Iggy Pop didn’t always look like a gravel driveway. Before heroin and shards of glass* and everything else that goes into being a rock star turned his body into a landscape of livin’, Iggy was a just fresh-faced kid from Ann Arbor, Michigan named James Osterberg. So, since it’s much easier to gradually turn a good-looking guy ugly than the other way around, the idea of Elijah Wood playing the legendary punk icon isn’t as distasteful as it sounds (even though many of you might be more likely to tab the diminutive pretty boy as the lead in The Rick Astley Story).
It also helps that Wood has been maturing as an actor since quitting the Shire; he was serenely menacing in Sin City, all kinds of creepy in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and capably understated in Everything is Illuminated. Though none of these roles were huge stretches, they at least tarnished Wood’s overwhelmingly innocent presence, which was exploited to a necessary, but nonetheless grating degree in The Lord of the Rings. He grew up gracefully, which is more than we can say for Macaulay Culkin.
But is he ready to take on the lusty life of Iggy Pop? Nick Gomez obviously thinks so. A one-time promising director who’s been cashing paychecks in television since bottoming out in 2000 with Drowning Mona, Gomez, if he can recapture the gritty immediacy of New Jersey Drive and Laws of Gravity, is actually a great choice. Meanwhile, the script, by apparent newcomer Eric Schmid, has Iggy’s "blessing", though the rocker won’t be at all involved in the project.
Budgeted under $10 million, this has potential to be interesting if Wood can unleash his inner maniac and capture the troubled soul of the punk pioneer. We haven’t seen that kind of virtuosity from Wood just yet, but I’m willing to give him a shot. If he misses… well, it’s not like I’ve been clamoring for an Iggy Pop biopic.
The film will shoot in the next six months and will likely hit screens some time in 2008.
*Iggy was notorious for cutting himself on stage.