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Orlando Bloom Action Elf, New Zealand Woman's Weekly, December 17, 2001
By Jenny Fwart
typed by en penumbras from the Orlando Bloom Fan Board

Adrenaline junkie Orlando Bloom likes to work hard, play harder

For English actor Orlando Bloom, staying all in one piece was the biggest challenge of making The Lord of the Rings. Orlando, who plays an elf called Legolas, is an extreme sports lover and it turned out New Zealand was his perfect playground.

"I'm not excessive in any other way - only with danger," laughs Orlando, 24. "I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I love snow boarding, sky diving, bungee jumping, motorbikes, and I got to do all those things in New Zealand as well."

Orlando's bones have borne the brunt of his high-speed lifestyle. "I've broken both my legs, my wrist, my nose and all sorts of things. I've even broken my back. That was a bit of a wake-up call," he admits. "I fell three floors out of a window trying to get to a roof terrace."

"I didn't think I was going to get through that one," he adds. "I was told I was going to be in a wheelchair. For four days, they thought that I'd never walk again. I was also in a hell of a lot of pain so I was in and out of consciousness and on severe drugs, like morphine. At first, I couldn't even move my legs and they didn't know how severe the damage was. But one they did a neuroscan, they assessed that I'd crushed my vertebrae and bruised my spinal cord. I was very lucky."

"Two years later, I was playing one of my most physical characters in The Lord of the Rings, which is kind of surreal, isn't it?"

Orlando was still in drama school when he won the biggest role in his life. But he already had a list of acting credits which included the TV show Casualty and he appears in Ridley Scott's forthcoming war drama, Black Hawk Down, with Josh Hartnett and Ewan McGregor.

As it turned out, Orlando's battered bones weren't safe even on the set of The Lord of the Rings. "I broke a rib," he reveals. "I fell off a horse."

Orlando was shooting a tricky scene where he had another actor on the back of his horse with him and they were riding down a gully. "He was holding on to me for dear life and I could feel the weight of him on my back," recalls Orlando. "I kept saying, 'Lean back, lean back,' because he was pushing me right forward and the horse as well."

"On the fifth time, the horse was over-excited and I was tired and couldn't pull up. We just bailed off the side and landed on a rock. He landed on top of me and I broke my rib."

"But a rib is something you can deal with - it heals," he adds philosophically.

Spending Christmas in New Zealand ranked as a highlight of making the movie for Orlando. "I had this great house right on the beach and my family agreed to fly out to join me. Everyone loved it. We had a great time driving around New Zealand. We did a big tour around the North Island. Oh, and I have family, cousins and stuff there, in Gisborne."

Orlando also had his first surfing experience in New Zealand and got many of his castmates, including Elijah Wood and Viggo Mortensen, involved. "I felt that we needed to do something outside the movie just to keep us all sane," he explains. "So I was like, 'Let's get motorbikes!' and the guys were like no, they weren't into that. Eventually I said, 'Let's buy surf boards.'

"I hadn't surfed before. We just walked to the beach with these brand new, sparkling boards and in our new little wetsuits. The other surfers were looking at us like we were idiots. And the water was freezing. But we ended up being quite good at it." The end.