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Full Bloom from Teen People (US), December 2002
typed by The OB Files, scans from Uruviel's Argonath Site

As the best-looking Elf ever to hit the big screen, The Lord of the Rings' Orlando Bloom has launched himself out of Middle-Earth and into the mainstream.

Forgive Orlando Bloom, but he's still reeling. Three years ago he was a student at London's Guildhall School of Music & Drama, just days away from graduation, when he won the role of a 2,931-year-old elf named Legolas in the hottest project in Hollywood, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The next thing he knew, the boy from Canterbury, England, who got his start reciting poetry at local arts festivals, was jetting off to New Zealand for 18 months of filming on the mystical epic with the whole process shrouded in secrecy. "We weren't allowed to take photographs [of ourselves]," Orlando recalls. "I would have to wear a hooded jacket in the car on the way to the set and home every day too if I still had the elf ears on." The first installment, The Fellowship of the Ring, catapulted Orlando to unexpected screen-idol status. And this month's The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, in which hobbits Frodo and Sam journey on to Mordor while Legolas and the rest of the gang fight the evil forces at Helm's Deep, is sure to keep him there. "I'm overwhelmed by it."

These days he has a bounty of choice roles coming his way. Next up, Orlando's an outlaw in the movie The Kelly Gang, co-starring Heath Ledger. "It was an all-boys thing," Orlando says, "riding around on horses with guns," Then he has to cope with another ring - the boxing kind - for a British comedy called The Calcium Kid. "I play a working-man's hero, a young guy who is a milkman, but he also boxes," says Orlando, who's now in training for the role. "I drink a lot of milk."

There is one downside to this kind of success: Orlando's so popular now that people want to gossip about him and pass around wrong information on the Web, which strikes him as really strange. To set the record straight, he insists his idol is not Superman ("I've been trying to live down this story forever") and he didn't start acting to pick up chicks ("Rubbish," he says. "I liked to perform from an early age"), Orlando hopes to have his own site up soon to help squash the rumors.

Until then, know this: He puts family first, living in Canterbury, where his mother runs a language school for foreign students (his dad died when Orlando was four), and he's in love with Maude, his dog. As for his romantic life, his last big relationship fell apart while he was making The Lord of the Rings. Still, Orlando's not giving up on love. "When you start falling for somebody and you can't stop thinking about when you're going to see them again, I love that," he says. "Women are beautiful. They deserve to be cherished and respected." And, he adds with a laugh, "They're a handful."

VITAL STATS

NAME: Orlando Bloom.
BORN: January 13, 1977 in Canterbury, England.
SCREEN FAVES: Johnny Depp, Edward Norton and that cute French flick Amelie.
GOOD LUCK CHARM: A small pyramid of the blue gemstone lapis lazuli, which he keeps on his bedside "for wisdom."
XTREME PURSUITS: Skydiving, bungee jumping, surfing and snowboarding. "Keeping fit," he says, "comes easily to me."
LIFETIME MEMBER OF THE E.R.: To date, he's broken his back, both legs, an arm, three ribs, his nose, a finger, a wrist, a toe and cracked his skull three times. "I feel like I'm in competition with Evel Knievel," he says.
NAIL MAN: "I am a vegetarian," says Orlando. He does, however, nosh on his nails. "Sadly, yes, ever since I gave up smoking. Now I'm trying to give up nails."