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Return of the King, FHM Collections (UK), Fall/Winter 2003
scans by Elements and Sharlyn
[Words: Ian Nathan, Photography: Icon International, OCR: §fyre]

Fate has chosen Orlando Bloom. With dream roles in epic movies and a fanatical fan base, the kid from Kent rules.

When Mrs Bloom's second child was born she chose the name Orlando from the title character of a Virginia Woolf book. In the book, our hero lives for 400 years experiencing the great historical and cultural events through encounters with important figures of the time, And while notching up four centuries of birthdays seems unlikely, so far her son's career path has been no less incredible,

In the six years since Orlando Bloom made his film debut playing a rent boy in the story of Oscar Wilde's life, he's landed the roles most actors can only dream of and worked with some of the biggest talents in the industry.

From elfin warrior Legolas in Peter Jackson's The Lord Of The Rings to rookie GI in Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, he could also be found crossing swords with Johnny Depp in Pirates Of The Caribbean . Now he's turned outlaw as right-hand man to Heath Ledger's Ned Kelly, before going all Greek as warrior Paris alongside Brad Pitt in the upcoming epic Troy. But before that comes his first lead role as a boxing milkman in the British spoof documentary The Calcium Kid.

Then, of course, there's the cult of Orlando. From pre-pubescent girlies to pensionable grannies, women simply can't get enough of him. And with his laid-back attitude and down-to-earth charm, men can't help but think of the extreme sports-loving 26-year-old as a bit of a chap. And a pretty stylish one at that.

You always look sharp. Are you into fashion?

I like dressing up. Most of the films I've clone have been about getting into costumes. That really helps in getting into the character. Am I into fashion? Yeah, I suppose I am, but not massively. I don't think I follow fashion particularly but I like clothes, When I was a kid, I used to come up to London to go shopping. I even used to work in Paul Smith in Covent Garden. But now it's mainly when I do photo shoots that I get to see what is out there. I don't go shopping much anymore.

But you did do a Gap advert...

My manager phoned me up saying, "Listen. Gap is doing a campaign where it's got three great people who are directing three different ads. We are putting you forward for it." I was like, "Commercials? I'm not sure about that." But as soon as I heard [Vanilla Sky/Almost Famous director] Cameron Crowe's name, it was like, even if I'm only doing one day on set with the guy... It was an experience. He is just the coolest guy alive. We had music blaring as we ran down the street, Tom Cruise came down to the set (he was in town visiting Cameron) and it was an opportunity to see Cameron work. If I could work with the man again, I would be honoured.

'You're something of the extreme sportist?

Snowboarding is still a passion so I try and do that at every opportunity. but I haven't had many chances lately. I don't go looking for bungec jumps - "Oh, it's the weekend, I wonder if there's a bungee jump nearby?" People think that's me because I got involved in all of that shooting LOTR in New Zealand. I'll be the first to have a laugh if something is going on, but I don't actively seek it out.

So have you gone all HoHywood or do you still consider London your home?

My cousin lives in LA and the more I visit, the more I find things about it that are great. Would I live there permanently? I like living in London. I like the reality of London. LA is like I am holiday - the sun's always out.

You've played some pretty cool characters, but next up is a milkman. What's that all about?

I wanted to work in England and I've known the director [Alex De Rakoff] since we were teenagers. Also, it was an opportunity to show another side of my character and play the fool. I have been playing all these cool characters, like Legolas, but Jimmy is more straightforward - a man of the people. He's a milkman moseying through life who suddenly gets picked to fight the world boxing champion. He puts his trust in all these people around him like Herbie [his promoter], who turns everything he touches to shite.

What about the training? Can Orlando Bloom take on all comers?

I wanted to get super fit so I did a lot of preparation. I really enjoyed it. I started training in LA, then went to Australia to film Ned Kelly and kept it up. I was trying to put on weight and develop shape because I'm a bit skinny.

Now that I've done the training and got into the head of being a boxer, I appreciate how fit they are. Jimmy's not a fantastic boxer, he just enjoys the whole boxing thing because it's like a family. But even so, he trains as a boxer so he's got that kind of physicality and fitness about him.

Did you ever feel you couldn't be bothered?

I was training here in London, three weeks prior to filming and that's when I made some headway. I was eating food in order to put on the right sort of weight and was skipping, jogging, shadow boxing and sparring. Looking back on the roles I've played: an archer, a soldier, an outlaw and now a boxer, this is the one time - for the weigh-in scene - I thought, "I've got to give it a go. I've got to get the boxing thing going and get the physique right."

Outlaw, archer, boxer, soldier.., is it easy to switch from all these characters?

The transitions between the jobs haven't been difficult. I'd just finish boxing on a Saturday and on the Monday I'd he on set in LA doing a scene for Pirates Of The Caribbean. There'd he a guy waiting to do swordplay with me, so I've got to do training with him between takes.

How do you cope with all the screaming girls?

They're cool. It's sweet, but they don't know me. They've just seen the characters I play and I'm flattered that they respond to them, but that's not me. If you put yourself in the public eye then you arc going to have to take what comes. I remember reading something Ewan McGregor once said, I can't quote exactly, but... you put yourself up on this huge screen, just to be taken down. I'm lucky because I am taking those steps up, but I am sure I'll piss somebody off at some point and then they'll want to bring me down. It's just about trying to live life and enjoy it. I don't have my own website, but apparently there's a lot of mad stuff going on there. I move around a lot so there's mail forwarded to me all over the place. I'm never in one place long enough to sit down and look at it.

How do stop yourself from losing it?

It has been this mad rollercoaster ride. I just try and keep my head above water. I feel great in the sense that work brings confidence and I try to keep it as real as possible. I still ride my bike around London; I'm still living in the same sort of area and seeing all my mates and family, who have became more important to me than ever.

During the filming of LOTR, the cast famously bonded, but are you still tight with your elf and hobbit buddies?

Yeah, they were doing some ADR (automatic dialogue replacement) on LOTR when I was filming Ned Kelly. I couldn't do it because of all the facial hair but I thought, "This is hollocks. I feel out of it and I want to he a part of it." So I went to New Zealand for the weekend to say hi. I had a dinner party with Viggo [Mortensen]. We had this mad night and saw all the old crew.

What's it like being part of something as successful as The Lord Of The Rings?

To be a part of that whole fantastic adventure is... incredibly lucky doesn't do it justice. I felt honoured to he part of such an epic adventure. If I do nothing else, at least I've been in The Lord Of The Rings. That makes you feel confident and fortunate. I just try to keep it real.

Taking it unreal for a second, what can we expect from The Return Of The King, the final Rings movie?

Beyond the conclusion of the narrative journey. people who like that action epic moviemaking are going to get all they want and more. It's like the gift that keeps giving - "Okay, it's done. Oh no, here's another one!"

So how was it working with hell-raising legend Jonny Depp on Pirates Of The Caribbean?

As soon as I found out he was attached to the project I was like, "Where do I sign?" As an actor who is a star in his own right, he seems to walk a line that manages to swerve and sidestep all the rigmarole. I've always looked up to the guy, so I wasn't going to let the opportunity to work with him pass by. And Keira Knightley is also in it and she is very sweet. And I got to work in LA and the Caribbean...

Which is nice...

You know, when I hear myself saying things like that, I'm sure somebody somewhere is going. "Fucking bastard!"

[Pirates Of The Caribbean is out now; Ned Kelly is out September 26; The Calcium Kid is out October 3; The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King is out December 17 and Tray is out in 2004.]