He’s one of the world’s biggest actors and, unlike many of his contemporaries, been around for quite some time. But what do you actually know about Orlando Bloom?
Here, talking to The Big Issue’s Jane Graham, the Hollywood star pens his Letter To My Younger Self, where he opens up about longevity, luck and loss.
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When I was 16 I left Canterbury and moved to London on my own. I was very determined. I wanted to be an actor, I knew it was the only thing I wanted to do. I felt like I had outgrown Canterbury and I wanted to get to London. I wanted to join the National Youth Theatre and I also just wanted to be out living a bit. When I think back now, 16 is quite young to leave home. But I’d been in boarding school for a few years, so I’d already found some sense of independence. And I was full of the enthusiasm and excitement and energy that you might imagine a 16-year-old Orlando would have.
Because of my determination and desire to have a career as an actor, I didn’t stray too far into drugs and alcohol and the things that could potentially have derailed me. I managed to keep a steady eye on the horizon, as they say, because I knew I wanted to fulfil a dream. I also found a Buddhist practice when I was 16. I’d been confirmed in Canterbury by the Archbishop of Canterbury, which was a pretty big deal. But when I moved to London I didn’t have a church, and didn’t look for a church. But in the course of a sculpture class I was taking at college I met this artist, and when I was drawing he’d be chanting in the other room. He taught me how to chant, to get down on my knees, think about what to say… that was the beginning of what is a religious practice of course, but I think of it more as a philosophy. It’s been a part of my life ever since, and it’s really helped me.
If you met the 16-year-old me you’d see someone gregarious, with joie de vivre – a happy go lucky, up for a bit of fun and up for bit of trouble kind of person. I was really up for it. I was a bit of a clubbing kid to be honest, and there were some amazing clubs going on in London then. I was part of a great mix of people and we had great fun. I had friends who worked in the post office, and they’d save their money to buy an outfit to wear that Saturday night. I had these silver tops, and John Richmond shoes. It was sort of like my idea of what Studio 54 might have been. London was really having a renaissance then, in the mid-90s. I remember Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis walking through one of those clubs one time, and there was Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista… it was a real scene. It was almost like going to Notting Hill Carnival every weekend, and there was so much love put into it.