Fantasy ... Orlando Bloom plays Detective Inspector Rycroft Philostrate in Amazon Prime fantasy series, Carnival Row. Picture: Jan Thijs/Amazon Prime
Fantasy ... Orlando Bloom plays Detective Inspector Rycroft Philostrate in Amazon Prime fantasy series, Carnival Row. Picture: Jan Thijs/Amazon Prime

Orlando Bloom’s new fantasy TV drama

From his earliest days in the spotlight as elf of the Woodland realm, Legolas in Peter Jackson's epic Tolkien trilogy, Lord Of The Rings, actor Orlando Bloom has been a poster boy for fantasy drama.

Marry together the details of his private life - raising a son with Aussie supermodel Miranda Kerr and engaged to pop starlet, Katy Perry - and the 42-year-old is, by anyone's measure, living the dream.

Which makes him perfectly cast for a dazzling and imaginative new TV series, set to cement his place as king of this genre.

Bloom plays Detective Inspector Rycroft Philostrate, a good guy in a dark world of murder, corruption and strange, beastly secrets.

Carnival Row, from which the nine-part series takes its name, is the seedy side of an alternate Victorian world where fairies, elves and other mythical creatures live among humans - just not as their equals.

 

Cara Delevingne plays Vignette Stonemoss and Orlando Bloom plays Detective Inspector Rycroft Philostrate in Amazon Prime fantasy series, Carnival Row. Picture: Jan Thijs/Amazon Prime
Cara Delevingne plays Vignette Stonemoss and Orlando Bloom plays Detective Inspector Rycroft Philostrate in Amazon Prime fantasy series, Carnival Row. Picture: Jan Thijs/Amazon Prime

 

While the viewer must take the leap and accept the fantastical creatures who populate this make-believe world, the narrative messages about migration, refugees and those who seek power by oppressing them are important and relevant in the real world today.

For Bloom, the chance to play again in this fantasy world was too hard to resist.

"It's a great gift and opportunity stepping into a show that is so timely and speaks to a lot of the issues we are facing," he tells TV Guide/Watch, "and that are relevant in the world today. Our fey folk [fairies] in the show very much represent the migrant refugee crisis we are seeing. They're fantasy characters but it all feels so real and so tangible that you can identify without overly associating or bashing the audience over the head to make a point," he explains.

"It's all so beautifully handled in the writing that it was a real gift for all of us on the cast."

Starring opposite Bloom, as his fiesty fey love, Vignette Stonemoss is model turned actor, Cara Delevingne, who declares herself a small screen star in this series (already commissioned for a second season).

Bloom may be a "heart on my sleeve" guy but has relished playing someone more "guarded."

"[He] has secrets and an immense amount of empathy for his environment. He has a masculinity which is so well balanced with this kind of femininity it has with it. It was really special to explore that through this character, as well as his darker side."

 

Orlando Bloom plays Detective Inspector Rycroft Philostrate in Amazon Prime fantasy series, Carnival Row. Picture: Jan Thijs/Amazon Prime
Orlando Bloom plays Detective Inspector Rycroft Philostrate in Amazon Prime fantasy series, Carnival Row. Picture: Jan Thijs/Amazon Prime

 

This is Bloom's first major move into TV, but will seem familiar territory for his fans and anyone looking for a drama to fill the void left by Game Of Thrones.

Bloom says "getting to explore a character over eight hours, to go deep and have that character shared and talked about, is an exciting and new way to tell a story.

"People have often talked about TV as if it's the little brother to film or something, but that doesn't feel like it's part of the conversation any more," he says.

"There was never a point where I was on set [of Carnival Row] feeling like I was doing something on a smaller scale. It was so expansive and big. It felt like we were making a big, eight-hour movie. It's so fun to go deep into character like that."

The epic production filmed over six months in Prague, with Bloom impressed by the grand scale and intricate detail of the set design.

""When I was on set of Lord Of the Rings, I was like 'wow!' That was a mind-blowing experience, so the bar has been set so high," he says.

 

Cara Delevingne plays Vignette Stonemoss and Orlando Bloom plays Detective Inspector Rycroft Philostrate in Amazon Prime fantasy series, Carnival Row. Picture: Jan Thijs/Amazon Prime
Cara Delevingne plays Vignette Stonemoss and Orlando Bloom plays Detective Inspector Rycroft Philostrate in Amazon Prime fantasy series, Carnival Row. Picture: Jan Thijs/Amazon Prime

 

"But I was so overjoyed to walk down the Row and see the level of detail. When I first read the script, I was like, 'I love this fantasy world. I don't think I've seen this before. It feels like you can really explore and go places with it. To see it as physically realised was amazing. Things like the Tarot cards we use which have snake skin on the back and the jars in the store with creatures inside that you could never imagine. The detail is incredible. I geek out over things like that," he says.

He showed the same attention to detail in his personal life, when arranging a lavish proposal to Perry on Valentine's Day - whisking the singer away for her favourite pasta meal, before popping the question on a helicopter flight.

When the couple landed on a New York City skyscraper, their family and friends were waiting to party downstairs in a reception room wallpapered in real red roses.

Giving little away about his private life, he's made peace with his fame but unlikely to play up being a star.

"I find all those labels people put on you funny, to be honest. I went to drama school, I trained and I wanted to be an actor. I didn't want to be a celebrity or whatever. I thought I was going to go thorugh the usual route of maybe doing some Royal Shakespeare Company stuff and some TV, and if you're lucky, you'll get to do a bit of film. But things work differently sometimes," he shrugs.

 

* Carnival Row streams Friday, August 30 on Amazon Prime.



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