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Ned Kelly Interview With Orlando, nedkellythemovie.com, January, 2003

When Orlando Bloom was first approached about a role in "Ned Kelly", he had heard of the famous Australian outlaw, but knew very little about the story.

Best known for his role as Legolas the elf in "The Lord of the Rings", the young actor was initially under the impression that the Kelly Gang was a bunch of young guys travelling around, shooting guns and generally causing havoc. He soon discovered there was much more to the story.

"It was for a purpose, because they felt hard done by, they felt they were being persecuted unjustly," says Bloom. "That sounded to me to be something I'd like to be involved in.

"The story of Ned Kelly is kind of like a Western, but at the same time it's not at all, because it's Australian, and Irish. There's this whole mellow kind of Australian bushranger thing. It's mad and they are crazy. It's kind of cool and exciting to get inside those characters. It's a fun story to be involved in."

When he received the script, Bloom was asked to consider the roles of both Joe Byrne, Ned Kelly's best friend and first lieutenant in the gang, and Steve Hart, the best friend of Dan Kelly and fourth member of the gang.

"I was immediately drawn to Joe," he says. "He was Ned's right hand man, he'd live and die for the loyalty of his friends and particularly for Ned. He'd follow him to hell and back and I just felt that was something that I could work with, embellish, and make a strong character.

"Joe was very deliberate in his thought and action. He actually transcribed the Jerilderie letter for Ned... he's softly spoken in a way - he wouldn't say anything unless it needs to be said and he's kind of Ned's calm, in a way. I liked the idea of that. I just felt that it would be a good contrast to Ned."

Aside from the script, Bloom also looked into the true story behind the Kelly Gang to learn more about his character.

"There are so many different books and so many different stories. There are fictional stories and factual information - I basically took pieces of information that would help me, so that I could develop and build a character around that, like the way the police described Joe Byrne. He was described as a poet, and quite a thinker, he was the most educated of the gang, but a dangerous man at the same time. He wasn't afraid to kill somebody through loyalty to Ned, the gang, and what he believed in."

Although Ned Kelly is little-known outside Australia, Bloom believes international audiences will warm to the incredible story of the outlaw. "I think the themes of the story - camaraderie, loyalty, friendship, and standing up for what you believe in - these are all themes that an audience can relate to."