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Captain Bloom, Max (Italy), September, 2003
translated by Frannie, scans by Raffy from Dream in Bloom

The young Orlando dons the pirate outfit to lend a hand to Johnny Depp. Shy, kind, but ready for anything. Like his favourite icon: Paul Newman. “The Hustler”.

It’s enough to say the name Legolas, the archer elf of “The Lord of the Rings”. And the actor holding the bow, Brit Orlando Bloom, becomes the most sought after name on the Internet. Actually before he became Legolas, 26-year-old Bloom had done very little, his cv bearing only mention of the courses he took at London’s prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama (my note: tv appearances such as “Midsomer Murders” just haven’t arrived in Italy). After Legolas, here he is as the brave Will Turner, who attempts to save the governor’s beautiful daughter from a crew of undead pirates in “The Curse of the First Moon” (aka “POTC: The Curse of the Black Pearl”): he acts alongside the immensely histrionic Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, the nuttiest pirate of the 18th century.

As opposed to the albino Legolas, Orlando has a luscious head of dark hair, brown eyes and olive skin: a contrast that still allows him to walk around the streets unrecognized. Shy, gentlemanly, a delicate smile, he flied to Los Angeles to promote “The Curse” from Malta: in other words, from the set of “Troy”, Homeric-hollywood epic with Brad Pitt (Achilles), Eric Bana (Hector) and Orlando (Paris). Before that, he was in Australia for “Ned Kelly”. Cherry on top: the third and last installment of “The Lord of the Rings” (in Italy in January).

Cloak and dagger, pirates, epics! “The Lord of the Rings”, “The Curse of the First Moon”, “Troy”: do you like history by any chance?

“When I was a kid I was a bit dyslexic, so school was tough. Now I like to read up on historical facts, but it goes without saying that this was a coincidence. Period movies are only one of the genres I’d like to do. Getting the part of Legolas was like winning the lottery, my only thought was: where do I sign?”

And what about “The Curse of the First Moon”?

It was the producer Jerry Bruckheimer, with whom I’d worked on “Black Hawk Down” (he’s the marine who falls out of the helicopter at the beginning of the Mogadishu blitz), to think of me for the part of Will. I didn’t really give the offer too much weight until Geoffrey Rush, with whom I was working on “Ned Kelly” and who was already involved in the project (he is Barbossa, the evil pirate), told me: ‘read the script: it’s funnier than you think’.”

Did you like pirate movies?

“I’d seen a few: “Captain Blood”, “Treasure Island”. Once I’d signed the contract though, I watched the swashbuckler movies with Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks. I wanted to study how to swordfight.”

Johnny Depp said he got his inspiration for his character on Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards. Who did you draw upon for inspiration?

“On Johnny Depp of course! Ask around: for the actors of my generation, he is our model, and working with him has been a priceless lesson: he’s excellent, generous, a wonderful person.”

Did he give you any advice?

“He’d tell me ‘never chase money and remember the reason you decided to start acting’. But we’d talk about anything, not just work.”

Do you have an anecdote about him?

“Once we were going back to St. Vincent island, in the Caribbean, where we filmed part of the movie: we got off the plane and we were half-drunk. On the runway, the Prime Minister was waiting for us with an official welcoming ceremony: a staggering Johnny tripped and fell, right at his feet. With an Inspector Clouseau-like jump he got up and hugged and kissed the astonished premier, making up for it all with great aplomb. A classic ‘Johnny Depp’ moment!”

Who are your Hollywood heroes?

“When I was a kid I was fascinated by ‘The Hustler’ with Paul Newman: after that I saw all his movies. I thought he was excellent in ‘Road to Perdition’ as well. Then there’s Marlon Brando and Daniel-Day Lewis. But I’ve been inspired by theatre actors and street performers as well.”

Orlando comes from…

“It’s a character from Shakespeare, from ‘As you like it’ (my note: my translation, can’t remember if that’s the exact title, sorry!): my mother loved it. Then there’s Orlando Gibbons, a 17th century composer. And no, it has nothing to do with the Florida city where Disneyworld is, as someone has reported…”

As if that were the reason for Disney picking you for POTC… What other false rumours have been written about you?

“That I became an actor in order to get to kiss girls. Absurd.”

Well, getting to kiss certain girls isn’t all that bad…

“I love girls, but I don’t need a movie set to kiss them!”

Was it difficult filming “The Curse of the First Moon”?

“Compared to LOTR no. Of course, it’s not easy filming over water, but I like sailing. We stayed on the Lady Washington ship for a long time, that’s the double for the Interceptor, the ship with which we follow the pirate ship.”

And what about the sword-fighting?

“I was lucky enough to get to work with Bob Anderson, who’d been Errol Flynn’s instructor and stunt double. Bob teaches you not to lose the sense of the character while sword-fighting. And then in the movie we speak with swords: so while I was dueling I didn’t lose the essence of the role.”

Who’d win in a duel: Legolas or Will Turner?

“Legolas! He has 2,950 years of experience, he’s invincible. But maybe with swords, Will might have a chance.”

Is Legolas love or a prison for you?

“Love: he will always be with me. He was my first great character, and you never forget your first love.”

What do you do when you’re not on set?

“In the last three years I’ve been working so much that the few free moments I had I’d spend with my family. I’d go visit my grandmother in the country and see my friends. Nothing special.”

But your fans know you for your adrenaline addiction: is this false too?

“No, I am an adrenaline junkie. I love to bungee-jump, parachute, surf, do motorcross. I’ve always been rather daring, but I really got passionate about extreme sports during the 18 months shooting LOTR in New Zealand. Now I’ve calmed down a bit.”

If you hadn’t been cast as Legolas, what would you be doing now?

“I’d be acting in basements day and night, I’d be sculpting. My mother always used to tell me ‘keep sculpting, darling’. She’s still convinced someday I’m going to make it as a sculptor.”

Instead, you’re Paris in “Troy”…

“A young, reckless, irresponsible Paris who goes against everyone: he kidnaps Helen, makes a mess and couldn’t care less about the consequences. Others are going to be the heroes, this time.”

How about a teaser from the final chapter of LOTR?

“I think it’s the best one yet, with great emotional impact. I hope Jackson will finally be acknowledged for this masterpiece. My dream now is to do the kind of movie where you have three guys sitting around a bar table playing cards… Or playing the English photographer Dan Eldon, who died in Somalia in 1993. I found out about his story when I was doing ‘Black Hawk Down’ and I think that sooner or later it should be told.”