, HotLine (UK), Summer 2004
typed by Carrie, scan by Katie
Catapulted to superstardom by that Trilogy, Orlando Bloom could be forgiven
for acting the Hollywood big shot but, as James Rampton finds out, this hot
property has both feet planted firmly on the ground.
Although he is still only 27, it seems unlikely that Orlando Bloom will ever
experience a greater high than attending the world premiere in New Zealand
of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the final installment of Peter
Jackson's spectacularly successful adaptation of the epic fantasy trilogy.
Going to the screening showed the young British actor what it must be like to
be a visiting head of state.
"It was a crowning moment," he beams. "We were all in open-topped
Mustangs traveling from a meeting with the Prime Minister at the House of
Parliament, down to the cinema. It was hilarious! Fantastic! In New Zealand,
on stamps and coins and everything. My mum is keeping examples of all this
She is going to have some pretty full cupboards over the coming years
because playing Legolas, the heroic Elf leader, has turned Bloom into seriously
hot property. Tinsel Town producers are door-stepping him like so many
over-eager double-glazing salesmen.
Thanks to that extraordinarily popular triptych of movies, Bloom has
been catapulted into such hit films as Black Hawk Down, Pirates of the
and Ned Kelly. Now, his face is recognisable everywhere from Canterbury,
England, to Canterbury, New Zealand. He has rapidly become one of only a
of British actors with the above-the-title clout to 'open' a Hollywood
With his shimmering eyes and a set of cheekbones to die for, Bloom
possesses a natural ease on screen that audiences immediately latch on to. He
presence to burn. He is a Movie Star-very much with a capital 'M' and a
capital 'S'. All this acclaim could well have gone to his head but what is most
appealing about Bloom is that he is not getting the least bit carried away by
this newfound A-List status. He retains that most British of qualities:
"London is my home," he assert. "I have family in America, and I have
spent enough time there to feel that I have some semblance of life there. I
feel very lucky to be able to be able to do that but London, England, keeps you
very real. The lifestyle here keeps you grounded. Waking up in the morning
when it's grey and wet and you have to get the Tube to work can get on top of
you after a while, but that's what I love about it. I love the changing
seasons, the weather. I love it when it rains because when you have been away
much, you appreciate that even more."
His natural modesty is also reflected in his choice of movies. Although
The Lord of the Rings has enables him to have his pick of the plum roles in
Hollywood, Bloom prefers to intersperse mega-blockbusters with smaller-scale,
independent Brit-pics--such as his latest offering, The Calcium Kid.
In this light-hearted, low-budget film, he plays Jimmy, a milkman and
amateur boxer who, after a series of comic scrapes, winds up fighting for the
world title. Bloom underlines that it was the quirky, indie feel of the feel
of the film that attracted him. "I did it because I don't want to be thought
of as the sort of actor who only does epic films and nothing else. I have
always loved independent films. For the most part, when I go to cinema, it is
see independent movies. Obviously, I see the great epics and big films as
well but some of my favourite films have been City of God and Amores Perros.
never know how things will go with an independent film but I'm very happy
with the way that The Calcium has turned out. It's very light, a very sweet,
heart-felt story somewhere between a Billy Elliot style and a Lock, Stock. It
has it's own little area in there."
He reckons the humour lies in the unlikeliness of Jimmy as a
professional pugilist. "He isn't actually a very good boxer--that's the comedy of it,"
Bloom smiles. "He's a milkman, first and foremost, and boxing is what he does
to feel part of a family that he doesn't have at home."
A man who takes his job seriously, Bloom did some intensive training in
the ring for the part, "so that I could hold my fists up with the gloves
on--they're quite heavy! It was a fun process, I have a whole new respect for
boxers now because it's not an easy sport. It's very demanding, physically and
mentally." in this ultimate school of hard knocks, Bloom was not immune from
learning a few harsh lessons. "I took a few knocks, yeah. It's an interesting
thing trying to punch somebody--that's not a particularly pleasant thing to
do. It's a weird feeling."
The other area that Bloom researched thoroughly was the life of a
milkman. "Absolutely!," he enthuses. "I had a few lessons driving round in milk
floats and carrying bottles of milk becasuse guys can carry like, a bottle in
each finger and one on each palm. I didn't actually pull that off!"
Bloom clearly had a ball making The Calcium Kid but what pleased him
above all about the movie was the fact that it afforded him the opportunity to
show another side of himself. Light as a feather, this piece demonstrates that
there is very much more to this actor than a passionately committed warrior.
"I am very proud of this film," Bloom asserts. "It was an opportunity for me
to be a bit of a clown. I had done The Lord Of The Rings, Black Hawk Down
and Ned Kelly at that point, and all of those were these very intense and
serious young men... or elves. This was a chance to throw caution to the wind."
Quite a change from the earnest young archer he played in The Lord of
the Rings. But Bloom does not for a moment regret his role as Legolas. How
could he not cherish the part that transformed his career? "I think I am always
going to be grateful to Peter Jackson and The Lord of the Rings. It put me
into a new arena--I was suddenly thrown into the public eye."
If there has been one drawback for Bloom, it is the full-on intensity of
his overnight fame. It has certainly turned a simple act such as going to
the supermarket into something of a challenge. "I can get a little frazzled
with it all and sometimes it's overwhelming," the actor admits. "People come up
to you when you are shopping. It's weird, people approach you and they are
nervous, so you have to do all the work. They stand frozen in front of you, and
you don't want to create a scene."
Bloom goes on to reveal that where he is most frequently lionised is on
the internet. "But it's not like that in my everyday life," he hastens to add. "I get a lot of fan mail. I haven't played an axe
murderer yet, so I
haven't attracted any of those letters--it's mostly just people wishing me
panic on the streets of London."
But whether he likes it or not, the actor has become a solid gold sex symbol--how else explain the fact his shouldering image adorns the bedroom
walls of a million teenage girls? Bloom thinks that women fell for Legolas
because he is an un-macho figure who poses no threat. "He's not like, 'I'm a
this is the way it is, honey. Come and get it.' He's much deeper than that."
In any case, Bloom is--as countless young women will be mortified to
learn--already taken. He is dating the Californian actress Kate Bosworth, who
starred in Blue Crush and The Horse Whisperer. "I'm in love with love," he
beams, "It's heavenly when you're falling for someone and you can't stop
Brought up in Canterbury, Kent, Bloom got the acting bug at a young age
and decamped to London as an ambitious 16-year-old. He signed up with the
National Youth Theater. Ever self-effacing. Bloom says that he was never
perceived as drop-dead gorgeous when younger. "I was quite chubby as a kid.
honest, the sports they had at school never really worked for me."
The actor continues bashfully that he only entered the business in the
first place as a way of meeting girls. "Basically, I'm acting because of the
women. I don't care much about the money. Frankly, if I got the chance to kiss
someone in a film, they wouldn't need to pay me at all." Much to his
chagrin, though, thus far, "I haven't even had any kissing scenes! One Disney
at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean--'Quick, before the kids get tired!'."
After graduation from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London,
Bloom began his television career--as so many British actors do--with a
walk-on in Casualty, before making his big-screen bow in 1997 playing a
in Wilde. Bloom has come a long way in the last seven years--he has just been
named Actor of the Year by US cinema-goers and film critics, scooping a
whopping 49 percent of the vote. As if that wasn't impressive enough, in his
latest venture, Troy, he is headlining with Brad Pitt, no less. In this gargantuan sword-and-sandals epic that promises to be the major league
this summer, Bloom plays the vain Paris. His selfishness is abducting the
Helen from her husband, Menelaus, King of Sparta, sparks the 10-year Trojan
"Troy is the story of stories, I'm sure Shakespeare took a lot from it.
It was an epic adventure. The challenge for me was to find a sympathetic
aspect to a character who is a young guy in love. It's about the indiscretion
youth, thoughtless actions that lead to devastating war.
"Paris is not particularly heroic and it was a challenge to try and show
the human aspect of his character. There is a very human quality to
Paris--one of lust and affairs of the flesh."
Working with Pitt in Malta gave Bloom a clear insight into the pressures
of living permanently in the spotlight. "We had a cast dinner at a
restaurant," the actor recalls. "As we left, I was talking to Brad. It was
one of the
single most bizarre things I have ever seen. It felt like pretty much the
whole of Malta had descended on the guy.
"I witnessed, with great interest, the incredible poise and humility and
grace with which he carried himself at that point. People tend to get a
little bit frenetic and frantic around him, so it was eye-opening to see him
handle that situation as there were people coming at him and trying to touch
and grab him."
Bloom may have the odd problem in the supermarket but he has no desire
to be mobbed in this way. He says he has no time for all that starry stuff.
"I think if I make the right choices, things will go in the right
direction," he reflects. "I haven't sold out yet. I don't feel like I've done
anything too cheesy, and I'm not in a hurry to make millions and millions of
dollars. I got into this because I wanted to be an actor, not because I
be famous or a celebrity. I'm still trying to keep it all about the work
because that's what I enjoy."
So Bloom hopes to remain with his feet very much planted to the ground--and the auspices are good. He has the grace, for instance, to laugh
moment when it first dawned on him that he was in the absurdly famous league.
"My mum flew over to New Zealand on a plane with a picture of me on the
side of it!"
If that didn't phase Orlando Bloom, we reckon nothing will.
Born in Canterbury on January 13, 1977, This makes Orlando Bloom not only
prettier, more famous and richer than most of us, but younger as well.
His father died when he was four. While growing up, the young Orlando
believed his father was the Legendary anti-apartheid activist Harry Bloom.
Orlando left canterbury at the age of 16 to act with the national youth
theater. Two years later, he won a scholarship to the British American Drama
He gets an agent at the age of 20. Shortly after, he make shis first
appearance in 1997's Wilde.
He makes for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. As well as plays, he
appears on such British telly staples as Casualty, the Midsomer Murders, and,
oh dear, The Ben Elton Show.
In 1998, disaster strikes as he plunges three floors from a roof terrace and
snaps his back like a twig. Told he would never walk again, the fortunate
fellow recovers and leaves hospital 12 days later. Eight lives left....
Admitting that he is "Accident-Prone", Orlando claims "I've broken my back,
my ribs, my nose, both my legs, my arm, my wrist, a finger and a toe and
cracked my skull three times." So, maybe that's just five or six lives.
1999: Auditioning for the human Faramir in LOTR, the jammy git is given the
Plum role of immortal elf Legolas instead. His cheekbones and pointy ears make
him very popular with the ladies.
The Nine actors playing the Fellowship get so chummy that they each get a Tattoo--the world "nine" in Mystical
script... Except for John Rhys-Davies
(Gimli) who bottles it and sends his stunt double in his place..
2001: Lands a part in Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down, playing a young army
ranger who falls 70 feet from a helicopter in the battle of Mogadishu and
breaks his back. Kinda spooky
Wins 'Breakthrough Male' at the 2002 MTV Movie Awards and 'Best Debut' at
the 2002 Empire awards. Kate Winslet describes him as "Brilliant"
Orlando heads for Australia in 2002 to play Ned's Lieutenant in Ned Kelly,
the story of the Armour-wearing australian outlaw. It does pretty well.
2002: The Two Towers appears. Rave reviews for all concerned, Piles of
awards won, much money taken, thousands of orcs slaughtered etc..
In 2003, Orlando plays straight guy will turner to Johnny Depp's Amusingly
unhinged Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. Despite being based
on a disney theme park ride, it turns out to be brilliant.
Return of the King lays waste to everything in its path like one of those
creatures in the final battle. Much awards, acclaim and an exceedingly mawkish
half-hour end sequence.
And now? First lead role in Brit-com The Calcium Kid (April 30), Trojan war
mega-epic Troy (May 21) and a Major leading role in Ridley Scott's Kingdom of
Heaven, currently filming in Spain.