Set To Bloom, from Dreamwatch (US), March, 2002
sent in by Brianna
Orlando Bloom makes his major film debut in The Fellowship of the
the elf Legolas, who is lethal with a sword and bow and represents the Elves in
the journey of the Fellowship. The young English graduate of the Guildhall
School of Music and Drama in London is clearly thrilled with this career break
and shows off his tattoo that officially marks him for life as one of the elite
members of the Fellowship.
Dreamwatch: All nine of 'the Fellowship'
actors got tattoos that said 'nine' in Elvish. Where is yours?
On my wrist [he pushes up sleeve proudly]. People got them everywhere and
I think Elijah [Wood, Frodo] got his on his stomach, which is kind of
When did you first read the books?
When I was 14 I
picked up Lord of the Rings. I got about
halfway through it and then got a
little distracted and got into sports and music and girls. I picked it up again
when the casting process began and I read the books when I went out to New
Zealand and found them perfect for everything you needed to know about the
through-line of your character or anything
[else]. It was great to have the books
there to be able to refer to the different stages that you'd be at in terms of
what you were filming.
Did you like the books when you first tried to
I loved them, but it was really just that there wasn't enough
time. It was over a summer holiday and
I got distracted. I've given the book away
a lot as a gift to friends since
I finished filming and said, "You should read
this" because it is a great read. For people who haven't read the book, they're
going to love the movie just as much if not more. Essentially it is a beautiful
story and it's a huge book.
Tolkien was a professor of history and he layered
everything with details. It can be distracting or
confusing, but for people who
go and see the movie only, they'll get the essence and get lost in that world.
It is an exciting journey to take however you come to it.
How was your
time in New Zealand?
It was 18 months and the best time of my life.
Working on a project like this and a character like this was a real challenge. I
had to immerse myself and it's kind of surreal sitting around the lunch table in
New Zealand with Orcs and monsters with huge prosthetics. They're
guys! I certainly got lost in that world.
What kind of training did
you have to do?
I was the first of the cast to arrive and the first thing
they did was put a bow in my hand! I started using the bow and getting used to
grips with archery, so by the end of the week I was taking paper plates out of
the sky, trying to get some real dynamic movement into the way I used the bow.
It's an extension of his body, so I had to be proficient in that. Horse riding
was also important, particularly in the second movie when there is a lot of
riding. The Elven style of fighting is based on an ancient European and Asian
style of fighting, so I learned those kind of styles with twin blades.
Essentially, at the end of the day, I had to learn to slow down the movements
for the camera and still make it look flashy.
important was the
physicality of the character to you?
I looked at Legolas and thought this
character has never been seen before; Elves are immortal and have super human
strength and have lived in the world
for so long... They are so graceful and
elegant. So I spent so much time really working on the
physicality of the character
and trying to develop an 'Elven' quality, which Tolkien talks about in the
books. I had to pretend there was such a thing.
Did you have any
preference as to which character you played?
I was in drama school when
the casting process began and everybody I knew went up for a
role. I went up for
a different character first, but it wasn't being made available to me so they
asked me to look at Legolas and I was just as excited. I went back and read the
books and tried to find out who that character really was. I was thrilled when
they asked me to play him.
How authentic is the movie?
it is a fantasy film, it is as real as it can be. You
have to imagine that an
audience will buy their ticket to the cinema and get a first-class flight and
journey to Middle-Earth, so there was huge attention to detail in terms of
costumes and sets. We used the New Zealand locations and incredible scenery to
its fullest advantage.
You must have felt very comfortable after 18 months in New Zealand.
was home. I have a great warm feeling about New Zealand and I'm really tempted
to buy some land there,
particularly with everything going on in
the world at the
moment, because New Zealand feels like a really safe place to be right
When were you really aware of the enormous scope of this
When I arrived in New Zealand one of the first things I did was
go to the special effects studio. There was a warehouse full of
thousands of rows of armor and
weapons... that was the first point when I
realized, "Oh my God, this is huge!" I couldn't believe
I was in the project
until about a month into filming. Then when we finally saw some very rough
snippets of a few scenes, not in any kind of order about halfway through the
first year, which Peter showed us to help keep morale up and I finally, really
understood what I was part of and still couldn't really believe
Are you more aware now
what The Lord of the Rings means to
I'm a bit of a technophobe, but I'm aware of the web pages that
have cropped up for the film and specific characters and that's amazing to me.
Everywhere I seem to go now, The Lord of the Rings comes up in the conversation
and it seems everybody loves it and has an experience with it. My
character has a
few web sites I've flicked through and I was very impressed, but I haven't
studied them yet.
Was there anybody on the set who hadn't read the
No way. I'd read the books and felt pretty knowledgeable on the
worlds, but if you ever had any question about where you were, what was
happening at that point in the story, someone was always on hand who knew
exactly what was going on. Peter has said this before, but it was really made by
the fans for the fans. Everybody was a fan.
How uncomfortable were the
Surprisingly not uncomfortable at all, other than the 2 hours that
it took to put them on. The only thing that got to be a bit of a drag, because
it weighed so much, was my quiver and my bow strapped on my back. I went home
one day without the wig, but with the ears on, because I had a 4-hour break and
it was the middle of the
night... I crawled into bed with my girlfriend at the
time and woke up with one of my ears stuck to the pillow and the other there in
perfect form, with my girlfriend taking photos and laughing. I'd love to have
gone out with them on, but we had to maintain a lot of secrecy so it's not like
you could go into a bar or anything! I would have to wear a hooded jacket in the
car on the way to set and home every day too if I still had the ears on as
security was really tight.
How much did the security affect the
I was not allowed to say anything. We weren't allowed to take our
own photographs. There were a lot of restrictions that were frustrating, but
you think there were 18 months of filming, if they didn't keep security tight so
much material could have
slipped out. These movies are going to be released a
year apart for the next 3 years, so they have to be careful. If everybody sees
an image of something coming up in the 2nd or 3rd movie they may
think, "Oh well, I've already seen what those things look like" and they might feel like
that there was no element of visual surprise at all.
Are you confident
about the release of the 3 movies a year apart?
Movies are strange and
wonderful things that can do anything,
but I'm pretty confident that we embarked
on a labor of love. You put a lot into it and that kind of energy and effort
in something has to be rewarded.
You just completed the Ridley Scott
movie Black Hawk Down. How different was that film?
Ridley Scott has a
history of being one of the greats. Although Lord of the Rings was a massive
movie it felt, being filmed in New Zealand and amongst sort of friends-which is
what everybody became-it felt like a smaller thing. Ridley's movie felt like a
really big deal, but it was a great experience to have.
You must be
relieved to finally have Lord of the Rings coming out?
I'm excited but
nervous too. How do you prepare yourself for what everybody keeps telling me it
will mean when it comes out? You just don't know, do you? But I'm sure I'll hear
every joke you can think of about Legolas; "Legolas in the pub" and "Are you
really a fairy?" You can imagine: I'm just really going to get it.