Orlando Bloom brings "Romeo" to Broadway

(CBS News) Orlando Bloom's fans have seen him in a number of blockbuster movies, like "Pirates of the Caribbean." Now they can see Bloom on Broadway. For more about the whys and wherefores, Rita Braver tracked him down for some Questions and Answers:


We've seen him as a monster-slaying elf in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. He played a master swordsman in three "Pirates of the Caribbean" films.

And now at age 36, Orlando Bloom is making his Broadway debut, taking on his first Shakespearean role, in "Romeo and Juliet."

"Yes, my mum did liken it to me climbing Everest for my first climb out of the gate," Bloom laughed.

This version of the play features Condola Rashad as Juliet to Bloom's Romeo -- and it's set in the present.

Bloom even does a monologue astride his motorcycle:

"This love that thou hast shown
Doth add more grief to too much of mine own.
Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes;
Being vexed, a sea nourished with loving tears.
What is it else? A madness most discreet,
A choking gall, and a preserving sweet."

But Shakespeare's language and Romeo's character have NOT been altered.

"I mean, Romeo rails, man. He riots, he angry, he's a lover, he's a fighter," said Bloom. "So I thought I'd jump straight into that. Sink or swim, you know? Give it a good go."

Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad play Shakespeare's doomed lovers in a present-day staging of "Romeo and Juliet."
"Romeo and Juliet"/Hartman Group

Bloom's own life has taken some stage-worthy turns. He was born and raised in Canterbury, England, the son of Sonia Copeland, who ran a language academy, and her husband, South African expatriate writer Harry Bloom; he died when Orlando was four.

"You grew up, and then when you were a young teenager, your mom said, 'I want you to know the truth,'" said Braver. "It does sound like it's right out of Shakespeare, doesn't it?"

"It does, it does," Bloom said. "And at the time it was quite a surprise."

A real shocker! Bloom learned that his biological father was actually a longtime family friend.

"Colin Stone, who I'm very, very close to, has always been a part of my life," said Bloom. "I consider myself to have two fathers, you know?"

Another issue that Bloom has had to confront is his dyslexia.

"I always felt like I probably had to work twice as hard as everyone else to get about the same distance as a kid at school," he told Braver. "But I think that that gave me character, and taught me a lot about hard work and what it took to get somewhere."

At 16 Bloom moved to London to study acting, and got a few small television and film roles, including playing a male prostitute in a film about Oscar Wilde.

He went on to London's prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama. In 1999, just two days before graduation, Bloom got a call actors may wait a lifetime for: director Peter Jackson had cast him in the "Lord of the Rings" films.

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