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Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 August 2005, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Rings star launches hooligan film
Elijah Wood in Green Street
Elijah Wood became a regular in the stands at West Ham
The Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood is in Edinburgh for the UK premiere of his latest film Green Street, in which he appears as a football hooligan.

Wood plays a student who gets drawn into the hooligan "firm" at West Ham.

He became a West Ham regular during his research and said he was impressed by the "passion and devotion and rabid, dog-like, manic energy" of the fans.

Director Lexi Alexander, a former hooligan, said violence at her club in Germany was "an expression of love".

Wood, who starred as Frodo in the Oscar-winning Rings trilogy, plays a former Harvard student who moves to London.

I could go to football games for the rest of my life just to experience that energy
Elijah Wood
The actor said British football matches were unlike sporting events in the US.

"There is certainly an energy about going to see a live sporting event - basketball is fantastic - but there's nothing more exciting than going to a football match," he said.

"I was massively impressed by it and I think it really did hit me what it means to these fans. It's unlike anything I've ever seen. I love that.

"I could go to football games for the rest of my life just to experience that energy because it's a rush unlike anything I've ever felt."

Lexi Alexander said she became a football hooligan as a teenager in Mannheim, Germany.

The riots were about proving our love
Lexi Alexander
"Reliable. Protective. Loyal. Consistent. That's what I remember most about the guys in the firm," she said.

"The riots were about proving our love, because obviously a bunch of guys don't walk around telling each other 'I love you, man'.

"I have a special place for those guys in my heart, because I know each one of them would literally jump in front of a train for me. Who can say that about one friend, let alone fifty? I feel lucky to know them."

After Tuesday's premiere in Edinburgh, the film's cast and crew will travel to the London premiere on Wednesday.

  • The Edinburgh International Festival hosts the UK premiere of controversial opera The Death of Klinghoffer on Tuesday.

    The opera is about the murder of a disabled Jew when a cruise liner was hijacked by Palestinian militants in 1985.

    Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme the timing of the opera was "stunning in its callousness".

    "Young people sitting in an audience today, especially young Muslims who are hearing mixed messages from their elders... will walk out morally befuddled and confused by this play," he said.

    But Janis Susskind from the opera's publisher Boosey and Hawkes said: "To humanise the terrorist, to understand what drives them is not to excuse them."

  • The National Short Story Prize - the largest award in the world for a single story - has launched at the Scottish capital's International Book Festival.

    It is aimed at "re-establishing the importance of the British story after many years of neglect".

    The winning author will receive 15,000, and a runner up 3,000, with three other writers getting 500 each.

    The shortlist of five stories will be heard on BBC Radio 4 before the winner is announced in May next year, and Prospect Magazine will publish and distribute them for free.

    The award is funded by Nesta (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) and supported by BBC Radio 4 and Prospect Magazine.

    The awards are open to either UK nationals or residents. Entries may be stories published during 2005 or can be previously unpublished.

    See clips of Elijah Wood's new film, Green Street Hooligans


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