So the other day when I was bed ridden with the flu, I thought to myself, what better way to pass the time than watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy… since those last an eternity and perhaps I might feel better by the time they finish. I popped in the films and about an hour into The Fellowship of the Ring, I saw a familiar face. This handsome, yet almost foreign man, was that of Orlando Bloom. Staring at him dumbfounded, wondering what the hell happened to him – My middle school memories of this heartthrob emerged, stealing the attention of every girl I was ever into.
I suddenly had to pause the movie to investigate the “disappearance” of Orlando, because my sheer curiosity just wouldn’t let me focus on the little hobbits running around. I went onto IMDB and looked at his filmography. I learned how in 2001 within 2 weeks of finishing acting classes, he was given the role of Faramir in LOTR, but was soon switched to that of Legolas. This massive role instantly catapulted him into stardom and plastered his face on posters bought by teenage girls around the world.
This was just the beginning for him, though, as he went on to star in the next two LOTR films released in 2002 and 2003. Between them, he was also involved in a couple of other flicks – The very successful Blackhawk Down and Ned Kelly, playing alongside Heath Ledger. Everything is going great right? Well it actually even gets better…
Most actors would be lucky to star in one successful movie trilogy, but Orlando ended up starring in two, being cast next in the role of Will Turner for the Pirates of the Caribbean. No longer a sexy elf, he was now a sexy swashbuckling pirate, even harder to compete with in Middle School. So the posters of Elf Orlando were swapped for Pirate Orlando as he starred in his next successful trilogy from 2003-2007.
Furthermore, Orlando found himself in popular movies Kingdom of Heaven and Troy with Brad Pitt and Eric Bana. While not scoring the most points with critics, both films did relatively well at the box-office. Then, the daunted year of 2007 comes, and he no longer has a successful trilogy to fall back on. But it’s okay! Because this is Orlando’s moment to shine… to prove to the world that he’s able to be successful on his own, regardless of a franchise! Well, that never really happened.
The more I looked at his IMDB page, the more it became clear that Orlando was always the supporting man with a team of people behind him to sorta take the focus off. In LOTR, he was juxtaposed with one of the greatest film ensembles in recent memory. Don’t get me wrong, Orlando as Legolas was fine, but if you really dig deep, you come to find he was pretty one dimensional and wasn’t slated with much depth. Same goes for his role as Will Turner; while suave and swashbuckling, his emotional persona wasn’t what made the character. It was decent humor, yes, and his physicality needed for the role, but after that you really do hit a bit of a dead end.
We all know Johnny Deep was the main reasons for that franchise’s unprecedented success. Without Deep, who knows if Pirates of the Caribbean would’ve even made $100 mil at the box-office, even though with him it came close to $1 bil.
I realize this is very silly, but if you take out all the films in which Orlando is a supporting character prior to 2007, we are left with films such as: Sympathy for Delicious, The Good Doctor (which went straight to DVD), the horrific Three Musketeers, Zulu, Unlocked, and The Shanghai Job.
Now let us not forget, he was also in two of the recent “Hobbit” films. But in those productions his character felt so grossly forced, out of place, and had outrageous action sequences that only made us long even further for the old glory days of LOTR.
So what happened to him? After pausing the movie for well over an hour, the answer seems that between off-screen binge drinking, blackouts, a divorce, a fight with Justin Bieber, paired with his inability to lead a film, A-list Hollywood simply won’t cast him (And I don’t blame them). Today he is a man settling for B-grade movies, as he’s simply fallen into the dark and gloomy category of actors or actresses that used to be something. Harsh, right? Yeah, almost as bad as this flu. Anyhoo, back to my movie.
Honorable mentions: Chris Tucker, Katherine Heigl, Jessica Alba, Hilary Swank, Michael Cera.
By Nick Weininger