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FX TCA: WILFRED: Elijah Wood at the FX TCA Winter Press Tour Sunday, Jan. 15 in Pasadena California. CR: Phil McCarten / FX.
Sundance star Elijah Wood talks 'The Hobbit'

Elijah Wood is at Sundance because he's got a small role in the film "Celeste and Jess Forever."

That comedy was written by Wood's pal, Rashida Jones, who also stars. "And she asked me to do it," Wood said. "It's a favor for a friend, really."

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But what people really want to know about is his role in a pair of films that won't be playing at the film festival - "The Hobbit," which is scheduled for release in December 2012 (Part 1) and December 2013 (Part 2).

"Did my part already, yeah," Wood said. "I was there for a month. It didn't actually take that much time for the work. It was sort of half vacation and catching up with old friends and half work."

It was also a chance to return to New Zealand, where he filmed the three "Lord of the Rings" films. And returning to the home of his character, Frodo Baggins, was an emotional experience.

"It had been 11 years since I'd been to Hobbiton," Wood said. "I turned 19 in Hobbiton. That's [expletive] crazy.

"I stood on the hill looking at the hobbit holes and I was, like, 'I turned 19 here and I'm 30 now.' It was such a weird thing. And a lot of the same crew were there. That was the most bizarre. It felt like taking a step back in time almost. It was extraordinary."

Wood has heard the criticism from purist fans of J.R.R. Tolkien's books about his participation in the films. Frodo didn't appear in Tolkien's book "The Hobbit." He wasn't even born when the events in that novel took place.

But Wood wants those fans to know they shouldn't worry about his small part in the movie.

"It's lovely. And it's very appropriate," Wood said. "What they've done is clever and it's actually a nice entry into the story."

- Scott D. Pierce

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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