Anglo-Cowboy from L'Uomo Vogue (Italy), November 2002
By Alessandra Venezia
translated by Raffy of Dream In Bloom
He's named Orlando, like the chivalrous hero of the Ariosto. And as the protagonist of the Chanson de Roland, he was destined to a glorious future. From Canterbury, where he was born in 1977, he soon left. And when, at
ten, his girlfriend revealed to him that she preferred Superman to him, he decided to become a hero, even of film. So, at sixteen, he left school and his family to escape to London and become an actor. He joined The National Youth Theatre, after two years he won a scholarship for the British American Drama Academy and he then went on to the prestigious Guildhall School of Music and Drama. A curriculum of all respects, bringing to the stage Shakespeare, Cechov and Sofocle.
Instead, at 22, he chose to participate in the greatest cinema production ever made: the 360 million dollar trilogy of the "Lord of the Rings", the fantasy/medieval saga of J.R.R. Tolkien brought to the screen by Peter Jackson. With the role of Legolas, the warrior elf that accompanies eight companions to protect the young hobbit Frodo (Elijah Wood) in his mission against evil, the name of Orlando Bloom has now entered in the mythical universe of Tolkien: by the end of the year we will see him in the second episode "The Two Towers", and by the end of 2003 in the conclusive chapter "The return of
"I was twenty-two years old and I was about to complete acting school, when they offered me a part in "Lord of the Rings": hey, suddenly I had a career in front of me", he remembers today. In the beginning, he was supposed to audition for Faramir. Instead, they gave him the role of the noble and brave elf. Leaving his house in Notting Hill and his inseparable dog Maude, he went for eighteen months to Wellington, in New Zealand.
That period was spent with extraordinary actors like Ian McKellen and Ian Holm and with other young actors, who are today among his best friends, creating indelible memories: "We worked like crazy people, with weary schedules, but in our spare time our group of elves and hobbits transformed into surfers, snowboarders.
We did skydiving and parachute jumping". He is a reckless type: he has already broken both legs, the nose, and ribs but he doesn't give up. He's speaking into his mobile phone from his car while he is returning home from the set. He's not easy to track down: he seems to be the busiest boy in the world.
The 25 year old actor is now one of the youngest and most sought after actors by studios and publicists: a new face to launch, a talent not to lose. All within a few months, Movieline has placed him in the list of the ten best performances of 2001; "Teen People" in the 25 hottest stars under 25; GAP has chosen him as the lead actor of the commercial
"Denim Invasion" (together with Kate Beckinsale) directed by Cameron Crowe.
Orlando now says he's happy to return to work and to live in London, after almost three years spent around the world, from New Zealand and Australia's coasts to Moroccan deserts. After the trilogy of Tolkien, in fact, he went to Africa to act in "Black Hawk Down" (Ridley Scott), in the role of the American soldier Todd Blackburn, and then "The Kelly Gang".
Based on the true story of the famous Australian outlaw, the film is directed by Gregor Jordan ("Two hands") and performed by Heath Ledger, Rachel Griffiths and Geoffrey Rush. "My role is that of Ned Kelly's best friend, the polite guy, the one who thinks. Working in Australia has been a fantastic experience: the landscapes and the light are unforgettable and the people are relaxed and pleasant"
Each film becomes a life experience for the young Bloom: "The meeting with all these different cultures makes me open my eyes on a lot of things. In Morocco I could not communicate because of the language, but in New Zealand, where I have almost spent two years, I received a great lesson: it taught me to stay more with my feet on the ground". And it has paved the road for his first film as the lead: "The Calcium Kid", that is filming at this moment in London. "Perhaps because it is my first leading film, I have the impression that it is the most gratifying experience of my professional life.
I work with a director that is a long-time friend, with people from my country with which I share humor and language. I am happy when I work… " then he explains: "The Calcium Kid is the story of a young milkman that spends his spare time in the gym
so the country can train him as a boxer, and in the end he becomes a national champion, thanks to his skeleton strengthened by the enormous quantity of milk that he drinks daily".
After this small comedy, Bloom will move to the great production "Pirates of the Caribbean", a film based on the famous Disney park ride in Los Angeles, and performed by Johnny Deep. "I can't believe that I will make a movie with Johnny Deep! " he confides
enthusiastically like a child "He's always been one of my favorite actors, a sort of aspiring model because of his unconventional choices, for his professional integrity, for a career that I consider the most interesting in Hollywood".
And it will be a lot of fun: it is a production by Jerry Bruckheimer and a story of pirates: "what more can I ask?". For him who, since he was ten, has intended to turn himself into a hero, rather into many heroes, there couldn't be a better happy ending.
But it has not happened by chance: Bloom has spent years of working and practicing. "I have been lucky", he affirms. "My mother has always encouraged us, me and my sister, to act since we were children. We always participated in the Kent festival in Canterbury, where we had to learn to memorize poetry and biblical stories to recite in public. I had already decided that I would become an actor to be able to interpret the fabulous characters that I saw in television and
in the cinema".
He had started to read "The Lord of the Rings" at fourteen, but he never finished the book. Today, however, he is an expert on the subject. "I am convinced that the spectator won't understand the entire operation of Jackson until he sees all the three movies together. Even spending one whole day with his
favorite characters and plunging himself into that fantastic world without interruptions. I am convinced that Peter has created a new kind: an epic, a fantasy that is also very realistic and touching, where everybody can identify with the characters, also with the elves, the goblins, that are imaginary creatures".
For his Legolas, he expresses admiration and endless thankfulness. "It was an extraordinary character to play: he has graceful nobility, he doesn't even have a crumb of wickedness or wickedness in himself. His honesty struck me, because it forced me to reflect, to be braver, to try what I've never done before. I have even learned to fight with two knives and to handle with dexterity every type of weapon. And when I started that movie, I was a young actor with his first experience… "