Orlando Bloom, the young English actor snapped up to play Legolas just months after his graduation from Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, sits down for a quick chat between takes.
How is he faring with the challenges of Legolas? Just fine, thanks to a back injury obtained during his second year of drama school. The injury, Bloom explains, "meant I was cast in a lot of parts requiring me to be still, which has been great for this role. Legolas doesn't speak a lot--he prefers to let his actions speak for him."
And what actions they are. "Legolas' moves are smooth and elegant, like a cat," Orlando says. "You know how cats can jump and land steadily on their paws? That's what I'm trying to do. There's a strength in that, but it's very balletic. It's also bloody hard to do without falling over!"
So, how does Orlando see his blue-blooded elf as he mixes with the great unwashed? "Initially, he can't stand Gimli the dwarf. Elves see dwarfs as these muddy creatures who steal from the Earth without giving anything back. But their relationship develops, partially through having to rely on each other. They grow to respect each other's differences. By the time they go into battle, they're having a laugh, comparing their battle scores."
And now for the really important question: What's the deal with that mohawk haircut?
It's to lift his hairline, Bloom explains, so he looks more like the broad-faced forest elves when he dons his blond wig. "I get to transform completely in makeup and costume and become Legolas. Then at night, I get to go home with my mohawk. It's great!"
Beware, New Zealand, punk-rock elves are among us.