Elijah was joined on the red carpet by the film's German-born director Lexi Alexander. Lexi's inspiration in making the film came from time spent as a hardcore football fan in her teens
Photo: © Empics
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Elijah's role in Green Street is a far call from his Lord Of The Rings portrayal of a Hobbit
Photo: © Empics

24 AUGUST 2005

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If Lord Of The Rings actor Elijah Wood ever worried about being typecast as a result of his role in the fantasy epic, his latest venture looks set to allay all such fears.

The former Hobbit was in the Scottish capital this week for a gala screening of his new flick Green Street, part of the Edinburgh film festival's line-up.

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In the movie - released under the title Hooligans in the US - Elijah plays a disgraced Harvard student who, after moving to the UK, is seduced by the violence surrounding a football gang, based on West Ham's notorious Inner City Firm.

"I wasn't really familiar with hooliganism," says Elijah. "I knew about football culture and how huge football is, much greater than the fanaticism associated with any sport in the United States. But I didn't really know about the violence."

The film, which is directed by German-born Lexi Alexander, was shot over just five weeks in London. To immerse himself in the local milieu Elijah spent time with Inner City Firm members, even attending a tense match between bitter rivals West Ham and Millwall.

"We went to a local pub before going to one West Ham game," recalls the actor. "It was fascinating to watch them get riled up and create this energy before walking to the match. They go there to get pissed and ready… It's electrifying, but scary too. It's slightly unhinged."

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