‘I Was Afraid for My Life’ — Orlando Bloom Puts Himself in Peril for New TV Series

 This image released by Peacock shows Chris Copeland and Orlando Bloom in an episode of the television series "Orlando Bloom: To the Edge." (Peacock via AP)
This image released by Peacock shows Chris Copeland and Orlando Bloom in an episode of the television series "Orlando Bloom: To the Edge." (Peacock via AP)
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‘I Was Afraid for My Life’ — Orlando Bloom Puts Himself in Peril for New TV Series

 This image released by Peacock shows Chris Copeland and Orlando Bloom in an episode of the television series "Orlando Bloom: To the Edge." (Peacock via AP)
This image released by Peacock shows Chris Copeland and Orlando Bloom in an episode of the television series "Orlando Bloom: To the Edge." (Peacock via AP)

Orlando Bloom wanted to test himself for his latest adventure project. Not by eating something gross or visiting a new country. He wanted to risk death — with not one but three extreme sports.

The Peacock series “Orlando Bloom: To the Edge” sees the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star shoot through the sky thousands of feet above the ground, dive into a deep sinkhole and rock climb hundreds of feet.

“While I was at moments scared for my life during the show, having come out the other end of it I feel way more capable,” Bloom tells The Associated Press.

The series, which debuts Thursday, was born from the pandemic, which made outside adventures even more alluring. It met the perfect host in a man who is a natural risk-taker. When he made his Broadway debut in “Romeo and Juliet,” he roared onto the stage on a Triumph motorcycle.

“I’m like a collector of experiences in some ways,” he says. “I’ve been remarkably gifted and fortunate to have some unique ones, but this was definitely like, ‘Oh, wow, I’m capable of this. Therefore I can do anything.’”

First up was wingsuiting — skydiving in a special jumpsuit that adds lift so you can glide longer before opening your parachute. Bloom's goal was to jump out of plane at 13,000 feet (3,962 meters) fly 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) over the Pacific Ocean and land on the beach.

Then he heads to the Bahamas, to a 663-foot-deep (202 meters) hole in the ocean, with the aim of plunging to 100 feet (30.5 meters) on just one breath. After that, it’s off to Utah to climb a 400-foot (122 meter) tower and stand on a summit the size of a pizza box.

“We all experience fear. It’s how we face this fear that defines us,” Bloom says in the first episode. “I never feel so alive being so close to death.”

There were some heart-in-your throat moments, like on his seventh skydiving jump, where Bloom needed to activate his reserve chute, something that is necessary just 1 in 1,000 times. And for his 21st jump, he did it holding hands with his 80-year-old uncle, Christopher Copeland, a master skydiver.

Usually it takes 200 solo skydives before anyone is allowed to wingsuit but Bloom convinces his instructor in just two weeks. Katy Perry, his partner, is on hand for the first wobbly flight, embracing her man after he lands and lovingly calling him “a flying wombat.”

Bloom battles ear pain to attempt the 100-foot (30.5 meter) freedive and practicing a breath exercise leaves him in tears, struggling and sweating. Freediving turns out to require a slowing heart, conserving energy and relaxing — the opposite of most sports.

The rock climbing challenge sees a usual 2-3 year training process condensed into a week. There was added stress because Bloom broke his back in a fall in his 20s and really didn't want to do that again.

“Just remember if everything hurts and you want to puke, you’re doing it right,” an instructor helpfully tells him. Bloom also leans into his Buddhist belief, meditating and chanting in the run-up to each daredevil step.

Bloom joins a crowded field of adventure-seeking celeb TV hosts, which includes Eugene Levy, Zac Efron, José Andrés, Chris Hemsworth, Will Smith, Stanley Tucci, Macaulay Culkin and Ewan McGregor.

Bloom, already a guy who went to the gym twice a day, was a quick learner and even emerged with a skydiving license. But he had one-on-one help from experts usually out of the reach of regular thrillseekers, like Maureen “Mo” Beck, a gold medal at the 2014 Spanish Paraclimbing World Championships, and Camila Jaber, the youngest female freediver to break records.

Bloom credits his instructors for their patience, expertise and teaching him to trust them and their gear. His life was in their hands but very often, their lives were in his hands.

“It wasn’t just as simple as like, ‘I’m just going to go with the flow here.’ No, I learned the tools. There are protocols,” he says. “There is a framework with which I was working. And while I was doing that, I was able to get into a rhythm, into a flow, and achieve things that I never thought I would ever do in my lifetime.”

Bloom hopes viewers will tune in to see a novice achieve remarkable feats but also to inspire them to get outside their comfort zones, be it perhaps by managing public speaking or learning a new language.

“For me, the idea of the show was like, ’Well, what is it for you?” he asks. “What is your version of jumping out of a plane? It doesn’t have to be physical or death defying in some form or another.”

Bloom says he's in a happy place, with a good career, a loving partner and great children. That made the stakes even higher for the new series.

“I’m very grateful for my life,” he says. “I’m even more grateful having survived ‘Orlando Bloom: To the Edge.’”



Spanish Fan Shows Off His Taylor Swift 'Sanctuary' Before Madrid Gig

Roberto Santos, 55, a Spanish superfan who is part of a select list of fans who receives exclusive gifts from the pop icon, poses in his "Taylor Swift shrine" in his home in Madrid, Spain, May 21, 2024. REUTERS/Juan Medina
Roberto Santos, 55, a Spanish superfan who is part of a select list of fans who receives exclusive gifts from the pop icon, poses in his "Taylor Swift shrine" in his home in Madrid, Spain, May 21, 2024. REUTERS/Juan Medina
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Spanish Fan Shows Off His Taylor Swift 'Sanctuary' Before Madrid Gig

Roberto Santos, 55, a Spanish superfan who is part of a select list of fans who receives exclusive gifts from the pop icon, poses in his "Taylor Swift shrine" in his home in Madrid, Spain, May 21, 2024. REUTERS/Juan Medina
Roberto Santos, 55, a Spanish superfan who is part of a select list of fans who receives exclusive gifts from the pop icon, poses in his "Taylor Swift shrine" in his home in Madrid, Spain, May 21, 2024. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Roberto Santos, 55, stands out among other "Swifties" for his decades-long devotion to American pop icon Taylor Swift and a plethora of gifts the Spaniard has received from her team in recognition of that - enough to fill up an apartment room he calls a sanctuary.
As Swift, 34, was preparing to play her Eras Tour gigs in Madrid on Wednesday and Thursday, Santos, who runs a dental prosthetics lab in Spain's capital, solemnly displayed the items, including Swift's limited-edition platinum disk award, signed photos, recordings, and sneakers bearing both their names, said Reuters.
"Sometimes I wake up at night, turn on the light and look a little, and say to myself: 'What are you doing?'... I just look, it gives me calm, and I go back to sleep," Santos said in an interview.
"For me she means everything; I've been following her since before 2011... I had the gut feeling that she was going to be big. If I had the same intuition with the lottery, I'd be rich," Santos said.
He said going to see her perform in Dublin in 2018 made him the only person to have traveled twice from Spain for a Swift show. Her management team then added Santos and his wife Inmaculada to an exclusive fan list, and sent them gifts and invitations, including an all-paid trip to Los Angeles last year, Santos said.
"If I was 18 or 20, I imagine I could go a bit crazy... but now everything feels more mature and calm," said Santos, who has Swift-themed tattoos on his arms and ankle.
He has yet to meet her in person. A planned meeting in Oslo was canceled due to the pandemic.
Santos is particularly thankful to Swift and her team for thinking about older fans, and for "the values she has transmitted" through her art.
Swift's record-breaking Eras Tour has boosted local economies. In Madrid, hotel occupancy rates have climbed to 90% on average for the concert dates.