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Fast Chat Orlando Bloom

BRITISH actor Orlando Bloom, 25, doesn't say much in "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," but he carries a big quiver. As the archer elf Legolas, Bloom fends off danger, protects Frodo and builds himself a major fan base, mostly among young women. While Legolas fans wait for the next movie in the "Ring" trilogy in December, they can catch Bloom - minus his blond elf wig - as a soldier in "Black Hawk Down." Wearing clogs, an elf tattoo and an air of amiability, Bloom met with freelance writer Susan Stewart to discuss the magical world of the "Ring" and the changes the movie has made in his own world.

So how does it feel to be called "the sexy elf?"

I'll take it. It sounds good to me.

In "The Fellowship of the Ring," you wore a long blond wig. Do blondes have more fun?

Certainly as that blonde, as Legolas, I did. It was probably the best experience of my life.

Do you remember when you learned you had the part?

It was a moment in time that is forever crystallized for me. My agent called and she said, "I've got some news. You've been offered 'The Lord of the Rings.'" I was over the moon.

As Legolas, your quiver is always full of arrows, no matter how many Orcs and trolls you've hit. Where do you get them? Is it magic?

We did shoot a sequence where I'm pulling arrows out of dead bodies, but it's not in the finished film.

Is Cate Blanchett [who plays the elf Queen] a good kisser?

I never kissed her.

Yeah, we know. That was a trick question. Any romance on the set?

No. I hung out with Liv Tyler a lot. I didn't kiss her, either. But I was always lobbying for love scenes between Legolas and Arwen.

You lived in New Zealand for 18 months. How did you spend your time?

Well, I had a great house. The address was really cool: Marine Parade, Sea Town. The sea was right there. You could almost spit in it. The Hobbits and I went surfing all the time.

Wasn't that a funny sight, this tall guy surfing with tiny people?

Well, the Hobbits aren't that short in real life. They're 5'6" or 5'7".

Less room for tattoos. You have three, we've heard.

Only two. This one is the sun. ... I got it when I was 15. Then there's this .

Please explain your hair.

Well, I like the Mohawk feeling, where you have a fin sort of effect. It's easy - just a little gel.

How about all that stuff around your neck?

Well, here's an Orlando stone. It was given to me by a girlfriend. And here's a power shell from New Zealand. I travel to all these different countries. I like to take a little bit with me.

Who feeds your dog in London while you're traveling?

My ex-girlfriend's family. They have got Maude now.


Yeah. She was a really big love. It's sad. I don't know what happened.

Was it the separation while you were making "Lord of the Rings"?

Well, she spent seven months with me in New Zealand and then two more. We tried, but we didn't know how to handle it.

So that's it for romance?

Now, my only relationship is with my work.

That sounds so melancholy.

Well, that's life. People come into your life and people leave it. I have quite a sort of philosophical view on it. Certain things happen for a reason. You just have to trust that life has a road mapped out for you.

Your own road map has a major bump in it: You broke your back a few years ago. How did that happen?

I was trying to get on some friends' roof terrace [in London] to kick in a warped door. I stepped on a piece of gutter. It didn't hold.

Had you been having some wee drinkies?

No, we'd just had a big Sunday lunch, no excessive drinking. But I was rushing through life, missing the point and having a bit too much fun.

How seriously were you hurt?

For four days they didn't think I would walk again. ... I actually had a miraculous recovery. I walked out in 12 days, pinned and plated. It refocused me, made me really appreciate life.

Doesn't your character [a private] in "Black Hawk Down" have a similar experience?

Yes, he falls out of a helicopter, this young green soldier anxious to fight. After I had my fall, I was in hospital lying right next to a young soldier with a paralyzing injury. It's surreal how life has these patterns.

It's surreal how much has happened to you in 25 years.

You certainly can't say I haven't lived.

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