Celebrity Interview: Where There's a Will. . .


Good things are certainly coming in threes for Orlando Bloom. The Canterbury-born actor was catapulted to fame fresh from drama school as Elvish archer Legolas in one of the most successful film trilogies ever made, The Lord of the Rings.

But even Peter Jackson's Oscar-drenched achievement (Return of the King took home 11, tying with Titanic and Ben Hur) has been eclipsed by the startling success of Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. The third - though not, as it turns out, necessarily the final one - of the series "At World's End" is released this week.

During the filming of it Orlando turned 30, and celebrated with parties on location in Hawaii and Los Angeles.

Given the success of the second Pirates film, "Dead Man's Chest", which earned more than $1 billion world wide, despite being slated as overlong and overly complicated, "At World's End" is practically bulletproof as far as criticism goes.

Such a handsome return on their investment could prompt the studio to call for more sequels.

Though Johnny Depp is unquestionably the star of the show as Jack Sparrow, Orlando has buckled a mean swash as Will Turner, the blacksmith who turned pirate for the love of the Governor's daughter (Keira Knightley).

"I don't know whether they will go on to part four. I'd never say never because it has been so much fun," says Orlando.

"Actually I want to do another trilogy, make it a hat-trick. And if there isn't a sword, or at least a bow and arrow then forget about it," he laughs.

The second and third films have been made back to back, which left little down-time for the actors, however, Orlando managed to gather his friends about him to celebrate his milestone birthday.

"We were shooting in Hawaii and then came back to Los Angeles to finish some of it. So we had a bit of a bash in Hawaii and a bit of a bash in LA. I was very spoilt."

Give the fact that Orlando and his pals have jetted their way across the world (although Orlando at least had the excuse that he was working there) for the sake of a party, it seems somewhat rich that he should suddenly declare a passionate interest in protecting the environment.

However, he has been part of environment company called Global Green for nearly five years, becoming involved after his cousin went to Antarctica to photograph the effects of global warming.

Orlando spent three weeks in a Norwegian icebreaker there, studying weather patterns.

"I slept in the room the size of a bus shelter and shared a toilet and bathroom with 27 other dudes. It was the most surreal real experience I have had in a long time. There were no rivileges, the privilege was being in that position at that time. I went scuba diving and climbed a mountain. The water was freezing but I had a swim just for the hell of it."

He is now applying his enthusiasm to the house he is having built which will be fired by solar panels, use energy efficient lightbulbs and incorporate recycled materials.

"I was trying to buy somewhere in London but I couldn't afford it. It is not the actors making the money, it is the boys in the city".

"Building a house has been so stressful, it has taken double the time and double the budget, but I did make changes. I wanted to make a green house, a place that felt safe and comfortable and out of the way."

His good works do not end with his environmental crusade. He has been approached by UNICEF to act as an international ambassador, travelling to Indonesia to look at conditions out there for children without families.

As he passed out of his 20s, Orlando seems to have become more contemplative about his life.

He has broken off from his long term girlfriend Kate Bosworth and side-steps questions about whether he is seeing Victoria's Secrets model Miranda Kerr.

"I didn't go to drama school expecting to deal with all this kind of stuff, or that I would even get to the point when it would be part of my life. That is the kind of odd part of having become a recognised face. I think I went into my shell for some of my late 20s and now I want to come out of that.

"I have to tell you it feels good to reach 30, to have lived this far. I thought I would never make it," he continues, enigmatically.

"It feels different, less urgent. It is now time for reflection and how much living do I want to do. It is the first time in eight years I have not got a job which I am immediately going into.

That in itself has given me a moment to take a breath and look around.

"Drama school really got theatre into my blood so is there a play I can get off the ground? I don't just want to be thrust out into the West End and feel like my balls are left hanging. But at the same time it would be great to do a play if I could be part of a company or an organic experience."

"I did see Equus and I thought Daniel Radcliffe did a great job, really ballsy, pardon the pun. I could see why he did it and it made me think 'yeah'."

Most of Orlando's success has come as part of an ensemble, whether it was as a doomed bit player in Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, an ethereal hero of Middle Earth in LOTR, or as the love-lorn Will in "Pirates".

However, when he has played the lone lead, his performances have been less assured.

Elizabethtown might have borne a passing resemblance to director Cameron Crowe's previous success Jerry Maguire, but Orlando failed to match the Oscar-nominated wattage of Tom Cruise's charisma. And in Kingdom of Heaven, as a blacksmith (again) who gets caught up in the Crusades, one critic rather brutally dismissed him as being "like a man holding the fort for a genuine star who never arrives." Playing Paris in Troy he was a petulant prince with no stomach for fighting.

Youthfully pretty rather than ruggedly good looking, he is struggling to move away from callow roles and towards work that is "more socially relevant."

"The films I have loved in the last couple of years would be The Constant Gardener, Hotel Rwanda, The Last King of Scotland and Blood Diamond.

"Human stories that shed light on part of the world that, when we are cocooned in our everyday world of getting through life and paying the bills, sometimes we don't have the opportunity or time to look outside of it," he adds, worthily.

Thankfully a fairly healthy sense of humour stops him taking himself too seriously and it was this that prompted him to accept Ricky Gervais's invitation to appear in Extras.

"I said 'I have not done two trilogies not to have a dig at some of it'. I took the piss out of myself."

"I love being British. Rugby is one of our national sports and it is like England brings you down and tackles you".

"It's like 'Don't think you are going that far ahead of anyone else because we are all part of the same pack'. My mum and sister do it to me more than anyone."

He is acutely aware that fame comes at the price of being judged by the public but strives to remain unaffected.

"I have had plenty of hurtful remarks. I don't read them. But when mum tells me 'Don't worry darling, you are going to be fine' then I start asking 'What are people saying?'.

"I don't want to hear the praise or the criticism."

Paul Newman said a man without enemies is a man without character.' There are some people you are not going to get on with.

"It's good for me."

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End opens May 24th.




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