One boxing ring to rule them all.
Fans who attended the annual Fantastic Fest in Austin, Tex., described as the largest genre film festival in the U.S., were treated to a precious Main Event: a boxing match between “Lord of the Rings” co-stars Dominic Monaghan and Elijah Wood.
We’re not kidding.
The two former Hobbits laced up pink gloves and slugged it out in front of a crowed of bloodthirsty and deliriously geeked-out fans. If you doubt how seriously Frodo and Merry took things, check out the video. Those are legitimate Hobbit haymakers being thrown.
So why were they fighting? Could it have been lingering resentment on Monaghan’s part over Wood getting all the glory — and the ring — in "LOTR"? Nope, it turns out the two actors were doing their part in a Fantastic Fest tradition, the Fantastic Debates.
That’s where filmmakers, actors and members of the press face off and do what Fanboys do best: Argue about anything and everything pop culture.
Wood, who’s currently starring in FX’s hit show “Wilfred,” and Monaghan, currently on the web series “Goodnight Burbank” and eternally known as Charlie from “Lost,” squared off in a passionate debate over the video game franchise “World of Warcraft.”
Tempers flared at that point, as Monaghan dropped some major WoW knowledge on his opponent. But Wood showed no respect for the mega-popular video game, calling it “a complete waste of time.” He then riled up the Warcraft crowd by proclaiming the "Legend of Zelda" series was enough fantasy gaming for him.
The trash talking seemed to inspire Monaghan. He pummeled Wood throughout the match, even opening a cut below Wood’s eye (of the Tiger?). The fight was about as coordinated a fight as you would expect from two guys best known for movies in which they wore hairy, prosthetic feet. The fans didn’t seem to mind. What they lacked in finesse, style and skill, they made up in sheer unintentional hilarity.
The Fantastic Debates were sponsored by “Knuckle,” a documentary about bare-knuckle boxing which hits theaters in December.
Judging by the results of their gloved showdown, it’s fortunate the two actors didn’t mimic the film’s bare-knuckle style, or things could have gotten really ugly. We think Wood learned a valuable lesson: Mock “World of Warcraft” at your peril.
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Michael Avila is a writer based in New York; follow his random pop culture musings on Twitter.