Affable, open and dressed simply in jeans and a t-shirt, Orlando Bloom could be half of his 40 years. He seems unsullied still by the trials and tribulations of Hollywood – even after that paddle-boarding incident – and is simply enjoying dipping his toe back into the Caribbean waters of the Pirates franchise.
Having also recently graced the screen inUnlocked, a low-budget terrorist thriller, his swashbuckling return is the real news. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge sees Bloom resume his career defining performance as dashing Will Turner in the Disney juggernaut, and he couldn’t be more excited to tease his return to fans.
Ten years since his last appearance in the high-seas adventure, Bloom and on-screen love Keira Knightly reunite to guide their son, Henry – Brenton Thwaites, interviewed by Gentleman’s Journal here – in his new adventures on the high seas alongside Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrrow. And, while Bloom insists his involvement in the instalment amounts to a few small scenes, it sees the old team back in action aboard the Black Pearl.
Was there any hesitation on your part to come back after ten years?
There was no way I could ever turn that down. What kind of idiot would that make me! I’m at pains to convey my short scenes in this movie – only at the beginning and the end. I fear there’s this misconception that I’m central throughout but that’s not the case.
I was only on it for a few days, down on this huge, epic set. It was never going to be a central role. They asked, ‘would you come back to introduce your son, who Brenton plays and I loved that idea of passing the torch to the next generation who goes off on his own adventure. I sort of bookend the action.
Keira is back too for the reunion?
I’m glad that’s out there! I was worried I’d give it away! I couldn’t do it without her and I’m so glad that’s out there now, that everyone knows because hers was the big secret. I can’t say what she does in it, I can’t really say much in general. But I’ve seen it and I’m very happy to confirm, it’s bloody fantastic.
Don’t you say that about all your films?
Well, sometimes your expectations aren’t necessarily met. I’ve been pretty lucky but yeah, it happens. I think, and this is my theory, I started out in really really big big huge films with massive audience share, and I was still learning. I was cast in Lord of the Rings a couple of days after I left drama school.
I've seen it and I'm very happy to confirm, it's bloody fantastic!
And that’s a very public spotlight to be under when you’re still unsure of your footing, I feel like my mistakes were clear for the world to see, highlighted by comparisons alongside Viggo Mortensen and Ian McKellen, easily the best actors living and breathing today.
I needed to retreat away from that exposure and work on smaller projects, do theatre. I did some smaller movies, which some were so small, they didn’t even see the light of day! But each one of them, helped me on this journey and in my craft and that’s there has been a huge huge benefit. I’m so grateful for every one of those opportunities.
Was that why you took a break for a few years, to focus on different directions?
It’s because of my son, quite honestly, I’ve been focused on him, he’s six years old, he needs his parents around, what’s more important? There was a period of instability when his mum [Miranda Kerr] and I were separating and we both made conscious choices to be around as much as possible to help that whole transitionary period. That was our responsibility. Now things have settled nicely, everybody is in a good place.
When you watch a movie like Unlocked, with its central themes of terrorism, it feels scarily close to home given what’s happening today?
That’s what struck me, the harsh reality attached to this script, sadly, in the current climate we’re living in. We shot this two years and even since then, it’s shocking how much more relevant this story is in terms of our everyday existence. In the last two years, look at the atrocities, at the acts of carnage, Paris, Nice, Westminster, it goes on.
It’s something so terrible and so fundamentally part of our day to day.
But when I say that, I also grew up taking the tube, and we lived through the IRA bomb scares, they happened all the time. You were getting taken off the tube, evacuated, so it’s not totally alien to me, there was tension then, and it’s here now. Obviously the 7/7 attacks are still very much in the mind of Londoners, you can’t help but be reminded. But you can’t allow it to rule your life, we may as well give up otherwise.
You’re well known for your good guy roles, but your character Jack in Unlocked is somewhere on the spectrum of goodie and baddie, would you agree?
He’s right there, in the middle. Right there between a hero and a rogue and a blatant sociopath. That’s just makes it more fun doesn’t it? I like delving in to the dark side, the complexities, that light and shade, it’s far more interesting for me as an actor than a straight laced, buttoned down, starchy MI6 agent with an unblemished moral code and this emotionless front. We’ve seen that before countless times, it gets a bit boring.
It's something so terrible and so fundamentally part of our day to day.
So Michael Apted allowed me to make changes, decipher Jack as I saw him, allowed me to investigate his background, as I saw it. You know, he was ex-military, a little PTSD. Done some time behind bars, mixes up to produce a man on the periphery of society, very much a lone operator, adherence to societal preferences, you know, isn’t his MO.
It kind of sounds like you’re referring to Bond there, when you say starchy agent. Your name has been bandied around as a replacement for Daniel Craig. How do you fancy your chances?
I don’t know. I feel like there’s been all this talk about Tom Hardy and Tom Hiddleston and all that. Is my name being bandied about?
Maybe not as much as them, but it’s there?
Why am I not in the running for James Bond? I’m quite insulted by that! But I’d be game, I’m on it. Tell me who to talk to!