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Orlando Lords it on the Net

Orlando Bloom is far from the best known name in the cast of the first Lord of the Rings movie, The Fellowship Of The Ring. But as far as internet surfers are concerned, the 25-year-old British actor is the hottest thing about the movie.

An internet search for Orlando, who plays the archer elf Legolas Greenleaf in the blockbuster movie, produces around 29,000 results. And his name is the most searched for item related to the Lord of the Rings films.

Adoring girls, who loving call him Orli, are scrambling to establish fan clubs and desperately searching for more information on the good-looking actor. Such sudden popularity has taken Canterbury-born Orlando totally by surprise and made him more than a little nervous.

'That many people taking an interest is scary' he says 'It really freaks me out. For me, the internet is a scary thing anyway I'm a complete technophobe, which is why I don't have email, but now my mum wants me to start an official website.'

Orlando also makes a brief but pivotal appearance in director Ridley Scott's action film Black Hawk Down. He plays the army ranger whose fall from a helicopter set in motion the disastrous chain of events that occurred during the botched US mission in Mogadishu, Somalia, in October 1993.

The irony of the role isn't lost on Orlando. Three years agao, he was told he might never walk again after falling three floors and breaking his back.

'Some friends had a roof terrace on the landing below their flat and I fell off the drainpipe,' he recalls 'Actually it gave way. I was told I might not walk again and for four days I had to contemplate that very real possibility. Then they operated on me and I walked out of hospital 12 days later.'

'I was quite fearless as s kid, but I've had to realise I'm not invincible. That's what breaking your back does-it makes you grow up and reassess life.'

However. The accident hasn't prevented Orlando pursuing physically demanding activities. 'I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie,' he says, 'so I love to go out and do crazy, slightly outrageous stuff, such as bungee jumping, surfing, skydiving and snowboarding. But I also like to chill out with my friends, go and see movies and do normal things.'

After filming Black Hawk Down and the Lord of the Rings trilogy over the past couple of years-the first major film work he has done-Orlando recently travelled to India to unwind with some of his friends. 'I just got back into civilization,' he says.

'I've worked on two huge movies and I'm only slowly understanding what that means. I'm over the moon and I haven't stopped in one place long enough to confront the changes that now need to be made in my life.

'There wasn't really any hard part of making Lord of the Rings, but 18 months filming were very draining. We worked very long hours and I did nine weeks of night shoots. You're obviously going to hit a wall at some points when your working for that length of time, but we all pulled each other along.

'Black Hawk Down was a totally different experience. It was a huge machine and it took five months. We filmed in Morocco, which was a much more difficult environment to work in that New Zealand, where we made Lord of the Rings. It was hot, dusty and dry.

So far, Orlando has found that fame hasn't really affected his lifestyle. 'I can still walk down the street and do normal daily things,' he says 'I'm not very recognisable because I have dark hair, dark eyes and an olive complexion, where as in Lord of the Rings I've got long blond hair, blue eyes and a pale complexion.'

Orlando left school at the age of 16 and moved from Canterbury to London to try and become an actor. 'I never really responded to teaching,' he says. 'I was always far more interested in what was happening on the playing fields.'

Nevertheless, he realised that if he was serious about becoming an actor he'd need some training. So he spent three years at drama school and won the part in Lord of the Rings just two days before finishing his training.

Orlando was originally screen-tested for the role of Faramir, but was disappointed to be told he hadn't got the part. Then he was asked to read for the part of Legolas instead was successful.

'It was the opportunity of a lifetime,' he says. 'There was never any question whether I would do or wouldn't do it. It was just a case of "Where do I sign up?" Its been the best time ever and a life-changing experience.'

During the coming months, the number of websites devoted to Orlando is liking to increase still further, since he has three more movies coming out - Ali G In Da House, Deed Poll, and Lullaby in Clubland.

And, of course, this Christmas he'll be back on the big screen as Legolas in The Two Towers, the second instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Article from NOW Magazine. Thanks to Lossy for the type-up.