Let's Speak Bloom, Allegra (Germany), January 2004
translated by Marny
Let Bloom speak: Yes, if he would actually talk … Allegra met the most
sought-after but maybe most insecure new star in Hollywood. It wasn’t an easy
assignment, but a beautiful one.
If you ever meet Mr. Bloom don’t you ever
call him “Orly”.
Orlando Bloom is without a doubt a very nice young man.
Most of the time anyway. The one who wants to feel his wrath just has to ask for
his nickname: Orly. Don’t make it worse now and start laughing. It is enough
that the host of his admirers calls him that and even blushingly requests him to
sign autographs with the nickname. But also the teenage-press insists to call
him Orly, as if to save syllables.
And Orlando is such a beautiful name for
a beautiful actor, who just finds one thing less beautiful: the minimization of
his person and his intentions. Orlando Bloom furrows his brow in a sad
James-Dean-frown, rolls his brown eyes and makes an effort, probably for the
thousandth time, to put the bizarre cult about his person into perspective.
Of course he is aware of the sprouting of fan-sites on the net or that
Hollywood says his name in the same breath with Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp, since
he worked with both recently. But being „the pin up for teenagers“ (he says it
almost whispering)… New frown.
“A friend,” Orlando composes himself,
“explained to me quite pragmatically that there will always be new idols or pop
stars upon which young girls set their ideals. It is just totally unreal for me
to think about it. Why me? Just a while ago I was happy to have a job after
drama school. Now even friends ask me with whom I am sleeping, as if they were
asking me what time it is.”
Not that he is complaining. It is just that he
is truly upset about being hunted by ghosts he didn’t call upon himself. Even in
today’s media-society, where every clown can be made into a superstar, Bloom’s
boom is a phenomenon. Of course, when he played the jauntiest moustache-wearer
since Errol Flynn in “Pirates of the Caribbean”, he immediately fulfilled every
requisite for an universally usable leading man. Highly visible talent, a soft
face, androgynous body build-- there are reasons that everybody wants to see
him. But Orlando was already an “Orly” even before he played a character to be
admired. When I met him a couple of years ago in Rabat (Marocco), where he fell
with an almost bold-shaved head from a chopper for the film “Black Hawk Down”,
there were already a couple of British kids waiting for him in the hotel. Not
even a glance for co-star Ewan McGregor: in England, Orlandomania had begun
early. And that wasn’t just because of his first TV films, but mainly because
the propaganda via the web. My daughter loved Orly early, when it would have
been my professional duty to know about him already.
This was the way that
girls discovered him for themselves and then transmitted the secret treasure
whispering to other friends, and supported his career through petitions and
polls. Had this democratic movement of the masses admiring him any influence in
securing his casting in Lord of the Rings?
With his official breakthrough
role, as the 2931-year-old blond elf Legolas in the successful trilogy, Bloom
didn’t aim for the spotlight . Maybe he was afraid of the “Leo-curse”, which
drove a good actor like Leonardo Di Caprio into isolation after Titanic and
makes him look weak in manly roles. Anyway, Bloom’s publicity-display isn’t the
best. And this isn’t easily solved through his explanation that during his
lengthy filming of “Pirates of The Caribbean” or “Ned Kelly” he hadn’t time to
make publicity for himself. Earlier interviews already hint that Orlando Bloom
is not a friend of any free-flowing information display. When he accidentally
let it slip that he was 13 years old when he learned that a good friend of the
family and not his mother’s husband was his real father, he almost bit his own
tongue. And he tried to cover it up quoting that most actors came from
dysfunctional families. About the fact that a year before filming Lord of the
Rings he broke his back from a fall and had to consider spending the rest of his
life in a wheelchair, he just waves it away. Dark thoughts don’t belong to
creatures of light.
Generally, Orlando Bloom couldn’t be more noncommittal
during our chat in New York. “Success hasn’t changed me”. These are some of the
phrases he uses. Or: “I hope that my work speaks for myself.” Yes, and where the
road into the future might lead him, he cannot even make a guess. “I am just 26
year old!” That he is 26 year old is something he repeats about 26 times in the
half hour we talk, as if he couldn’t or shouldn’t be taken seriously. But just
because when talking about any risky issue, he flashes a disarming smile and one
doesn’t want him to have permanent damage from constant shrugging, one gets used
to his defense-mechanisms.
Exactly why he insists on denying himself is
something we’d really like to know. There are two possibilities: either has the
young star, raised in Canterbury and London, let his American colleagues rub off
on him, coaching him never to tell much. In this regard, you will never hear
anything from him about being known as Kate Bosworth’s “darling”.
Possibility number two: Bloom hasn’t really realized the size of his
exposure and image and is still standing by. He prefers to be silent than to say
things that might be wrong. He answers too many of the questions according to
the advice of fellow stars. Brad Pitt taught him during the shooting of “Troy”
how to walk through Paparazzi-masses. And from Johnny Depp he learnt to deal
with stage-fright. Especially Depp. There aren’t better mentors, for sure, but
that Bloom now also wears heavy rings, necklaces and wallowing shirts is almost
too much of an adaptation.
Under his current unruly curls, Bloom seems
agitated, surprised, shy, cunning, sensible, conspiratorial and at the same time
innocent, just the way only a nice guy can be. Demonstrative self-confidence:
not a hint. It is the same concerning his ambitions. To the question if he would
like to do something more than acting in the movie-business, he lets you explain
what you mean, related to directing or screenwriting. “Ah, yeah. Why not?”
Once again you can see this man is open to influences from the outside. He
entered theater-training because his mother thought it was a good idea, he used
to let his sister pick his clothes: “So that I could live out my short party
phase in London clubs”. But only as long as he has the last word. Before we get
the impression of a day-dreamer: Someone who earns up to eight million dollars
for a movie and causes a mass panic while walking across a street, has to
develop an instinct about what is good or bad for him. “Hi Orly” the next
journalist greets him.“My name is Orlando” says Orlando Bloom.