“As an actor, you can’t think about the end result or the fame; you just have to focus on the day you’re in. You have no control over the finished product, what people will think of it, so all you have is the experience of making it, and you have to stay focused on that.”—Orlando Bloom.
Best known as Legolas, it can be easy to forget there is more to Orlando Bloom than slinging arrows. Bloom is also known for his role as Will Turner in The Pirates of the Caribbean series. As he enters his 40s, his career and resume speak for itself, from blockbusters to humble indie fare. Here are 42 little-known facts about Orlando Bloom.
42. Acting Chops
Bloom’s acting skills might be improving, as evidenced by a July incident where he told an audience member to put her iPad away (he used other, stronger words). Bloom didn’t go full Christian Bale but he did scold the audience member twice without breaking character.
When Bloom was 11 years old, he was diagnosed with dyslexia. Bloom had a high IQ, according to IQ tests he took as a child, but reading and spelling proved difficult. Bloom found that drama school helped him with reading out loud. His teacher taught him to learn by thought, instead of just memorizing by reciting the text. This ultimately helped with connecting imagery to thoughts and making it easier to write and read. Bloom also found his focus was better on stage: “I think creativity is key to any child who has dyslexia.”
Bloom’s biggest roles probably fit with the heartthrob mold, but Bloom’s earliest roles in drama school were “character” roles according to him. “Character actors” are known for playing unusual or eccentric characters. However, some more modern definitions of “character actor” say that a character actor is simply a versatile actor who can disappear into any role. Bloom remembers playing character roles in The Pirates of Penzance (as the chief of police) and The Boyfriend (as a “dirty old man”).
Bloom was back in the headlines recently for posting a picture of himself naked (waist down hidden). The real attraction in the pic is the giant spider he caught in a glass while he was in the bathroom.
38. Branch Out
Although he might not be on the big screen as much lately, Bloom is still active on stage. He recently appeared in a stage production of Killer Joe, which tells the story of a struggling family in a trailer park who hire a hitman (Bloom) to kill their mother so they can cash in on the insurance. To top it off, the 20-year-old daughter of the family is offered up as a retainer.
Bloom wanted to return to the stage and feels that all of the violence in the play is handled with great sensitivity, adding he feels “very safe in the little trailer within that world that we created.”
37. Think of the Children
Bloom has a seven-year-old son, Flynn, from his previous marriage to supermodel Miranda Kerr. He has said that he loves being a dad and is open to having more children.
36. Elves Unite
Former Lord of the Rings co-star Liv Tyler once stopped by to see Bloom on stage. The two shared a picture backstage after the show, which has led to some rumors of a new romance on the horizon.
Earlier in 2018, Tyler shut down rumours that the two dated previously, effectively putting Bloom in the friend zone by calling him one of her “oldest friends.”
35. On the Fence
Singer Katy Perry and Bloom began dating in 2016 and broke up in February 2017, but have reportedly been back together since February 2018. However, Bloom hints their schedules make a true relationship hard: “She’s on tour, I’m doing a play, everything evolves. I have a lot of respect for her and a lot of deep feeling. So we will see.”
34. Study Time
Due to his dyslexia, Bloom believes he put more time into memorizing lines than his peers. Bloom argues that since his early troubles with speech made him more nervous of forgetting lines or getting stage fright, he had to study his lines more than the average actor. Bloom’s routine is now to read the lines at night, sleep on them and then go over them again first thing in the morning.
Although Johnny Depp played the scoundrel in Pirates of the Caribbean, Bloom views Depp as one of the “most stand-up people” he’s ever met. Bloom also stood by Depp after Depp got some bad press for his $40 million debt and domestic violence allegations. Bloom still views Depp as a role model due to his humility and artistic integrity—Bloom’s words.
32. Chariots of Fire
Bloom’s career began at a breakneck pace with his roles in The Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean. Since then, the ride’s slowed down. However, Bloom is still adamant that he views his career “as a marathon,” not a “sprint.” Bloom realizes he has “a lot to learn as an actor.”
31. Auspicious Start
Bloom’s first film role was in a 1997 Oscar Wilde biopic titled Wilde. Bloom played the coveted role of a “rent boy,” English slang for a male prostitute.
30. So Pitted
The Lord of the Rings introduced Bloom to a bigger audience but also introduced him to surfing. While filming in New Zealand, the English actor took a liking to the water and has since surfed in Australia, Mexico, England, and Hawaii.
Ever felt like school didn’t prepare you for what you wanted to do after? Well then you and Bloom don’t have that in common. Peter Jackson happened to be in the audience for one of Bloom’s performances with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Jackson went backstage to ask Bloom about an audition for The Lord of the Rings, and you know where the story goes from there.
28. Clash of Titans
Bloom’s management clashed over whether he should star in Troy. Bloom’s manager, Aleen Keshishian, felt like Paris was too weak a role, since he is the less masculine brother who can barely hold his own in a fight. Keshishian wanted a role that exuded more power for his client. In contrast, Jeff Kwatinetz, the chairman of Keshishian’s management company, focused on the fact that Paris was a prominent supporting role in a big blockbuster.
27. Better Late Than Never
Ashton Kutcher was initially signed on for the male lead in Elizabethtown, but director Cameron Crowe “didn’t feel the movie coming together” two months into production. Kutcher was let go and Crowe’s mind went to Bloom since the two had worked on a Gap commercial three years prior.
26. Je Ne Parle Pas Francais
Some sources say Bloom speaks French fluently, but a 2007 interview clears up he understands it, but doesn’t speak it well. Who knows, maybe he’s brushed up on his skills since.
Kingdom of Heaven offered Bloom his first lead role in a blockbuster. Russell Crowe backed out of the film and Bloom was able to step in. Bloom took $2 million for the role, one-tenth of Crowe’s salary. The studio hoped Bloom’s fangirls would help them prevail at the box office but the film proved to be a financial disappointment.
24. Apathy Can Attract
Prior to meeting Perry, Bloom wasn’t too familiar with her music or “artistic endeavors.” However, he was still “hit sideways” by her character after they met at the 2016 Golden Globes.
23. West to East
Like Christian Bale and David Carradine, Bloom tried his luck with the Chinese film market. The Shanghai Job, released as S.M.A.R.T. Chase in China, stars Bloom as Danny Stratton, a private security agent seeking to reclaim a stolen Chinese antique. The film was a box office failure and the reviews also leave much to be desired. Maybe he’ll try Bollywood next?
Bloom was reluctant to show his son his role in the Pirates of the Caribbean series since he wanted to maintain a sense of normalcy in the relationship. When Flynn began school, Orlando figured other students might tell Flynn what his dad does, so Orlando decided to beat them to it. Orlando set up a screening of the first Pirates of the Caribbean and once Flynn asked him how long he can hold his breath, Orlando decided he’d be super dad and told his son he can walk from one side of the ocean to the other.
21. At Peace
Bloom found Buddhism interesting as a child, due to a religious upbringing that focuses on hymns and psalms. Bloom wanted to delve further into spirituality and felt like Buddhism “is connected to everything.”
In keeping with the daredevil theme, Bloom is also an avid mountain biker. Bloom even starred in an Andy Samberg cycling mockumentary titled Tour de Pharmacy.
19. Land of the Rising Sun
Bloom got some temporary tattoos inked for his role in Unlocked, but he also has some permanent marks. Bloom has the number nine written in Elvish, which represents the members of the Fellowship of the Ring. The Elvish tattoo is shared with the other actors who made up the fellowship, who got the tattoos in New Zealand to celebrate the end of filming of the original Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Bloom also has a tattoo of the sun, which he admits was a “stupid idea” from his teen years.
Bloom’s first name comes from 16th-century English composer Orlando Gibbons.
Bloom’s stage debut came in 2007, with David Storey’s In Celebration, telling the story of three sons who have broken away from the mining career their father spent 49 years in. Bloom hadn’t heard of Storey prior to getting the script, and Storey didn’t know who Bloom was. Bloom was attracted to the stage and the part because he wanted to break away from potential typecasting after playing the role of Will Turner in the Pirates of the Caribbean series. The play ran until September and Bloom followed it up with the role of Romeo in a 2013 production of Romeo and Juliet.
16. Iron Man
Bloom has racked up a catalog of injuries over the years, and they’re not all from filming. Bloom has broken his right leg while skiing and broke the left in a motorcycle crash. The injuries continue with three ribs. One of these ribs broke on the LOTR set when he fell off a horse and was then crushed by another actor. Bloom also broke his nose playing rugby, broke his wrist snowboarding and has also cracked his skull three times. It sounds like he’s basically broken every major bone in his body—has he considered a calcium supplement?
15. One Does Not Simply Play My Brother
Although Bloom caught Peter Jackson’s attention during drama school, Bloom originally auditioned for the role of Faramir.
14. Out of the Shadows
Bloom kept his Instagram account private until 2016. He made the switch to public with a picture of his handwriting, which read “I caved.”
Bloom rescued his former dog, Sidi, in Morocco while he was filming Kingdom of Heaven. Sidi passed away (an exact date is hard to pin down, but sometime after 2015) and Bloom commemorated his friend by mounting her skeleton in his home, in true Norman Bates fashion.
12. Is That Me?
Bloom went through drama school assuming that he would be a stage actor. His first audition for Legolas was his first time seeing himself on screen. Orlando was “devastated” to see himself since the screen offered a better avenue for judging his own acting.
Bloom had no downtime between filming Kingdom of Heaven and Elizabethtown, literally wrapping the former and then starting filming for the latter the next day. The change of pace is another reason that Bloom was interested in taking a break from film and going to the stage.
Bloom is among the first generation of actors whose entire catalog of films are available on DVD, as opposed to VHS.
Bloom became a UNICEF ambassador in 2009 and credits his work with the organization for his optimism. Bloom’s work included visiting Nigeria in the aftermath of Boko Haram attacks: “The rest of the world is Disneyland relative to what some people are going through.”
Aside from nude pics, Bloom also has a sex tape. Or in his case, he took a picture of a roll of tape with the word “sex” written on it. We see what you did there, Bloom.
Following Bloom’s divorce from Miranda Kerr, Bloom started to prioritize raising his son and didn’t pursue roles as actively.
Once Kerr found a new partner, Bloom felt more at ease pursuing work and now finds that he isn’t the hot commodity he used to be. “People always want the new” and Bloom has admitted he has missed out on a number of roles he’s auditioned for since 2013.
6. Top 10
Due to Bloom’s roles in two huge series, he currently sits at #6 in terms of the box office revenue his films have generated, specifically for the “adventure” category. Bloom is only preceded by the Harry Potter trio (Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe), Johnny Depp, and Steve Carrell.
Back in 2009, Bloom’s Hollywood Hills home was burglarized by a group known as the “Bling Ring.” The group is sometimes described as a “cult” due to their fixation on stealing items from celebrities. The ringleader’s lawyer argued that the group didn’t intend to steal from Bloom, they were actually targeting his then-girlfriend, model Miranda Kerr. However, Bloom still lost some possessions, including his Rolex collection.
And if you’re looking for an Airbnb, Bloom was renting the room out as of 2013.
To add insult to injury, Bloom was offered a role in a film about the group: Director Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring. Understandably, Bloom turned the role down.
According to Katy Perry, Bloom is “quite the exhibitionist” and an “adventure junkie.” The description seemed apt after Bloom and Perry went viral for pics taken while they were paddle-boarding in Italy. Paddle-boarding is interesting in itself, but Bloom decided to spice it up by doing it naked.
After Katy Perry went to see Bloom on stage in Killer Joe, she meant to send him a message privately saying: “I need a season pass for that [censored].” But instead of a private comment, Perry commented on one of Bloom’s pics.
This specific comment is a reference to some of the “tasteful” nudity on display in the play. As one fan confirms, Bloom is naked for about “7 seconds.”
2. All The Way Up
Bloom’s daredevil tendencies go far beyond naked paddle-boarding. When he was 21 he decided to try scaling a rooftop terrace via its drainpipe. The drainpipe collapsed and he fell three stories, breaking several vertebrae. Ultimately, he was fortunate just to spend four days paralyzed and undergo 18 months of rehab. To this day, Bloom still regularly practices Pilates and yoga to help strengthen his back. He also credits the accident with giving him more of a fighting spirit.
1. Small Detail
Until he was 13 years old, Bloom was under the impression that his stepdad, anti-apartheid lawyer and activist Harry Bloom, was his biological father. Bloom entered puberty by finding out that the person he thought was a family friend, Colin Stone, was his real dad.