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Summer All-Star, Orlando Bloom, Premiere (US), June, 2003
typed by Tina, scans from Mel of The Bloom Room

From Middle-Earth to the Caribbean sea, this British heartthrob is simply cruising.

"It's ridiculous, the roles I've played," Orlando Bloom says. "I'm definitely having a ball, man." The 26-year-old sounds relaxed and upbeat over the phone, with the blissed-out demeanor of someone cruising down the freeway in a 1968 Mustang with a surfboard in the back and the wind in his hair. Whish is exactly what he is doing: Bloom and his Lord of the Rings costar Billy Boyd are en route to L.A.'s Ventura Beach, ready for waves.

Bloom, who hails from Canterbury, England, seems to be perpetually in a good mood. (In a phone interview six months ago, he sounded equally giddy while making a fish dinner in his kitchen.) Today, he marvels at his career joyride, from playing a sharp-shooter elf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy to a rookie soldier in Black Hawk Down to a gallant adventurer in this summer's Pirates of the Caribbean: The curse of the Black Pearl. "It's a pirate movie, dude. It's pretty straightforward," Bloom says.

It's a bit of a surprise that the actor, a graduate of London's esteemed Guildhall School of Music and Drama (and whose name alludes to the Shakespeare character and the 17th-century composer Orlando Gibbons, not the Disney World locale), would take on such pop fare. But producer Jerry Bruckheimer says, "It's a good choice. The movie has a broad spectrum. This will help Orlando down the path of becoming a true movie star."

Bloom makes no bones about it: "When I first got the script, I was like, I'm not really interested. I just wasn't in the head space to think about doing a big American blockbuster. And then it was put to me in a different way, which was that if I opened a door like this, it will ultimately put me in a marketplace where I can get projects made that I want to get made." Namely, a film about photojournalist Dan Eldon, who died covering the unrest in Somalia in 1993.

Recently, Bloom worked with Heath Ledger in the Australian adventure Ned Kelly, and soon he will engage in some blood B.C. combat in Troy, opposite Brad Pitt. But first, he has reshoots for Pirates. "You know, it's fun, man. If you can be an actor and get dressed up, why not dress up as something ridiculous? And enjoy it."