I never thought I’d interview Legolas (Orlando Bloom) on the set of a Hobbit movie in New Zealand. I figured this for two reasons: J. R. R. Tolkien only introduced the character in The Lord of the Rings (which takes place sixty years after The Hobbit), and I never thought I’d be lucky enough to visit the set. But back in 2012, when Peter Jackson and his amazing team were filming The Hobbit, I got to visit Middle-earth with a few other online reporters. As I said in my set report last year, it was an amazing experience and something I’ll never forget.
During a break in filming, I got to participate in a group interview with Orlando Bloom. During the wide-ranging conversation he talked about his reaction to being back on set, the difference between Legolas in The Hobbit versus Lord Of The Rings, the new technology being used in the films, how we’ll learn about his character’s enmity towards dwarves, if he has any “holy shit” moments, his relationship with his father and the father-son rivalry, and so much more. If you’re a fan of The Lord of the Rings, I promise you’ll love this interview. Hit the jump to check it out.
ORLANDO BLOOM: It was sheer joy. It was also a little bit of, “Oh, my word.” This is ten years later, I’m ten 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 ten 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 Lord Of The Rings? In terms of his personality and development.
BLOOM: No. Not masses. 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, and you mentioned the excitement, but was there ever any hesitation on your part about taking a role in this film?
BLOOM: 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 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.
You guys pushed the boundaries of technology on the first three films, but on this one it seems, with forty-eight frames a second, the Red Epic 3D, but especially this slave motion cam, you guys are really pushing it a whole new generation forward. Can you talk about working with a slave motion cam and also your thoughts on this whole forty-eight frames a second?
BLOOM: 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 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 forty-eight 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 moco aspect of it is interesting. It’s very 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. In answer to your question, I’m as excited as you are, and I hope audiences will be to see how that all gels, and I know that it’s something that Pete and his team will be doing, working extensively on to make it just the best experience that you can possibly have in the theatre.
BLOOM: Essentially you have a, very rudimentary, there’s a green screen on one side of the studio with the dwarves. If I’m doing a scene with the dwarves who would be probably at my waist height, there’s a slave moco on one side where they’re acting out and then I’d be on a set, or vice-versa, they could be on the set and I could be on the green screen slave moco, and the movements are mapped out and we will have done some kind of work leading up to that in rehearsal with doubles and with the actors, and then it all gets meshed into a computer and magically presented to you as two perfect worlds. I can’t explain it any better than that, I’m so sorry. It’s not my forte.
Does the playback when they put the two together help you though?
BLOOM: Yes. Absolutely, yeah for sure. At sometimes it’s necessary to see and sometimes it isn’t. It depends if… ‘Cause you don’t want to walk on top of somebody. Yeah.
But you have to be even more, I would imagine, maybe self conscious isn’t the word, but very conscious of every little movement you do with even shooting for 3D and everything. Do you feel– Is it ever distracting, just on a technical acting level?
BLOOM: I have to say it isn’t. Not at all. These cameras that they’re using– We’re doing hand held shots, we’re doing over the shoulder shots, there’s motion camera shots. When I did The Three Musketeers there were ginormous cameras to move around, but I think that was on film. This is digital and these Red Cameras, they’re still somewhat bigger than the old film cameras, but they’re managing to use them– They’re small enough to be able to do everything that you would do with any other camera, and you don’t act for a 3D camera, you act for a camera and the director creates shots that make that work. It doesn’t change the process for me as an actor working in 3D or… No, it hasn’t done it.
Because we know that Legolas and Gimli form this bond in Lord Of The Rings, does your dislike of dwarves in this, is it backwards acting to strengthen that bond by seeing how different he is?
Do you return to your performance in Lord Of The Rings and play off yourself?
BLOOM: How do you mean, sorry?
Do you look at things that are locked in part of this universe and say, “If I act this way, given the full effect of watching all these movies, it’ll mean something different.”
BLOOM: Yeah, I don’t over think what has happened. I’m taking really what has been presented in terms of the script and the story, and if it rings true to me and for the character, which it has done, ’cause as I said, the writers and Pete are very conscious of that, then I don’t really have to over think it, because it was their intention to lay the groundwork that would play into a movie like Lord Of The Rings.
You have, in The Lord Of The Rings movie, some “holy shit” moments. I’m curious if you have any “holy shit” moments in the second Hobbit movie.
BLOOM: Yes. One of the great things about the character is the “holy shit” moments, so I would hope that the audience will certainly appreciate a couple of those “holy shit” moments. Pete’s very conscious and we’ve been working on things for that purpose. Yeah, there’s some cool beats. There’s some cool beats. We did one the other day.