Orlando Bloom, who first leapt to fame as the elf Legolas in "The Lord of the Rings," now attempted leading-man status in Ridley Scott's new Crusader epic, "The Kingdom of Heaven." Bloom plays lowly blacksmith Balian, who, tortured with guilt, goes to the Holy Land to seek redemption and finds himself caught up in the struggle for power among the Muslims and Christians. The heart-throb recently came to Japan to talk about the film, the physical training he had to go through, and the meaning of kingship.
Orlando Bloom: This is my second time in Japan. There is such a beautiful energy that the fans in Japan have. They seem to have a very pure, open heart and spirit. It was lovely to be welcomed so gracefully. I have to say I haven't seen so many
screaming young girls in a while.
Question: How did you find working on this movie:?
Bloom: We had an amazing time. I worked once before with Ridley （Scott）. He threw me out of a helicopter. But this time it was time to have a real go of it. It was an honor to work with him. He's going to hate me saying this — he hates compliments — but he's a man who inspires greatness from everyone around him. It was probably one of the hardest shoots you could ever imagine. We shot six-day weeks for about six months. We went from Spain to Morocco. It was certainly one of the more grueling experiences physically, but fantastically rewarding.
Question: In the film, the characters speak of a knight's code:? Do you have a code yourself:?
Bloom: In the movie, Balian's motto is "what man is a man who does not make the world better" and I think that for me for all young people it's a great motto to have, to feel that you can walk through the world and you can leave it somehow better than when you found it. The knights' code of conduct is: Be without fear in the face of your enemies, be brave and upright that God may love thee, speak the truth, even if it leads to your death, safeguard the helpless and do no wrong. That is your oath." I think for myself, trying to face my fear has been something that has been important and I think the knight's code of conduct is so relevant and timely. I think it's great for all young people today.
Question: What do you think makes a good king?
Bloom: I think integrity, and truth, ultimately a sense of wisdom and compassion for the people. Bringing this in line with Balian, he is a man who goes on a journey of self discovery, a journey of the heart. He realizes by the end of the movie that what is of most importance in life is life, that's human life, therefore the salvation of all the people behind the walls of Jerusalem, rather than the stones, rather than the bricks, rather than the temples. Ultimately it's about humanity, so in terms of a kingly quality, a real awareness of humanity is what's important.