Elijah Wood‘s long career in Hollywood, beginning when he was just 8, taught him that there “are a lot of vipers” in the industry, he told the Sunday Times in a new interview.
Wood compared unnamed child abuse allegations in America to the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal that rocked the United Kingdom after the longtime entertainer faced hundreds of sexual abuse allegations following his death (and thus his loss of protection from scrutiny).
“You all grew up with Savile – Jesus, it must have been devastating,” Wood, 35, said. “Clearly something major was going on in Hollywood. It was all organized. There are a lot of vipers in this industry, people who only have their own interests in mind.
“There is darkness in the underbelly – if you can imagine it, it’s probably happened.”
The Lord of the Rings star, whose first film role came at age 8, told the Times he avoided that underbelly, thanks to a mother who was “far more concerned with raising me to be a good human than facilitating my career.”
“I never went to parties where that kind of thing was going on. This bizarre industry presents so many paths to temptation,” he said. “If you don’t have some kind of foundation, typically from family, then it will be difficult to deal with.”
Asked by the Times if he thinks sex crimes are “still a problem for Hollywood,” Wood said “these things probably still are happening.”
“From my reading and research, I’ve been led down dark paths to realize that these things probably are still happening,” he said. “If you’re innocent, you have very little knowledge of the world and you want to succeed, people with parasitic interests will see you as their prey.”
Such abuse is double-edged, Wood said.
“What upsets me about these situations is that the victims can’t speak as loudly as the people in power,” he said. “There’s the tragedy of attempting to reveal what is happening to innocent people:
“They can be squashed, but their lives have been irreparably damaged.”