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Latino Review: Interview with Orlando/Kirsten

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Latino Review Interview:

An Interview With Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom

When you sign on to do a Cameron Crowe film, you have to know you’re in for a treat. Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom sat down with Latino Review to talk about the film and working with Cameron.

They were both lucky enough to be chosen for his newest film Elizabethtown. In fact, Kirsten was hand picked:

Kirsten Dunst: “Cameron had a meeting with me to talk about it and let me know what it was about. He was calling people in to read, so he called me in. I got all dressed up like an airline stewardess, and I was really ready because I loved this part and it worked out. I was cast first. I auditioned with the casting director, Cameron and a video camera in a weird side room in - it looked like an old airport. It's right near this airport, not LAX, but there's some other airport around there. His office was on the runway; we had a view of the airplanes. It was in some weird little room with those bad fluorescent lights.”

Kirsten happened to be on Cameron’s short list to play Penny Lane in Almost Famous, but the role went to Kate Hudson. She finally did get on a Cameron set and was kind of surprised by some of his tactics:

Kirsten Dunst: “He played music a lot to set a tone or interrupt a take. Sometimes I loved it and sometimes I'd be like ‘I don't want any music; I need to be quiet.’ It was a different approach every day, and I liked that he was open to that and collaborative with me. He's very specific, especially with the words. There was definitely no dropping of words in the scenes that we did. If we did, he knew right away because he's so particular, and the characters are so well thought out, from the smallest role. He is so emotionally invested in this movie that it sometimes got really specific. We didn't improv at all. The only time that it felt like I was able to was in the phone call scene, which I did for about a week. There's going to be a lot of DVD footage.”

Orlando had just come off shooting Kingdom of Heaven when he got on the set; the native Brit had to shed his accent to play the character of Drew:

Orlando Bloom: “It was good. I have to say I wanted to do a contemporary role in a movie and I think it’s a rite of passage for any Brit to play an American in a movie if they can get it right. So, I worked really hard on the accent. I worked really hard with my dialect coach Tim Monich and worked with Cameron. And Cameron I think as a director has a real a sense of America. He’s really got the pulse of America going on. He gets that real Americana of America, you know what I mean? And so, I was very lucky because he writes beautifully and he writes with all the intention that the character needs. So, I was very, very lucky to have my first contemporary leading role in an American accent working with Cameron, because otherwise I’m not sure it would have been the same experience for me as a process.”

Orlando fell perfectly into this role as well. They shot the majority of the film in Kentucky, but the Hollywood hunk didn’t disappoint his fans in the heartland:

Orlando Bloom: “Yeah, it was cool man; they are great, those fans. They get out and support and give me the opportunity to do these movies like Elizabethtown or whatever when I get a chance to do them. But they are there and hopefully they are going to go buy tickets which is very, very cool. Yeah, crazy.”

Kirsten saw it a bit differently:

Kirsten Dunst: “They were around sometimes and he's so generous with them. In between shots and everything, he'd go out that. And sometimes I'd be like, ‘Okay, it's nice to do, but you're working and you're giving a lot of your energy to other people. It's important that you have that for yourself, too.’ He was constantly, always going out and signing autographs. The girls would just go crazy.”

But she did have a blast working with him:

Kirsten Dunst: “He's such a good person, so ego-less. Coming onto this movie, he had a lot going on: he was an American, didn't have any swords or anything. It was taking the little boy's toys away. He was playing Cameron too, so he had that pressure as well. He was always open to learning. No ego”

Orlando had a tough task in this film - he was playing Cameron Crowe. Cameron wrote his life story down. Orlando relished the opportunity:

Orlando Bloom: “Well, it was a great frame of reference really, having the guy you were sort of playing on set. But, he also got me to watch movies like The Apartment. He’s been very influence by Billy Wilder, Jack Lemmon was an influence. He wanted that physical, quirky Jack Lemmonesque quality. And Cary Grant in moments with Claire where you have a guy who just grabs the girl, so, it was great. It sort of harks back to those old movies. It harks back to real character drama which is more about the subtlety and the small nuances of a performance which I have not been used to, because I’ve done all these action-adventure movies. So, I’m hoping to get a chance to do more of it. Hopefully, I’ll get better as I go as well. Because, I feel like thankfully I did these action-adventure movies because I didn’t have much dialogue. Otherwise, I probably would have made a big mess of it. I’m really learning as I go.”

Kirsten’s character of Claire always has a positive attitude on everything. She said it was a little hard to get used to playing that role:

Kirsten Dunst: “She kind of makes you depressed because she's so positive and gives so much, it's so draining. I feel like she's really sad underneath because - so much of that, and not really getting anything back is what she's comfortable with I think, but not what makes her happy. She's a little crazy in the beginning too. And that's Cameron's - all the women in his films, the point that the story usually happens is that the man is the one that needs the guidance and the woman's the one that helping the man usually in his films. I feel that if any reason that you feel that way is probably that reason. It's all about him really in some ways, but I feel that Claire is also falling for him. When the movie ends, I feel like it's really a beginning for them and for her.”

This was the first time Kirsten had worked with Cameron, but it wasn’t for Orlando:

Orlando Bloom: “I did a Gap commercial because I wanted to work with Cameron Crowe. For no other reason other than I wanted to work with Cameron Crowe. And I hoped and dreamed that it would lead to something like Elizabethtown and thankfully it did. But, it was a rocky road and it didn’t look like it was going to happen for awhile and scheduling and other people.”

Maybe that’s why Cameron chose Orlando – he wanted to work with him again. As strange as this may sound, Ashton Kutcher was cast first as Drew:

Orlando Bloom: “Yeah, Ashton was in there for a little while and it didn’t work out. So, it sort of came around and I felt very fated that I ended up with the role, because I think he had me in mind. He said he’d had me in mind and he kept in touch with me and I sort of sat with me for the first time and he said he had six pages of the script and he said ‘Nobody has seen this except Nancy and I’m only showing you six pages, but I’d like to just hear you say this text.’ So, that was very honoring and I felt very privileged and honored and obviously Almost Famous, Singles, Say Anything, Jerry McGuire – I’ve loved all those movies. So, yeah, it was just good.”

Both Kirsten and Orlando talked about the all night long phone call in the film. Most of the time, neither of them were there while the other one was shooting the scene:

Kirsten Dunst: “He was only there for when I was in bed, when it got a little bit more quiet. But John, our props guy, was talking to me when I was in the bathtub. And Anna Maria, our script supervisor, and Cameron and sometimes just by myself too. It was all different, but mostly not Orlando.”

Orlando found it difficult, but eventually found himself in the character and really got into the moment:

Orlando Bloom: “The all night phone call was quite complicated, because I was speaking to three different people. There was my mom, my sister and Claire. Going into that whole thing, there were moments in that were tricky, because you don’t have an actor opposite you; you’re just sort of doing it with a phone and it’s very – you know when anyone ever says to you ‘You’ve got to cry.’ You go as an actor ‘I’ve got to cry!’ Thankfully, we’d been on a pretty road trip to the Loraine Motel, to Oklahoma City, to the Survivor Tree, to this beautiful bridge over a river in Arkansas, to all those fantastic locations. I’d done the dance under the tree with one arm free; I’d begun to found this journey to the character. He had this really good tune which helped and packed a lot of emotion. So, moments like that were always like ‘Oh g-d,’ but, it was cool.”

It’s not just the acting in this film that will attract you; the music is captivating. Cameron Crowe picks those perfect songs for the perfect moments in films. Kirsten and Orlando found a lot of the music very intriguing:

Orlando Bloom: “I have such an eclectic taste of music; Iron and Wine was a band I got into down in Kentucky, Jeff Buckley is always a big influence in my life, Dylan, The Stones, The Beatles. You know, some Tom Petty stuff which I hadn’t heard a lot of; Jack Johnson I have known for awhile; Ben Harper has always been cool.”

Kirsten Dunst: “I knew all those people; the thing about Cameron is that I know Tom Petty, but I didn't know that song. He's good at finding songs that you don't really know by an artist, even if you know them. He'll find a particular song that not a lot of people have paid attention to. I like that Sunday’s song, Here's Where the Story Ends and do you know the Langley Schools Music Project - these little kids who sing like Space Odyssey and G-d Only Knows. Their version of G-d Only Knows is so pure and sad because they don't know what they're singing about. But it's very cute and Space Odyssey is hilarious; you can find it on iTunes.”

But the most touching part of the interview was when Orlando broke down his character. You could really tell how much he had become engrossed in the character, in the life, and in the spirit of Drew:

Orlando Bloom: I think Drew’s journey is to have this wake up call to life. His journey is to learn to appreciate himself and to learn to appreciate his life and therefore the people in his life and therefore to come to terms with everything. And for me, when I broke my back it was a real wake up call to life and it taught me a lot about appreciating about the simple act of walking to the bathroom in the morning, because I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do that for awhile. So, it’s a constant reminder of how lucky I am to be doing what I’m doing. Drew is a character who is obsessed with success, success and failure, career success. We can all relate to that idea that if you have a great job, if you make a lot of money, you can buy a new house, you can buy a new car, you can afford a new watch and a pair of shoes or a watch and that’s going to buy you happiness. So, the moment you own it and think ‘Oh wow, this makes me really happy,’ and then the fact that you can’t take any of that stuff when you go. It’s moments where happiness is transient and passes, and for Drew, when he gets a phone call that says his father has passed and he has to go and deal with that. It’s like he meets this girl on a plane, he’s this huge failure in his life, he feels like he’s this huge failure. And he meets this girl on this plane and he’s dealing with his father and she just holds a mirror up and says ‘Look at yourself; look at what your life can be if you allow it to.’ And I think on that model it takes him on this journey through the heartland of America. He learns to appreciate himself so he can come to terms with the loss of his father, appreciate this amazing family in Kentucky that adore and love him and just want to support and be there, and ultimately fall in love with the girl and have a chance at living a real life - a life that feels real to him. So, I think there is a lot we can all relate to in this project. And I feel that if people see the movie and say ‘I want go and take my dad on a road trip’ or ‘I want to go home and feed my family’ or ‘I want to appreciate that my loved one in a different way’ because you don’t know when someone you love is going to be taken from you. I just felt that the themes in this movie were just really universal. And as a Brit, I’ve experienced America in a different way now from working on this movie.

That kind of brought the room to a halt for just a bit. We were all taken a back by that. But you should watch this movie and think about going home and giving your loved one a hug or calling up your parents and telling them you love them. Elizabethtown makes you think about life, love, family, everything that’s close to you.

Go see Elizabethtown when it hits theaters October 14th; it’s rated PG-13

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