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Orlando's Career Blooms, New Zealand Herald, December 7, 2002

The first Lord of the Rings movie made an matinee idol of previously unknown English actor Orlando Bloom who plays the warrior-elf Legolas, winning him the MTV film award for best breakthrough performance and the hearts of many a female fan of the film.

He's got more to do with hit bow and arrow in the second instalment. And between wrapping on the LOTR shoot he's appeared in Black Hawk Down and has been filming The Kelly Gang in Australia. He talked to RUSSELL BAILLIE ...

Sick of talking about these films yet? There will come a point won't there?

No no, I don't think I'll ever get sick of talking about Lord of the Rings. It was a fantastic experience.

Will you be coming back to New Zealand next year for pick-ups for the third film?

I imagine I'll be back for some. I went back just for a weekend [when they did re-shoots for The Two Towers] just to visit some of the lads who were doing some reshoots. I was in Melbourne in Australia doing a film about Ned Kelly. So I couldn't be there because I had grown a beard and stuff for this other movie and Legolas was clean shaven so they couldn't do anything about it. But it was ok because my story with Aragorn and Gimli was in pretty good shape Peter told me.

Did people recognise you with the beard?

To be honest I don't have that problem anyway. I look incredibly different to Legolas with the blond wig and everything like that.

What has all this done for your career?

It's done heaps man. And also to be involved in such a huge movie like Lord of the Rings with all those Oscar nominations and with all the credibility that goes with working with Peter Jackson - it's just given me a really incredible start into the business. I feel incredibly lucky to be honest.

Has it been an advantage for you getting other roles that you do look quite different that your elf character?

That's a really big advantage for me as you said it's not a pigeon-hole-able look.

While perhaps the hobbits will forever be the hobbits ...

Well I don't know. Is a hobbit pigeonhole-able as well? I guess it's an energy thing - Legolas he's just great fun. Young yet old, noble and wise.

Been collecting the merchandise?

Bits yeah. I used to get phone calls from friends saying "My mate just went into Burger King and picked you up with his hamburger". I've picked up bits. I get sent the choice stuff, not the willy nilly stuff. My mum is going slightly bonkers as the Lord of the Rings memorabilia is accumulating at our family home.

Legolas is very ballet-like is his movements isn't he? Or was it just the tights?

I think that's his lightness - he moves with great ease and I guess ballet dancers do that. I wanted him to have a balletic movement to him. A real grace but he's by no means a fairy or anything, he's a red-blooded full-on warrior elf so that was what was important. The movement was more sophisticated than your average human. That's what I was trying to achieve and I think it was more than a balletic movement it was more like a samurai. Someone who has really thought about the wy they walk or the way they move. I didn't ever imagine him sitting around the campfire for example he would be standing on guard and watching.

Where does the character go in the second film?

Obviously in the first film I didn't come in until half way through and in the first film you are introducing all these characters and there' a lot of them to introduce. In the second movie the fellowship has been established there are more interesting new and exciting characters to come. But we just go off and let rip. Obviously, as an elf, part of what I am about is battling. So there's stuff with Aragorn in Helm's Deep. It just goes further into the story

Have you kept up with the archery?

I can't say that I have, haven't had the opportunity

You seem to be doing a lot shooting of various weapons in everything you're in recently.

Yeah that's true I have been doing a lot of boys own sort of movies. It's not really been intentional. It's what I have been drawn to, to be honest. I'm not averse to doing other interesting projects. The Kelly Gang was an interesting story I wanted to get involved in because I didn't know about Ned Kelly and it was kind of fascinating.

Playing Legolas character seems to have made a bit of a matinee idol of you. Are you coping well with the attention?

Um. I haven't really been aware of much of that because I've been working and you don't really surface to be aware of that. To be honest I don't know how to answer that.

Did you ever think that at this stage in your career committing for 18 months on these three films was taking a huge gamble?

No, not for me. No I was an unknown actor coming out of a drama school in London and the opportunity to work on a project like that with Peter Jackson - there was no gamble for me. It was just "where do I sign?"