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Orlando Bloom: The Lord of the Teens, from AlloCine.com, December 16, 2002
translated by Maja and Meredith

The actor Orlando Bloom, one of the stars of "The Lord of the rings", quickly became a heartthrob of the young audience. Analysis of a phenomenon...

25 years old. 3 movies. Magazines covers. Dozens and dozens of websites about him. Thousands of passionate messages on the Allociné forum. But who is Orlando Bloom?

An idyllic beginning of a career

Revealed by his role as the elf Legolas in the saga The Lord of the rings, OB is above all a theater boy. When the movie Oscar Wilde came out in 1997 and when many proposals for roles came to him, the young man wished to continue his theatrical training for three years. A good choice, that opened the doors for him to PJ's trilogy. Initially cast for the role of Faramir (David Wenham), he finally gets the role of Legolas, a thin hero with golden hair, that suits his slender body. It's glory, since he was also chosen by Ridley Scott to play in Black Hawk Down.

France: the press is entranced, its readers… less so!

As soon as The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters in 2001, the media got swept up in the phenomenon. In France, the focus is usually on the “playboy” good looks of the British actor. Celebrity gossip mags play a more active role than magazines seriously devoted to the art of film. “We talk about Orlando Bloom because he’s good-looking,” declares Frédérique Plessier, editor in chief of the women’s monthly mag Vanilly. “It’s not his qualities as an actor that we emphasize, but his looks, which is what our target audience is interested in. He’s our 'guy of the month' for the December issue and is in our Astrolove file!”

Orlando Bloom, celeb mag poster boy? Not exactly. Frédérique Plessier clarifies, “He has potential, but he’s an actor that we’d consider to be on what we call the ‘2nd rung of celebrities’. It’s instinctive on our part to give him so much attention [meaning they’re going on feeling and personal preference, not star status]. Elijah Wood for example, his co-star in The Lord of the Rings, is much more popular among our readers”. Katia Blanchard, journalist for the teen monthly Salut!, agrees that the actor is not the darling of the French. "Based on the mail the editors have received and several surveys, readers prefer Daniel Radcliffe, from Harry Potter, or established stars such as Bruce Willis and Will Smith”.

Great-Britain, the press is seduced, its readers... also!

In England, OB's good looks are also appreciated by the written the press. And the young readers from the other side of the Channel are a lot more demanding than in France. Interviewed by Allociné, James Dyer, journalist for the monthly English magazine Empire, admits that "there is a big media demand around OB, but that it mostly comes from feminine press (the actor is now in Cosmogirl and Arena). That being said, cinema magazines finally gave way to the demand of the public, but only occasionally." He also confessed that "the actor's popularity is surprising. It appeared out of nowhere when The Lord of the rings hit the screens. Now people, especially girls, can't seem to get enough of him. Some girls even ask me for his personal address!" In France as well as in Great Britain, OB is subjected to a media gap: while he is the press people's pet, he doesn't obtain the favors of specialized press. But concerning the public demand, it is a lot more enthusiastic in England. Considering the differences between written press and its readership concerning the actor, the Internet is an exception.

Bloom, when your heart goes Bloom!

OB is a real phenomenon on the web. You find half as many sites about Elijah Wood, the real hero of The Lord of the rings, using Yahoo! as sites about OB. From different places, (England, USA, Australia,...) sites about OB are astonishing when it comes to their quality and the richness of their content. The Orlando Bloom Files, which is one of them, could almost be his official site. Not less than 10 news updates each day, thousands of pictures, hundreds of videos, plenty of articles about the actor: this site is THE Bible for any fan. Games, quizzes, original polls complete this almost exhaustive panorama, such as puzzles, games like hangman and quizzes like "which Orlando are you?"...
But the richness of this site has a price. Sarah, a 25-year old American, who is the manager of the site as well as a graphic designer confesses that she spends "more than 2 hours a day working on the site. My sources are various; fan contributions, information from mags or other web sites." But why this relentless devotion? "He's a great actor already", she answers. "I realized what a wonderful human being he is. He has a great sense of humor, and seems to be a warm and caring individual".

So many rumors!

It’s the price of fame… the craziest rumors about Orlando Bloom have been circulating, such as his supposed homosexuality or his various female conquests. There is also much meaningless, farfetched, and childish speculation surrounding the actor (concerning his hair, his trips to night clubs, his ears in The Lord of the Rings, his supposed blood relationship to Orlando, Dalida’s brother and manager! [I’ve never heard of this rumor, but according to this article some have speculated about the possibility of Orlando being related to another personality by the same name who is the manager/brother of a famous Italian singer, Dalida, who was very popular in France]. Everything is dissected and distorted. Clayton Everett, a journalist for the English website Unreel Movies, gives his two cents on the matter (?): “We avoid putting gossip on our site,” he told AlloCiné. “But when I talked to Dominic Monaghan (Merry in Lord of the Rings), he told me that Orlando was gay… before going back on what he’d just said!” Something more to feed the fires of Orlandomania… [Dom said it as a joke, read what he really said here.]

A mania that has thrived on French websites, especially on AlloCiné’s discussion forums. One of the members of the “Lord of the Rings” fellowship has managed to create another, even bigger fellowship: a fellowship of fans. Day and night, he’s the one people talk about the most in the forums. Pictures, passionate debates, insults, and rumors of all kinds, pro and anti-Bloom, abound, and the excitement has only increased with the approaching release of The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Orli.greenleaf, a 16 year-old French Swiss girl who is Orlando’s number one fan on the forum enthuses: “I find everything about him attractive: his looks as good as his acting. He has it all. I’m sure that he will last a lot longer than Leonardo DiCaprio!”

And now?

Handsome and talented, Orlando Bloom has everything, even if the media coverage surrounding him is a little behind in comparison to the sudden excitement that he has inspired among the public, especially on the web. How the actor will manage to handle things post-Lord of the Rings remains to be seen. For now, things look optimistic. Orlando Bloom is set to participate in several big productions: the outlaw movie Ned Kelly, the adventure movie Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp, and the historical drama Troy alongside Brad Pitt. Orlando, nothing more than a flash in the pan? Don’t be so sure…