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The Calcium Kid, The Sunday Mail (Scotland), April 18, 2004
Byline: By JOHN MILLAR

Orlando Bloom's striking good looks have helped him become an international
heartthrob and star of mega-budget epics Lord Of The Rings, Pirates Of The
Caribbean and Troy.

This pretty boy is the last person you would expect to play a boxer.

But in latest flick the Calcium Kid he plays Jimmy Connelly, a milkman who
can also pack a punch.

It's a comedy but Orlando, 27, still had to put in some serious training.

He said: 'I wanted to look like had boxed before. I did some training so
could hold my fists up with the gloves on they are quite heavy.

'It was a fun process. trained a little bit in America with a guy there and
then in Australia, when I was working on Ned Kelly, then I finished
training in England.

'Now I have a whole new respect for boxers. It's not an easy sport. It's
very demanding, physically and mentally.'

The slim, fit, young actor, who developed a passion for surfing when he was
in New Zealand filming Lord Of The Rings, learned the hard way.

He said: 'I took a few knocks, yeah. It's an interesting thing trying to
punch somebody. That's not a particularly pleasant thing to do.'

Although he will admit to his share of playground punch-ups when he was a
schoolboy.'I was a little bit of a scrapper when I was a kid,' he says.'But
I grew out of that quite quickly, thank goodness. I realised the error of
my ways.'

In the film, the milkman is drafted in to spar with the British champion,
who is preparing for a tilt at the world crown. But disaster strikes when
the champ breaks his hand on Jimmy's head.

Orlando said: 'I have to step in and there is a rather funny chain of
events that lead to me having to fight the world champion.'

The star, who is joined by pop star Billie Piper, impressionist Ronni
Ancona and comic Omid Djalili, admits Jimmy is no Muhammad Ali.

'Jimmy isn't actually a very good boxer, that's the comedy of it. He's a
milkman, first and foremost.'

During filming, Orlando got a chance to meet a couple of Britain's former
boxing greats, Frank Bruno and Chris Eubank, who appear in the movie.

'It was a real honour,' says Orlando. 'Obviously as a kid I watched them
fight. Frank and Chris have cameos in the film when they wish me all the
best.'

But his training for the role didn't stop in the ring. 'I had a few lessons
driving round in milk floats,' he says. 'And did the carrying of bottles of
milk these guys can carry a bottle on each finger and one on each palm. I
didn't actually manage that.'

The early starts were nothing new for the former paper boy, who managed to
avoid being recognised on his rounds. 'At that time nobody had a clue who I
was,' he says. 'It was before I had done Pirates Of The Caribbean and the
blond wig for Lord Of The Rings was still working as a very good disguise.'

Orlando admits he's not a fan of a daily pinta. 'In the film I had to knock
back a couple of pints but that was not real milk.'

Despite his Hollywood success, Orlando was delighted to star in the
low-budget flick. He says: 'It was my first leading role . I am very proud
of this film. I had played all these intense, serious young men. This was a
chance to throw caution to the wind and be a bit of a clown.'

The tall star, who was born in Canterbury, Kent, and had to overcome
dyslexia as he struggled to become an actor, is working on another
blockbuster. This time it's director Ridley Scott's Kingdom Of Heaven, an
epic tale set during the 12th-century Crusades. No wonder he says he often
has to pinch himself.

Orlando says: 'I feel very fortunate to have worked in such great films.
Lord Of The Rings came straight out of school for me. It wasn't much of a
decision... more a case of, 'Where do I sign?' It could all have been so
different. Six years ago he broke his back after a three-storey fall. He
had been trying to climb up a drainpipe after a friend got locked out of
his flat.

Orlando says: 'I was told I might not walk again. So for about four days I
was contemplating that as a serious part of reality. Then they operated and
I walked out of the hospital in about 12 days.' Away from the cameras,
Orlando has tried to keep his love life private. Not easy when the woman in
his life is beautiful American actress Kate Bosworth, 21, soon to be seen
in Win A Date With Tad Hamilton! and Wonderland. He has given her a gold
bracelet as a token of his love.

Of his sex symbol status, Orlando says: 'It's lovely but I don't feel very
different to how I did a few years ago. try and maintain some sense of
reality.' Asked if he's a romantic, he says: 'I like to think so. I'm a
hero to my mum, I reckon, and I was brought up with good manners, so I try
to be a gentleman.'

After The Calcium Kid, Orlando's next film release will be Troy, the
multi-million dollar saga of a 10year siege by the armies of Ancient
Greece. The star-studded cast includes Brad Pitt, The Hulk's Eric Bana,
Peter O'Toole and Sean Bean. Orlando plays Paris, the prince who starts the
war when he runs off with Helen (Diane Kruger), the wife of the Spartan king.

'Paris is the lover, not the fighter,' says Orlando. 'It's a time of men
and warriors and honour and he is this foolish boy who falls in love with
Helen, steals her away and doesn't care about consequences.'

He says working with Brad Pitt provided the same sort of inspiration he got
from acting alongside Johnny Depp in Pirates Of The Caribbean.

'They are great role models. Johnny has always been incredibly courageous
with the choices he has made and the same can be said of Brad,' says
Orlando. 'I have noticed with Johnny and Brad that fame is a by-product of
being an actor.

'I was in Malta with the Troy production and we had a cast dinner at a
restaurant.

'As we left I was talking to Brad Pitt and then one of the single most
bizarre things I have ever seen happened it felt like pretty much the whole
of Malta had descended on the guy.

'I witnessed with great interest the incredible poise, humility and grace
with which he carried himself at that point. People tend to get a little
bit frantic around him so it was eye-opening to see him handle that
situation, as there were people coming at him and trying to touch him and
grab him.'

As his star continues to rise, it's the kind of treatment Orlando may well
have to get used to in future.

The Calcium Kid is released on April 30.

CAPTION(S):

Reluctant boxer Jimmy (Orlando Bloom) is encouraged by manager Omid
Djalili; Lord Of The Rings' elf made Orlando a star; With fellow outlaw
Joel Edgerton in Ned Kelly; Caribbean pirate Johnny Depp and Orlando;
Romantic Paris woos Helen (Diane Kruger)

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