Interview with Orlando Bloom

In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Orlando Bloom played the rather meek and mild Will Turner. Sometime blacksmith and reluctant pirate, Will joined the eccentric Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) on an action-packed quest to rescue Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) from the clutches of a ruthless band of pirates led by the flamboyant Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). Along with fellow cast members Depp and Knightley, Bloom is back for the sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and now cuts a much more imposing figure. Clad in knee-high boots and a sleek leather coat Will Turner is suddenly every inch the romantic hero and dashing man of action. “Will has grown up,” Bloom explains. Picking up where the last film left off, Dead Man’s Chest finds a terrifying new threat looming over the crew of The Black Pearl and her roguish captain: it turns out that Jack Sparrow owes a blood debt to the legendary Davy Jones (Bill Nighy), Ruler of the Ocean Depths, who captains the ghostly Flying Dutchman. The scene is set for another roll coaster adventure, this one involving cannibals, a giant squid, a mysterious soothsayer and the unexpected appearance of Will’s long-lost father, Bootstrap Bill (Stellan Skarsgard). Orlando Bloom gave us a preview of the thrills in store.

Have you seen the finished version of Dead Man’s Chest and what was your reaction?
Yes, but just a couple of days ago because the special effects were being worked on right up until the release date. I actually saw the film a second time before I could really take it in and I just loved it. I think everybody’s hard work paid off and it’s all up there on screen. And what was really phenomenal to me were all the CGI effects that the actors don’t see during the production. The Kraken, which is a giant squid that attacks The Black Pearl, is amazing!

The first Pirates of the Caribbean was such a huge success. Did you feel any pressure going into part two?
There was a little apprehension going into it, yes. Of course, none of us knew we were going to do a second, let alone a third movie [now in production] until the first film proved to be so popular, but I remember thinking, how are they going to top pirates that turn skeletal in moonlight? That’s a pretty cool concept. But this film introduces Davy Jones, who’s an extraordinary character, and also goes into the history of the East India Trading Company and their all-out assault on piracy, so I think there’s some real depth and originality to the film as well as it being so much fun.

After starring in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, you must feel lucky to be in another three-part film and another movie phenomenon?
It’s amazing to me! And what makes me so happy is that although they’re such completely different films, I think both The Lord of the Rings and Pirates are ultimately movies that will stand the test of time. I know kids in particular love Pirates of the Caribbean. So it feels great to be a part of it. And, you know, I certainly had daydreams of being a pirate as a child, so now I get to be a big kid and act out all this mad stuff: jumping off masts, sword-fighting, the whole thing.

You got made into an action figure on both Pirates and Lord of the Rings too. Do you have yourself on your mantelpiece?
[Laughs] No, but I have some of the figures in the attic somewhere and I’ll probably bring them out when I have kids one day and let them play with them.

What’s been the most difficult part of making the Pirates films?
Firstly I find it really hard being away from family and friends for such an awfully long time – more than four months for Dead Man’s Chest. Secondly, although I think both films are really much more character driven than most big summer films, there are still these big set pieces, these huge stunt routines and sometimes I think, if only I’d trained as a stunt man instead of an actor. There’s this three-way sword fight in a giant, runaway wheel in Dead Man’s Chest and some of the shots would take a day just to set up. The whole sequence took two and a half weeks to shoot and there were times when you’d spend the best part of a day spinning round and round inside the wheel. It was a real feat to pull that off.

There’s also an amazing sequence in the film when the crew of The Black Pearl are trapped in a giant cave and have to escape by rolling it through the jungle at high speed. How was that to film?
Well it looks great and it’s funny, I know that. But it was a nightmare to film [laughs] and someone in the cage really smelled bad. I don’t know who, but someone forgot to put on any deodorant.

Even more than The Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest was largely shot on location in the Caribbean. Do you enjoy that aspect of the filmmaking process?
I think it’s really important to shoot movies on location as much as possible. But I think as time goes by and with movies the size of Pirates it’s probably going to be harder and harder to get studios to agree to it. But we were really out there! I mean, we shot this movie in the middle of hurricane season, which was pretty dodgy. But it gives a real vibrancy to the film to be out in these far flung places, up mountains, out on the open sea. There’s really no substitute for it.

Is Johnny Depp as weird as Captain Jack?
He’s very peculiar, very strange [laughs]. But he’s also a great guy and a phenomenal actor. He’s just really bright with his choices and is so bold. I mean, look at Willy Wonka — what was that character about? – but it was fantastic and he pulled it off. And on Pirates there were a lot of questions on the first film about how he was approaching the character, but he stuck to his guns and I really admire that.

What direction do you see your career taking after the last installment of Pirates is done?
Well, I try to be quite specific about my choices. There’s a film called Haven which I shot, a small movie, coming out in September, and I really do crave working on some of those smaller, independent movies in amongst the bigger stuff. I’ve had such an interesting career ride so far and I wouldn’t change anything about it but it’s a pendulum. Some films work, some don’t, and there isn’t always any rhyme or reason to it. Who knew Pirates of the Caribbean was going to be a runaway success? Nobody knew. Of course, it’s great to be a part of a movie that people want to go and see, but as an actor I think your job is to turn up on set, deliver the lines and just do the best you can. The rest is in the hands of the gods and the audience.

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