Orlando Bloom is feeling misunderstood. Stepping out of drama school and into the iconic blond wig of elf archer Legolas in Lord of the Rings created an unshakeable image of a staunch stoic warrior.
Since then he has seldom been seen without some kind of ancient weapon in his hand, either in the Rings trilogy, Pirates of the Caribbean or in Troy.
But in spite of starring in some of the highest grossing films of the last five years, the boy from Canterbury is feeling a little unfulfilled: "I've found myself in all these epic films but I am not necessarily that kind of actor.
"I want to explore the comedic side of myself, the kind of goofball, geeky kind of dude that I really feel I am." Orlando's potential as a comedy genius shall remain untapped for the time being as in Kingdom of Heaven he once again has a sword thrust in his hand and chainmail slapped to his back playing a blacksmith turned knight.
Ridley Scott's long held ambition to film a story about the Crusades is finally realised in the story of Balian of Ibelin.
A real character originally known as Barisan, he was a French nobleman who married into the Royal family of Jerusalem. In 1187 he negotiated the surrender of the city when it was besieged by the Muslim leader Saladin, the then ruler of Syria and Egypt.
Fact has been blurred wih fiction to create a drama about a man who is seeking redemption for his wife's sin of committing suicide after the death of their child, and his own of killing the priest who damned her soul.
"Balian is a man in a nihilistic state of disillusion. He couldn't be more depressed," says Orlando. "He goes off on a journey ultimately of spiritual discovery. He goes to the Holy Land to find forgiveness for his sins and those of his wife."
It is also a coming of age story as Balian is persuaded to join the Crusades by a baron, Godfrey, who reveals himself to be his father (played by Liam Neeson , this is actually a fictional character). When Godfrey is mortally wounded in battle, Balian inherits his title, his land and his sense of knightly duty.
One of the reasons Orlando was attracted to the role was that he saw it as a way of, at the grand old age of 28, graduating from playing boys to men.
The script was waiting for him when he returned from filming Troy, where he was the beautiful but shallow Paris whose womanising ways sparked the Trojan war.
"I'd just played the cowardly younger brother and I just thought 'wow, the chance to do the complete opposite, it would be amazing if I could land it'."
Orlando had history with director Ridley Scott 'he threw me out of a helicopter on Black Hawk Down', but he still had to convince him that he could carry a movie as confidently and charismatically as Russell Crowe had done in Gladiator.
"I auditioned for him. I had six hours to learn three of the biggest scenes in the movie, then he stuck a beard on my face, blood on my forehead and chainmail on my back and we got to it for a screen test for three hours or something.
"I couldn't believe it when it came through. This was a real transitional role for me."
Having worked almost exclusively on sprawling historical epics since graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Orlando felt, as he slipped on his armour, that he was in familiar territory.
" Having seen the way Viggo (Mortensen) carried his sword in Lord of the Rings, the way that Brad Pitt and Eric Bana carried theirs in Troy and the way that Johnny Depp did in Pirates, I had some idea how to carry a sword if you know what I mean."
A tall but slight figure in the flesh with smooth tanned skin and deep brown eyes framed by long lashes, Orlando worked hard to appear more physically imposing and less of a teen idol, eventually piling on 20lbs of muscle.
An advantageous side effect of this was it helped strengthen his back, which he broke while at college after falling three storeys from a roof top terrace.
"It still hurts but I work on it quite a lot. I have a trainer who works with me when I'm on working on movies.
"It's one of the things that has been a real blessing being an actor. You can get a trainer.
"When I went to work on Lord of the Rings I'd just had the second operation to remove the pins and plates that were in my back and I went to do one of the most physical roles in that movie."
The cumulative effect of all this messing about with swords, bows and arrows, and even learning to box for The Calcium Kid (a rare foray into the 21st century where he played a milkman turned pugilist), is that he's pretty useful in a tight spot.
"Throw me back a few hundred years and I'm probably quite handy," he laughs. "I probably am a better fighter, once you have been doing it for a while your reaction time gets a bit quicker."
Jeremy Irons, one of his co-stars in Kingdom, described Orlando as a 'young wine' with plenty of potential as he matures. It's a sentiment Orlando agrees with.
"I've got a lot to learn, You can't judge a book by its cover or even the first couple of chapters.
"I still pinch myself because I am six or seven years out of drama school, it's very much the beginning of my career but I have had these amazing opportunities. I have by no means 'arrived' though. I have a lot to do and probably a lot to get wrong as well."
Few young actors have had such an immediate impact as Orlando. As he flits from country to country filming, hordes of teenage girls regularly stake out his hotels and stand outside screaming his name.
His nomadic lifestyle and the intruding lenses of the paparazzi have made it difficult to maintain his relationship with American actress Kate Bosworth (last seen as Sandra Dee in Beyond the Sea). "There's not a lot of time for a private life, but I have a great family and friends who come and visit me. "
He is trying to strike a balance between career and personal life and talks wistfully about coming back to London to do theatre because "after a while acting in front of a camera can create a different headspace."
Before that he has to complete two sequels to the Pirates of the Caribbean and has also slotted in a contemporary drama, Elizabethtown, directed by Cameron Crowe.
"I am trying to do different things but I have had such great opportunities in film and they are not the sort that anyone would pass up."