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Wood, Leslie: Fantasy stars, fans

If The Last Witch Hunter makes a billion dollars or attracts a billion rabid fans, it will be nothing new to stars Elijah Wood and Rose Leslie.

If The Last Witch Hunter makes a billion dollars or attracts a billion rabid fans, it will be nothing new to stars Elijah Wood and Rose Leslie.

Wood is a veteran of the Lord of the Rings franchise, while Leslie, 28, has already starred in the TV phenomena Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones.

In town with Leslie to hype Witch Hunter, Wood, 34, said that having adoring fans was nice, but being one was nicer. He's a Thrones nut - reads the books, watches the show, and looks forward to the next season.

"I think most people tune in because they can't wait to see how crazy or bloody the next episode is going to be. The Red Wedding aspect - people want the spectacle. But to me, the human drama is so fascinating, the internal struggles that the characters have, the shifting allegiances."

"Littlefinger!" shouts Leslie, who played the feral Ygritte for a couple of seasons. "He's my favorite character. He's so crafty, the way he bends everything to suit his interests."

Like many Thrones characters, Leslie's Ygritte died a horrible death. I ask Wood and Leslie whether there isn't something a bit sadistic in all of it: It sometimes seems that author George R.R. Martin creates characters for the sole purpose of killing them abruptly, mercilessly . . . happily?

"You do get the sense there is a kind of glee on the part of George when it comes to offing people," Wood said.

"But that contributes to the beauty of the show," Leslie said, "which is that, as a viewer, you're never really sure who's going to be killed off."

"Yes, it plays with conventions. In a normal drama, for instance, Jon Snow [killed at the end of last season, the fifth in the series] would have had the complete hero's journey," said Wood.

And still might?

We asked Leslie, who has been linked romantically to actor Kit Harrington, who played Snow, whether she had any inside information.

"No, I wish I did. I left at the end of [season] four. There's no way I'm going to be filled in on what's happening now. I'm as clueless as anyone else."

Right now, Leslie is enjoying her first big Hollywood job, playing a witch named Chloe in The Last Witch Hunter. Chloe is not as tough as Ygritte in Thrones, but is a spunky character in her own right.

"I liked the fact that she wasn't a stereotypical female. She wasn't sexualized, she has backbone, and she's self-reliant. As you see in the beginning of the movie, she runs her own bar. So she's living and working in New York, making it on her own. I liked that."

She stars opposite Vin Diesel (he has the title role) and had some brief time on camera with screen legend Michael Caine, who has a supporting role.

"I had one scene, it was cut, and Michael was supposed to be unconscious, on a chaise longue," said Leslie, nonetheless confident she can officially say she's made a movie with Michael Caine.

"Everyone in the crew was nervous, I think, with Michael there, but there was no reason to be," said Wood, who like Caine, plays a clergyman who functions as an assistant to Diesel's witch killer. "He's just a lovely man. The first thing he does is put everyone at ease."

Wood will next be seen in The Trust, a heist film costarring Nicolas Cage. Lord of the Rings notwithstanding, Wood describes Trust as the most fun he has ever had on set.

"It was my favorite experience working with another actor."

Leslie is filming a feature-length episode of the BBC TV show Luther with Idris Elba - and not talking about Game of Thrones.

"I don't know anything about Jon Snow. Really."