Orlando Bloom Overcomes Panic Attacks To Play Against Type In 'Haven'

Handsome actor is disfigured in film by first-time director Frank E. Flowers.

When you're a first-time director working with a complex script, you expect certain obstacles. When the most recognizable face in your film is purposely made as unrecognizable as possible, you expect an even tougher road ahead.

Frank E. Flowers just never imagined the road would be this long.

Filmed in his native Cayman Islands, Flowers' directorial debut, "Haven," stars Orlando Bloom as Shy, a character caught in the middle of seemingly unconnected but ultimately interlocking story lines. The twisty drama was shelved, awaiting release, for two years while executives figured out how to market it; it was given a limited release last week.

For Flowers, the wait to see "Haven" in theaters has been a blessing as much as a curse.

"With smaller movies, it's always a more difficult and delicate process, and this movie is very special to all of us," he said. "The movie deserved a good release and a good chance, and this is kind of what we're doing now. The process was just waiting for the right time, and this was sort of the right time for us."

According to castmembers, the long delay has allowed word of mouth to build for the island flick, creating a sense of expectation that wouldn't necessarily have been there before. "Every 'Pirates [of the Caribbean]' interview I've ever done, [I've mentioned it]," Bloom joked.

"I think the two years it took the film to come out will only help it," said Zoe Saldana, who plays Bloom's love interest. "Usually when you have a very small independent film and you release it immediately, it sort of dies because there wasn't enough time to get the film across."

Orlando Bloom Alert!
Watch as Shy (Orlando Bloom) begs for another chance with Andrea (Zoe Saldana) in this clip.

Too little time has certainly not been an issue for the cast of "Haven." Rather than be frustrated, however, the delay gave the cast an opportunity for perspective and a chance to remember, even two years later, why they loved the film in the first place.

"I think it pays to be tolerant and patient, and I always took it as it just wasn't meant to come out at a certain time," Saldana said. "I think it's coming out at the best time. We're all obviously more mature, and our passion for it hasn't changed. To me it's how proud I feel about Frankie and the film."

Set among the expatriate community on the Cayman Islands, "Haven" sure wasn't the Caribbean experience Bloom was used to.

"It was a great joy and pleasure to work on a little movie among all these big ones," Bloom admitted. "I literally had a panic attack the night before [filming began]. I'm calling my manager going, 'I don't think I can do this.' I [would have] eight scenes to do, and I'm used to shooting maybe one or two scenes a day with two or three lines of dialogue — and most of those are just 'Ship ahoy' or 'It's a big squid in the ocean!' "

Recognized by fans for his good looks and charm, Bloom spends most of "Haven" behind disfiguring makeup, the result of acid being thrown in Shy's face. For Bloom, the mask was a continuation of, rather than a departure from, his previous roles.

"For me the costume dramas that I've done — those are all things that sort of help as well," Bloom said. "This is who this guy is, this is his life and this is the character I'm playing. So therefore this is what we're doing."

Flowers nevertheless praised Bloom for rebelling against his boyish image.

"In general, as an actor, people try to put you in different sorts of [pigeonholes]," the director said. "[They say,] 'You should do this, and you should do that.' Orlando kind of transformed his image and vibe to embody a character. There was less Orlando and more of that character. And that's really brave and really kind of a special thing."

"Haven" was special to Bloom for another reason: The film marks the first time the "Lord of the Rings" star produced a movie. According to Bloom, his producing credit is a testament to the vigor of the entire crew.

"The energy, the enthusiasm, the gusto and the passion — I mean, it was a family," the 29-year-old said. "We were all picking up lights and carrying them and running them from one place to another. It's like, 'OK, forget the lights. The sun's coming down, we'll use this.' And that energy and excitement was coming from every member of the cast and crew."

Flowers was most proud that he was able to use the film to show a side of his homeland that isn't often portrayed.

"More than any other place in the Caribbean, Cayman is sort of a very affluent country traditionally, so it gets this rep for just being this kind of tax haven," the director said. "And it's important to show that there's more than that. There are real people with real issues that are akin to any small town in America. There's a lot more than just Jacuzzis, sandy beaches and banks."

And being able to show that, Flowers learned, made it worth the wait.

Check out everything we've got on "Haven."

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