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Blooming Marvelous, Take 2 (UK), August/September 2003

Orlando Bloom was born in the UK in Canterbury, Kent. At 16, he moved to London where he joined the National Youth Theatre for two seasons and then gained a scholarship to train with the British American Drama Academy. His first film role was a bit part in the critically acclaimed ĎWildeí, but it is his role in Peter Jacksonís ĎLord Of The Ringsí Tolkein trilogy that has put him on the Hollywood map and made him one of movies sexiest commodities. Bloom followed up his ĎRingsí role with a part in Ridley Scottís ĎBlackhawk Downí and his next role is in ĎThe Kelly Gangí alongside Heath Ledger, which tells the story of Australiaís infamous outlaw Ned Kelly. Bloom has recently begun work on the Disney based ĎPirates Of The Caribbeaní with Johnny Depp and has apparently scored the role of classical hero Paris in director Wolfgang Petersons epic movie ĎTroyí with Brad Pitt.

Is it coincidental that so soon after lord of the rings you would find yourself back in this part of the world?

Oh, itís completely coincidental, yeah. But itís a very welcomely received chance to come back. I love it over here. I love the light and the weather, the people, the pace of life and all the jobs that Iíve been on in this part of the world. The people are so relaxed and so friendly. Rings in that part of the world was such a magical experience and now working on this Ned Kelly film has just added to that.

Youíre practically an honorary resident in australia and new zealand now.

Yeah thatís true. Maybe I should have said (breaks into Aussie accent] Ďhow ya garn there mateí. Iím doing the Irish thing for this Ned Kelly movie Iíve been making so Iíve got all sorts of accents going around in there. But youíre right, I do seem to be keeping myself in your half of the world as much as I can. I have to say itís certainly not an unpleasant thing. Iím more than happy to spend as much time around here as I can because itís such a beautiful place to be.

Did you have a chance to do more traveling and surfing?

No. Iíve got to go and do a job in London. Iím off to LA and then to London for a job. On my last trip, to promote ĎLord Of The Ringsí at Christmas, I surfed Manly beach with a couple of the Hobbits.

Are you still amazed at the success of Ďlord of the ringsí? Do you ever get bored talking about it?

Itís still quite unnerving to find yourself getting so much attention. The thing I find hard to get used to is that you suddenly realise how quickly time is traveling, man. I canít believe how quickly itís all upon us again. The Lord of the Rings was an opportunity for me, and I donít know where it came from, but it was a blessing and a privilege to be a part of. I loved it so much that I feel as if I could talk about it forever. I donít get sick of it because it was such a special thing.

Lots of the cast have gone back to new zealand to film new bits and pieces over the past year. Did you do any new work on the films while you were close by, in victoria, making the movie about ned kelly with heath ledger?

I had to go back and do some stuff for the first one after I thought Iíd finished it, and I was asked to go back to do a few other things for the second. But even though I was working so close-by I couldnít do anything for them because I had this big bushy beard for my role in The Kelly Gang (as Joe Byrne, one of Nedís gang members) and Legolas is all blond and baby-faced.

How did they get around it?

They apparently managed to work out the bits and pieces in other ways, so it wasnít a major problem, but I would absolutely have loved the chance to be Legolas again. No question, if I had the time and the opportunity Iíd be there in a second, too easy.

Do you look forward to the chance to talk about it again and to relive a few of the memories after a break of a few months?

Oh yeah. I went over to NZ just for the weekend recently because I was invited to go by the producer who said to come along any time. I went for a weekend just because I wanted to get back and see everyone and feel like a part of it again, even for just a little while. It was great to see some of the actors too. Liv was there and so was Viggo and I got a chance to see some of the stuff that they were still working on for the second movie.

Everyone has talked about how there was this amazing friendship which happened among the cast and how you all got tattooed with the same image and stuff. Do you miss that Ďfellowshipí?

Oh, I miss them all the time.

It lasted the test of time?

Absolutely. Itís not one of those things which is just an on-set friendship, which ends when you stop working together. There are lots of those in this business, but this is something else. I mean, I flew to New Zealand for two nights and one day just to see my mates who are working on the movie. Whenever Iím in NY I call Liv and if Iím in LA I call Viggo and Elijah and Sean and when Iím in England I see the other two lads. We hang out. Itís more than something which you would ever say just passes. I mean weíve also got another two years of press to do as well so weíre all thrilled that weíre going to get more chances to see each other.

So it wasnít a hyped-up thing?

Eighteen months is a long time. I spent more time with those guys than Iíve spent with some of my closest friends in the past few years. We spent 18 months making these movies. It was a really intense time for all of us, working on this enormous project, being away from home and we formed a very special bond.

One of the things thatís come up is the title of the second film, the two towers. Some people have said they think it should be changed after 9/11. What do you think?

I heard that and while I donít really want to get into any sort of argument about it, I will say that I think the title of the book has been around for a really long time and it is a part of the culture of these stories. It pre-dates the awful events that took place on September 11 and I happened to be in NY at the time and I know how intense it has been for that city. I was there when they went through it and I know itís very painful, but this film is not about it, thereís no relevance to those events. Nobody is trying to rub salt in any wounds or anything like that.

Itís one of those things where you have to be careful that you donít rewrite history for no real reason?

I agree, but I didnít have anyone I know die in that event so I feel that I shouldnít really comment too much.

When the first film was coming out everyone was holding their breath, wondering how those tolkien nuts would react. It went very well, you got the seal of approval and all that sort of thing. Does that take some of the pressure off now knowing that the die hards are into it and that those not into the books still get it.

Of course it does. The die-hards were definitely involved in making the movie as far as Iím concerned. Everyone who worked on the movie was a fan of Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings. Everyone loved it so we were all wanting to make a film that was for fans. We wanted it to be right. The initial purpose of reading the books and knowing that Legolas was a character that was so well depicted in the books, there was a lot of pressure but it was a challenge I was happy to meet and it was also great to have the help of Pete Jackson and all his creative team to get through it.

Youíre one of teen peopleís hottest talents, voted one of the sexiest british actors and all these other things. Your life is obviously a different thing now than it was two years ago. How do you feel about being you?

My life is mad right now. I feel good about it all. I love my work and I love my job and you know, the fact that Iíve got the opportunity to work and the fact that Rings has given me the opportunity to do great work, has been amazing. Letís face it, Iím out here doing this job and this is fantastic. Iím sure a lot of what Iíve got now is thanks to the fact that Iíve got a taste of fame and popularity thanks to Rings. When I look back on my life Iíll always know it was The Fellowship of the Ring which changed everything for me, forever.

What about the sexy symbol tag which has come along?

Itís mad. I kind of donít follow that much stuff about myself. The funny thing about it is that I donít really follow that popular culture stuff, so itís funny to be winning polls and to be called popular. I donít know whoís number one on the music charts or whoís hot or not, or whatever, if you know what I mean. So itís a bit strange to be included in these sexiest polls and all that sort of thing. I donít really even know who Iím up against. I donít really follow my own stuff either. Sometimes people tell me stuff or people send me magazines and things with stories about me in them and it does freak me out a bit Ė but otherwise Iíve managed to keep my head because I think I just get on with living my life and get on with my job.

You donít feel pressure to be suitably sexy these days.

Not really. I think thereís always a bit of pressure to try to be good looking when youíre growing up, but I donít feel it more than any other boy.

Still single. You said recently that your biggest relationship is with you work?

Iím working and thatís my relationship for now because Iíve been very busy.

You gave away your dog, you rarely see your friends, thereís no love in your lifeÖwhat is there in your life outside of work these days?

I have friends and family and one of the best things about being in a position when Iím working a lot is that they can come and visit me. My sister came to Australia to be with me while working on Ned Kelly and I also had a few friends come to visit.

Does being one of these popular people make it easier to meet a love interest?

I donít think it does make it easier at all to meet someone. When youíre a bit famous people get an idea of what youíre like in their heads, usually based around the roles that youíve played and what theyíve read. They think they know you a bit, but the truth is that they donít really know you at all. So they kind of either write you off as out of their league or they think that youíre something youíre not and then when they meet you theyíre usually either intimidated and scared by what they think you are or terribly let down by the real you.

So no easier then than for the rest of us?

No way man. Being a bit famous just makes life more complicated!

You break a lot of bones. Ribs on lord of the rings, any damage doing ned kelly?

No. I didnít break anything, but I got kicked by a horse. I got kicked just above knee I was very lucky.

A while ago you fell out of a window and broke your back and doctors said youíd be lucky to walk again. Does something like that make you grab life hard?

You suddenly appreciate life in a whole new light. I was 21, or maybe 20 then. Itís been nearly five years and I have to say that while I always think about it in the back of my mind, itís only when Iím asked about it really openly that it really brings it back completely. (Orlandoís voice gets a bit shaky and emotional) You appreciate life in a whole new way. I mean, f*** man, for four days I was contemplating the rest of my life being spent in a wheelchair!

Itís a major moment. Your whole life would have been totally different to the one youíre living now.

Thinking about how I wouldnít be living anything like the life Iím living now if I was in a wheelchair is a totally bizarre feeling.

How do you fall out of a third story window?

I was trying to get out onto a roof terrace. The door was busted and so I decided to get to it from the outside. I tried to get down a drainpipe and go across to it. The thing wasnít what I thought it was, it gave out.

Do you think about how different your life could have been?

Oh yeah and it always brings it back and I just think, shit, Iím a very lucky man.

You like the extreme end of things like bungee jumping and parachuting and stuff.

I did all of that in NZ and had a great time.

So the accident doesnít make you more careful of your body because you know how easy it is to break?

But, oh listen to me, I am really careful now. I donít do anything thatís really stupid. My life is very precious to me because I remember thinking that it had changed forever. As my work gets more hectic and chaotic, I seem to be leaning more toward the simple things in life like just walking on the beach, which Iíve been doing a lot of because my place is near the beach in Melbourne, and just enjoying friends and family. Itís the simple things.

The wild times are behind you?

No, donít be daft. I can still party hard with the rest of them, and I love to go hard and let off steam. But in reference to my back and injury, Iím a bit more aware of taking things more slowly and carefully.

Youíve done comedy, fantasy and action in black hawk down. Is part of your agenda to now keep things moving along at a nice pace and try as much as you can?

Kind of. Iím just kind of. Yeah. This is definitely going to be a different kind of film for me. I felt it was a good opportunity to assume a leading role that I felt good about. Itís going to be good and Iím looking forward to it.

Whereís home these days?

Ah, itís hard. Iím between London and LA at the moment.

How important is it to break it in america and get a major role in the us and a blockbuster like a black hawk down-style production?

I just like working. The size of the movie isnítí the most important thing for me. Obviously if you get a certain following if you do big and popular movies they do enable you to do more and it does lead to other opportunities because you can bring an audience in and stuff, but really I donítí think about that stuff. I just enjoy the work.

Right now, with everything youíre doingÖwhatís the best thing about being orlando bloom?

Oh, thatís a hard question to finish on isnít it. Obviously one of the great things about my life at the moment is knowing that I have a few other jobs lined up. Iím also loving my family and my friends. There are other things I love. Iove having the opportunity to live a life that enables me to kind of reenact characters like Legolas and Joe Bryne. I love having a job which lets me travel to places like New Zealand and Australia. Thatís one of the best things about me Ė I love meeting new people and I love different cultures. I get to ravel, experience new people and new cultures. I feel lucky that my life has let me do that.

Whatís the worst thing about being you?

Missing my family and friends basically. Itís the great contraction about my life. I love that my work means I can travel a lot and be busy. But on the other hand I hate that it takes me away from the people that I care about for such a lot of my life. This life can be quite lonely. The worst thing about being me is that I donít get enough time to see them! You donít get to see as much of the people you love as youíd like to. But the good thing about all the work is that I can afford to have them fly over to wherever I am to see me.