December 21, 2001
Warrior Elf Bloom Steals Hearts of Fans
How 24-year-old Briton Orlando Bloom became a heart-throb before ever appearing in a major movie is a mystery, even to him.
Bloom, the lithe, warrior elf Legolas in Peter Jackson's The Fellowship of the Ring, was cast in the role almost straight after graduating from London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
By his own admission he was still a boy when he started work on the J R R Tolkien trilogy. "I've grown up here," he said. "And it's been a great place to grow up."
Along with star Elijah Wood, Bloom was the one the fans screamed for at the premiere parade for The Fellowship of the Ring in Wellington on Wednesday night.
The answer to his popularity may lie in the glimpses of his character that filter through, often over the Internet.
When Rings producer Barrie Osborne revealed yesterday that he had sent a letter to all the cast forbidding New Zealand adventure pursuits such as bungy jumping, to Bloom and hobbits of a similar age it was like a red rag to a bull.
"The first thing I did in Queenstown was to go to do a bungy. I had just had the letter from Barrie . . ."
As well, Bloom was into the frowned-upon practice of surfing - saying on Wednesday he had been out on the waves in Lyall Bay that morning.
Bloom wasn't the only one risking trouble. Jackson told the story of how Bloom and some of the hobbit actors had lured non-surfer Vigo Mortensen into action.
Mortensen had shown up for work ready for shooting in the mines of Moria with "a huge swollen face, his right eye closed like a boxer", after a knock from his surf board. "For the scene we had to always shoot from the left-hand side," Jackson said. "We had no choice."
Bloom said that though he was a "bit of a joker" in his own time, on set he was more circumspect and focused as he acted out the lofty superiority of an elf.
"It was quite demanding. Legolas was very centred and wise . . . I think they (elves) live the sort of lives we aspire to."
Bloom's popularity with the fans could be set to grow even more, with the release next month of his second film, Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down.