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Orlando Bloom loves a good costume

By Mathieu Chantelois, Cineplex Magazine | Tuesday, October 18, 2011

There is something a bit odd about meeting Orlando Bloom in the 21st century. It's hard to think of an actor who's appeared in more epic, days-of-yore fantasies than this 34-year-old Brit. So it's surprising to see how comfortable he looks in skinny jeans and a casual shirt. It's also surprising to see how chill he is. After all, he’'s spent most of the past decade fighting pirates and shouting things like, "The ring must be destroyed!"

But the man who walks into the penthouse of this Beverly Hills hotel seems extremely Zen. Just back from lunch (sushi) he takes small sips from a Mason jar filled with water and sliced lemon before explaining why he's been so low profile over the past two years.

"I wanted to change the pace a little bit because I was working so consistently and very hard all the time. I just took a little time so that I could regroup, and that was really helpful for me," he says.

"I did a play, I did a bunch of independent movies, I produced a little movie that will be coming out in January or February. It'’s been good and I am sort of in the second chapter now. When I look back at my career, I'm like, 'Wow!' For the first 10 years of my career I was in some of the biggest movies."

The wow factor is undeniable. Bloom first caught everyone's attention as Elf prince Legolas in Peter Jackson's Academy Award-winning The Lord of the Rings trilogy. He went on to star as blacksmith Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise's first three films. He also stepped back in time for Wolfgang Petersen's Troy and Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven. (His highest-profile attempt to make a modern movie, Cameron Crowe'sElizabethtown, disappointed both critics and at the box office.) "It really was quite overwhelming," Bloom says of the pace. "So that's why, now, I have found a rhythm that I feel more comfortable with. Especially since I just had a son; I want to spend as much time with him as possible."

A son? For those who don’t follow Hollywood gossip, the baby boy — Flynn — was born this past January, and mom is Australian model Miranda Kerr. The couple met in 2006 backstage at a Victoria's Secret lingerie show in New York and began dating the following year. They got married, in secret, 15 months ago.

"I am really blessed that I get to see him and spend time with him. So I'm just sort of picking movies that I really connect with," says Bloom. "I want to spend as much time as possible around Flynn and my wife."

One of the movies Bloom picked is director Paul W.S. Anderson's 3D update of The Three Musketeers. And, although the Alexandre Dumas classic has been adapted for the screen dozens of times, Bloom confesses he didn't know much about the story. "As a kid, I was more into Indiana Jones, Star Wars and Superman," he says.

So what sold him on the project? "I sat down with the director, Paul, and with the producers, and they were like, 'When we thought about you for the movie, we thought this would be a really interesting turn for you, to play the Duke of Buckingham as opposed to one of the musketeers, because it was unexpected.'"

Unexpected because — for the first time — Bloom plays the villain.

"Bad boys definitely do have more fun," he says with a laugh. "My character, he's sort of a petulant child. Do you know what I mean by that? Being a petulant child? He is the envoy for the British Empire. He sort of sets the sparks, the flames' he is a bit of a stirrer.

"Paul had always talked about this character, and many of the characters, in terms of rock stars of the generation," Bloom continues. "So I just thought about, basically, Ziggy Stardust. It was kind of cool to think of Bowie and that kind of seventies era."

The other actors trying to evoke 17th-century rock stars are Logan Lerman as hot-headed wannabe musketeer D'Artagnan, and the three actual musketeers, Matthew Macfayden as Athos, Ray Stevenson as Porthos and Luke Evans as Aramis. The quartet takes on a trio of nasty villains — Cardinal Richelieu (Christoph Waltz), Milady (Milla Jovovich) and Bloom's Duke of Buckingham — who are trying to overthrow the King of France (Freddie Fox). If the musketeers fail, France and England will go to war.

"There is a lot of humour. The movie is very contemporary feeling. You know, it's 100 years too early for an airship, but it works really well in the film. I think that they've taken a really famous and historic story and they've given it a contemporary, 3D, action-adventure sort of feel…. This is more like historic entertainment; it doesn’t take itself seriously."

And even though he plays his first villain, The Three Musketeers is yet another period pic for Bloom. Why does he think he keeps landing these costume pieces?

"I guess my look lends itself," says Bloom. "It must be something to do with that. But I love it. I think I am quite good at contemporizing a period, because I am quite contemporary, but I am also quite good at making a period real, as opposed to making it feel fake."

On a more personal level, Bloom says that as a schoolboy he was a dreamer, and as an actor he's gotten to live out many of those dreams. "In my career I've played an elf, a knight, a soldier, a boxer, a cowboy…. All those characters that I imagined, I lived them out."

Another dream come true for Bloom is working with Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson again. He will return to the role of pointy-eared Legolas in the hotly anticipated prequel The Hobbit.

"It's a big time commitment, but I'd do anything for Peter," he says. "That opportunity that he gave me at the beginning of my career is basically the reason I am still here talking to you today. And Legolas is, like, in my veins. I just felt privileged and excited that he wanted to bring that character back, because the character is not written in The Hobbit, but it is feasible that I was around. I would have been alive, walking Middle Earth."

Something tells us it's not only Legolas who's back, but Bloom himself. Now someone has to break the news to Miranda and Flynn.

Mathieu Chantelois is the editor of Le magazine Cineplex.

Title Holder

This past Father's Day, a U.K. fashion website declared Orlando Bloom the "Most Stylish Celebrity Dad." When told of the honour, the actor seems surprised. "That's funny, most stylish dad over Pitt and Beckham?" He was also named Glamour's "Sexiest Man of 2011."

Why does Bloom think he keeps winning these titles? "I don't know. I like to dress well. I always liked good materials, fabrics, and things like that. I'm pretty eclectic and a bit, kind of, unique, I suppose. I'm pretty individual, I think. Sometimes it comes together and sometimes it doesn't." —MC

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