Let’s go waaaaaaaaay back. Back to one of my very first boy crushes. I was 10 in 1989 and I loved watching music videos. I was also in my one phase of my entire life when I actually listened to current pop music. (I have listened to mainly 50’s and 60’s stuff before and since) I loved Paula Abdul, and I loved watching her music videos. The David Fincher directed Forever Your Girl video was one of my favorites – because there was a little boy in it playing a sad business man who had the most spectacular eyes and was the most beautiful little boy I had ever seen in my life. His name was Elijah Wood.
MTV and VH1 only had a handful of videos in rotation at one time in those days, so I would usually spend my afternoons after school waiting during an entire rotation to see the video twice, if possible. I eagerly watched everything I could get my hands on that he was in. I would watch whole films just to get a glimpse. Avalon, Paradise, Radio Flyer, Forever Young, The Good Son – these were all consumed voraciously. And THEN The Adventures of Huck Finn came out and I was hooked. I saw it several times in the theater. Being obsessed with this film lead to my Mark Twain obsession, and I read all of the Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn I could get my hands on (including the super obscure Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective.) I told you, somehow, my boy obsessions almost always seemed to lead to literature in some way. It also started my movie poster collection. I asked the local movie theater near my house in Las Vegas what they were going to do with the Huck Finn poster after the movie stopped playing there – throw it out, they said. I said I wanted it and from then on they would give/sell me any movie posters I wanted. I had the Huck Finn poster up in my room for years.
I stayed loyal during the teenage “lean years” of The Ice Storm and The Faculty. I loved watching him grow up. (I’m two years old than he). And then, of course, came Lord of the Rings. I couldn’t have been happier when I heard Elijah had been chosen to play Frodo – and that Peter Jackson was directing!! One of my favorite directors AND one of my favorite actors?! I was doomed to be obsessed. I attended every midnight screening of the films, and have done middle earth madness too (watching all three directors cuts back to back – a 12 hour endeavor). I was elated that Elijah was finally getting the top billing and acting kudos he deserved. He seemed to take in all in stride, and I loved that even more.
Since Lord of the Rings, he has made so many interesting and cool choices with his career – everything from Sin City to Everything is Illuminated to Maniac and Wilfred. And, I learned, he has started own production company as well.
I met Elijah this past December at Butt-Numb-A-Thon at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas. I knew he would be there and I was asbolsutely ecstatic – and terrified. He follows me on twitter, so I knew he at least knew who I was, but when you dream about meeting someone for 25 years, theres a little bit of pressure there. Mingling in the theater before the first film, I told my friend Moises how excited/nervous I was to meet Elijah. He laughed and said he would introduce us, they were friendly. I said okay, but urged him to wait until a couple of movies had played and I had calmed down a bit. He said he would. Just then my order of nachos arrived and I sat down happily to munch. Suddenly, there was a tap on my shoulder. You see where this is headed. I turned around with a giant mouthful of nachos and found myself gazing into those giant blue eyes I knew so well. I made a small yelping sound, turned bright red and clumsily stood up. I proceeded to babble in an octave two higher than my own about how big of a fan I was and how excited I was to meet him. It was pretty embarassing. He took it very well and was very sweet and gave me a big hug and said he was looking forward to Out of Print. It was pretty much everything I dreamed it would be.
Then, about two weeks ago, Elijah messaged me and asked if he could do a private screening at the New Beverly. I assured him I would do everything in my power to make that happen. And so, this past weekend, we had a small cast & crew screening of a great indie film that he did called Grand Piano – and I brought something with me to show him. In 1990, when I was at the height of my obsession with him, I had written him a letter. A typical fan letter to be sure, praising his acting abilities and his good looks. And he sent me back a signed headshot. Which I have kept all of these years. I told him about this, and showed him the picture. And he laughed. He thought it was hilarious. I showed the director of Grand Piano, Eugenio Mira, the picture and told him that I had been in love with him since I was 10. Eugenio said, “I’m a straight man, but I’m in love with him too.” At which point Elijah came into the room and Eugenio and I both giggled nervously and assured him we were most certainly not just talking about how in love with him we are. Elijah handled my nervous adoration in a great way (i’m sure he’s used to it) and was incredibly sweet and friendly. We talked about horror movies, and I got three incredible hugs.
I cannot tell you what a relief it is to me that he is a genuinely nice person. One of the downfalls of girlhood crushes is being in love with a fantasy – not the person themselves. And meeting this person who has been built up so much in your mind can be scary – what if they crush everything I have thought about them my whole life? Rest assurred, he is nice, smart and funny. And incredibly fucking good looking.
So this might be super awkward if he ends up reading this (Hi, Elijah!) since I would genuinely like for him to program at the New Beverly and work with him in the future, but I couldn’t write about my girlhood crushes and not write about the one I have had the longest. I have been in love with this man for most of my life, and I imagine I will continue to be for the rest of it. I have confidence that he will continue to make great choices in his career, and I look forward to seeing him continue to grow up.
Mr. Wood, I salute you.