How My Orlando Bloomed, The Sun (UK), August 1, 2003
By Grant Rollings
typed by The OB Files, scans by Michaela
HE may be Hollywood's hottest young star but Orlando Bloom's biggest fan
is his proud mum.
The heart-throb actor
has appeared in a string of movie blockbusters, including new box office smash
Pirates of the Caribbean.
But the only audience that really matters to him is
his mother Sonia Copeland Bloom.
And in an exclusive interview she tells of her
devotion to her boy and lifts the lid on his childhood - including the family
trauma over his father.
Sonia, a retired company director from
Canterbury, Kent, says: "I love Orlando to bits. He gets gorgeous mail.
fans are all positive about him. They hero-worship him and they see him as a
role model. Already people come to Canterbury and ask for directions to Orlando
"I think he is a bit of a phenomenon. There is something very
special about him and he's almost oblivious to it."
But his life has not
been without problems. As a lad, Orlando believed his father was Harry Bloom,
the renowned author and campaigner for black rights in South Africa.
12, Sonia told him that Harry, who died when Orlando was four, was NOT
his biological dad.
His father - and that of his sister Samantha, 28, - was
Sonia's lover Colin Stone, who lived with her while Harry was terminally ill
after a stroke.
Yet Sonia stresses: "Orlando has a very happy background. It
is something he has grown up with. Orlando is not sad.
"It was marvellous when he
learned that Colin was his father. He was brought up surrounded by a loving
Orlando, 26, who earns £2million a movie, says: "It's an unusual
story but then again, you show me a family and I'll show you an unusual
The actor was given the name Orlando because Harry wanted something
easy to remember.
Sonia explains: "Harry had trouble with his students' names
and thought he would always remember an Orlando. The family thought he might get
teased but he has always loved having it."
Now Orlando is making his name in the movie capital. Pirates hit No 1 in the US in its first weekend, taking £44 million in five days.
The hunk stars alongside Johnny
Depp in the £80 million Disney blockbuster. They are pictured together right.
Orlando, who also appears in The Lord of the Rings trilogy as blond elf Legolas and has been filming mega-budget epic Troy with Brad Pitt,
also had to overcome other problems.
Pirates co-star Keira Knightley, Orlando is dyslexic. Sonia helped him overcome
Sonia says: "He reads scripts all the time. It hardly effects him now.
Orlando got eight O-Levels and 3 A-Levels.
"He is a wonderful sculptor. Very
artistic and very bright."
In return, Orlando admits he is still very close
to his mum. He says: "I'm a hero to her but what is really important to me is
my family and my friends and the people who are closest to me. I try to maintain
some sort of sense of reality through work, friends and my family."
Sonia made sure her son got a good education. Orlando went to £9,000-a-year St Edmund's public school in Canterbury.
But the promising young star's
acting career nearly ended before it began. In 1998, while he was a student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, he fell three storeys from a rooftop terrace and broke his back.
"I'm rather accident prone I have to admit. I have also broken my ribs, my nose, both my legs, my arm, my wrist, a finger and a toe and cracked my skull three times."
Fortunately, despite filming the tough
sword fights in Pirates of the Caribbean, he came away with just a couple of scratches and bruising.
But shooting on the the Caribbean on real sailing ships did get a bit hairy.
Orlando says "We were sometimes
20 miles out at sea and the swells got kind of big. You can't get off the ship when you're that far from land."
In the film, released in Britain next Friday, Orlando plays romantic lead Will Turner, who falls in
love with Elizabeth Swann, played by Keira.
As well as Depp the story, about a cursed pirate ship, also stars Geoffrey Rush.
Orlando, whose nickname is Orli, says: "I love making films like Pirates, I love
Orlando has become a star in a short time. At the age of 16 he joined the National Youth Theatre in London. He landed bit parts in TV's Casualty and Midsomer Murders before studying at the Guildhall.
says: "The opportunity to do The Lord of the Rings came straight out of school and it wasn't much of a decision. I was like, 'Where do I sign?'"
The 5ft 11in star has been linked to some beautiful girls. But
he puts his career first.
He says: "Women are great. But I didn't take up acting so I could kiss a girl."