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Orlando Bloom Talks About Getting Lucky and Playing 'Pirates', zap2it.com, July 3, 2003
by Vanessa Sibbald

Sure Ian McKellan may have gotten the Oscar nomination, but if there's one person who has reaped success from Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings" that person is actor Orlando Bloom. With only a small role in "Wilde" on his film resume, Bloom was plucked out of relative obscurity to play Legolas the Elf in the based on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy novels.

Only two films into the trilogy, Bloom has already landed feature roles in the high profile films "Black Hawk Down," "Ned Kelly," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Troy," in which he stars opposite Brad Pitt, Eric Bana ("The Hulk"), Peter O'Toole, Julie Christie and Brian Cox.

"I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work -- I'm an actor and that's what we love to do, it's what I love to do -- but it's kind of weird when your dreams start to be realized a little bit," Bloom tells Zap2it.com about his meteoric rise to fame.

"I never really thought I'd be doing what I'm doing -- I never really thought it was possible -- it's always like, one in a million get the opportunity to do what I'm doing so the idea that I could be one was not really something I thought about, but it's been awesome. It's slightly overwhelming as well and unnerving because there's a lot of stuff that goes with it as well that you don't bank on," he adds.

For example, the tabloids -- whether they're writing about his love life (which he won't discuss) or that he plays video games in his spare time (something he denies).

"People can talk, talk, talk -- it's not true. I know what's true, my friends and family know what's true, the people closest to me. Hopefully, if I try to maintain integrity as an actor, it will quash any rumors that come up like that," he says of the gaming rumor. "It's all I can do."

But one thing he is very willing to discuss is his latest film, "Pirates of the Caribbean," also starring Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush and Keira Knightley ("Bend it Like Beckham"). Produced by his "Black Hawk Down" producer Jerry Bruckheimer, who says that he had the actor in mind for the project back in 2001, Bloom says he it was actually best actor Oscar winner Rush who first suggested he take a look at the Disney project, based on a Disneyland ride.

"I'd finished working on 'Ned Kelly' and Geoffrey Rush was going on to do this and he sort of brought it to my attention, as it were. I wanted to read it on his recommendation because he said there was a part which would be good for me," Bloom explains. "It was a bit of a no-brainer."

The part was that of the love-struck Will Turner, straight man in much of the film to Jack Sparrow (Depp), a somewhat eccentric pirate determined to get back his ship, the Black Pearl, no matter the cost.

"I was so envious of what Johnny was doing, but Johnny created that character -- it didn't read that way on the page. That's what Johnny does, that's what's so amazing about him," he says gushing. "The way that he played Jack left it open for me to play in a certain way had Johnny played [Sparrow] as more of the hero character it might have conflicted, but Johnny left it open for me to go whole hog on the hero number, do you know what I mean?"

But it's working with stars like Depp that keep the actor, currently on break from shooting "Troy" in Malta, excited about acting.

"I feel really lucky because I've worked with great people who raise the bar the whole time," he says. "When you work Peter O'Toole and the whole cast of 'The Lord of the Rings,' role models like Viggo, Johnny and Brad -- that's three leading men there that, I don't care what anyone says, that's the demographic. That covers a lot of territory right there in terms of people that I can learn from and they're all so gracious."

"That's been great to work with Johnny and Brad now and pick their brains about how they dealt with stuff like the fame element -- because it isn't easy actually, like to figure it all out and I'm trying to do that now."

One aspect of fame that he is paying particular energy to right now is his future film choices, which he calls "really important" since they insure that he won't just be the next pin up boy but have a career for years to come.

"It's like there's a right of passage; you have to do a certain amount of stuff to put yourself in the position where you can have choices, you know what I mean? As an actor you don't really have choices until you get to a point where there's enough people who are behind you and you have enough of an audience who are interested to watch you, to have choices," Bloom explains. "I think if I've got the choice, I would start to downscale a bit and do more human, dramatic, character-driven pieces where you get to see less of a show and more of an actor."

"Not that I'm not grateful for the experiences and opportunities that I've had, but I just think it would be good for me to do something like that to show that I'm not just a reaction/action one-line man, do you know what I mean? Because I feel like there's more to me than that and hopefully I can get an opportunity to show that," he adds.

But in the meanwhile, he still has a few big budget projects to look forward to: in addition to "Pirates," the third and final "Lord of the Rings," titled "Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King," will hit theaters this December. But Bloom says he's not entirely excited to see the film, which he shot over two years ago, again.

"It was weird to see the second movie because when it was finished I had changed so much and I said, 'I would have done that different now. What was I thinking? I obviously wasn't. I was so nervous. I'm so tense,'" he says in a singsong voice. "There's things like that, but, shit, it was an opportunity and I loved that character. I tried really hard to get it right and Pete [Jackson] was really amazing and directed me really well and I feel lucky."

"Pirates of the Caribbean" opens Friday, July 9, 2003.