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Feature: Pirates of the Caribbean

Orlando Ahoy!

Orlando Bloom

Britain’s hottest export reveals to Ultimate DVD his love of acting, sword-fighting and Johnny Depp...

One of the reasons Jerry Bruckheimer is such a successful producer is his uncanny eye for emerging talent. When he cast Orlando Bloom in a supporting role in Black Hawk Down in 2001, he immediately knew ‘his time would come,’ and discussed a starring role in a future project he’d be helming called Pirates of the Caribbean, admitting now, “I just didn’t know how lucky we’d be to grab him before all the frenzy started with the two Lord of the Rings films.”

As Will Turner, the straitlaced blacksmith’s apprentice, Bloom was “envious of what Johnny Depp was doing in the movie,” he confesses. “But it left me wide open to do what was there on the page, which was kind of the earnest true blue straight shooting guy with an interesting arc. This is a coming-of-age story for Will. He has grown up without a father figure, so he has to look to the role models around him, and in Port Royal, those are naval officers. When Will and Jack are thrown together, Jack opens Will’s eyes to what it means to be a man. He teaches him that he can’t just blindly follow nonsensical rules; a man has to make his own decision, right or wrong, and go after what he wants in life.”

What impressed Bloom the most about Depp’s performance was he created a character that was totally different than the one in the script. “That’s what Johnny does. That’s what’s amazing about him. Jack Sparrow read like a bit of a straight rogue. Johnny created this drunken, sea-legged, Keith Richards number. We were like the odd couple. The way he played Jack left it open for me to play Will in a certain way. Had Johnny played him as more of the hero character, it might have conflicted. So he left it wide open for me to go the whole hog on the hero number, which was great. When I was working with Johnny, I said, ‘Forget the close up, give me a two shot, because he’s so cool.’”

To lend authenticity to the movie, the actors playing pirates and British naval officers spent weeks training with stunt co-ordinator George Marshall Ruge and his sword master, the legendary Robert Anderson. Bloom, who had already worked with both Ruge and Anderson on Lord of the Rings, enthuses, “I’d done some fencing when I was in drama school in London, but working with someone as proficient as Bob is quite a different matter. I mean, this is the guy who trained Errol Flynn. I watched The Master of Ballantrae, where he doubled Errol. It was awesome. What’s so great about Bob is that he knows character; he understands the necessity of getting a fight to look slick and clean without losing the sense of character.”

by Judy Sloane

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Feature © Visual Imagination 2003. Not for reproduction

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Ultimate DVD #49
December 2003
ships from Nov 6 2003
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