Waterloo Region Record

Exploring new ideas

After big movie franchises such as Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean, actor turns to the small screen


Orlando Bloom turns to the small screen

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIF. —Actor Orlando Bloom was in his 20s when he hit the big time with three “Lord of the Rings” movies. It wasn’t something he’d counted on. Just four years earlier Bloom had broken his back and thought he’d never walk again.

“That was a life-threatenin­g incident,” he says. “I nearly died. And for about four days I was told I may not walk again. And I was in excruciati­ng pain. And the physical and emotional pain, the experience of healing through that, taught me a huge amount of, I guess, insight and humility because I realized I wasn’t invincible. I wasn’t going to live forever. It gave me a sense of perspectiv­e on life,” he says.

That perspectiv­e sustained him during the sudden fame that pelted him.

“I was really hot as a pistol and one of the kids who was always working,” he says.

“(I was) getting lost in that at a certain point, and taking a step out of that and finding my footing again — that was something that taught me a huge amount,” he says.

“On a daily basis there are things that I come across where I wonder: ‘How do I navigate that in the right way and stay optimistic and positive and stay in the light and stay focused on the wonderful things, the opportunit­y that I have and continue to have?’”

That kind of introspect­ion keeps Bloom receptive to new ideas, and his latest project is an example. He’s starring as a human detective who rekindles his affair with an immigrant fairy in the Victorian fantasy “Carnival Row,” premièring on Amazon Friday.

“This is my first time in the TV space,” he says, “and with TV you get to explore the long form of a character. And you don’t have to show all your cards immediatel­y.”

Bloom followed his “Rings” movies with four successful “Pirates of the Caribbean” films. It was after those that he began to seriously question his choices.

“At the end of ‘Pirates’ I felt very upside down,” he says. “I didn’t know which way was up, in a way. I’d been a part of so many big movies, two big franchises, a lot of big movies, and I had sort of lost sight on why I started doing this because I’d been working so consistent­ly.

“And actually sometimes I think it does help to just take time for yourself and to separate, to be able to grow because you’ve got to grow as a human to be able to portray a character ... and it was a time where I just needed to regroup the troops.”

It was then that his son, now 8, was born. “Having a child is an incredible experience and has a massive impact on your psyche and on your ego and who you are,” he says.

“And the relationsh­ip — which is still very good with my ex — wasn’t the relationsh­ip which ultimately became the relationsh­ip of my life — but we co-parent very well. But all of the ups and downs and challenges and experience that you go through play into the person that you are, and ultimately probably makes you more interestin­g and more dynamic and more diverse and more connected in some ways,” he says.

His religious philosophy helps, too. “I have a Buddhist practice, which has always been an incredible anchor for me. It’s been sort of a philosophi­cal and a spiritual teaching that resonated for me,” he says.

“I was confirmed in the (Canterbury Cathedral) by the Archbishop of Canterbury when I was 12, so I had a really strong spiritual and religious upbringing. I did religious studies so I understood about Christiani­ty, and I think faith is an important part of life. And for me, when I was introduced to the Buddhist philosophy and way of thinking, it felt almost scientific. And in a way, it was like something that enabled me to feel without guilt — just like I could experience life and have a philosophy that was kind of like a road map.”

He feels that Buddhism teaches the art of living. “And NOBODY really teaches you the art of living, although within the Bible, there’s the Ten Commandmen­ts. There’s all sorts of ideas of how one should live in order to live a happy life. For me, the idea of cause-and-effect, which is a very fundamenta­l principle within the Buddhist teaching and my Buddhist practice, it almost felt like what goes up must come down. So if you do good, you get good,” he says.

Bloom finds himself in a publicized relationsh­ip with singersong­writer Katy Perry. They hope to marry, he says. “We’re engaged. We’re doing a lot of work together on the foundation of a really solid relationsh­ip, so we’re very aware — because I’m 42 and she’s in her mid-30s — we’re aware it’s not the same as when you’re younger.

“You really want to enter into something with a certain degree of respect and appreciati­on and gratitude and also an awareness that life is such that you need all the tools to help you navigate everything that’s thrown at you.”

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 ?? JAN THIJS AMAZON PRIME VIDEO ?? Orlando Bloom as human detective Rycroft Philostrat­e must work with mythologic­al creatures to solve a series of murders on “Carnival Row.”
JAN THIJS AMAZON PRIME VIDEO Orlando Bloom as human detective Rycroft Philostrat­e must work with mythologic­al creatures to solve a series of murders on “Carnival Row.”
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