Orlando Bloom Interview, One (France), Two Towers special, January, 2003
translated by Laura
At almost 26 years of age, Orlando Bloom has already entered Hollywood a rising star. Newly chosen for the role of Legolas he returns today from filming the saga of the “Lord of the Rings”, the film that introduced him to the masses.
How were you chosen for the role of Legolas in the “Lord of the Rings?”
I had studied theater for three years in London when someone suggested me for the role. Suddenly, I was given the opportunity to play face to the camera during 18 months next to the greatest actors in the field. It was an incredible chance, I felt truly privileged. It was not easy to live so far from my family during the whole time,
but I discovered a new family in New Zealand. I was very conscious of the chance that I was given to pass the time with all of these people. The biggest part of the time was spent becoming good friends.
Did you know the Tolkien story well before beginning the movie?
I began to read the books when I was 14 years old, but I never finished “The Lord of the Rings.” I had gotten to the half-waypoint of the 2nd book when I began getting interested in girls, cars, and sports (Laughs). I jumped back into “The Lord of the Rings” right after getting my audition and I read the book several times before shooting the film. I did not desire that I became an expert on Tolkien, but that I would know his work well. At the
time of filming I had a precise enough idea of the objective to achieve. Each time that I reread the novel, I would discover new things. Now, I want to reread it one more time, but I am afraid of seeing that I forgot something important; a nuance or some information that was not put into the film. Playing one of the principal characters of the trilogy was very impressive and there was a great deal of weight on my shoulders
In your opinion, which was the theme of Tolkien’s novel?
It is a mixture of the races. The book retails the history of the elves, the dwarves, the humans and the magicians that fought side by side for the destruction of the evil ring. The universal idea of different people uniting to achieve a common goal is presented throughout the novel.
Working for 18 months on the project, was not a small affair. Who convinced you to accept the role?
My meeting with Peter Jackson (the director) was decisive. He proved to be a great visionary talent. On the set he was surrounded with an incredible number of monitors that allowed him to follow the shooting of many scenes at the same time. I did not hesitate for a second when he asked me to participate on a project of
such an adventure. We all knew that “The Lord of the Rings” would be a special experience and we all wanted to take part. In addition, that I was given the chance to play a character with superhuman strength, powerful senses and reflexes of great speed. Playing Legolas also gave me the opportunity to have myself a job in order to become that which we always look to be; a balanced, decided, generous, tender, strong, courageous person without a fear.
Then I said to myself, “You are going to mount a horse, you are going to learn to fight with a sword. That’s great! (Laughs) I would never have believed it.
What type of training did you study to prepare to play in the trilogy?
I took courses in shooting and archery. I also studied the art of fighting like an elf. It is a style of fighting inspired by an ancient type of European martial arts. I also watched the film “The Seven Samurais” of Kurosawa because I wanted Legolas to possess the same type of physical capabilities and of
concentration as the hero of that film. I held of to achieving that during the small amount of time that I had to train myself
How did you see the separation with your family and friends?
It was tough, but there were a lot of young people my age on the set and we ourselves were always well entertained. All the crew was in the same situation as me and we supported ourselves as well as the others. What’s more, for the good of the film we held all the heart and so when entered the filming of two stages. We didn’t hesitate to give the technicians a hand if necessary. We felt very well –off on the set. There was very warm ambience on the set.
As an actor, what did you gain from this experience?
Like the great part of comedians, I am a great observer. I like to look how the people interact. The set of “The Lord of the Rings” was a real school of the art of drama. Ian McKellan (Gandalf) was the greatest comedian of the Great-Britain theater. In my drama school, we saw tapes of his presentations for studying his work. It was a little strange to shoot a film with him after that.
You play the role of Legolas in three films. Are you afraid of being type-cast because of this?
I do not resemble Legolas at all. I have cut my hair very short at this time, also in the films I wear a long blond wig and blue contacts. Also, I do not believe that I was catalogued. Indeed I would not like that the casting directors saw me as just an elf at the end of my days but I think that
that will not happen.