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Orlando Bloom on his new role

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Before he was 30, Orlando Bloom starred in two of the world’s greatest film trilogies of all time. The Kent-born actor was just days away from drama school when he was cast as Legolas in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – his first film. And he says, “the studio sold me as a heartbreaker”.

The immortal elf actually became a pin-up guy, and Bloom’s fame rose. This was followed by his role in Pirates of the Caribbean and a time when “he went from film to press conference year after year”.

“I was so young and had the energy and the optimism,” says the now 44-year-old, who has received a lot of online attention in the last few days for an interview with the Sunday Times. “I have an insatiable appetite and energy; this is me. But if someone says to me now: “There is this and that”, then I think: “Well, how will that stack up and how will it look in my life?” I have a family, I have other responsibilities. ”

Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom.

Because of Hollywood success in his twenties, the father of two (he has Flynn, 10, with ex-wife, model Miranda Kerr, and baby Daisy Dove with his fiancé, pop star Katy Perry) missed what many young actors were about early career experience : Make low budget films.

Reflecting on his most recent role on Retaliation’s indie offering, he says, “I was trying to become part of a film community that I simply avoided in many ways on the career path that emerged for me. that wasn’t even really chosen. It just happened that way. I mean, I’m grateful for that, but it was like suddenly doing different things and I really wasn’t in the UK. “

Retribution, authored by Geoff Thompson and led by brothers Ludwig Shammasian and Paul Shammasian, investigate what Bloom calls a “critical” issue.

He plays Malky, a demolition worker whose last job is to tear down the church where he was molested by a priest as a young boy. When a fragile Malky meets the now older priest in a local pub, the past reveals her ugly head and he is put on an emotional tailspin. It is up to him to decide whether to take revenge on this priest or find another way.

It’s a difficult time at times (there are some haunting graphic scenes), but many critics call it a career-best achievement for Bloom – and rightly so.

“To be honest, I gave up on whether this film would ever see the light of day,” admits the charismatic and talkative star (it premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 2017 but is only now being widely released).

“It’s a bolt in a bottle to make movies and this movie was made for about £ 1 million and it wasn’t an easy thing to make. There have been complications throughout, but luckily it all seems to have been resolved in one form or another. ”

A few years ago he met in the UK on various projects – “I’d flown over and meet people, BBC, Channel 4 or whatever, just to say, ‘Look, I’m ready for something” – when his agent sent him the script.

“I got to page 20 or so and it was like that very brutal moment Malky goes through, which is one of the more intense moments in the movie, and I was thrown out. And I was like, ‘Oh, maybe I can’t, what is it?’ ”

Then came a series of conversations with Thompson, who, according to Bloom, “wrote very beautifully, compassionately, and boldly about his own experiences of abuse as a boy.”

“The arc of Malky’s character corresponds to Geoff’s own story – although it wasn’t a priest he was exposed to.

“Geoff was a very charismatic and very powerful communicator and I think you can see it in his writing. There is no fluff, there are no frills, it is just presented very powerfully. And I just knew that I had to do it. “

To help Bloom understand certain scenes in the film, he called an organization called 1in6 – the name stands for the statistic that at least 1 in 6 men have been subjected to sexual abuse or assault, according to leading research.

And they explained to him how some of the actions and behaviors that Malky displays are “a way to reclaim a moment that has been taken from you.”

Unsurprisingly, the role was “quite challenging” and “a brutal experience” for Bloom.

Malky’s vulnerability felt different from other roles, he suggests, noting the shame his character is experiencing from the trauma he has endured.

And while we were filming there was nothing to hide: “There was nowhere like,” Oh, there’s going to be an explosion here, “or” There’s a clever camera angle and we’re going to edit it that way. ” I had an 8-minute monologue. I had finished my recording and thought, “Are you going to shoot the priest now?” and they say, “No, we will play everything on you.” That was really shocking. ”

He goes on thoughtfully, “Look, I think it’s paying off. But it’s really polarizing and uncomfortable, and you sit and watch this movie and say, “Wow,” you know?

“And I think that’s what Organization 1in6 said for sure: ‘You see, even if it doesn’t see the light of day, we would be so grateful because you are looking at the shattered inner life of a man who is not healed. ‘. ”

Regarding how the film was actually made four years ago, he adds, “I think it’s crazy that it wasn’t out that long – but it’s interesting that it came out during Covid. People pretty much use up everything because there is so much time.

“I feel so happy because I was ready to perform and just leave everything on the field and squeeze myself out. That was my intention and it’s great that I’m talking about it, that’s all I can say. ”

Bloom’s next challenge is more work behind the scenes. He has a production contract with Amazon and comes up with ideas.

“I’m actually talking to Geoff [Thompson] about something else, ”he reveals. “And now I think and dream of characters, things that I would like to do, and I take that into my own hands.”

  • Retaliation will be released digitally on Friday March 26th
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Janet Smith