How Orlando Bloom's Carnival Row Character Is Different From Past Fantasy Roles

Orlando Bloom is coming to the small screen for his first starring role in a TV series, and it promises to show a whole new side of the actor. Although Carnival Row on Amazon is a fantasy -- a genre with which Bloom is very familiar -- it has provided him the chance to explore a very different character than Legolas in the Lord of the Rings saga and Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Carnival Row co-creator and executive producer Travis Beacham chatted with CinemaBlend's Nick Venable about the new series, and when asked what it was like bringing Orlando Bloom to a darker kind of fantasy than audiences are used to with him, Beacham said this:

It was really great getting him involved. Really, I think it's startling to see him take on the part. Picturing Orlando Bloom, and what I'd seen him in before, he'd always been very crisp, with a very sort of Errol Flynn-twinkly kind of thing happening in his performances. And in this, he really wanted to do something different. I think he really wanted to do something darker and gruffer and rough around the edges, and not worry about being unlikeable in certain parts and certain moments. That, I think, was really exciting, because you're getting a totally new side of him. It's great to have an actor who kind of has a history in the genre, and to be able to re-contextualize that history, or turn it on its head, is really exciting.

Orlando Bloom's most famous roles have seen him breaking the rules and killing, but taking down evil orcs and soldiers who wanted to kill him as a pirate wasn't all that dark of him. Legolas and Will Turner were unambiguously among the good guys, and his Carnival Row character apparently gave him the freedom to show some unlikable character traits. We may not want to count on any dashing swashbuckling from Rycroft Philostrate.

As Rycroft Philostrate, Orlando Bloom plays a police inspector who chases down the mystery of who's killing fairies and humans as well as his own past. Carnival Row also stars Cara Delevingne as a faerie freedom fighter (and librarian) named Vignette Stonemoss. In addition to faeries like Vignette and people like Rycroft, the fantasy world of Carnival Row is populated with centaurs, fauns, and trolls.

The relationship between Rycroft and Vignette is central in the trailer for the series, and it's clearly not what Orlando Bloom had going with Keira Knightley's Elizabeth Swann as Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean universe. Just take a look:

Not only does Orlando Bloom look different and sound different than his other high-profile fantasy roles, but Travis Beacham also commented that his voice is "like an octave lower" as Rycroft Philostrate. Carnival Row will be a fresh take on fantasy that shows a new side of a familiar actor.

TV is lacking a big epic fantasy at the moment, especially due to the end of Game of Thrones, and we're still a while off from The Witcher. Carnival Row could be what fantasy fans are looking for, with the added plus that it's not based on a book or video game or anything else. Nobody knows what's going to happen!

Carnival Row releases on Friday, August 30 on Amazon Prime. Fall TV season is fast-approaching, and Carnival Row with Orlando Bloom would be an incredibly original way to start it off.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.