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Mark the day on your calendar, friends... It's an Orlando Bloom story! - "You didn't hear about the polar bear?"
April 19th, 2004
06:21 am

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Mark the day on your calendar, friends... It's an Orlando Bloom story!
*G* I must be getting soft in my old age - a story about the elfboy! Sheesh. *S* Either that, or I'm doing it for Kisa. Yeah, that's it... I'm just keeping Kisa up-to-date. *G*

BTW, Kisa? I think I remember seeing Orli on Esquire (or was it GQ? No, I think he was on that already) on my weekly trip to the bookstore.

But this is from The Scotsman; it was mentioned in TORn. Very nice story, most of it about him, his fans, how this whole phemonenon got started, his fans... *G* You get the picture (http://news.scotsman.com/features.cfm?id=426322004):


In full bloom

SIOBHAN SYNNOT

Orlando is that rare bloom, an actor who goes hand in hand with his times. The Dean-Brando-Newman-Clift generation of the ’50s tapped into a post-war, restless, rebellious sexuality. The De Niro-Pacino-Hoffman clan represented the anti-war anti-hero of the ’60s. The so-called Brat Pack - which could have used a good or bad war to acquire some grit - were emblematic of a narcissistic, self-regarding, sexually heartless ’80s. Now the hormonal hunger has turned to something less controversial than the ’50s and ’60s models, and less solipsistic than their ’80s counterparts. Orlando Bloom is the new model - thoughtful, sensitive and eerily pleasant and polite. His sex appeal doesn’t feel violent or disturbing. In comparison to actors such as Benicio Del Toro and John Cusack, Bloom represents an altogether lighter and less complicated hero.

"Orlando is a movie star waiting to happen," says Gregor Jordan, who directed him in Ned Kelly. "He’s going to be huge because he’s a good actor and he has incredible presence. There’s a reason why girls go crazy for him. There’s just something about him that makes people want to sit in the dark and watch him on the movie screen."

Even off screen Bloom turns heads, but being the centre of attention does not make him comfortable. When he shows up to meet me in London, you get the feeling that he would prefer to go unnoticed.

Softly spoken and respectful, the boyish 26-year-old often hugs his body into a ball as he talks, as if trying to hide in plain sight. "It’s an interesting time for me and I’m figuring it out right now," he says. "I’m trying to keep my head. I look at myself and wonder if I’m coming apart at the seams. I check with my sister, Samantha, who’s a couple of years older, if I’m still normal. She says I’m okay."

Many stars are built up by the Hollywood machine but the force behind the Bloom phenomenon is an unusual one. Instead of being discovered sucking soda at Schwab’s by an agent, or being propelled into the starlight by a hyperventilating PR, Bloom’s first promoters were adolescent girls with computers who had noticed his sylvan incarnation as the elf Legolas in Lord of the Rings. Yes, the hobbits were cuddly and Sir Ian McKellan had a beard that could carpet three rooms - but teenage girls can sniff out promising hunks the way Orcs can scent out hobbits. After the first film, 29,000 websites dedicated to Bloomers had been set up. By The Two Towers, that figure had grown to 370,000, and before the final Rings film had opened, there were well over a million sites. Some operate on remarkable levels of intensity. On one messageboard, a teenage girl boasted that she’d met Bloom in LA and he’d bought her a drink. The other posters erupted, spraying vitriol on the board.

"You don’t know Orlando, I do, u r mingers," spluttered the cocktail imbiber (a Sex On The Beach, apparently).

"Okay," challenged another "Bloomie". "Let’s do a test, if you are Orlando’s girl then tell me what is his favourite vegetable? Answer now or admit you are a fake."

The triumph in the response was palpable: "Eat s**t, Jessica, it’s carrot."

Bloom laughs heartily at this, but says that he doesn’t log on to the net to monitor his webfans’ comments, although his mother Sonia does. A writer and businesswoman, she is an unconventional woman who ran a foreign-language school and named her only son after Orlando Gibbons, a 17th-century composer. From an early age, she took him and his sister to the theatre and to festivals where they took part in competitions. "You had to read out stories or poetry," he says, "and we always won."

Nowadays she scans the net for stories about her son, and collects Rings memorabilia. Boarding the Air New Zealand plane that was to take her out to Wellington for the final film’s première last year, she was apparently most impressed when she saw her son’s face under his blond wig. It was painted onto the side of her plane.

These are indeed the wonder years for a young actor like Bloom with his pan-gender cuteness, chaste marketability and Leo-like or borderline-Brad charisma. At the end of the Rings trilogy’s shoot, Bloom was given an elvish ring with the inscription "To wherever it may lead".

The first film after his Tolkien marathon was Pirates of the Caribbean. When it opened last summer, Bloom was not expected to carry the film, but his presence made it a more attractive proposition to the teenage punter. The result? Within a fortnight of its American release it had earned £75 million - a bona fide critical and commercial box-office hit in a summer of heavy-hitting underachievers. Bloom attended the British première - his first as a solo star - and was overwhelmed by the response from the wide-eyed throng that screamed his name and demanded he come closer. Stars and members of EastEnders were left inside the cinema to steam gently in their party frocks while Bloom tried, impossibly, to shake hands and sign autographs for everyone. The yo-ho-ho swashbuckling in the film drew comparisons with Errol Flynn, but Bloom’s territory is not raffish seduction. Instead, like many of his roles so far, including his forthcoming film The Calcium Kid, it tended to emphasise his non-threatening persona. The actor thinks he understands why the young viewing audience can’t get enough of this kind of character.

"I think somebody like Legolas is a really safe guy for a young girl of 13 or 14 to pin her hopes on. He’s kind of pretty asexual as an elf. He’s a warrior type and kind of handsome but he’s not sexually threatening. He’s just this blond dude who’s doing his thing," he offers, slightly embarrassed. "Also, he’s got nice hair. They can brush it and stuff. What can I tell you? I’m a male equivalent of a Barbie doll," he laughs.

Needless to say his Rings co-stars teased Bloom mercilessly for his pretty-boy looks and his interest in personal grooming: "Viggo Mortensen called me Elf Boy and said that the vain elves always polish their fingernails and comb their hair. I called him a dirty, mortal human," he says, campily.

At the wrap party, director Peter Jackson put together a Legolas joke reel to the tune of ‘Hungry Eyes’, with hefty homoerotic overtones, cutting from Viggo drawing his sword to Orlando apparently batting his eyes admiringly. Asked why Gandalf had no love interest, Sir Ian McKellan has larkily retorted, "Oh, but he does, my dear. He’s called Orlando Bloom."

Boys like Orlando also get teenage girls through lonely nights, maths tests, a tub of Haagen Dazs and the month of February. Tallulah, the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, may be only nine but she already knows who she’s going to marry. "Orlando Bloom is the one for me," says the smitten fan. Better him than Colin Farrell, one supposes.

On the face of it, Bloom seems to have sauntered on to the Hollywood A-list, but that isn’t the case. Among the obstacles in his way were a battle against dyslexia and a fall during his drama-school days that threatened to leave him paralysed for life. His good looks are also a fairly recent phenomenon, too. "I was quite chubby as a kid," he says. "To be honest, the team sports they had at school never really worked for me."

When Bloom was four, his South African father, Harry, died and a family friend, Colin Stone, became his legal guardian. Bloom was in his early teens before his mother revealed that Stone was also his biological father rather than Harry, an academic and friend of Nelson Mandela who was also jailed for his beliefs. "I was lucky," says the star of this bombshell. "I had two dads. I don’t remember much about Harry but he was a prolific writer and my mother always speaks highly of him. He’s been a role model for me in my head. As long as I can remember, Colin has been a good friend but I always thought Harry was my real father."

The revelation did not disrupt his teenage years, perhaps because his sister is also Stone’s child and because they are a close family, but Bloom is reluctant to expand on this, just as he refuses on principle to confirm that his current girlfriend is Blue Juice actress Kate Bosworth, although the two have been photographed together and she is later glimpsed lurking in the hotel after this interview is over.

If there is any quality that characterises the postmodern heart-throb, it’s self-awareness. Bloom is no exception, repeatedly and pointedly acknowledging his good fortune and sometimes embarrassed by how surreal his life has become since his small role as an unnamed rentboy in Wilde and a bit part in the hospital soap Casualty.

For the Rings films he was given a crash course in how to ride horses, shoot arrows and race chariots, and eagerly seizes on the implications: "I’ve got all these brilliant skills which are completely useless in everyday life," he says cheerfully. "Take me back a few hundred years and I’ll be a real hero, but right now I can hardly use my phone. I’m computer-illiterate. I use a pencil and paper. It slows me down, but I really do prefer it." In other words, these other-worldly roles suit him.

He is still tanned and tousled from his role as Paris, Ancient Greece’s notorious wife-stealer in the big-budget sword-and-scandals epic Troy. His co-star and screen enemy is Brad Pitt - "I got to shoot him in his Achilles’ heel. Apart from that I don’t really work that much with Brad. He does most of his stuff with Hector. He’s a lovely man and really an incredible actor. Somebody told me there’s a story going round that he uses steroids. Do me a favour! The guy has an amazing trainer. I mean, have you seen his body? He doesn’t need to."

Working with Pitt, as with Johnny Depp, gave him a few pointers on how Hollywood stars behave in public. While filming in Malta, the entire cast of Troy went for a dinner and then on to a bar. "We had to walk a hundred metres to the bar and the whole town swooned over Brad," remembers Bloom. "It was insane. They were just trying to touch him. I was freaked out. He was so composed, man. He was like, ‘Just keep walking. Don’t stop walking and we’ll be fine. If you stop it can get really scary.’ And he had a bodyguard with him."

Bloom’s current bearded Mediterranean look is quite at odds with his milky appearance in the film released at the end of this month, The Calcium Kid. It’s about a milkman who is also an amateur boxer who ends up fighting the world champion through a series of improbable accidents. Mrs Chris Evans, Billie Piper, plays his love interest, and Omid Djalili is his off-the-wall manager. While Troy is a bona fide extravaganza, The Calcium Kid is a small British comedy made on a small British budget: "The budget of The Calcium Kid was the same as the wrap party for Lord of the Rings," says Bloom, whose fee is now around £2 million per picture.

"It was just something completely different. I needed to do it, and because a friend of mine, Alex De Rakoff, was making it as well, it was just so much fun and creatively rewarding. I saw it the other day and it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, but I really liked it. It’s good. There’s nothing not to like about it," he says. "I’m hoping that soon, after Troy, I can start doing stories that I really want to do and working with directors who really want to work with me."

The main joke of the film is that, as a milkman, Jimmy the Calcium Kid drinks lots of milk which gives him a skeleton so hard that the British champion breaks his fist on Jimmy’s head during a warm-up sparring session. Ironically, Bloom doesn’t do dairy, preferring soy lattes. Nor does he have much enthusiasm for punch-ups: "I’m a lover, not a fighter," he laughs, and was initially reluctant to hit real-life boxer Tamer Hassan in the film.

"Tamer’s a bit of a nut and Orlando’s not a nut at all," recalls De Rakoff. "Orlando didn’t want to hit him, even though Tamer kept telling him to lay it on him. In the end, he said a few interesting things to Orlando and Orlando chinned him."

"I did," confirms Bloom apologetically. "A couple of times."

The comedy also features brief cameos from British boxers a little higher up the ranking than Hassan. Fortunately, they kept their gloves on. "Frank Bruno and Chris Eubank have a couple of moments and it was a real honour to meet both of them," Bloom says earnestly. "There’s a scene where they come in and wish me the best before the fights, and Frank does his ‘hurr, hurr, hurr’ laugh. Chris Eubank is his fantastically eccentric self - he had the spats and everything, he did the whole number. Alex De Rakoff had seen Chris do a speech for some young fighters and adapted it for the film. But Chris came in with a completely different speech, and that’s what made the cut. It was brilliant."

Bloom could well be a pin-up for earnestness. He thinks through every question I ask, even as he fidgets and flexes constantly in his chair. "He can’t sit still for very long. Suddenly he’ll say, ‘I think I need to move my car,’ and he’ll be off," says Elijah Wood, who plays Frodo in the Rings trilogy. "You’ll be having a conversation with him and be like ‘Where’d he go?’"

It comes as no surprise to hear that Bloom loves skydiving, bungee-jumping, surfing and snowboarding. Even less surprisingly, he is also familiar with more than one casualty department. In addition to breaking his back at drama school, there’s the rib he broke when he fell off a horse while filming Rings, as well as both legs, his nose, a finger, a wrist, a toe and he’s even cracked his skull. "I feel like I’m in competition with Evel Knievel," he deadpans.

This restlessness also means he’s been darting from filmset to filmset with barely a pause. As well as Troy and The Calcium Kid, he has just finished work on two more - Haven with Bill Paxton, and Ridley Scott’s much anticipated epic adventure Kingdom of Heaven. Fans may look at what he’s done and what he has planned - including the Pirates sequel in 2005 - and marvel at how rapidly his star has risen. On Bloom’s wrist today is a braided bracelet in blue and green, while his necklace is a jackdaw arrangement of stones, shells and a small silver key. These are his good-luck charms, he admits, perhaps to ward off the worst excesses of Hollywood.

So has Bloom managed to keep his head and stay normal? Perhaps a small test is called for, beyond those assessments from his sister. So, Orlando, how much is a pint of milk? "About 35p," he says immediately. "But if you get it delivered, it’s a little more."

• The Calcium Kid is released on April 30; Troy is scheduled for release on May 21

(18 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:freakspawn
Date:April 19th, 2004 04:37 am (UTC)
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I read that and too thought what a lovely article it is!
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From:happyflower
Date:April 19th, 2004 06:51 am (UTC)
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awwwwwwwwwww Orli's so cute *loves Orli*
and the folk who wrote that so watched the srd time Orlando was on Graham Norten's show - bless him, Orli looked so freaked out with that favorite veg thing...and just so you know, he said it was spinich ;)
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From:rosamundeb
Date:April 19th, 2004 09:20 am (UTC)
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*L*! So that's where that's from! *S*
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From:knitting_hobbit
Date:April 19th, 2004 09:03 am (UTC)
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awwwww, thankee kindly, Rossie! I really enjoyed that article a lot. Orli's growing up and I can't wait to see Troy.
(Sideline: I hadn't realized how feart our boys are of crazy fans... I'm really going to have to write it on my forehead.)
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From:rosamundeb
Date:April 19th, 2004 09:23 am (UTC)
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psssssst... if they see a fangirl with something written on her forehead - I think they might get even MORE feart! *L*! *G*
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From:knitting_hobbit
Date:April 19th, 2004 10:52 am (UTC)
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hahaha! I can see it now: "Fear this" on my forehead!
nawww, I'd never do that to our boys.
((((((((((the boys))))))))))))))))
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From:knitting_hobbit
Date:April 19th, 2004 09:07 am (UTC)
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*heeheehee* "borderline-Brad"! "male Barbie doll!" "Elf-Boy"! He's so kyoot.
From:ex_kisa_haw
Date:April 19th, 2004 09:20 pm (UTC)
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Aw, Ros!

*glomp*

That was awesome, thanks so much for posting it. I needed that. Owen's been on my midn so much lately, Orli's really been in the back seat. And just the last two or three days, both boys have been replaced by my nephew. What a cutie!

Thanks for the update, hon.
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From:rosamundeb
Date:April 20th, 2004 04:33 am (UTC)
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*LOL*!!! Geez, Kisa... talk about robbing the cradle!

*L*!!!! *ducks and runs away*
From:ex_kisa_haw
Date:April 20th, 2004 12:05 pm (UTC)
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Ha!

*chases with squirt gun*
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From:rosamundeb
Date:April 20th, 2004 12:46 pm (UTC)
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eeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

*gets hit*

"I'm melting.... melting...!!! [actually, to be technical about this, I'm dissolving, but....] Oh, such a wicked thing for such a nice little girl like you to doooooo...."

*puddles*
From:ex_kisa_haw
Date:April 20th, 2004 01:12 pm (UTC)
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Oh no!

*opens door to let winter breeze in, letting Deb spring to life like Frosty*
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From:rosamundeb
Date:April 20th, 2004 02:38 pm (UTC)
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*cough*notDeb*cough*

*G*

Wait - are you calling me frigid? *L*! And how much did the temperatures drop where you are?
From:ex_kisa_haw
Date:April 20th, 2004 02:42 pm (UTC)
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Hm. Where did Deb come from? I don't even know anybody named Deb....

I think I am losing my mind. And no, it's not winter here. I was going to say spring breeze, but then you wouldn't spring to life like Frosty... more like... uh... the Easter Bunny?

Anyway... sorry 'bout that. *blushes*
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From:rosamundeb
Date:April 20th, 2004 05:18 pm (UTC)
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*ggl*

I'm lots worse!
From:ex_kisa_haw
Date:April 20th, 2004 02:43 pm (UTC)
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Oh! I took the deb off the end of your LJ name instead of the ros from in front. That's where it came from. Whew! I'm not going crazy after all!
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From:rosamundeb
Date:April 20th, 2004 05:19 pm (UTC)
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*L*!!!!! Ah! rosamunDEB - *L*! Never thought of that - *G*.
From:ex_kisa_haw
Date:April 20th, 2004 05:22 pm (UTC)
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It's always there in my mind... I have to remind myself it's Rosamunde B.

*sigh*
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