This morning the crew at KLBJ-FM in Austin had a live phone interview with none other than Orlando Bloom (Legolas). It was sandwiched in between a bit by the late comedian Bill Hicks and some insipid listener phone calls, and if I hadn’t been driving to work I’d have taped it to get you a full transcript.

First of all, it was obvious Orlando is spreading the Gospel of the Ring. I don’t think I’ve ever heard such enthusiasm come from an actor before. He seemed in awe of the entire project. And he was in extremely good spirits too, gamely taking even the most ignorant, uninformed questions from the jocks. The interviews on KLBJ are usually pretty good, because the jocks either know the interview subject top to bottom, or they admit their ignorance outright and say “explain to us.” Well, this time they admitted ignorance early on, but then tried to ask “informed” questions which I guess they came up with by driving past Adventures In Crime and Space bookstore.

The jocks made the bold pronouncement that Orlando was reprising his role of Legolas from the TV version of LOTR. Orlando was utterly baffled by this until he figured out they were talking about “A Passage to Middle-earth” which aired on the Sci-Fi Channel. They asked if the sequal, Return of the King, was scheduled to go into production yet, and if he’d signed (of course, Orlando corrected them that The Two Towers was the sequal, and that all three films were done simultaneously). They asked him if he got a cut from the Burger King tie-ins (“I wish I did”) and called him “Orly” throughout. Funny stuff. Only it wasn’t.

Fortunately, Orlando took it all in stride. He explained the movie was “Packed full of all the right kinds of stuff — wizards, elves, goblins, Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett. You can’t go wrong with that.” People don’t need to read the books first, he said, that the movies are done in such a way to make them accessable to everyone while remaining true to the source material. He also expressed his awe for Peter Jackson’s final product: “Although it’s a fantasy, it’s based in reality. It’s a real world. That was Peter Jackson’s goal, to make people in the theater believe they’d actually been transported to a different land.” And he expressed awe of Tolkien, who made it “his life’s work to create this amazing fantasy land of Middle-earth.”

Orlando talked about how this was his first role straight out of drama school, and that he was extremely lucky to be part of the project. After a bit part in that Jude Law movie a few years ago, he got the opportunity to enroll in this prestigious British drama school — which meant he wouldn’t be working, aside from the odd television bit. His agent kept him on, however, and it was his agent that aggressively pursued LOTR while Orlando was still in school. Now, with Fellowship about to hit it big, and a role as an American Ranger in the upcoming Blackhawk Down, Orlando said he’s got one of the biggest career launches in history. I’d have to agree.