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Yo ho ho: A `Pirates' life for Orlando Bloom, Boston Herald (US), July 6, 2003
by Stephen Schaefer

With ``Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,'' Orlando Bloom is looking to make his mark minus that blond wig he wears as the archer elf Legolas in the ``Lord of the Rings'' films.

In ``Pirates,'' which opens Wednesday, the 26-year-old British actor plays Will Turner, the romantic hero who must save a Caribbean island governor's daughter (Keira Knightley of ``Bend It Like Beckham'') from the dastardly pirate Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp).

In addition to the third ``Lord of the Rings'' film, ``The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,'' coming this Christmas, Bloom also will be starring in two other wig-less projects: next year's ``Ned Kelly,'' in which he plays a member of the titular 19th century Aussie outlaw's gang; and ``Troy,'' Wolfgang Petersen's epic adaptation of Homer's ``Iliad'' with Brad Pitt.

``I play Paris, the man who created that mess,'' he said of the kidnapping of Helen of Troy that kick-started the Trojan War. ``But it's kind of cool because he's a bit of an anti-hero; a bit different than the obvious hero that Will would be. Or Legolas has been, you know what I mean? So I wanted to do it.''

As for the popular ``Lord of the Rings'' films, Bloom said, ``It gave me an opportunity and was an incredible experience to gain confidence in front of the camera. I knew when I did `Pirates' it's a bigger role in a big film and I'd hope it would open doors to the kind of work I'd like to do more, character-driven, dark, gritty human stories. I feel like I'm growing in experience and confidence as an actor and that will lead me to those.''

Bloom mentions two edgy directors with whom he wouldlove to work: David Fincher (``Seven,'' ``Panic Room'') and Darren Aronofsky (``Requiem for a Dream'').

But isn't ``Pirates'' based on a Disney theme-park ride?

``It's so loosely based on the ride!'' Bloom said. ``It's really smart on the part of Disney; people will go because they had fun on the ride. A summer audience expects more for their money today and this film gives that. It's all you get from a blockbuster movie but has the visual effects with a supernatural element.''

Any up-and-comer dreams of sparking career ``heat''like Bloom's. Yet for the classically trained actor, that pressure and celebrity are a bit unnerving.

``It's quite overwhelming,'' he said. ``You kind of hope for this and then you start to realize your dreams, but there's a lot more than meets the eye. It's overwhelming, the pressure, and you have to learn to make the adjustment and do the right thing by everybody.''

When the topic turns to his burgeoning sex-symbol status, Bloom looks exasperated. ``They created a heartthrob thing, and you kind of have to do that,'' he said. ``It's like the rite of passage. You have to create yourself to be something and then you get the chance to go against it.

``I'm flattered and it's all very nice, but I trained for years as an actor, and there was this comment - somebody said that I would do a movie for no money or anything if I just got to kiss a girl or something, some teen thing.

``I mean, I'm infuriated. Who the hell writes this stuff? How do I change that? That's just so wrong.

``Don't get me wrong,'' he added. ``I love women.''

Still, Bloom seems to be maintaining the right perspective.

``It's an interesting time for me and I'm figuring it out right now,'' he said. ``I'm trying to keep my head and I look at myself and wonder if I'm coming apart at the seams. I ask my sister, who's a couple of years older, `Am I still normal?' . . . She says I'm doing good.

``I love my sister.''