Hobbits Hunting for Mardi Gras Beads

updated 01/07/2004 at 12:00 AM EST

originally published 01/06/2004 5:06PM

Forget the ring: It's all about the fellowship of the beads for two Hobbits at this year's Mardi Gras.

Elijah Wood, best known as Frodo in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and Dominic Monaghan, who plays his Hobbit buddy Merry, will be the celebrity monarchs for New Orleans's big carnival parades before Feb. 24's Fat Tuesday blowout, reports the Associated Press.

Wood, 22, will ride in the Sunday-night procession of the Krewe of Bacchus, while Monaghan, 27, will be with the Krewe of Orpheus, the "Lundi Gras" Monday night parade founded in 1993 by a New Orleans favorite son, singer Harry Connick Jr.

The two events, with more than 1,000 riders in each, are the traditional highlights of the long weekend of parades and street parties leading up to Mardi Gras.

Meanwhile, to the North, Monaghan and costar Billy Boyd (Pippin), were recently on hand for a special personal appearance at a screening of "The Return of the King" in Times Square, reports The New York Times.

The pair politely fielded questions about their love lives, according to the paper (which failed to report what those details were), but the questioning inevitably turned to the heartthrob of the series, Viggo Mortensen, who plays Aragorn, the heroic king of Middle Earth.

The Times asked the Hobbit-actors: Do you think he's sexy?

The Scottish Boyd, 35, reportedly stammered a bit before chiming in with his reply, which was a curt: "Women love him."

He then added: "I don't get it. He stinks. He's aggressive. Every time I see him, he head-butts me."

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