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Lord spins rings around its hero

Berlin, Dec. 8 (Reuters): Elijah Wood, who plays the diminutive hero of the Lord of the Rings epic which climaxes later this month, is still in awe of the magical golden ring he guarded in the film.

Speaking ahead of the European premiere of the Return of the King finale to the Rings trilogy, the 22-year-old American said he keeps the golden prop ring at home in a box.

I wont wear that, oh no, he told journalists in Berlin. I keep in with the symbolism of the character. Its the only thing about the character that will live on. I keep it away.

Wood plays the hobbit Frodo Baggins who carries the gold band on a chain around his neck, fighting the temptation to put the powerful ring on his finger as he tries to protect it from the evil Sauron and destroy it in the fires of Mount Doom.

Wood said he had also kept a sword and one of the 1,600 pairs of broad, hairy hobbit feet made for the film.

Ive got the last pair that I wore and they probably stink like hell, he said, adding that he had even considered building a hobbit house for himself, with typical circular doors and windows.

Wood, who was so desperate to get the part that he made a special audition tape for director Peter Jackson, said it would be hard to move on from such a momentous project.

The first time I saw the last hour of the movie I was in hysterics, crying, sobbing, he said. It is sad that its all kind of over but at the same time there is a real sense of accomplishment now.

Wood moved to New Zealand for 16 months where movie history was made when all three parts of the trilogy were filmed simultaneously.

The first two films have earned a combined $1.8 billion so far and won a total of six Oscars.

Wood said the feat was unlikely to be repeated soon.

I dont think anybody would be brave enough or have the balls to remake this, he said.

Shorn of his hobbit curls and sporting long sideburns, Wood said he was not worried about being typecast as Frodo.

Im really proud to be associated with this character because Im really proud of the work that Ive done, he said.

As long as I portray different characters in movies that people see and recognise and see me playing other things and if I do things successfully, I think Ill be okay.

His next film is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind with Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet due for release in March.

It was such a different thing for me, such a different experience and such a different vision that it served as a real indication of the kind of work Id like to do in future, he said.

Wood, who started his career as a child actor, said he is coming to terms with fame and does not disguise himself.

I live in New York now, I go on the subway, I walk around the streets. I dont want to stop living my life because people recognise me. It doesnt bother me too much, he said.

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