Orlando Bloom is the best kind of rising star: He's not a child actor who shows up in some goofy mainstream comedy, nor is he basking in golden sunshine in a Michael Bay explosion fest.
Instead, he is Legolas the elf, in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. While we didn't get to ask him the questions about the non-LOTR movies he's working on (in one, he has sex with his sister who wants to own a deck of playing cards made of human skin, in another, he goes crazy after downing a cocktail of ecstasy and LSD), we did chat with him about Fellowship of the Ring and beyond.
UGO: How'd you land this gig?
Orlando Bloom (OB): Basically, there was a huge casting process. It was in all the English-speaking countries of the world. I went on tape for the role of Faramir initially in London and then I met Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, his partner, when they came to London a few months later. I went on tape again and he directed me and I was given a call, or my agent rather, that the role of Faramir wouldn't become available to me, but would I read for Legolas?
I was over the moon to do that obviously, so I read for Legolas and I was offered the role a few weeks after that. It was a six month process but a mind-blowing time for me, really.
UGO: Then you were locked in there for all the films back-to-back, correct?
OB: That's right; 18 months of filming.
UGO: Do you think traditional fantasy films have a chance of reaching and holding a broad audience?
OB: These books have been written years ago and been at the top of the best-sellers' list for quite some time. They're epic tales that are filled with so many stories: exciting adventures of hobbits and dwarves and elves and wizards. It has all the best elements of a fantastic story and I think that what Peter's done is he's taken those moments from the book and crystallized them and put them into the movie. And it makes for a very exciting film.
I had a phone call from Mark Ordesky [Executive Producer for The Lord of the Rings], saying that the movie has done like $18 million in its first day in America and it's broken all the records across the board in Denmark, Sweden, Germany. I mean, it's taken more money anywhere than anything ever sort of thing, which is great. It's been nominated for 4 Golden Globes, I think he said, I was half-asleep. He told me very early this morning. [laughs]
But it's very exciting. It would appear that so far people are responding in a fantastic way which is great because you know, it was a labor of love on the part of all involved and we tried our best to make it a movie that would be accessible to an audience who hadn't read Lord of the Rings but also would be appropriate and appreciative by the fans of Lord of the Rings. It was a huge undertaking but it's been the best experience in my life and a life-changing time.
UGO: Was it the fantasy elements that drew you to the film?
OB: No, I hadn't done anything before! I got this job two days before I finished training for drama school. I was in drama school in London at the Guildhall for three years. Obviously, Lord of the Rings, that's been around for a long time and it's very well known in England and most of the English-speaking countries of the world, but it when I heard about the casting and that point I was drawn to it because it was out there and everyone was drawn to it. Anyone and everyone went on tape to try and have a part and be involved with that movie.
Especially for a young actor like me [to have] the opportunity to have 18 months in front of a camera working with Peter Jackson and the kind of caliber of cast and crew was just unheard of. There was never any question of would I or wouldn't I do it? There was just where do I sign for it? When I got offered, I was over the moon, the opportunity of a lifetime.
UGO: Tell us about Legolas and what fans can expect from him in the upcoming sequels?
OB: Legolas is a very interesting guy. The Elves were created by Tolkien to be the magical and mystical race, capable of almost anything in terms of their abilities. They have super human strength, their reflex speed is incredible, their sensory awareness is amazing and they are immortal; they're ageless. For all intents and purposes, Legolas has all these special qualities: He's a warrior, he's an archer and he becomes the eyes and ears of the Fellowship really. If there's danger around, Legolas is the first to be aware of it to let Aragorn know or the Fellowship know. He comes in half-way through the movie and offers his bow at Rivendell to Frodo for his quest so he's quite a cool little dude, really.
I spent a lot of time learning archery, which is basically my weapon of choice in what you'll see me doing for most of the movie is firing arrows. Working on horse training for the second and third movie, swordplay with Bob Anderson who taught Errol Flynn who's amazing. Again, it was an amazing time for me to be Legolas and he's an interesting little character. I spent a lot of time trying to make him as real as possible. I was always aware that there were people out there that were fans of Lord of the Rings who were hoping to see Legolas and the rest of the Fellowship. We just wanted to do justice to it.
UGO: In one scene, you rattle off three or more arrows consecutively and extremely quickly, was that really you, a stunt double or CGI? (Editor's Note: We have a bet with someone.)
OB: Yep, that was really me, I was doing it all but they put the arrows in afterwards. I pulled out the first one and, I think that day I shot off like 50 or so arrows. The arrows were dangerous and they go off in all sorts of directions. So they put in the arrows CG afterwards. (Editor's Note: We won that bet.)
UGO: Do you think Tolkien fans will latch on to Elvish the way Star Trek fans have with Klingon?
OB: Who knows, man? Anything's possible. I think there are people who are already speaking Elvish so we'll just see. I'm just glad we got this movie made, it's a miracle it got made and I hope the fans respond with the same energy that we put into it, because it was a labor of love; we worked for 18 months, we tried our hardest to make a very special film, and for everyone involved it was a really important project and hopefully the fans will appreciate it and receive it in the same way.
UGO: Thanks Orlando, we saw it and it was awesome!
OB: Wicked! I'm glad you liked it and look out for the next one!
Of course, Orlando never answered the most important question of all. Can you give us Liv Tyler's phone number? And if not, can you please ask someone else to get it for you?