Elijah Wood takes nothing for granted

ctor Elijah Wood poses during the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, January 20, 2012 in Park City, Utah. Larry Busacca/Getty Images

(CBS News) Elijah Wood starred as Frodo Baggins in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and will play the same character again in "The Hobbit," which debuts in December. It's a meaty role, and our Tracy Smith chatted with him about it - in a meaty place, as it turns out . . .

Elijah Wood says he is a big "appreciator."

"I am," he told Smith. "I don't take anything for granted"

When we asked Wood to pick a spot for an interview, he surprised us by suggesting a place near his house in Venice, Calif., serving the finest in encased meat.

"Yeah, it's a sausage shop."

And why this place? "I love it. I love sausage."

He wasn't kidding.

"Yes, I am a foodie, a proud, card-carrying member of the foodie society!"

"Which means you go for adventurous stuff?' Smith asked.

"Oh yeah, absolutely. The older I get, the more adventurous I think I become. I will sort of try anything. There's nothing I'm afraid to try."

And that goes for Wood's career as well:

In 2005's "Green Street Hooligans," he made his bones with a rowdy street gang.

In a Beastie Boys video sendup last year he made music . . . kind of.

And as Frodo in the epic-adventure trilogy "The Lord of the Rings," Elijah Wood made movie history.

Did he have any idea how huge that was going to be? "Well, I don't think anything could've prepared us for the magnitude of its success and its reach."

Success, indeed: The "Rings" trilogy, released in 2001, '02 and '03, took in nearly $3 billion worldwide, and won a total of 17 Academy Awards. Wood's character, based on a story with a certain nerdy appeal, helped catapult the actor into the very un-nerdy world of a Hollywood heartthrob.

Elijah Wood deejays at the "Celeste and Jesse Forever" dinner, at Acura Studio in Park City, Utah, January 20, 2012.
Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Acura
With a track record like that, it's a wonder how anyone could stay grounded.

Born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, young Elijah was, by all accounts, a handful.

"I had a lot of energy - yeah, you've heard this?" he told Smith. "Yeah, I was known for having a lot of energy. I wasn't obnoxious, I'm going to stand up for myself! I just had a lot of energy that didn't necessarily always have an outlet."

His parents thought that energy could be channeled into acting, and took him to Los Angeles.

"I did a number of commercials shortly thereafter, and got my first role in a film shortly thereafter, which was a small part in 'Back to the Future II.'"

His debut scene - a kid in an orange T-shirt - lasted only a few seconds. But it quickly led to bigger things.

Elijah Wood was mischievous as Huck Finn, smitten with Christina Ricci in "The Ice Storm," and gutsy during a meteor strike in "Deep Impact."

Off-screen, he was every inch a movie star, but without the drama.

He attributes avoiding those childhood star pitfall to his mother and family. "You know, she really drilled humility into me," he said. ."She never allowed me to accept treatment that wasn't deserved."

"Like, things would happen on a set where they'd try to move you to the front of a line and she wouldn't let me do that, like, 'Get to the back of the line like the rest of the crew!' And I was never made to feel better than anyone because I was an actor, because I did this as a profession."

These days, the humility comes in handy:

In the cable TV sitcom "Wlfred," Wood is Ryan, a depressed sad-sack who sees his neighbor's dog Wilfred as a full-grown man in a dog suit - kind of like the 1950 movie "Harvey," with the invisible rabbit only Jimmy Stewart could see.

Wilfred IS visible - and obnoxious.

"Wilfred acts as almost a guide for Ryan as he's trying to rebuild himself and recover," Wood explained. "You never quite know whether Wilfred's intentions are for Ryan's benefit or to his detriment, which is kind of the dynamic of the show."

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