Elijah Wood on whether Wilfred is a result of mental illness. Terri Schwartz reports
As Wilfred has just entered its third season, there are several recurring questions that remain to be answered. Will the reason behind Ryan’s ability to see Wilfred as a person be revealed? Does Wilfred have a set end date? And, perhaps most important, will Ryan ever don Wilfred’s dog suit?
These are questions the cast and crew have pondered, and leading man Elijah Wood addressed them during a conference call with reporters following Season 3’s premiere Comfort (which aired last week). Though that episode did somewhat address whether Ryan’s visions of Wilfred stem from mental illness, Wood says it’s not going to be a recurring subject this season.
“We don’t really address any further in the season so much the idea of mental illness,” he says. “It has always been there, even if we haven’t talked about it.
“It was interesting to see in the first episode, Ryan kind of addressing it for the first time and sort of being aware that that could potentially be the reason for Wilfred’s existence.
“I think from here on out, having established that as a possibility, it’ll be there as a way to potentially look at each of the scenarios.
“But because we don’t outright answer it, there’s a sense of ambiguity about what Wilfred is. I think that’s important for the show so we don’t necessarily answer that question.”
That said, Wood does have his own explanation of why Ryan sees Wilfred. He just doesn’t think that aligns with how Ryan sees the dog.
“Wilfred’s purpose is ultimately positive in that it’s helping him. I don’t know that Ryan has decided because I think he’s clearly questioning, but I have an idea.”
So how long will Wilfred end up running? Wood’s hope is that the series doesn’t outstay its welcome, and continues to provide stories worth telling to its audience.
“The structure of the show is such that it’s about a guy who’s in recovery and trying to figure out what that path is, and this manifestation of Wilfred has provided a push for him to figure that out. That can only last for so long,” Wood says.
“To believe we are dealing with a man who is struggling for answers to these questions and is in this existential questioning period of his life and in recovery, I don’t know that we can believe that for 10 seasons. I think to a certain degree, there has to be a resolve or a move in a certain direction.
“I would hate to make the show carry on for too long and not necessarily support what we’ve created.”
To parallel the relationship between Wilfred and Ryan is the one between Wilfred and Bear. Though the stuffed animal is seemingly just there for its comedic impact, Wood argues its purpose is something much more significant.
“The fact that Wilfred has an independent relationship that is not reflective of his relationship with Ryan adds something to the show, and it adds something to Wilfred’s existence,” Wood says. “We never get to see the outside perspective of Ryan talking to a dog, and in some ways, we get to see what that perspective is slightly that Wilfred is talking to a stuffed animal that can’t talk. It’s a mirror to the Wilfred/Ryan relationship from that outside perspective.”
In real life, Wood once had the opportunity to climb inside co-star Jason Gann’s dog costume. It’s something he would like to see happen in the series as well.
“We talked about the idea of maybe doing a dream sequence,” Wood says. “I love the idea of the tables being flipped and what if Ryan suddenly wakes up and sees himself as Wilfred. There’s something there in his exploration of what Wilfred is, a melding of the two.”
In terms of what’s in store this season, Wood teases that his favourite scene comes in episode 3.
“The kind of caper aspect of that episode between Wilfred and Ryan sort of working together, that was experienced for the first time this season.
“I love the idea of Ryan and Wilfred not only being in a combative relationship, but actually working towards something together, and it was a blast. It was really fun,” he says.
“I think it’s something we’d like to continue doing.”
Catch season 3 of Wilfred onTuesday, Vuzu at 10pm.