With his warm, somnolent Canterbury accent, tranquil self-assuredness and a face that looks like it was carved from Italian marble, it’s a wonder Orlando Bloom didn’t aim for movie stardom right after his first few acting jobs. Instead, the 24-year-old followed up roles in the UK soap “Casualty” and the 1998 biopic Wilde (starring fellow Briton Jude Law) with a three year stint at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. “I had an agent before I went in,” he says, “but I wanted to train.”
The experience apparently paid off because shortly after graduation, Bloom landed the pivotal role of the Elf warrior Legolas in the hotly anticipated Lord of the Rings trilogy, the first installment of which, The Fellowship of the Ring, opens in December. In addition to learning horseback riding, sword fighting and archery, Bloom also had to master Elvish.
“It’s a very difficult language to get your mouth around,” says Bloom. “My first scene on my first day was delivering a line of Elvish to a group of Elves, which wasn’t the easiest sort of thing to open with. We were in the studio in New Zealand and it was very hot, and I just remember thinking, man the Elves look really strange. But it was fun.
Bloom went directly from Rings‘ 18-month shoot into another mammoth production, Ridley Scott’s upcoming war epic Black Hawk Down – but not before grabbing some much-needed R&R a long way away from Middle-earth. “After we finished, I went surfing in Florida with two of the Hobbits, Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan. The cast was always trying to find something cool to do during filming, and surfing’s definitely the way to go, man.”