Interview: Orlando Bloom

Posted by: Sheila Roberts

Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Mans Chest Movie Photo Click for Fullsize ImageWith his soulful dark eyes, chiseled good looks, and dark brown hair, Orlando Bloom cuts a very dashing image as he resumes the sexy role of Will Turner in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest," the second installment of a three-part trilogy directed by Gore Verbinski. When Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) gets himself into more trouble, his problems throw a huge wrench into Will’s blissful plans to wed Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), and the couple find themselves embroiled in yet another exciting and comic misadventure with the craziest pirate of the high seas.

Bloom’s role has expanded significantly in POTC2. He’s matured as an actor since he first appeared in POTC1, and in the sequel, his portrayal reflects newfound confidence that gives his character a decidedly heroic edge which serves the material well. As Will Turner, he’s once again caught up in a web of supernatural intrigue as he attempts to help Capt. Jack escape the curse of the evil and heartless Davey Jones (Bill Nighy). The innocent blacksmith drawn into Capt. Jack’s shenanigans in POTC1 has evolved into a more developed character in POTC 2 whose ethics and loyalty would make his father, legendary pirate Bootstrap Bill, proud. And there’s lots of swashbuckle in his performance, too. Indeed, one of the film’s most impressive set pieces involves Bloom engaging in some spectacular swordplay atop a giant water wheel.

Appearing upbeat and relaxed, the charismatic young Brit recently sat down to discuss his new film during the POTC2 press day in Los Angeles. Here’s what Orlando Bloom had to tell us about his new film, what it’s like working on two films back to back, and his latest project, the upcoming film "Haven" that’s scheduled to be released this fall.

Q: Was it easy to rediscover your inner pirate?

Bloom: Yeah, he goes from being a straight-laced kind of upright stick in the mud, Will, to becoming more of a bit of a pirate in this one, thankfully. It was kind of like discovering my inner pirate for the first time in a way.

Q: What's the attraction of doing these films? Is it a fulfillment of your childhood fantasy?

Bloom: My whole career has been fulfilling my childhood fantasies. I play characters that are larger than life...getting to play a knight, an elf, a prince, a soldier... I've really lived out all of my childhood fantasies. "Pirates" wasn't like living out another childhood fantasy. It was just a great opportunity to work with some great people like Johnny Depp. It was a big draw. I've always admired him as a young actor. When I signed up to do the first one it was… to be on set with somebody like him, to see how he handles himself, to see how he goes about it… it was a real privilege. You learn as you go, so I did that.

Q: Was it exhausting shooting the two films back-to-back?

Bloom: It's a real ensemble movie so it's not like I'm on the whole time, but yeah, it was a challenge because, you know, you've got the arc of two movies to cover. You can shoot a scene from the second movie in the morning and the third movie in the afternoon and trying to remember where your character is emotionally or whatever at that point in the movie can be a bit more challenging. You just have to play the truth of the moment. And thankfully, we got great writers to create great stories and characters and develop it so it's not just one note.

Q: How do you compare "The Lord of the Rings," where you shot three films back-to-back, to these two films?

Bloom: It's not that different. "Lord of the Rings" was my first experience making movies. I had no idea how movies were done. I thought that's the way they're done. In a way, I had nothing to compare it to. You have to think about where in that development you are. And sometimes, when you shoot one movie, you have to think about that anyway. But that's one movie. With two, a lot more time passes, and a lot more development happens, so you've got to keep jumping back and forward doing that kind of dance. The great thing about working on something like "Pirates" is that you don't really know what to expect. Going to see it, it's like a feast for the eyes. It's a shocker.

Q. What's the scariest or the most challenging scene you've shot?

Bloom: That's a good question. I think the wheel. Going upside down and stuff and sword fighting in there. I was all harnessed so I couldn't fall out, obviously. But it's just like, because of gravity, you're really reaching. And at one point, the gravity takes you and you're still reaching, but it's pulling you the other way. That was really difficult. The birdcage was merely uncomfortable. Know what I mean? It was like running with that thing between your legs. You're watching for the crown jewels the whole time.

Q: How many days did it take to shoot the wheel sequence?

Bloom: I would say about eight, about a week…dealing with weather.

Q: You hurt yourself on a lot of other films?

Bloom: I didn't hurt myself this time. Woo hoo! No injuries, really. I'm a lot more conscious about not getting injured now than I was before. It's about time, yeah.

Q: Do you feel more danger from scenes that have to top this?

Bloom: Danger isn't the right word because it's a set. It's a controlled environment. It's fun. It's hard. Running backwards on top of a wheel was really difficult as it's rolling down a hill, but no danger. What's great about this film is that they did top [POTC1]. How do you top pirates going skeletal in the moonlight and coming out? That's a hard thing to do. But I think the mythology of Davy Jones and the ocean… that tops it. Johnny Depp's entrance [in POTC1], how do you top a ship that sinks down and then he steps onto the dock? How do you top that? It's really hilarious the way he enters this movie. You know what I mean? It's brilliant. It tops it in a different way. You can expect more as well in the third.

Q: How did you develop the relationship with Keira this time?

Bloom: I know. Can you believe she’s snogging Johnny Depp? What is going on?

Q: Was it fun?

Bloom: Yeah. The first movie was one movie and we weren’t sure it was going to become two movies. I remember being at Disneyland with Johnny. We’re all sitting around with Jerry [Bruckheimer] and we’re saying, ‘Let’s do a pirate movie for the rest of our lives.’ That’s when [we realized] they were going to do more. It wasn’t a done deal in my head. What’s cool about it is that the talent, the writers, the vision of Jerry and Disney and everyone and Gore [Verbinski], particularly, they took what was a one-film movie, but because of what was already there on the page in terms of character development, they were able to really take it somewhere, and that’s a credit to the writers and that first movie. If it hadn’t been great and the characters were too one-dimensional, it would have been difficult to make more than one movie. But because of what was on the page, it was possible to make it into another movie, and then a third movie. Well, let’s make a pirate movie for the rest of our lives.

Q: Do you feel you're in the home stretch?

Bloom: I don't know. I feel we're going to go back and attack it again. Yeah, we're in the home stretch. Definitely.

Q: Can we expect something more precarious in the next one?
Bloom: How can they top it? They seem to keep topping it. I'm trying to remember the third one. We're still shooting.

Q: Are you taking a break after "Pirates 3?"

Bloom: There's a couple of things I'm looking at, but one of them I'm not sure if I'm going to be doing it in the next couple of months or at the end of "Pirates" (POTC3). It just depends on scheduling.

Q: Johnny says he's up for more.

Bloom: Dude, I know, man. I can't blame him. I remember watching the first one and seeing what Johnny did and what Geoffrey [Rush] did, and I was like these guys have "freedom" tattooed across their foreheads and they're doing it. And I'm playing this straight guy. But it wasn't until I saw it that I understood that you can't have one without the other. I am the foil to his [character]. This one is different because its' a real ensemble and you've got Davy Jones and Keira's the beauty and the sword-kicking, ass-kicking beauty at that.

Q: Is it tougher to wear soaking wet pirate gear or "Kingdom of Heaven" knight armor?

Bloom: Wet pirate gear, believe it or not. Being soaking wet is miserable, man. It doesn't matter if you're in the Caribbean or what you're in. The rain that comes out of those rain machines is cold. It's big drops and its cold in the Caribbean. If you're soaking wet for like nine hours, it's cold and miserable. That was hard work. Dry and hot in the desert in chain mail wasn't comfortable, but I'd take that over soaking wet, freezing my nuts off, any day.

Q: Ridley came close to telling us to get the long version of "Kingdom of Heaven."

Bloom: Yeah. I say go out and buy the long version, mate. I'm so happy to have been a part of that process. I would go straight back into the desert in a ton of chain mail for Ridley any day of the week. He's an amazing director and I can't wait to see the long version.

Q: Do you think the theatrical release was compromised?

Bloom: I couldn't tell you. I'm the actor. That's not my area. Studios, agents, that's their area. I just show up with a sword in my hand and try and kill a few whoever it is. A squid. I'm really looking forward to that being released and I'm happy it's out there. When you look at a movie like "Blade Runner," when it was released, nobody got it. My hope is that one day, maybe 10, 20 years from now, people will go, ‘Wow, Ridley Scott made a movie about the Crusades at a time when America was at war, at a time when there was a lot of speculation and heat on it, and he still put that movie out there.’ And hopefully that movie will stand up and people will appreciate it.

Q: When does "Haven" come out?

Bloom: Oh, "Haven." This September. The 15th of September. Thank the Lord! I don't know whether I have to go into it, but Bob Yari wanted to distribute it himself as well as "Crash," so he set up a whole company to be able to distribute it himself. What can I tell you? We're getting it done. It's definitely Sept. 15. I can't wait. I'm sure nobody else gives a shit anymore.

Q: When "Haven" comes out, do you expect it to do different things for you?

Bloom: I think it's going to be much bigger than "Pirates 2." It's going to bust all box office records. You wait. For me, to get to do a human story amongst all these larger than life characters that I've been playing is awesome and that's what really I want to be doing. What I'm looking for now is really human stories. I did a personal human story with Cameron Crowe. I'm looking for projects like "Haven." It was a first time director. It was the first movie he ever shot in the Cayman Islands by a young Caymanian guy, 23 years old. He wrote and directed it. It was a really great experience. I shot more in one day than I have in six months on "Pirates." Eight scenes a day, it was phenomenal and I just got to do it. And I want that. It gives a spontaneity that you can't get when you've spent six hours in your trailer and then you walk on set and you do three minutes. It's hard to have that spontaneity when you're doing a big movie. I'm not saying you can't get it, but it's a challenge. Once in this movie, we would look at each other and go, ‘Am I a stuntman or an actor.’ I've forgotten. You kind of feel like that, but then you see the end product and you go, ‘Great.’ There is that.

Q: Thanks so much for your time this afternoon.

"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest" sets sail in theaters on July 7th and promises to be an exciting, action packed adventure that’s guaranteed to put plenty of swash in your buckle. Indeed, POTC2 may well be the highest grossing and most entertaining movie of the summer. I invite you to read my Pirates of the Caribbean 2 Movie Review. Also be sure to watch our behind the scenes of Pirates 2 video tour with the entire cast.


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