Orlando Bloom Talks Wrapping Up Carnival Row The Right Way
Feb 17, 2023
Did Orlando Bloom pull a card from Joker’s playbook for his inspector Rycroft Philostrate (a.k.a. Philo) in the second and final season of Carnival Row? Let’s just say, Bloom’s Philo has a lot to deal with in these final episodes. For starters, Philo must come to terms with his own duality as a half-human, half-fae, and for Bloom, that proved to be an intriguing twist as the show entered its final stage.
Carnival Row turned into Prime Video’s most ambitious series. Between its stellar storytelling and visually stunning cinematography, fans have enjoyed a compelling tale set in a fantasy world where humans and creatures clash. Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies) says the show was a huge undertaking and points out other things his character must deal with.
As Philo grapples with the fact that he’s the son of Absalom Breakspear (Jared Harris) and the half-brother of the Chancellor, Jonah Breakspear (Arty Froushan), he must also investigate a new series of gritty murders. And his new case somehow hints at a potential civil war between the humans and the fae. It also thwarts Philo’s romance with Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne of Planet Sex with Cara Delevingne), putting their relationship in jeopardy.
Bloom also serves as executive producer of the series alongside new showrunner Erik Oleson, costar Cara Delevingne, and Brad Van Arragon, Sarah Byrd, Jim Dunn, Sam Ernst, Wesley Strick, and Travis Beacham. The actor shared more about the season ahead with MovieWeb.
Channeling The Joker?
MovieWeb: Congratulations on these final episodes. How has being in the series stretched you, and what have you learned most from the experience?
Orlando Bloom: Good question. It was huge this final season. I think the fact that we got shut down during COVID was almost a blessing. Because it meant that we could go back and look at all the material we’ve done and how far we reached. Realizing that we were going to be down for a while [during the pandemic] meant we could look at what it all meant in terms of the technicalities of filming, building up the [Carnival Row] world, and the special effects we would make for the season finale. It was huge.
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MW: Your character has a lot at stake this season.
Bloom: I go really deep with his character. We came back and realized that we wanted to use a creative device that [showrunner] Erik Oleson had. It helped explore the inner workings of my character. So, whilst you see the physicality of the character play out, he’s also in this place of, “it’s not who you are, but what you do.”
MW: Basically, the actions you take.
Bloom: That’s very true for Philo. In the sixth episode, you see his internal character come out. I had this idea for him to be a bit like the Joker in terms of Batman. You know, Philo is a bit like a Batman in my mind, and the Joker would be this sort of sociopathic, crazy character. And of course, here, he’s not “the Joker,” but this season he’s like a version of that kind of really twisted mindset. We see what that does to him as a character; what that does to a person who’s lived a lie.
Breaking Down Carnival Row
MW: How would you sum up Philo’s arc this final season?
Bloom: Philo has got shame and guilt around living a lie. And now, he’s trying to live in his truth and help. It was so much to play with, especially the love story [between Vignette], which is so beautiful, tragic, messy, honest, and wonderful. And there are so many things that are unexpected about this world [in the show]. When I read the script, initially, I’d never seen anything like it because there was no source material. We had nothing to go on. So, it was sort of fun to include a social commentary aspect within the show; to look at the world we’re all living in and let those things play out magically in the show.
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MW: What’s one big thing you hope audiences take away from the show before it ends?
Bloom: You know, I think we’re giving audiences a real big bang for their buck this season. I think forgiveness is a big theme. And acceptance. And that idea that we are what we do, as opposed to what we say we’ll do. What I also appreciate about the series is that there’s no sort of “Hollywood” ending here.
MW: And, what do you feel audiences have really responded to, overall?
Bloom: I think it’s surprised people. I had hoped that it landed in a way for people to find some solace because it was all shot through a rather unique time in the world. We went back into film towards the end of COVID, but we’re experiencing this new version of the planet, perhaps this united place—like what these characters experience—and that sort of thing was all very interesting, wasn’t it?
The second and final season of Carnival Row debuts on Prime Video on Feb. 17.
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