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ByJane Harkness/Updated: Oct. 3, 2022 12:51 pm EST
If you're a fan of TheLord of the Rings, you were probably introduced to Orlando Bloom as Legolas in the first installment of the film franchise. In his first major role, Bloom captivated audiences as the elf who sets out to destroy the One Ring along with the other members of the fellowship. When the first film in the trilogy,The Fellowship of the Ring, was released in 2001, Bloom had no idea that he was about to go from being a relatively unknown actor to one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
Bloom followed up his work in TheLord of the Rings with a supporting role in thePirates of the Caribbeanfranchise as Will Turner, the blacksmith's apprentice who gets caught up in a supernatural, high-seas adventure when he learns that his father was actually a pirate. Both franchises became international sensations, and it seemed like Bloom was set up for decades of stardom. Since then, Bloom hasn't quite disappeared from the big screen, but he isn't the box office draw that he once was. Between returning to theater, becoming a dad, and doing humanitarian work, here's what Bloom has been up to these days.
He struggled with burnout
In the early 2000s, Bloom's name was always in the news. Between appearing in TheLord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean, he had quickly become one of the biggest names in Hollywood, and fans loved him as Legolas and Will Turner. But Bloom was tired — not just from working constantly, but from the never-ending publicity cycles. Eventually, he began to feel the effects of burnout.
"I was sick of seeing myself," Bloom told The Hollywood Reporter. "I was sick of the sight of myself, almost, with all the publicity that had to go along with all these movies, and inevitably, I think, you just burn out to an extent to yourself and for an audience."
Bloom had never expected to become so famous so quickly, and it took a toll on him. Taking on two high-profile roles was great for his career, but his mental health suffered. He was overworked, and he needed to take a step back.
A victim of typecasting
Because of Bloom's success with his early roles, it's worth asking if he was a victim of typecasting. On the surface, the plots of LOTR and Pirates aren't so similar, and Legolas and Will Turner are certainly very different characters. But while LOTR is a classic fantasy and Pirates was an action-packed adventure film, Bloom may have had trouble transitioning into contemporary dramas or other genres after appearing in these franchises.
While some actors are content with playing similar roles throughout their careers, Bloom did try to break out of the fantasy franchise box — but his later films just couldn't match the success of LOTR and Pirates. Because he was famous for playing supporting roles in box office hits, maybe casting directors suspected that he wasn't leading man material yet. Even today, it seems like Bloom's career has been defined by LOTR and Pirates. These franchises became so popular that it would be hard for Bloom to top them.
He appeared in a string of flops
Both the Lord of the Rings and Pirates movies were wildly successful, and it seemed like Bloom would be able to branch out and see the same kind of success in films outside of these franchises. Unfortunately, that's not quite how things panned out.
Several of Bloom's films have earned mediocre reviews and underperformed at the box office. In 2005, he starred alongside Kirsten Dunst in the romantic drama Elizabethtown, which received lackluster reviews from critics and brought in only $26.8 million at the box office. In the following years, films like Love and Other Disasters didn't benefit his career, either — as far as the critics were concerned, this rom-com had little to offer. His thriller The Good Doctor failed to garner much positive attention from audiences, and even his adaptation of The Three Musketeers didn't impress the critics. While his name being attached to these films may have attracted some viewers, these movies just weren't as impactful as LOTR or Pirates.
He wanted to work in theater
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When Bloom was young, he dreamed about acting on stage. In fact, when he attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he trained to work in theater. But as he began auditioning and looking for work early in his career, he had more success finding work in film than theater. However, he wanted to return to his roots.
"I really want to do some theater," Bloom told EntertainmentWise. "My career took this marching pace that meant that I was running to the beat of a drum that I wasn't quite sure where the noise was coming from."
In 2007, Bloom starred in the West End production of In Celebration. He returned to the stage in 2011 with his first Broadway role in Romeo and Juliet. While Bloom did not take an extended hiatus from working in film, it's clear that he never lost his passion for theater, and he does enjoy being able to take breaks from movie roles in order to act on stage.
He became a UNICEF ambassador
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Bloom has gotten involved with initiatives that occasionally pull him away from the screen and stage. In 2009, Bloom was named as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. He initially got involved with UNICEF in 2007, when he began visiting rural villages and schools in Nepal to advocate for education and sanitation programs. Before he was officially named an ambassador, he also spent time in Moscow and Sarajevo with UNICEF. Bloom stated that he wanted to be an active member of the organization, and after earning the ambassador title, his first project involved filming a public service announcement about the necessity of clean water supplies.
Bloom has continued doing humanitarian work on behalf of UNICEF. In 2016, he traveled to eastern Ukraine to raise awareness of the education crisis for children in the region who were affected by conflict, while in 2017 he visited Niger to meet with families affected by Boko Harem violence there. He was very moved by the stories that he heard during his time there, stating, "As a father, it is hard for me to imagine how many of these children are caught up in this conflict. During my trip I have heard dreadful stories about children fleeing on foot, leaving everything behind, including the safety of their homes and classrooms."
He became a dad
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In addition to acting, Bloom has another job these days: he's busy being a father to his son and daughter. In 2011, Bloom and his now ex-wife, Miranda Kerr, welcomed their son, Flynn. Kerr and Bloom split up in 2013, but they've managed to maintain a positive relationship and stay friends.
In 2016, Bloom started dating singer Katy Perry, and while the couple did separate for some time in 2017, they eventually got back together. The couple got engagedin 2019, and Perry later revealed that she was pregnant in the music video for her song "Never Wore White." In August 2020, Perry gave birth to their daughter, Daisy Bloom. Perry shared a photo of the couple holding their new baby's hand on Instagram, and Kerr left a congratulatory comment, saying, "I'm so happy for you guys. Can't wait to meet her." Bloom has joked that he's always singing to his daughter because he's hoping that her first word will be "dada."
He was happier before fame
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When Bloom was starting his acting career, he experienced success that most young actors could only dream of. He never expected to land a role like Legolas in The Lord of the Rings. At the time, he wasn't famous by any stretch of the imagination — and today, he says that he wishes he could turn back the clock to those days sometimes.
In an interview with The Guardian, Bloom said that he was happiest when he was "about to embark on filming The Lord Of The Rings, prior to any kind of fame or notoriety, full of hope and dreams, and excitement of the adventures ahead." In an interview with The Big Issue, he admitted, "If I could go back and live any time in my life again, it would be the three months working and living in New Zealand leading up to production [of the Lord of the Rings trilogy]." It seems like Bloom doesn't want to deal with the pitfalls of fame, and while he loves acting, he prefers anonymity.
He's sensitive to criticism
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After appearing in TheLord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean, Bloom felt like he was constantly being hounded by the press. He was always under scrutiny, particularly when it came to his relationships — he felt like every detail of his relationship with his ex-wife Miranda Kerr was analyzed in the tabloids. He grew tired of living without privacy and with criticism from the press.
"There was a window when I was in my twenties, when we didn't have Facebook or Instagram or anything, but there was still so much heat and attention on me," Bloom told The Big Issue. He continued, "I got really good at hiding myself because I was really, painfully, trying to live, without being just looked at the whole time...I'm very sensitive, actually, so a lot of things I took really personally, I felt very attacked." Today, Bloom says that he wished he could tell his younger self not to worry so much about everything that ended up in celebrity magazines.
He doesn't plan to play Legolas again
When LOTR fans heard that Amazon would be releasing a new series based on the books, they were excited about watching this fresh take on their favorite story. Naturally, people were wondering if Bloom would consider returning to play Legolas again — if he chose to come back, it would definitely be big news. But now, Bloom feels like he's simply too old to play the role.
"I feel like I've done everything [I can.] I like to think of myself as ageless but I don't know where I'd fit," Bloom said during a press event for Carnival Row. He recommended that Amazon cast "a 19-year-old kid" for the role. Bloom also said he doesn't have any behind-the-scenes knowledge about what will happen in this new iteration of LOTR. Apparently, the series will take place during the Second Age in author J.R.R. Tolkien's universe, but fans will have to wait to see the seriesto have their curiosity satisfied.
Carnival Row flew under the radar
In 2019, Bloom starred opposite Cara Delevigne in the first season of the Amazon Prime series Carnival Row. The premise was intriguing: humans and mythical creatures mingle in a Victorian fantasy world, and the fairy Vignette (Delevigne) and detective Rycroft Philostrate (Bloom) try to untangle the mystery behind a series of disturbing murders.
Despite the two big names in starring roles, Carnival Row has flown under the radar. Perhaps this is just because it's a web series, or maybe it's because audiences generally liked it, but critics gave the series mixed reviews. As Shah Shahid wrote in a review for Blank Page Beatdown, "There's substance in Carnival Row for those looking for it, while it can also just be a fluff genre piece for others."
It certainty didn't help that production for season two was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cast and crew were finally able to resume shooting in the summer of 2020, but the release date is yet to be determined.
His latest films were released during the pandemic
Although it might seem like Bloom has gone on hiatus, a few of his new films were actually released in 2020. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these releases didn't get much buzz.
In July 2020, Bloom's film The Outpost was officially released on premium VOD and in limited theaters in the US after premiering at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival in November 2019. The Outpost tells the story of a small group of American soldiers battling the Taliban in Afghanistan. But without a wide theatrical release, the film did not get much publicity. Only a few weeks later, Bloom's film Retaliation was also released. In Retaliation, Bloom plays a demolition worker struggling to get revenge against a priest who abused him as a child. While critics generally praised the film, the fact that the pandemic put a damper on Hollywood meant that most people probably did not even know it was released. As the entertainment industry recovers, his future films might fare better.
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Fans of Bloom who have been wondering what he's working on will be happy to hear that he's been focused on two upcoming projects. He's lending his voice to the animated series The Prince, in which he'll be voicing Prince Harry. When he was first asked to work on this comedy about the British royal family, he was uncertain about whether or not he should accept the offer, but Katy Perry eventually convinced him to take on the role. "Initially, I was like, 'Hmm, how do I feel about this?' because I'm a British boy who's actually very proud of my roots," Bloom said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. But when Perry called the series "genius," Bloom was persuaded. The Prince premieres in April 2021.
Bloom is also working on the sci-fi movie Needle in a Timestack, which tells the story of a man whose marriage is ripped apart by a time traveler. The film does not have a release date yet, but the intriguing premise is sure to have fans excited.