Orlando Bloom: "Carnival Row" is a commentary on refugee crisis

Orlando Bloom on his new show "Carnival Row"

Actor Orlando Bloom got his big break playing an elf, Legolas, in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. He also starred in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. 

Now he returns to fantasy in Amazon's new series "Carnival Row," which takes place in a Victorian world where humans and mythical creatures live together. Bloom stars as a detective investigating a serial killer; Cara Delevingne plays a fairy from his past who knows his darkest secret.

Actor Orlando Bloom, star of the new series "Carnival Row." CBS News

On "CBS This Morning" Thursday, Bloom said that the period fantasy series intrigued him with its social commentary on today's refugee crisis. "It's nice to be able to be a part of something that comments a little bit on what's going on in the world," he said.

"When I read the script I really felt, whilst this was a fantasy, I've never read anything like it, I've never seen anything like it … I play a detective who's investigating the murder of a fairy show girl. The fairies, they really represent the migrants and refugees."

The fairies, pucks and other mythical creatures seeking a safe place are sequestered into Carnival Row. "It's sort of a dark, interesting thriller-drama, but there's also this beautiful love story between myself and Cara." 

"It's your first starring role in a TV series," said co-host Anthony Mason. "Is it different work in any way?"

"Honestly, the way that they're making TV today, it really isn't," said Bloom. "The sets were phenomenal. Shot in Prague, the location was fantastic. They had a backlot and it was so detailed and vivid and real. As an actor, that's what you want; you want a great stage so you can give a performance." 

"Not in front of a green screen?"

"No! They really spared no expense. I think it has sort of felt a little bit like TV was like a little brother to movies at some point, and I think that's kind of – with the way people stream and can consume content these days – we're on Amazon Prime now – you can stream eight hours, and it felt like an eight-hour movie, really."

His character, Inspector Rycroft "Philo" Philsotrate, has his secrets. "He was an interesting man," Bloom said. "He was institutionalized his whole life. He was born in an orphanage and raised, [went] into the army, and then becomes a detective. The secret he has – I can't give it away obviously – to me it was like his superpower, because it enables him to become this empathetic being and to have a certain sense of empathy and compassion for the plight of the fairy folk. Which I think is such a wonderful thing to be able to do in a show." 

"Carnival Row" is available on Amazon Prime. To watch a trailer click on the video player below:

Carnival Row Season 1 - Official Trailer | Prime Video by Amazon Prime Video on YouTube

Bloom was also asked about his visit to BBC Radio 1 earlier this week, when he was pranked by his fiancée, Katy Perry, when he was asked to judge the impressions of listeners calling in to impersonate the singer.

As he listened to a woman sing "I kissed a girl and liked it, the taste of her cherry Chapstick," Bloom remarked, "That was great. Really well done. Not convinced!"

"Honey, I thought you knew me better!" Katy Perry pranks Orlando Bloom by BBC Radio 1 on YouTube

"Really got thrown under a bus there," Bloom smiled. "But I will say that she is really good at doing a faux English accent."

Mason suggested Perry could bring her faux English accent onto "Carnival Row" in a cameo role. "Have you talked to her about that?" he asked Bloom.

"No," he laughed. "But she would be fantastic. She could be an amazing fairy." 

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.