Orlando Bloom Interview Elizabethtown, By Tim Nasson
Beverly Hills – Orlando Bloom, who has starred in 4 of the highest grossing movies of all time – as Legolas in the “Lord of the Rings Trilogy” and as Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean and is just completing work on the two, yes two, sequels to the “Pirates” films – has yet to headline a movie.
That is about to change October 14th, when his latest film, in which he plays Drew Baylor, a film he carries all by himself, “Elizabethtown,” opens.
The Cameron Crowe movie, loosely based on a period from the director’s life, the week in which he goes on a road trip to collect his father’s deceased body, (which is in Elizabethtown, KY, where he had been for a family reunion), is only Crowe’s sixth movie in sixteen years – “Vanilla Sky” was his last, in 2001.
Bloom, along with Crowe, have developed cult like followings in the movie world and there seems to be no better partnership for “Elizabethtown.”
Bloom, one of People Magazine’s Hottest Bachelors, who grew up in Kent, England, just may be the perfect choice for the role of a son, trying to get to know his father, after his death.
“My father, the man who I thought was my father for the first half of my life, wasn’t even my father,” reveals Bloom, whom I chatted with in a suite at The Four Seasons at Beverly Hills recently.
Outfitted in a pair of blue jeans, black shoes, a brown long sleeved, pullover silk shirt, rolled up just enough for one to notice the tattoo on his right arm, “It’s the rings from ‘Lord of the Rings,'” he informs, nonchalantly, and pretty much in “Pirates” attire; with a full nest of brown, curly hair, and a tuft of brown hair on his chin and otherwise smooth-as-a-baby’s-bottom face, Bloom is eager to talk.
“The man who I thought was my father, Harry, the man whose last name I have, died when I was four,” Bloom, who was born in 1977, continues. “After he died my mother’s friend moved in and helped to raise me and my sister. When I was thirteen my mother informed me that Harry, the man who I thought was my biological father, wasn’t my father, but that Colin, the man who helped raise me and my sister was my real father. It’s a complicated story. But isn’t everyone’s history? And that is one of the reasons ‘Elizabethtown’ felt so right for me to make. It’s about a young man who goes on a journey to collect his dead father’s remains, but a father he knew next to nothing about, and which he learns a lot about during his cross country trip.”
And all of that in a British accent.
You see, with Bloom being born and raised in England, and making movies such as those he has made, (which in addition to “Lord of the Rings” and “Pirates,” include “Troy,” “Kingdom of Heaven,” “Wilde,” and “Ned Kelly”), all of which allow Bloom to showcase his native tongue, would seem to make it difficult for him to master an American accent when one is called for – as it was for “Elizabethtown.”
“I cannot tell a lie,” laughs Bloom. “It wasn’t easy to master an American accent. I had a lot of help from a dialect coach. But I did alright. No?”
That’s for each moviegoer to judge for himself but Cameron Crowe had no qualms about hiring a Brit to play him. “It wasn’t about the accent, it was about the actor. And of all the actors out there today, his age, I think Orlando is the best. He had some trouble with a few words, getting them to sound right with an American accent, but he got them right,” says Crowe, whom I talked to later that day.
Bloom, who spent nearly two years in New Zealand, filming the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and enjoyed almost every minute of it – “There was a lot of time to throw back a pint or two,” he recalls, “but I was laid up for a bit, with broken ribs after falling off a horse and wearing that goddamned long blonde wig for two years, wasn’t fun, either” – is back at the strenuous schedule, filming the back-to-back “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequels, this time in Nassau, Bahamas.
“But I get lucky every now and again,” he says, with that mischievous grin of his. “Thankfully, the Bahamas, which do get boring after a while, as any vacation type spot would, are not as far from Hollywood as New Zealand, so I have been able to get away for the MTV Video Music Awards last month (August 2005) and now, again, for this movie junket.”
“The locales of the movies I have been in up until ‘Elizabethtown,” – New Zealand, Morocco, Bahamas, Spain, Mexico, Caribbean – “all pale in comparison to Louisville, Kentucky,” jokes Bloom. “But seriously, you can’t beat that Southern Hospitality. When we arrived in Louisville, people were baking cakes for us. We left with a wink, a wave and a smile from everyone. This is not the America portrayed on screen that most moviegoers know. And that is what makes ‘Elizabethtown’ unique.
“I feel really lucky to be a British guy playing an American guy who goes on a road trip across an America that most Americans have never seen.
“What a difference from my role in ‘Troy,” where I play such a pussy, groveling at my brother’s feet, (Brad Pitt). While I start off as a pussy in ‘Elizabethtown,” trying to commit suicide, because of all the problems in my life, I kind of make complete turnaround. I think my character in ‘Elizabethtown,’ after the first scene, tries to be a strong individual.”
Next up – if you don’t count “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest,” opening July 7, 2006 – on the big screen for Bloom is a little movie, “Haven,” which he finished filming two years ago on the Cayman Islands. “It’s this crazy, kooky little movie directed by a twenty four year old kid, Frank E. Flowers. It’s really a hard movie to describe. It’s independent, action, mystery, but not really. The movie was a lot of fun to make and I am very proud of it and can’t wait until it gets a theatrical release. But it is not easy getting financing for movies that have not already been financed by a huge studio.”
In a nutshell, “Haven” tells the story of two shady businessmen (Bill Paxton and Stephen Dillane) who flee to the Cayman Islands to avoid federal prosecution. But their escape ignites a chain reaction that leads a British native (Bloom) to commit a crime that changes the nation.