier (1992) with Joseph Mazzello, and Oliver Twist (1997).

In fact, a lot of his roles drew on 1990s anxiety concerning same-sex bonds; masculine smiles hide danger, destruction, and malice:

The Good Son (1993): Mark (Elijah) discovers that his irrepressible cousin (Macaulay Culkin) is a psychotic murderer.

The War (1994): Stu (Elijah) and his friends are at war.  Oh, and he gets a girlfriend.

The Ice Storm (1997): Mikey (Elijah) has a violent brother, has sex with a girl, wanders out into an ice storm, and dies.



Or sometimes irrelevant:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1993), a version that ignores the Huck-Jim subtext.

Flipper (1994): a remake of the classic tv series with Elijah playing Luke Halpin's character. He kisses a girl.

The Faculty (1998): Casey (Elijah) discovers that the faculty are aliens, with the help of a girl who has a boorish boyfriend.


The lack of heterosexual interest and homoromantic subtext of The Lord of the Rings might exonerate him, except that during the last ten years, he hasn't done much of gay interest: a gay-vague psychopath with supernatural powers who eats women in Sin City (2005), and a gay "best friend" in Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012).