"I thought I'd never walk again", Best (UK), September 30, 2003
typed by Marny for ka-Bloom
Orlando Bloom was lucky enough to
have a comfortable, middle-class upbringing in Canterbury, Kent, where gentle
pastimes included local poetry and Bible readings.
Just two days before he
was due to leave drama school, and with only one tiny film part under his belt,
Orlando found himself being cast in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, which
catapulted him to fame. Now, aged just 26, he's said to command £3 million a
film. But life hasn't always been so easy....
Orlando grew up believing that
his dad was Harry Bloom, a famous South African human-rights lawyer and writer,
who died when Orlando was only four. But when he was 12, his mother Sonia
annouced that his real dad was in fact Colin Stone - a British teacher and
Harry Bloom had worked with Nelson Mandela and was jailed in
apartheid-ruled South Africa before eventually moving to England with Sonia for
a quieter life. But he soon became ill, and that's when Colin moved in with the
family to help Sonia as she nursed her husband. When Harry died, Colin became
legal guardian to Orlando and his younger sister Samantha. [should be older sister]
It wasn't until
eight years later that Orlando was told the truth about his real dad - and it's
still not something he finds easy to talk about. "I was lucky, really", he has
said. "I had two dads....Harry was prolific writer and my mother has always
spoken highly of him. He's been a good role model."
After leaving school,
Orlando joined the National Youth Theatre and studied at the Guildhall School of
Music and Drama. He had a tiny role as rent boy in Wilde in 1997 and also
appeared on TV shows including Casualty, London's Burning [he was never in this] and Midsomer
However, at the end of his second year at drama school, Orlando
suffered an accident that almost destroyed his life.
He'd gone round to a
friend's flat and, while attempting to jump onto a roof terrace, fell three
floors out of a window. He broke his back and had an emergency operation.
could have died", he admitted. "The damage was very near my spinal cord. For
four days in the hospital, doctors told me that I'd never walk again.
always considered myself to be a physical person - an outdoorsy type and I just
couldn't contemplate the idea of not living an active life. It was the biggest
test I'd ever had to face."
But, amazingly, Orlando managed to walk out of
hospital on crutches after just 12 days. "It made me realise that I must be a
bit of a fighter", he added. "But it was scary and a blessing in disguise.
Because of that incident, I look on everything that happens now as a bit of a
Not long afterwards, film director Peter Jackson, looking for a young
actor to play the elf Legolas in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, decided to cast
During filming of the Lord Of The Rings movies, he lived in New
Zealand an spent his spare time living life to he full - bungee jumping,
skateboarding [should be snowboarding] and sky diving - defying the doctors who told him he'd never walk
Since then, he's also starred in the drama Black Hawk Down, about the
1993 US siege in Somalia, and as swashbuckling Will Turner in Pirates Of The
Caribbean. He's currently in Malta filming another epic, Troy, alongside Brad
This week cinemagoers can see him as Joe Byrne, sidekick of the
infamous Ned Kelly, played by Heath Ledger, in a film about the Australian folk
With his deep brown eyes and pretty-boy looks, Orlando has become the
most popular star on the Internet, with even more websites than Leonardo
diCaprio. On a recent visit to Disneyland for the premiere of Pirates Of The
Caribbean, he was overwhelmed by a mob of hysterical girl fans.
in groups, girls can be rather intimidating - they make me nervous", he's
And with Orlando's pin-up status, of course, has come speculation
about his private life. Until recently, he was said to have been dating actress
Kate Bosworth, but recent reports suggest that they have now split up.
for the time being, Orlando is just making the most of his good fortune.