It’s hard to find a more likable person in Hollywood than Elijah Wood. Going from child star to the face of one of the most lauded film franchises of all time, Wood has built a career through the thoughtful, vulnerable characters he plays, complemented well by his soft voice and big blue eyes. Now having hung up his furry Hobbit feet at 32, Wood has completely shifted gears with his latest, Maniac, a remake of the 80s cult horror.

Maniac is currently available on VOD and in select theaters, Wood plays Frank, a reclusive owner of a mannequin shop who spends his evenings lurking the streets of L.A. for beautiful women to scalp. Shot from the point of view of Frank, we are front and center in his uncensored psychotic journey.

The Hollywood Blog spoke with Wood about the challenges of playing a character almost entirely off camera, going through his own dark period, and why he has sympathy for fellow former child stars Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Bynes. Highlights below:

The Hollywood Blog: This being a film where the camera is the point of view of your character, I figured this was an easy gig for you. Then I heard you were on set every day. Was that your call?

Elijah Wood:
When they offered me the role initially, they said that you play this killer and it’s predominantly P.O.V. and we’ll only see you in reflections, which I was really excited about. They said, We’d just need you for two weeks of shooting reflection shots. They were planning to hire a double for all of the shots where you see my hands. And I was like, Wait—the double is going to have to make choices that I should be making as an actor. So I said, I think those shots should be with me. I need to be there every day. It just felt really necessary for me, because the process as a result was a little bit more of a discovery than I think we all had anticipated. With the limitations of P.O.V., I think the belief was that it would be easier, and in fact it creates a lot more complications. Every scene became a puzzle. We had to figure out how to incorporate the camera and ultimately where I would be.

And you probably discovered Frank more in post, where you added the dialogue, than when you were on set.

Precisely. I was doing the dialogue on set, but I knew that the nuances—the moments in between scenes where he’s not talking, that sense of presence in the character—would be done then. I was able to add color and come to understand the character on a deeper level.

THB: You have to go to some dark places for this role. Was that hard for you to do?

EW: It was quite disjointed because I was behind the camera, so I didn’t really feel I was delving into the depths of the character while we were shooting. Probably more so in that day that we recorded all of the dialogue I felt that was where there were real character moments.

THB: So you basically replayed the whole character in one day?

Yeah, the whole film in a day. It was intense. It was also a hefty amount of work and intense in regards to making that character come alive in a believable way. Finding that darkness and his inner voice.
THB: A lot of the reviews play on your boyish looks and nice-guy persona. Was it fun to take on a role that completely throws that to the side?

I was just excited at the prospect of playing a dark character, which is something I haven’t had the opportunity to do much before. I love the horror genre. On a creative level, telling the story from the killer’s perspective, I was fascinated by that and how that could provide a very uncomfortable experience for people watching it. It lends itself to a horror film very well.

Read the Full Interview at The Hollywood Blog