Orlando Bloom in Deauville: "“Theatre is a place where you can sharpen the tools and I would love to be able to do more.” Photo: Richard Mowe
The actor who has carved a reputation for costume roles, looks rather chuffed with himself as well he might. Orlando Bloom has just finished his stint on the fifth instalment in the Pirates franchise, Dead Men Tell No Tales, reprising his role of Will Turner who was the hero of the saga before being upstaged by Johnny Depp’s baddie.
We share a cosy banquet for two in the Kiehl Villa, a sumptuous Deauville beach front edifice from the resort’s Belle Epoque era, while his entourage flap around discreetly.
Another cause for satisfaction is the career accolade being given to him tonight (September 6) by the organisers of the 41st Deauville American Film Festival as well as his name painted on one of the traditional beach huts.
Swashbuckling ahoy: Orlando Bloom as he appears in the latest Pirates due for 2017 release
Bloom, 38, vows he is going give up his room at the luxury Normandy Hotel, find a sleeping bag and spend the night in it. Growing up in and around Canterbury he remembers that his family had a beach hut just like it on the Kent coast.
As a child he “acted out” all sorts of characters in his head - at the same age as his son Flynn, who’s now four. He also recalled playing a monkey on stage at the same age, wearing a hot and heavy suit which scratched his bottom. “I gave the audience a lot of amusement,” he says.
“The great dreamer,” as he described himself, has been amusing and challenging audiences ever since. Although he cannot speak in any detail about Dead Men Tell No Tales, due for release in 2017, he reveals: “I was asked to come in and give them a kick-off point and a drop point at the end. It was no big deal and I thought Why not? because it has been such a huge part of my life. The franchise is amazing because it just keeps cranking on. Johnny created a character who is iconic and the films in their own way also are iconic. And, of course, if they continue to make money they are going to keep on making them.”
The two Norwegian directors, Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg who made Kon-Tiki, are at the helm. “It is a very big undertaking with a crazy schedule. One of them deals more with the actors and the other is more concerned with the production. I was a huge fan, of course, of Kon-Tiki. After this, their careers will go ballistic.”
As tonight’s tribute provokes thoughts about his professional progress, Bloom recalls that “I had this huge start to my career when I got the role of the elf Legolas in Lord Of The Rings and went into this giant trilogy which was unexpected.
“It was interesting because it was released over a three-year period but was really five years in the way the movies came out, and it seemed endless. Then, of course, I went on to the other big ones which would include Pirates.”
He fondly remembers Ned Kelly - made before he did Pirates - when he worked with Heath Ledger and a young Joel Edgerton as well Geoffrey Rush. “It was a fascinating character piece,” he says.
He would have liked more roles in independent rather than studio films. Recently he made Digging For Fire, directed by Joe Swanberg, which was improvised. “I had an amazing time working on it. The idea of improvising a role was new for me and exciting,” he says. “I’d never worked like that.”
Orlando Bloom on Pirates: “The franchise is amazing because it just keeps cranking on. Johnny created a character who is iconic and the films in their own way also are iconic.” Photo: Richard Mowe
He harbours no regrets that he was “side-swiped in to these rather large trilogies which were amazing in their own way. There was also The Good Doctor, which was a strange character study of a medic who falls in love with a patient. I am proud, too, of the work I did with French director Jérôme Salle on Zulu which also was going off in a different direction. I was playing a more muscular kind of character in an environment like South Africa where the men are really macho.”
He was just 27 when he was cast in Ridley Scott’s Kingdom Of Heaven. This epic about the conflict between Christian and Muslim armies over the Holy Land proved “a rewarding experience.” He adds: “I leapt at the chance to play Balian because I liked the idea of playing a reluctant hero. It was also about what you do each day for your fellow man. That is close to godliness, being thoughtful to your fellow man.
“It was a privilege working with Ridley whom I think of now as a dear friend. We catch up every now and then. He is a phenomenal artist and he is literally a painter in the way he uses film as a giant canvas.”
Last year he played on Broadway in Romeo And Juliet, admitting that he probably just managed to ease in under the radar. “I wasn’t the oldest actor to play Romeo, but I certainly wasn’t the youngest,” he says. “Theatre is a place where you can sharpen the tools and I would love to be able to do more. At the moment I am based in Los Angeles with my son so it is difficult to flip back and forth, but I would love to come back to the UK to do a short run onstage. You need the balls to do it but I am always looking for those kinds of opportunities.”
The accolade of an honour from the French seems to give him particular pleasure. “I am a huge fan of French cinema, as well as their actors and directors. I heard that Jacques Audiard’s next film will be in English and I would love to work with him,” he adds as a shameless calling card. He notes the French have a high level of appreciation for film that is “unlike anywhere else in the world”.