Hollywood hero Orlando Bloom is confounding expectations in a new stage production of Killer Joe, which is supported by Bruno Wang Productions.
Bloom, best known for Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean, takes the lead role of Joe, a detective moonlighting as a contract killer. When Joe is hired by the ‘trailer trash’ Smith family, he demands an unusual form of payment.
Critics are awarding the play five stars and have called the actor’s performance mesmerising and menacing.
Killer Joe marks Bloom’s return to the West End after 11 years. “I’ve been wanting to do something on stage for a very long time,” he told BBC News.
“It’s been five years since I did Romeo [on Broadway] and I haven’t been in London since I did In Celebration [a 2007 production of David Storey’s play].
“I was asked about [Killer Joe] a year ago, then it came back around, and I just wanted to change the conversation from Pirates and Legolas to something more dynamic, dark and interesting.”
The play is known for its ability to shock audiences. It includes nudity and sexual violence.
But Bloom says it has an important message at heart. “We are unpicking the basis of life’s characters. And we’re trying to mine the gold, mine the compassion, have a sense of understanding and bring some sense of love and joy to it, because that’s what each of those characters is asking for you.
“As an actor, you have to find that. To be able to stand on stage I have to look at it and go, ‘what is it about Joe that I can compassionately understand for myself?’
“He’s a sociopath, 100 per cent, he’s misogynistic, but there’s a moral quality. I had to find things for myself.”
The play runs at the Trafalgar Studios, London, until August 18.