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Is He The Next Brad Pitt?, Us Weekly (US), July 21, 2003
By Jenny Sundel
typed by Rashas, scans by Mel from The Bloom Room

He's certainly sexy enough! But the fast-rising Brit tells Us that he has other ideas...

Orlando Bloom first caught the attention of moviegoers as Legolas, the blond, sharp-shooting elf in the Lord of the Rings films (he affectionately calls the character "Leggy"). Now, the 26-year-old Canterbury, England, native gets to flaunt his leading-man charm and dashing good looks (yes, brown is his actual hair color!) as the heroic Will Turner in the new action-adventure Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. But Bloom is hardly just another Hollywood pretty boy. Here's why...

1. He's a serious actor
Though he's a natural teen magazine cover boy, Bloom tells Us, "It's a pretty intense time for me right now, and I'm trying to figure it out. I'm flattered, and it's all very nice, but I trained three years as an actor [at Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, where he still lives], and it's like, maybe I'll just go do some theater or something for a while."

Even without the long, blond locks of Legolas ("I'm hoping to get one [of the wigs]," he says], the increasingly famous brunet has to deal with getting recognized -- and being quizzed about his romantic life, which he refuses to discuss. Alas, sporting a mohawk -- as the actor has done in the past -- probably wouldn't fool his growing constituency of fans. What's a reluctant heartthrob to do? Follow the lead of costars and role models Johnny Depp (Pirates), Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings) and, yep, Brad Pitt (the 2004 historical epic Troy). "In a way, they created a heartthrob thing, then they went against it," Bloom says. "You have to create yourself to be something, and then you get the chance to go against it."

2. He has an appetite for action
Think Pitt in Fight Club. In Pirates, Bloom reteams with Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of his first Hollywood film, the 2001 war drama Black Hawk Down. But this time, Bloom trades guns for swords -- his character is a shy blacksmith who has trained himself to fight -- and he gets to fence with Depp. So who would triumph in a real-life showdown? "I could never take Johnny," Bloom says humbly. "On any level."

Truth be told, it's pretty amazing that Bloom has any fight left in him. At 20, he broke his back after slipping on a drainpipe. "[My doctors] didn't think I'd walk again," he recalls. "But they operated, and I had this miraculous recovery." Still, Bloom, who had to relearn how to walk, continues to be an all-around sports freak -- riding horses, surfing and snowboarding. But these days, he says, "I'm a bit more mellow than I was."

3. He's versatile
Like Pitt, Bloom certainly has a chameleon-like quality. Says Bruckheimer: "I think he's got that quality that he can do whatever he wants to do." Which, for Bloom, seems to be everything -- and that's one of the reasons he chose to act in the first place. "You can be an action hero. You can be Jimmy Dean. You can be those characters," says Bloom, who will next appear in the third (and last) Lord of the Rings installment, The Return of the King, due out December 17. "I've done a pirate, a bush ranger, an elf..." Next stop: anywhere and everywhere!

2003 Us Weekly.