Most 9-year-olds probably would be nervous working with an Oscar-winning director on their first major film role, but not Elijah Wood, who plays Michael, director Barry Levinson's young alter-ego in his new film, "Avalon."
"It was just another job," says the supercool Elijah. "It was a good job to work on. I was on location in Baltimore for four months and when we (his family) were there we kind of took a field trip to Washington, D.C., and we saw the White House and it was fun."
Elijah wasn't even scared when he had to shoot a scene surrounded by bees.
"They threw puffed rice at me," he recalls. "Then after that they put me in a cage full of bees. They were regular bees, but they had trimmed the stingers. They crawled down my neck and stuff. I liked it though. It was pretty cool."
Elijah began his career as a model in his native Cedar Rapids, Iowa. When his modeling school took part in a modeling convention in Los Angeles last year, Elijah caught the eye of an acting agent. His family left Cedar Rapids and moved out here and Elijah has been working ever since--in such films as "Internal Affairs" and "Back to the Future II" and in the Paula Abdul music video, "Forever Your Girl."
"It's real different out here," Elijah explains. "I had never seen a palm tree before. There is nothing to do in Cedar Rapids except the Sweet Corn Festival. It's much more exciting out here."
When not acting, Elijah plays Nintendo and with Dick Tracy action figures. He also likes Bobby Brown and M.C. Hammer. "I like Prince, but I am not supposed to listen to him," he says.
Though he's having the time of his young life, Elijah doesn't know if he will always be an actor. He would like to be a secret agent when he grows up. "That's cool," he says. "It's dangerous, but fun. You get all of these gadgets. I'd also like to work with sharks and be an oceanographer. That would be really fun. I don't know, though, I may work for Nintendo. . . ."