I Thought I'd Never Walk Again, Now (UK), January 2003
By Garth Pearce
scans and text from Margarete
Orlando Bloom has broken so many bones in his body
that he thought he might have wrecked his career
Despite a near-fatal accident,
the Lord Of The Rings actor has conquered his fears and has become one of
Hollywood's fastest-rising stars
Orlando Bloom has battled through a
life of tragedy and injury to become the bionic man of Hollywood. As one of
Britain's hottest young stars, thanks to playing the handsome elf prince Legolas
in The Lord Of The Rings, he has bounced back from breaking virtually every limb
in his body and a terrible family tragedy when he was just four years
'I've learned to wake up each
morning, smell the roses and enjoy every day as it comes,' he says. 'I try to
never, ever grumble. Life's far too sweet to waste a single day.' Orlando, 25,
was just four when his father died. 'That was far too young in life to suffer
such a loss,' he reflects. 'My dad Harry was a professor of law at Kent
University - he chose my first name because he thought everyone would remember
'He also had the foresight, when he
became ill, to appoint a close family friend, Colin Stone, to become like a
father to me. He loved me like a son and has been a great guide in my
'He was never with my mother Sonia,
but he was around as a father figure and I've always thought of him as that
because he made himself available.' But Orlando's ill-fortune continued to blight
him through childhood when he accumulated a series of injuries, including one
'I've broken my back, my ribs, my
nose, both my legs, my arm, my wrist, a finger and a toe and I've cracked my
skull three times. Youthful carelessness,' he shrugs. 'This is a battered body,
all right. But, each time, it made me stronger and more determined to do
The most dramatic was hurting his
back falling off a roof. It left him having to wear two plates, six bolts and a
brace for a year.
'I fell out of a friend's flat in
Notting Hill and landed next to some rusty railings,' he
'It was a miracle that I missed them
and another miracle that I wasn't paralysed. I had some sort of neuro-damage and
the doctors told me I might never walk again.'
'I was in surgery for six hours, but
after all the bolts and plates were inserted I was able to leave hospital after
12 days, with a neck brace which I wore for the next year.'
'It was a life-changing experience
because it was towards the end of my second year at drama school. Everything
seemed to be going along the right lines and then this accident
'Perhaps, in retrospect, I'd been
moving a bit too quickly through life. It was a wake-up call to beat all wake-up
calls. There were then some issues about whether I was going to complete the
course or not.'
'The school was worried the injury
would stop me from working. But I finished the course. It all had a profound
effect on my life.'
'It forces you to confront your
deepest fears and the darkest areas of your mind. I think you learn more about
yourself than you would otherwise.'
'My tutors at college would agree
that it changed me and gave me more maturity. Up to then, I'd been too casual
and perhaps not heeded all the other warnings, after various
Orlando is convinced that his role
as expert archer Legolas - who returns in The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
on 18 December - has somehow turned his luck around, both on and off
'When the brace finally came off, I
was able to finish drama school and two days later I found out that I'd got this
big part in The Lord Of The Rings.'
'It was the most amazing feeling. I
knew I was too tall at nearly 6ft for a hobbit, but to get the part that I did
was very special. Then I heard the cast - Sir Ian McKellen, Christopher Lee,
John Rhys-Davies, Sean Bean, Liv Tyler and Cate Blanchett.'
'It meant 18 months working in New
Zealand, on three consecutive movies, getting all that experience, working with
the best in the business and a chance to be in one of the most popular films of
'I thought: "This is what I've
trained for - this is what I've got better for." And, despite my battered body,
I could still ride horses and perform in the action scenes, feeling perfectly
Orlando's role of Legolas Greenleaf
meant many scenes with actress Liv Tyler, who plays elf princess Arwen and whom
he rates highly.
'She's a very sweet young lady,' he
says. 'She'd give me pointers on this business when we trained together because
we were both playing elves.'
Liv also gave him some valuable
advice on the future. 'She said that if The Lord Of The Rings proved to be the
big success everyone thought it would be, I should take advantage of being in a
box-office hit,' he says.
'You can act really well in films,
but if they aren't a hit then no one in Hollywood takes much notice. The film's
failure is almost a reflection on the talent of its stars. 'So when the first
film in the trilogy became the biggest hit of last year, the offers began to
come in and I was ready for them. I felt there was no time to waste. I just
wanted to get on with it.'
Orlando, who played a soldier in
Black Hawk Down, another of last year's top movies, co-stars with Heath Ledger
in upcoming release The Kelly Gang and with Johnny Depp in Pirates Of The
Caribbean. He also has the lead role in forthcoming Brit flick The Calcium
'None of this is about fame or
money,' he insists. 'It's the sheer fun of life. I feel as if I've been given
another chance, after all my injuries and the things that have happened. I can
appreciate every single day.'