Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum, The Daily Mirror (UK), August 8, 2003
Orlando Bloom has swapped pointed elf ears for a
swashbuckling sword to become one of the biggest heroes in
When Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp met the
Prime Minister of a Caribbean island they sank to their knees... because they
were too drunk to stand. Dizzy with red wine, the two men fell out of their
private plane and literally crawled across the tarmac as the Prime Minister of
St Vincent held out his hand to greet them.
"He goes, 'Hey, man, very pleased to
introduce you to St Vincent'," recalls Orlando with a laugh. "And Johnny just
crawled past him, then gave him a huge hug and kissed him. I was crawling after
Johnny. It was crazy. We had been drinking red wine on the plane and maybe the
altitude had something to do with it."
Bloom, Depp and Keira Knightley were on the
island to film the Walt Disney adventure Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of
The Black Pearl, which has already proved a huge hit in America and has
confirmed Orlando's status as Hollywood's newest heartthrob.
Ever since he set teenage girls' hearts
aflutter as the blond archer Legolas Greenleaf in Lord Of The Rings, 26-year-old
Orlando has been the biggest star on the internet with even more fan websites
than Leonardo DiCaprio. And in real-life, his star status gets feverish
Wherever he goes in America he is mobbed by
fans. On a recent visit to Disneyland for the premiere of Pirates Of The
Caribbean, he was overwhelmed by a mob of screaming, hysterical girl fans.
His Pirates co-star and fellow Brit Keira
Knightley, says of him: "Orlando's a one-man boyband. He's very good looking and
a lovely person."
For the somewhat shy Orlando, from
Canterbury in Kent, all the sudden attention is a bit bewildering and hard to
"It's just such a circus. In groups the
girls get rather intimidating. It makes me nervous," he confesses. "I'm trying
to adjust to all the changes that are happening. There's mountains of fan mail
and it's really a lot to deal with. It's flattering but it doesn't mean anything
to me. I'm not interested in being a celebrity or a movie star. I'm just trying
to be an actor. There's a lot of stuff that goes on around it, but what I really
enjoy is the work."
His father, Harry Bloom, was a South
African writer and anti-apartheid activist who died when he was four. When
Orlando was a boy his mother, Sonia, encouraged him and his sister to take part
in school plays and compete in poetry and prose readings at the Canterbury
Festival. Now she keeps track of the countless internet sites dedicated to him
and encourages him to correct any errors that appear on them.
After leaving school, Orlando spent two
seasons with the National Youth Theatre and studied at the Guildhall School Of
Music And Drama. Yet with only one small film role behind him - as a rent boy in
1997's Wilde - director Peter Jackson picked him to play the elf Legolas in the
Lord Of The Rings trilogy. His soulful dark eyes, chiselled cheekbones and
slightly girlish good looks made him an instant idol for teenage girls, even
though he was wearing a waist-length wig and pointed prosthetic ears.
He lived in New Zealand for 18 months
during the filming of the Lord Of The Rings movies - the third, The Return Of
The King, is due out in December - and he spent his spare time bungee jumping,
skateboarding and sky-diving, defying doctors who told him he would never walk
again after a fall five years ago had left him paralysed.
"I fell three floors out of a window when I
was trying to get on to a roof terrace," he recalls. "I broke my back and they
operated on me but said I would never walk again. The damage was very near my
spinal cord but they managed to put me back together and 12 days later I walked
out of hospital on crutches.
"It makes me think I must be a bit of a
fighter. But it was kind of scary and a blessing in disguise because at the time
everything was going really well and I wasn't appreciating it. Now, because of
what happened, I look on everything that happens as a bit of a bonus. And I take
care of myself, too."
While filming Lord Of The Rings, Orlando
was chosen by producer Jerry Bruckheimer to be one of the ensemble cast of the
war drama Black Hawk Down and Bruckheimer then cast him as the blacksmith Will
Turner in Pirates Of The Caribbean.
The film reunited him with veteran
swordsman Bob Anderson, who has trained every screen swashbuckler since Errol
Flynn and who worked with Bloom on Lord Of The Rings.
"It was incredible to work with him again
and I got pretty good at fencing and sword fighting," says Orlando. "It was
quite a big undertaking and there were a few accidents. There's always some
little nips and jabs when you're doing stuff like that. In one scene in the
blacksmith's shop, where Johnny started throwing hammers at me, I got hit by a
couple of them and I have the bruises to prove it." In between sword fights and
plenty of pirate action, he has his first on-screen romance which involves
giving Keira Knightley her first screen kiss. "I'll be the envy of every teen
girl," she laughs.
Off-screen, Orlando is keeping tight-lipped
about his love life although he recently dated actress Kate Bosworth, who
starred in the surf film Blue Crush. "I don't like to talk about that stuff," he
says. "It's not necessary. People want to know everything."
In any case, Orlando doesn't have much time
for romance at the moment as he is too busy working and juggling scripts and
"I'm working like a lunatic," he says. "I
have been really, really busy and haven't stopped to take a breath. It's kind of
surreal right now because every time I go away to work, I get in the work mode,
and then suddenly there's the release of a movie and it's all crazy, then it all
dies down again.
"I'm just trying to adjust to all the
different things that are happening at such a rapid pace and trying to deal with
He will be seen with Heath Ledger early
next year in Ned Kelly and is currently in Malta filming Troy with another
heartthrob, Brad Pitt.
"We went out in Malta on Saturday night in
the heart of party land," he says. "That was an experience - to see someone get
properly mobbed. The whole town came apart. Brad was so impeccable in his
manner, the way he carried himself. He was very gracious with everyone."
Orlando has been learning from his co-stars
about dealing with the pressures of stardom.
"In drama school you don't get an insight
into this and I'm still trying to figure it out," he says with a puzzled
"I guess you have to do the best you can
because there isn't a guide book. I've picked Johnny and Brad's brains an awful
lot, but this is the weirdest industry. There is no rhyme nor reason to it so
you just have to listen to your heart and try and stay real."
l Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse Of
The Black Pearl is released today.