Elijah Wood and the Odd Trend of Fantasy Actors With Music Careers
Frodo isn't the only fantasy character to get behind a microphone.
Photo by Geordie Wood
Most of us came to know Elijah Wood when we saw him destroy a very evil ring, thereby saving Middle-Earth from a lifetime of slavery and losing a finger in the process. Oh, spoiler alert. Sorry.
Then he unleashed his inner Cesar Millan to play Ryan in the FX series Wilfred. But when the show ended in 2014, the hobbit-turned-dog-whisperer took a new career path.
The next natural step for Wood — a lifelong music junkie who's been said to own more than 4,000 vinyl records and CDs and even has his own music label, Simian Records — was, of course, to become a DJ.
Homeboy made his Magic City DJ debut — along with Zach Cowie — as Wooden Wisdom in January 2015 at Bardot. The duo returned to the 305 during Art Basel for a DJ set at the Brickell City Centre. And this January 7, Wood and Cowie will be back for their sophomore gig at Bardot.
Though Wood has taken on other acting roles aside from The Lord of the Rings, his character as the curly-haired, pointy-eared heir to Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic trilogy is his most famed role. But oddly enough, he's not the only actor from the world of fantasy films to plug in and turn up. There's a trend of famous faces from our favorite alternate universes — from Harry Potter to Game of Thrones — pursuing music careers. And you know what? Some — some — of them aren't half bad.
Here are five fantasy actors you probably didn't know had music careers.
Rupert Grint. Who would have thought that beneath Ron Weasley's cloak was a talented singer? Probably no one. Rupert Grint — whose voice and ginger locks resemble those of Ed Sheeran — released his first single, "Open Your Ears," in 2013. But the song "Lightning" — which was used as the theme song for the 2014 animated flick Postman Pat: The Movie, for which Grint also voices a character — is where Harry Potter's BFF showed the world a side of him we never knew. And it's actually not too shabby.
Jacob Anderson, AKA Raleigh Ritchie. You may know him as Grey Worm from the HBO series Game of Thrones, but Jacob Anderson — who also goes by the stage name Raleigh Ritchie — has been a singer for almost as long as he's been an actor. His role as the commander of Daenerys' Unsullied landed him a 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards nomination for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, and his debut album, You're a Man Now, Boy, is set to drop in February. But the kid is no hack. His 2014 single "Stronger Than Ever" has racked up more than 3 millions hits on YouTube.
Kristian Nairn. Grey Worm isn't the only GoT cast member getting musical. Though he plays the role of a simple-minded man who can say only his name, Game of Thrones' Kristian Nairn, whom fans know as Hodor, is a DJ in the real world. Nairn brought his Rave of Thrones Tour to Fort Lauderdale's Revolution Live last February. "Game of Thrones has presented us with vast opportunities... all of us in the show," Nairn, who has been spinning tracks for about two decades, told New Times Broward-Palm Beach just before his gig. "It's been a super way to boost my DJing up a few notches, and I'm eternally grateful for that."
Johnny Depp. When he's not sailing the high seas in search of rum and treasure, Johnny Depp is on land shredding away on his six-string. Though the Pirates of the Caribbean booty hunter told Billboard he finds it "sickening" when actors capitalize on their on-camera fame to make a second career out of music, Depp — who lived in Miramar in the '70s and has recorded and performed with fellow 954 native Marilyn Manson — has a band of his own. Well, kind of. Meet the Hollywood Vampires. Featuring Alice Cooper and Aerosmith's Joe Perry, along with Depp, the band recently dropped its self-titled debut album. It's more of a tribute band — the album features covers of the Doors and Pink Floyd, among others, and includes guest appearances from legends such as Slash and Paul McCartney.
Keanu Reeves. Before becoming Neo in The Matrix, Keanu Reeves was the bassist for Dogstar. Though the band is no longer active, the grunge-rockers released two studio albums: Our Little Visionary (1996) and Happy Ending (2000). The band lasted less than a decade, but Reeves and his crew made some pretty notable appearances, including the Hollywood Palladium, where they opened for David Bowie in 1995. Dogstar even landed a set on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. The band, however, eventually folded. Shortly thereafter, Reeves joined the group Becky for about a year before deciding to concentrate solely on his acting career. It appears he made the right choice.
Wooden Wisdom: Elijah Wood and Zach Cowie 10 p.m. Thursday, January 7, at Bardot, 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-576-7750; bardotmiami.com. Tickets cost $22 plus fees via showclix.com. Ages 21 and up.
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