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To the Conquest of Hollywood: Ned Kelly, One (France), June 2003
translated by Amandine and Emilie, scan from Elodie

Shot before Pirates of the Caribbean, Ned Kelly will come out in autumn in our theaters. In this movie, Orlando embodies one of the members of Kelly's gang, an outlaw group who spread terror in Australia during the 19th century.

Outlaw

Guns up! With Ned Kelly, Orlando Bloom decides to show his dark side. Leaving his quiver of Legolas, Orlando can attract attention thanks to the character of Joe Byrne, the right-hand of Ned Kelly  (played by Heath Ledger), an outlaw who lived in Australia during the 19th century. Inspired by a true story, this story isn't well known to us, but it is a legend in Australia. Ned Kelly tells the story of the tumultuous life of Ned, an irish immigrant's son. Ned Kelly was raised with crime at an early age. He formed a gang to commit a lot of bank burglaries, town pillaging, and murders (including three constables). When the gang was arrested, a huge amount of money was offered to the person who would capture the members of the gang. Since that event, Ned Kelly and his brother Dan, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart have become myths. In Australia, their story is studied in schools!

Joe Byrne
When he read the script for the first time, Orlando Bloom just finished the shooting of the Lord of the Ring. Immediately, the actor was enthusiastic to act in this movie. "At the beginning, the director didn't know which role to give me" Orlando Bloom retells. "He hesitated between Joe Byrne's character and Steve Hart's character. Immediately, I was attracted to Joe's character, the right-hand of Ned Kelly. He is an honest boy and he would kill and die for his friends". However, Joe isn't a bloodthirsty and unscrupulous brute. The son of a farmer, he stands out by his calmness, his good education and his knowledge. Indeed, he speaks several languages and he is a real seducer of ladies thanks to his good manners. He smokes opium, and he has hallucinations which change his lucidity. "In fact, the life of Joe Byrne looks a little like my life" Orlando says jokingly.  However, during the shooting, the actor identified himself with his character. "During the shooting, we had the impression that the ghosts of the gang members were watching us. It was strange..."

Haunted
For the role, Orlando had collected information on the life of the real Joe Byrne. He even searched rare photos of this enigmatic personage. "The only photo that I found, showed Joe dead and hanging from a rope. I was shocked by this photo that I found in a catalog of auction sales. I wanted to buy it but I gave up this idea because after I saw it, I had nightmares. This photo haunted me for days. I was so much absorbed in the character that I saw myself hung instead of him". Orlando was often right to carry out his own stunts, and he hurt his knee. He almost lost his kneecap. The principal character of the film is Heath Ledger who embodies the charming leader of the gang.
"Like Orlando, I also had the impression that I became my character" he says. "It's the first time I've felt that."
We must wait until autumn to discover the extraordinary and tragic adventures of these uncommon outlaws on the big screen. Patience…