The Tonight Show with Jay Leno December 5, 2003
typed by Cyloran
Jay Leno: Great to have you here, on the cover of all the magazines like GQ.
Very cool. (much cheering and squealing from the audience). I know youíre from
England, but where abouts?
Canterbury and Kent, just outside of London.
JL: Okay, you grew up there. Now when did you get into the whole show
business . . . when did you first do a play or get on stage or anything of that
OB: You know, I always really loved performing as a kid. I once . . . my
first performance was a little embarrassing because I was doing a play at a
local theatre and it was quite a big deal because it was the whole of Canterbury
was there, and I was a monkey. Dressed in a monkey suit. There were three of us.
And this monkey suit was really hot, you know? It was like one of those sort of
synthetic suits, and I was only four, and Iíll never forget it. I think itís
lived with me ever since, Iíve been really paranoid about making the same
mistake, but I, um, I itched my butt on stage because it was, like, I had this
terrible itch, and of course the audience went mad with laughter. But I was a
monkey, so it was sort of what a monkey would do! But I was like, ďwhat did I
do?Ē because Iíd sort of broken the routine out of what I was supposed to be
doing, so I was like, Uh! So it was sort of stage fright.
JL: I was going to say, considering the other things monkeys do, thatís not
bad. Now when did you first leave home to do acting and all that?
OB: I was about sixteen, I moved to London, but I sort of finished my
education in London and I sort of moved from Canterbury up to London because my
best friend was at University up there and I sort of felt like the big city was
the place to go if I was going to make it as an actor.
JL: So you went to acting school. Did you do all of those sort of theatrical
. . . you know, the exercises?
OB: Oh, yeah! I went to drama school so, yeah, I was at Guildís Hall for
three years and they get you to do all sorts of exercises to get you in the . .
. you know, to help you loosen up and sort of be natural and stuff. One of the
exercises we had to do, you had to go and study animals at the zoo, you know, in
order to find . . . itís quite useful way for a character to actually find the
animalís movement and whatever. I kind of wanted to be an ape because I kind of
liked the idea of idea of sort of being a bad -- (hits chest ala an ape and
accidentally hits his mike).
JL: Thatís very ape-like.
OB: Yeah. But my teacher insisted on me being a lizard so I wouldnít do
things like that (mimes beating on chest). And I had this sort of more stillness
and composure, so I was a lizard, and that just meant that I had to hold this
one position for like hours on end and occasionally jog my head and stick my
JL: Have you still got the lizard tongue out? Because that could come in
OB: You want to see my tongue just Ė
(Audience squeals and cheers.)
OB: (laughing) It was sort of like that --! (quickly sticks out tongue,
audience goes wild)
JL: Very good! That was very good! And youíre actually, I understand you, I
know you ride motorcycles like I do. Did you break your back once? Did I hear
OB: I did, yeah.
JL: And how did --?
OB: That kind of changed my life. I was 21 and some friends had an apartment
with a roof terrace and a landing below their apartment, and the door had been
warped by the weather and it had been kicking open from the outside in. And I
walked into their apartment and I thought, wow this is great. I looked out the
window and the roof terrace was about a meter and a half to the left and down,
and I thought I could just hop across. But instead I got onto this piece of lead
flashing running down the wall, like a drain pipe but not, and I just fell back.
I didnít, it was rusty and old and it wasnít much to hold on to and I fell back
three floors and landed on a Ė
JL: Three floors?
OB: Yeah. I had a sort of really narrow escape because I landed the roof
terrace below that was belonging to the neighbors below, and there was an old
washing machine that was left out and I fell in-between the railings that were
going around it and the washing machine, and I was just like there. They
couldnít get to me because there was nobody in the apartment, they had to get
helicopters and firemen with fire engines to try and get to me. It was pretty
JL: When you break your back arenít you sort of confined to a wheelchair? I
mean, thatís pretty serious.
OB: It was a very narrow escape. They told me I wouldnít walk for a while,
they didnít think the first four days, because I had no strength in my legs, but
I bruised my spinal cord and I hadnít severed it so I was very very lucky, and
it sort of kind of changed my whole approach to life. Because I was a little bit
reckless. Iíd broke my leg on a motor bike and I had sort of broken my other leg
skiing and snowboarding and had injuries. Not very elf-like. Like Legolas would never
fall off a motor bike, you know what I mean? But it was . . . I kind of think of
it as a really good thing. I think that things that happen to you that feel like
their going to ruin your life actually thereís always something really positive
to have out of it.
JL: I think thatís a really good attitude to have. Now tell us about Return
of the King. These are epic movies. Iím astounded when I see them how visual
they are. Itís almost like you have to see them 4 times to go, hey, I didnít see
that dragon in the corner before! Tell us about what happens in this one.
OB: Well, this is the last chapter of the three and I think the last of any
movie is always the most exciting, you know? Because itís sort of the dramatic
conclusions to whatís been two films already and this is the third. So really
you get a sense of closure on this and you see what happens to the Ring. I mean,
if you donít know, the books obviously quite well read and well known and
everything but basically it all ends well. You just get a real sense of Aragorn becomes King,
Frodo and Sam go off to Mt. Doom
and do their business with the Ring and it sort of works out well.
JL: And you have blonde hair and blue eyes.
OB: Thatís right, yeah.
JL: (to audience) Heís not a natural blonde. (cues monitor) Letís take a
look. Whatís happening here? You know this scene?
OB: This is, I think this is as we enter the Paths of the Dead. This is about
Aragorn assuming his
responsibility to become a king. Part of it, he can call on the Dead to help him
(Shows clip of Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli entering Paths of
JL: Terrific job! Orlando, please, please come back and see us again!
OB: Love to.