Elijah Wood seemed startled when he saw me at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

"What are you doing here?"

"Interviewing you."

"I didn't know you did the TV stuff."

"Well… I do.  See you in there."

It's weird because I see Elijah several times a year in Austin at this point at film festivals, and I think he's a really sharp, fun film fan.  I know him from his constant interest in music, his fondness for Texas barbecue, and his willingness to indulge every crazy, glorious whim of Tim League's.  It's almost always a surprise for me at this point when I see him in something like FX's show "Wilfred," which was a dark, twisted ride this season, one I liked a lot, and I think it struck him the same kind of strange seeing me in this context.

As a result, though, he's fairly relaxed in our conversation, and I think we were able to have a nice chat about the very strange, oddly structured new sequel "Happy Feet 2," directed once again by the great George Miller.  Elijah seems to pick roles that either pair him with a filmmaker who he likes or that offer him an experience he hasn't had, and I don't see him making safe or easy commercial choices time after time.  I see someone who is able to take whatever box-office clout he's earned in the "Lord of The Rings" films and apply it to all sorts of things that interest him.

Working with George Miller is one of those things that I would imagine would be a no-brainer if I was asked.  I wouldn't even need to know what the film is.  I'd just say yes.  I think this second time out, Elijah has a very different role to play, and we talk about how that fit him at this point in his life.

I'm sure I'll see him soon for some sort of movie event, and at that point, we'll just be back to talking about other people's movies, but for this one afternoon, it was nice to actually talk about his work with him.

"Happy Feet Two" opens on Friday.