Actor's expansive career takes him from ‘Romeo’ on Broadway to upcoming ‘Hobbit’ finale
“For a kid in London, Hollywood seems like such a mythical place,” says Orlando Bloom, who is set to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 2 after limning parts in two of the biggest mythical franchises the company town has ever produced. (Bloom had but a single film to his credit when he landed a key role in “The Lord of the Rings”; his part as Will Turner in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” came two years later.) With his sixth and final go-round as the J.R.R. Tolkien-created character Legolas primed to hit multiplexes this winter in “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” and his first Broadway role in “Romeo and Juliet” having wrapped last December, Bloom takes a moment to reflect.
Making strategic choices
“I would say that I’m more conscious now than I have been. As a young actor, I found myself in all these movies at once, with two big trilogies, and a Cameron Crowe film (‘Elizabethtown’), and working with Ridley Scott a couple of times (‘Kingdom of Heaven,’ ‘Black Hawk Down’), I was on this sort of rocket to the moon, as it were. It was all just sort of happening in front of me and I was jumping into everything. I’m much more strategic now than I’ve ever been before, much clearer about the kinds of movies I like to watch, and the ones that play to my strengths.”
“When I was prepping for my Broadway debut as Romeo, it really hit me that I had never done that. I had trained at drama school for three years in my late teens to early 20s, and I’d studied Shakespeare of course, but I hadn’t actually performed it. So to do something like Romeo for my first Broadway role was a challenge. … It was a massive thing for me, with a very eye-opening learning curve.”
“When I finished the third ‘Pirates,’ something that became immediately very apparent to me: a lot of actors really do struggle to make their way through the ranks, and going through all these indie movies that work, and some that don’t work, was an experience that had eluded me. And so I did some theater in London. I traveled a bit. I went to Antarctica on a science research boat, just to sort of clear my head. And then I came back and started to try and develop some smaller movies that could stretch me and force me to grow; some worked, some didn’t. Some things I spent a lot of time and energy working on and building toward, but they just didn’t come to fruition. But I think that when you do the work and really dedicate yourself to something, that’s always appreciated, whether the film works or not. The effort, the attention with which you go into things, that’s what fulfills me.”
Tolkien and Legolas
“Legolas was a fantastic character, and the opportunity to come back was really attractive. I was a little anxious as to how some of the fans would respond, because you have those fans who are real purists. But because Legolas wasn’t featured in the book, I saw it as an opportunity to create a backstory, if you like, for this character who would go on to become the one we see in ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ And that was fun, it was liberating. I’m not that much older, and the way Peter (Jackson), Fran (Walsh) and Philippa (Boyens) conceived of it, it gave me the opportunity to explore other sides of the character that I hadn’t touched on in the first trilogy.
“I am currently reading a lot of different material. There are a couple of things coming into shape, but nothing I want to talk about just yet. At the moment it’s just a process of developing and bringing the characters into place in my mind, so that once the project falls into place I know exactly what to do with it.”