LOS ANGELES—Elijah Wood has been doing voice-over work for films, television series, and video games for more than a dozen years. Jennifer Connelly, who, like Wood, started in show business as a child actor, says that costarring with Wood in the animated film 9, which opens Wednesday (September 9), was somewhat intimidating. “I had never done voice-over work before and so I really didn’t know what to ask [the filmmakers]. Meanwhile, Elijah is talking to them about all kinds of technical things and is so excited about the process that it was pretty overwhelming.”
Watch the trailer for 9.
In an interview room at a Los Angeles hotel, Wood agrees that he loves being part of animated films and was particularly excited about 9, in which he plays the title character, a living doll who wakes up to discover a postapocalyptic world that is ruled by machines. He discovers that he and other creatures like himself were created by a scientist looking for redemption.
“I think it is a great medium for telling stories,” he says. “I think at its best it can be really beautiful and it can transport you easily to the world it describes. It is so much more about visual style than live-action movies. In an animated world, anything is possible. I think what else attracted me to 9 is that we think of animation as being a family thing but that is not necessarily the case. In Japan, animated movies like Akira and Ghost in the Shell are considered to be action movies or science-fiction movies. I like the fact that 9 is that kind of film. We explore darker and deeper themes and have more intense action and can appeal to a different kind of audience. The movie is saying, ”˜These things can exist in the animated world.’ So I think it is a great away of telling stories. It’s harder to believe in when you are watching live action because you are constantly questioning the effects. I think animation makes it easier for the audience to feel comfortable in that world.”
Wood himself is comfortable with voice work. He says that although there are several disadvantages to the work, it’s not a bad way to make a living. “It is a unique challenge. You ultimately are solitary, just standing alone and imbuing the voice with a sense of action and breathlessness. If your character is running and falling down a chasm, you have to give the voice that kind of quality, and that can be a unique challenge. You can’t move too much because the mike picks up sounds. You can’t go in hungry because you get stomach gurgles. At the same time, you have to drink water to keep your mouth from being dry. But it’s freeing, too, because you don’t think about the setting you are in or the prop you are going to use. It is just about the voice and the character. It comes with its own challenges but it is definitely a lot of fun.”