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WELLINGTON, NZ - Can you really go home again? Orlando Bloom is finding out as he returns to the world of Middle Earth in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." Bloom reprises his role as the Elf with a bow, arrow and long luxurious blond hair, Legolas, that he originated in the Oscar-winning "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. And, frankly, it's not bad timing.
Currently, Bloom is earning raves for playing one half of Shakespeare's tragic lovers in a new Broadway incarnation of "Romeo and Juliet." When we spoke on the set of "The Hobbit" (which was supposed to be a visit for "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" until the novel was split from two films into three), Bloom was in the middle of a major break from the big screen. He did not return for "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides" (lucky in the long run) and before "The Hobbit" beckoned his only major release was the abominable "Three Musketeers." Basically, Bloom spent the last four years starring in a few indies that barely saw the light of day. Thank heaven for Peter Jackson.
Now, Bloom's decision to reprise his "Rings" role (and his surprise raves on the Great White Way) may just kickstart his career all over again. When he sat down to talk to some journalists who'd traveled half-way across the world to chat with him, well, it was all still a bit odd…
What was your reaction to stepping back into this world the first day?
It was sheer joy. It was also a little bit of, "Oh, my word. This is 10 years later, I'm 10 years older and how's this all going to work?" I quite literally was like, "Can I just try on my old costume just for posterity of it all?" It was amazing that Pete was back at the helm of this movie, and it was amazing that I got a call to say "we would love you to be a part of the film." I was just full of excitement. I was obviously like, "Ooh! This is going to be interesting to make the transition as an Elf being 10 years older as myself, as an actor, going in to playing a character that would be younger, but as Elves are kind of ageless anyway we've managed to bridge the gap.
Is there much difference between Legolas in "The Hobbit" versus Legolas in "The Lord Of The Rings?"
No. Not massive. Essentially the Woodland Realm Elves, which is where Legolas is from, and my father being Thranduil, the king of those Elves, are a particular type of Elf as described by Tolkien to be... I'm not going to quote him correctly, but they are different from the Lothlorien and the Rivendell elves. They're more militant if you like. Legolas in "Lord of the Rings" was sent as a bridge from his people into the world of dwarves and humans and wizards and everything else. This is an introduction into the Woodland Realm Elves. Obviously we meet my father, Thranduil, who is a very powerful and strong character who is very particular in his vision of who the Elves are, who the Woodland Elves are, specifically. They are kind of, like I said, a militant group, the Woodland Realm Elves. So I think that the opportunity that Pete and Philippa and Fran and the writers and Pete saw was to create... I think there was a desire for Legolas to come back. They felt that the fans would appreciate seeing Legolas in the Woodland Realm, and there was an opportunity to create a father-son, a prince versus king dynamic that would be interesting and serve the story.
Knowing how successful the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy was, and also the fact that Legolas isn't actually in the "Hobbit" novel, was there ever any hesitation on your part about taking a role in this film?
Not after I had spoken to Peter. Their ideas, which I have explained, were made to clear to me about how it could be made seamless and effective. Not after I'd had that conversation. It was definitely something that anyone would think. There's a big love for these books and these films and these stories. I think in the hands of Peter, the fans, I would hope, would feel rest assured that he will deliver a movie that will both entertain and [that they will] enjoy and will be in keeping with Tolkien's vision of the stories. They never stray at all from Tolkien's vision of what the world is, and for me it was exciting to think of returning to Middle Earth and to be a part of something. This is Pete in his element, doing what he does best. So it was just very exciting.
Peter pushed the boundaries of technology on the first three films, but on this one it seems with 48 frames per second, the slave motion cam, that it's going to another level.
I've never been a great one for technology. What I can tell you is that Pete is always going to push the boundaries and especially in a movie like this. The way that Pete explained it to me really at the beginning of the movie was when he talked about it, and it slightly went over my head, but at the same time it was very simple. It was that shooting at 48 frames a second in 3D was going to make the experience for a movie-going audience much more pleasurable and natural and seamless, and make it all very much more real. In terms of an actor experiencing the slave motion aspect of it is interesting. It is definitely new technology that can sometimes be challenging. But once you grasp what is required, from what I've seen it looks amazing. It looks incredible. A lot of what we did on "Lord of the Rings," what Pete did, it was just perspectives and shifting things. It was very rudimentary in comparison to what's being done today. I'm as excited as you are, and I hope audiences will be able to see how that all gels and I know that it's something that Pete and his team will be doing -- working extensively on it to make it just the best experience that you can possibly have in the theater.