Orlando Bloom Made Almost Nothing For His Best Role

Orlando Bloom made $175,000 filming The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

By Phillip Moyer | Published

orlando bloom

Peter Jackson‘s original Lord of the Rings trilogy was, (and arguably still is), the greatest series of fantasy films ever created. The follow-up Hobbit trilogy failed to reach the heights of the original three films, and while Amazon’s Rings of Power had its high points, it paled in comparison to the movies that came before. However, even though Orlando Bloom’s portrayal of the elf Legolas was so popular that they brought him back for The Hobbit trilogy (despite the character never appearing in the book), Lad Bible reports that Bloom only got $175,000 for the entire original trilogy. 

The report summarizes an interview between Orlando Bloom and SiriusXM host Howard Stern. Bloom noted that Legolas was his first major film role — previously, he had only played a rentboy in the film Wilde and had small parts on TV shows — so his name didn’t exactly attract a high price. However, seeing that the trilogy has raked in almost $3 billion in box office receipts, $175,000 seems a little low.

However, despite the low pay, Orlando Bloom had nothing negative to say about his time spent in New Zealand filming the movies. He called the films the “greatest gift of my life,” and revealed that he’d be willing to do it all over again for half the salary.

Orlando Bloom definitely benefitted from his appearance in the trilogy. He went from a relative nobody to an instantly-recognizable superstar whose name still brings in crowds to this day.

The effects of the Lord of the Rings films on Orlando Bloom’s career could be seen even before the trilogy’s final film was released in theaters. In July 2003, five months before Return of the King was released, Bloom starred alongside Johnny Depp in a movie that nobody expected much from at the time: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. While Depp’s portrayal of the now-iconic Captain Jack Sparrow stole the show, Bloom’s appearance in the film helped elevate what was expected to be a poorly-made tie-in to a theme park ride to the classic status it holds today. 

The unexpected popularity of The Curse of the Black Pearl resulted in the one-off movie turning into yet another multi-billion-dollar franchise, with Orlando Bloom appearing in four of the franchise’s five films. And this time around, Bloom was allotted his share of the spoils, reportedly making multi-million-dollar salaries on each movie. He also received much higher pay when appearing in The Hobbit movies, which brought in box office numbers similar to the original LoTR films.

While Orlando Bloom might not be quite as big of a deal as he was during his heyday, he’s still a recognizable face who headlines big movies. He’s set to star in the upcoming Gran Turismo film along with the action thriller Red Right Hand, and the sports thriller The Cut. On top of these films, Bloom also starred in the Amazon fantasy series Carnival Row, which just completed its second and final season this March.