Whether he's traveling through Middle-earth or checking his DMs, Ismael Cruz Córdova does not concern himself with the opinions of trolls.
The The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power actor, who is the first person of color to portray an elf in the fantasy franchise, says he has received a constant barrage of "pure and vicious hate speech" online daily for the past two years, coinciding with the time that the Prime Video show's cast was first announced.
However, the breakout star has refused to take the vitriol to heart, instead using it to fuel his performance. "I fought so hard for this role for this very reason," Córdova told Esquire in a new interview. "I felt that I could carry that torch. I made sure that my elf was the most Elven, the most incredible, because I knew this was coming."
Prime Video Ismael Cruz Córdova in 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power'
In the series, Córdova plays Arondir, a level-headed elf who falls in love with a human named Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) while tasked with patrolling the southlands.
He added that he's happy Prime Video's latest foray into J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth is helping to rewrite what it means to be an elf and putting trolls in their place. "You can never use it as an excuse: 'But elves don't look like that,'" he said. "They didn't, but now they do."
Córdova's comments come amid a wave of review-bombing by fans online, some of whom have criticized the series for its diverse cast. The show currently holds a 38 percent audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes — compared to its 84 percent rating with critics — and Amazon has paused reviews of it on its platform.
Representatives for Amazon did not immediately respond to EW's request for comment about the reviews.
The first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power are streaming now on Prime Video.
For more on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, listen to EW's new podcast All Rings Considered, featuring in-depth episode breakdowns and exclusive interviews.
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