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Orlando Bloom lept from obscurity to superstardom at the turn of the century thanks to turns in a pair of major franchises, Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean. With that level of celebrity comes a near-inevitable backlash, and Orlando Bloom says that when he looks back on that part of his career the criticism doesn't bother him, because he knows he always did his best.
Orlando Bloom recently spoke to THR about his career and his new film, Retaliation, where he plays something very much other than the handsome leading man he was known for a couple of decades ago. He admits he got poked fun at a lot in that early period of his career, but he says he's happy with the work that he did in movies like the Pirates of the Caribbean films because, while his character may have just been Johnny Depp's "straight man" playing that role was actually tougher than a lot of people would realize. According to Bloom...
I don't look back. I don't look back in anger. Nobody steps out of the door or onto a set — whoever you are, whether you're an actor, director or producer — nobody is trying to do bad work. I know when I put my head down at night, I've done my best with everything that I've ever done. I've always given it my all, and I think in a way, if anything, there was a lot of safe play in my career. I'm not really interested in that any more, so I can see how ... I mean for Will [in Pirates of the Caribbean], for example, I was playing the straight guy to Johnny [Depp’s] remarkable Jack Sparrow, but it's not easy to pull that straight guy off, do you know what I mean? And in a way, it was the emotional thread, that relationship between Elizabeth and Will, but I don't look back with anything. I just look forward with excitement, to be honest now.
Will Turner isn't the first straight man to not get enough credit. The fact is that the "straight man" is always looked at as secondary to the more "comedy" focused character, but as Orlando Bloom says here, playing the straight man takes real work. Making the humor work takes work on both sides or the bits just aren't as funny.
And if you didn't think that the emotional thread of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann wasn't absolutely vital to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, may I direct your attention to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the movie that tries to actually make Jack Sparrow the main character and doesn't include Orlando Bloom or Keira Knightley. It's...not good.
Following Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, we've likely seen the end of the story for Will Turner, and while the future of the franchise is still very much an open question, I think fans are certainly glad Orlando Bloom was there, no matter what some other people may have thought.