Interview By: Stephen Snart
Orlando Bloom stars as peasant-turned-pirate, Will Turner, in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, the sequel to the wildly successful 2003 film based on the amusement park ride of the same name. Bloom‘s role is a tricky one. He has to share the spotlight with the infinitely popular Johnny Depp. Not only that, he has to play the straight man alongside Depp‘s scene-stealing goofball. While Depp is garnering all the awards and siphoning all the laughs, Bloom has to sit back and assert himself as the film’s grounding sense of humanity. This is a role that may sound less-than-thrilling on paper but one that is an essential factor to why the films work so well.
Bloom seems to have no problem sharing the pedestal with Depp and the other cast members of the summer blockbuster. In fact, he’s even respectful and supportive of the film’s competition. When asked about what it’s like facing Superman Returns at the box office, Bloom instantly responds with an emphatic, “It’s great! I just saw that film, it’s fantastic! It’s great and so is my girl!” The girl that Bloom refers to is his current girlfriend, Kate Bosworth, who plays Lois Lane in the superhero extravaganza. Bloom‘s praise isn’t bestowed solely because of his emotional connection to one of the film’s major participants. He also takes a very diplomatic approach to the subject. “It’s so important that when big movies are made that they are successful. Otherwise audiences lose faith in big movies. Or in the movies period. I want them all to do great!”
Bloom is no stranger to big movies. Having starred in the gargantuan cinematic feat that was The Lord of the Rings as well as epic war films like Black Hawk Down and Kingdom of Heaven â€“ a film that failed to find an audience
With big-scale summer movies come big stunt pieces. Bloom enjoys doing as much of his own stunt work as possible, but at the same time he’s careful about what he does. “A movie set is a controlled environment. I’m not putting myself in danger. And if I think that I’m in danger then I go and speak to the Stunt Coordinator and say ‘Ya know what? This doesn’t feel right.’ There’s a lot of people employed to make sure that you’re safe.”
Bloom learned that he had to be cautious of stunt work at the age of 21 when he suffered from a nearly career-ending injury while at drama school. “I was fearless up until I broke my back. I suddenly realized that this physical form that I’m in is mine, and I’m gonna live with it until I die. I want it to serve me as well as I can. I don’t want to be limping and in pain if I don’t have to be.” The weary actor remembers the devastating effects of his injury vividly. “I was very close to not ever standing on my feet again. I was very close to actually dying. The prospect of not being able to walk out of the hospital that I was in would pretty much terrify anybody into having a new respect for and a new lease on life.”
While he enjoys the swashbuckling aspect of the action sequences, the scenes that meant the most to him were the ones between him and his estranged father, Bootstrap Bill, played by Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd. “The real special stuff, honestly, was working with Stellan. It’s a father-son dynamic that is a real core for Will. That’s his inner battle. The girl or my dad? What do I do? What do I do? As a young man you have to have a relationship with your Father and he
Filming on the third Pirates feature is still under way. Bloom has an even-keeled outlook on the prospect of his second trilogy coming to an end. “You never really say goodbye. It’s weird. By the time you’ve done all the press and the movies are released and they’re out in the world and people come to talk to you about them, you never really say goodbye. It’s like Rings. I was really sad to say goodbye to that. But you know what, Legolas is still a part of my life, in one form or another. I still think about him, he’s still kind of out there. He’s still out in the world, and so is Will. So, you never really say goodbye. But I will be very sad not to be rocking up to set or flying down to the Caribbean and hanging out.” In a time when celebrity is fleeting and summer blockbusters are a dime a dozen, it’s reassuring to see that a star like Bloom is so attached to his work and invested in the characters that he helps create.