I hear it’s your biRthdAy (Na-na-na-na-NANA-na-na)

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Richard Armitage, you really are a pretty special guy.

And I have very high standards when it comes to the men I admire, crush on, fall in love with and marry. I did the latter two deeds over 30 years ago and haven’t regretted a moment I’ve spent with one incredibly smart, talented, witty, kind and cuddly guy, a gentle man whose smiles are always reflected in those pretty blue eyes of his. As I said, I know how to pick ’em.

So here it is, the 44th birthday of my favorite actor. I hope you feel really good about what you’ve accomplished since your last birthday.  You’ve certainly been productive, and it seems to me the projects you’ve done are things that really interest and challenge you.

My timeline may be slightly jumbled. I am not only nearly 11 years your senior, I am also feeling lots of “discognition” of late–but anyway, here goes!0a4b2e8b886ae86caf1cbde381e61887

Last summer you managed to win over the hearts of critics and audiences alike with the raw intensity of your performance night after night in “The Crucible,” earning your first (but, I am confident, NOT the last) Olivier Award nomination for best actor. So proud for you!

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Later in the year we all marveled once more at Thorin’s majesty, fretted and feared for him in the depths of his madness, grieving his loss with our tears as “The Hobbit” trilogy came to a close (my own dear blue-eyed fella was so kind when I started weeping in the theater). You were nominated and won a Saturn Award for your performance as Thorin–and it was much deserved, my dear fellow. That character has certainly brought you a legion of new fans of both sexes and in a wide range of ages.

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You also have three films in the can (or in post production), “Urban,” “Sleepwalker” and “Pilgrimage” offering you three diverse roles: a disillusioned former social worker turned unlikely savior in the UK of a generation ago, a doctor in a contemporary psychological thriller and a medieval French nobleman in a period action/adventure tale.

Production is underway on “Brain on Fire,” you’ve got a cameo in a Tim Burton fantasy film and there is that Edith Wharton period drama project, along with the action film “Clearance” coming up for you.28a955f11c4110059bb9f27a1cdeb31e

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And right now—I am anticipating the 12th episode of “Hannibal.” I admit I am feeling sad to know there are only two more new eps counting this one for me to watch. It’s been such a treat to see you on American TV, to be able to DVR your performances and re-watch them when I choose to do so. And I am absolutely thrilled your performance as Francis has been so well received!
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As much as I was dreading this role in some ways, and as difficult as it is for me to watch certain scenes (when the Red Dragon was beating the sh*t out of Francis, I knew you had to be inflicting pain on yourself, too), I am mesmerized by your performance, by all the careful and artful shadings you bring to this role.

Dolarhyde is a monster and yet he is also, as Reba says, “a sweet man.” He’s a calculating and methodical killer of entire families and a tender lover with a touch of the poet in his soul, all bundled into one complex package. I am, indeed, in awe of what you bring to the character of Francis Dolarhyde. Bravo!

Of course, there have also been all the interviews and appearances to promote the various projects, which you managed with your usual grace, good humor and aplomb during the past year. It’s always a pleasure when you are given the opportunity to talk about your craft. And it’s always fun to see what you are wearing! ;)

 

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So I raise my glass of sweet tea in a toast to you, dear Richard–Happy Birthday today and for many years to come. I look forward to seeing what this next year brings for you!

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Richard Armitage’s chemistry with … Bloggers & how they support his life’s goal

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Richard Armitage’s chemistry with … Bloggers & how they support his life’s goal

fedoralady:

This is fun and fascinating. See how I and other RA bloggers align cosmically with our favorite muse.

Originally posted on frau von elm-dings:

No one knows if Mr A is really aware of the impressive amount of people blogging almost on a daily basis about him, nor if he ever reads some of the funny, encouraging, serious, oh and not to forget the NSFW-stuff ;-)

Not many people are able to openly communicate feelings they have towards, or because of another person in front of – literally – the whole world. To express their support and care for that person’s actions, create artwork inspired through a ‘mere’ virtual connection – which is nevertheless obviously felt very strongly.

It’s already been over half a year now, that I’m seriously musing about WHAT forces are working ‘behind the scenes’ here. Some bloggers might not even feel comfortable if they knew for sure, that Mr A was indeed an avid reader of their blog. So, why are we doing this?

I’ve tried to explain my own…

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OT: Hiddles as My Homeboy Hank. Tom plays ‘Hillbilly Shakespeare’

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While my fangurling heart is fully dedicated to only one charismatic Brit actor–RA, of course–I did note with interest the casting of Tom Hiddleston as Hiram King “Hank” Williams, Sr. in the upcoming film, “I Saw the Light” (the title of one of Hank’s hit songs). Today they released a still of Tom in character for the biopic.

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There’s a definite resemblance there, both men being tall, lanky fellows with enviable cheekbones and Puckish smiles.  But more importantly, Hiddleston seems to have captured that slightly haunted and world-weary look Hank had.

 

Hiddleston in character, a lone figure with his guitar. Courtesy of Bing.com

Hiddleston in character, a lone figure with his guitar. Courtesy of Bing.com

Hank was a naturally gifted musician who battled physical pain (believed to be caused by some form of spina bifida that was not discovered until his autopsy) much of his life–pain that led to his addiction to pills and alcohol. He was a country music superstar by 25 and dead by 29.

In his brief career he charted 35 times in the top ten, with 11 of Hank’s recordings hitting number one. You can’t help but wonder what he might have accomplished if he could have kept the demons of pain and addiction in check . . .

 

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Now, I am not a huge country music fan, per se, but I am a fan of Hank’s music since way back and I feel a certain connection to him. We were both born in Butler County, Alabama, September babies who arrived in this world some 37 years apart. I know folks and their descendants who remember him and his family. I’ve heard stories passed down of Hank’s childhood days in various towns and communities in the county. Hank’s daddy, a WW I veteran, had been shell-shocked. His poor health made it difficult to find steady work, so the family frequently moved in search of new opportunities, eventually moving to Alabama’s capital, Montgomery, the place where he is buried.

Every June, the town of Georgiana, where Hank and his family lived for several years, celebrates with a two-day Hank Williams Festival. I’ve met people there from as far away as Germany, South America, Japan and Nottingham, England. Documentarians from around the world have come to this town of 2,000 to film the event.

 

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Hank’s boyhood home in Georgiana also serves as a museum with many photographs, sheet music, furnishings and other items on display.

When he was just starting out with his own band, young Hank used to play at various juke joints and dance halls across the county. My mama and daddy remembered dancing to his live performances way back yonder, when “Hank was just another ol’ southern boy.”

I like to imagine a pretty young dark-haired woman, her grey-blue eyes sparkling and skirt and petticoat swirling as they swing danced to tune like “Move It On Over.”

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Hank meeting a young fan, Doug Sahm, at a club in Austin, Texas on Dec. 19, 1952. He would die at age 29 of a heart attack just under two weeks later.

 

When a film was made of his life back in the early ’60s (“Your Cheatin’ Heart”), my parents went to see it at the Ritz and they also bought the soundtrack album. I listened to it many times over the years.  Hank Williams, Jr. actually performed the songs on the soundtrack (and did an admirable job of channeling his daddy) with George Hamilton lip-syncing the performances.

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There was something simple and straightforward about Hank, Sr.’s music that I like, something raw and ever so emotive in his voice. From the high-spirited “Hey, Good Looking” to the haunting “Kawliga” and the wistful “I’m So Lonesome” he had a way of touching people’s hearts and souls with his music and mirroring their own feelings of delight and despair, happiness and heartache.  Much as really good actors do through their performances.

 

Tom practicing a few chords for the role. Courtesy of Geektyrant.com

Tom practicing a few chords for the role. Courtesy of Geektyrant.com

And so what if Hank woke up from an alcoholic stupor to be dazzled by the lights of an airport, leading him to pen “I Saw the Light”? It’s still an inspiring, jubilant song, and I actually got to sing it one year on the same stage of the Ga-Ana Theater where Hank and his Drifting Cowboys had performed in Georgiana decades before.

 

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Hank has been called the “Hillbilly Shakespeare.” So perhaps it is only fitting that a Shakespearean actor should also portray him on film.

 

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Tom on the set of “I Saw the Light.” Courtesy of Pinterest.com

Can’t wait to hear Tom’s south Alabama accent.

Lyrics to a few of my favorite Hank songs~~

 

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By Hank Williams, Sr.

I’ve never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by.
The moon just went behind the clouds
To hide its face and cry.

Did you ever see a robin weep,
When leaves begin to die
That means he’s lost the will to live,
I’m so lonesome I could cry.

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky

And as I wonder where you are
I’m so lonesome I could cry.

Jambalaya (On The Bayou)thYG1XPVEA

By Hank Williams

Goodbye Joe me gotta go me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne the sweetest one me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Thibodaux Fontaineaux the place is buzzin’
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style and go hog wild me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
Settle down far from town get me a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish in the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie

Later on, swap my mon, get me a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish on the bayou
Swap my mon, to buy Yvonne what she need-oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie

Hey, Good Lookin’thUPVR2VY7

By Hank Williams

Say hey, good lookin’ whatcha got cookin’?
How’s about cookin’ something up with me?
Hey, sweet baby don’t you think maybe
We can find us a brand new recipe?

I got a hot rod ford and a two dollar bill
And I know a spot right over the hill
There’s soda pop and the dancin’s free
So if you want to have fun come along with me.

Hey, good lookin’ whatcha got cookin’?
How’s about cookin’ something up with me?

I’m free and ready so we can go steady
How’s about saving all your time for me
No more lookin’ I know I been cookin’
How’s about keepin’ steady company?

I’m gonna throw my date book over the fence
And find me one for five or ten cents
I’ll keep it ’til it’s covered with age
‘Cause I’m writin’ your name down on ev’ry page.

Say hey, good lookin’ whatcha got cookin’?
How’s about cookin’ something up with me?

maxresdefaultI am counting on you to do just that, Mr. Hiddleston. I’d expect no less.

Feeling ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ : Thoughts on Sir Guy & Francis Dolarhyde

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The viewing options for early morning TV, even with 150 satellite channels, isn’t all that great. Infomercials reign. If you want to watch “Breaking Bald” or “Fish Oil Benefits Examined,” you’re good. If not . . .

So I sometimes find myself awake in the early morning hours watching reruns of “Charmed,” a cheesy production about three cute witch sisters from San Francisco whose names all start with “P.” “Charmed” features laughably bad special effects and copious amounts of scenery chewing by the Guest Supernatural Villain of the Week. The costumes and makeup at the local haunted house looks more professional.

Yet, who am I to question all this?  After all, the show stayed on for eight years, so it obviously had its devoted fans.

And I suppose “Robin Hood” was pretty cheese-tastic, too, but at least we had the glories of Sir Guy to make up for flimsy castle walls, anachronisms run rampant (Hang gliding? Casinos? Bustles? In the 12th century?) and groan-worthy scripts.  And he and the odious Vasey were such fun to watch together.

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With Richard as Sir Guy, we got the visual enjoyment of six feet, two inches of a trim, toned athletic physique (those long lean horseman’s thighs! Those PEACHES!) clad in sleek black leather–and later, his memorable medieval couture featuring the Sexy Pirate Shirt and the Marvel of Engineering Trousers with Ties and Laces in All the Right Places.  Add in seductive kohl-rimmed azure eyes, tempting stubble, raven black rock star tresses, a rumbling baritone and hey! presto . . . the World’s Most Smouldering Sidekick was born. Wait . . . who is the star of this show again?!  ‘Cause for this chick, it ain’t Arrow Boy.

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But the thing about Richard as Guy of Gisborne is that he was so much more than another pretty face in another lightweight, rather silly television show. So much more than the standard-issue cardboard cut-out of an evil henchman.

You watched not just because you visually enjoyed him and got a kick out of the general campiness of the show. You watched because he was that character, that damaged soul, proud and arrogant, naïve and gullible, a passionate man desperate for love and a home, a mercurial creature capable of both great violence and great tenderness. A beautiful disaster.  You hated some of his actions, yet–you couldn’t hate him. Richard made you care. And cry. And wonder what might have been for Sir Guy.

Which brings me to Francis Dolarhyde, a character with even darker and more terrifying corners in his soul than Sir Guy. Dolarhyde is cripplingly shy, emotionally stunted and deeply lonely. He feels impotent, unloved, a nonentity. He longs to make a real connection, to become something, someone different–stronger, more powerful, better than he is.  His self-improvement course of action, alas, will ultimately bring death, grief and misery.

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Dolarhyde, clearly uncomfortable with the thought of Reba touching him–touching the hated scar on his face?

Sir Guy sought to raise himself by accumulating wealth, power and status, hoping to restore respect for the name of Gisborne. He sought to cleanse his blackened soul by marrying a good, pure woman (who, of course, clocked him and then left him at the altar).

Sir Guy ends up burning down Marian’s house in retaliation, but that’s nothing compared to what Francis does. He murders two entire families and he doesn’t have a wicked boss who orders him to take the lives of perfectly innocent people, or else.

Francis is a serial killer, an odious monster. A dangerous man.

And yet.

As much as I despise the heinous actions of Francis Dolarhyde, I can no more hate him or look away from him than I could from Sir Guy.

FD’s intensity is heartbreaking as he watches so carefully Reba stroking the sleeping tiger, imagining that those caresses are being given to him. This is a middle-aged man who has experienced pitifully little in the way of physical affection.  It’s a staggering experience for both Reba and Francis.

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And after their lovemaking, there is his gentleness towards a sleeping Reba.

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It is an astonishing performance and I am glad I am able to see it. I am still not a “Hannibal” convert, but I am so, so impressed with Richard’s complex and nuanced interpretation of this role and of the amazing way he is fleshing out Francis Dolarhyde for us.

Call it sympathy for the devil–and kudos to the actor taking us on the journey.

All Hannibal stills and GIFs found on Pinterest; RH stills from Richard Armitage Net

Something to Smile About: A SpReAd the Love Challenge

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fedoralady:

Ah, I love the creativity here–finding a link between the Tooth Fairy aka Francis Dolarhyde and helping people in need (of implements for dental care)! A new campaign for SpReAd the Love!

Originally posted on SpReAd The Love:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have heard about Richard Armitage’s biting debut as Francis Dolarhyde…aka The Tooth Fairy…on NBC’s Hannibal.  We here at STL like to mark special Armitage events, and this one is no different.  You might wonder how we are going to blend together kindness collection with an orally afflicted serial murderer…that’s easy!

Anyone else remember this from Captain Kangaroo??

In honor of the “Tooth Fairy” we are challenging ArmitageWorld to donate toothbrushes (and/or other oral hygiene products) to local or international organizations in need.  Dental health is directly connected to overall physical health, yet millions of people around the globe lack easy access to oral hygiene products.  Toothbrushes, dental floss, toothpaste and mouthwash regularly show up on the “Things We Need” list for homeless shelters and also for international relief agencies.  Here are just a few I know about:

Donate A Toothbrush

Global…

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What do you know? Mr. A and FD have inspired me again.

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So, yes, I did watch the first episode of “Hannibal” featuring Richard as Francis Dolarhyde last Saturday and I was going to post about it. However, I got so wrapped up in the humane society calendar project and trying to get some photo galleries up before the recital DVDs go out so that I can pimp my stills, that I just never go around to posting. Life’s been busy, but in a largely positive way. Hopefully, my efforts will pay off for the humane society and fatten my own bank account–two things that would be awfully nice.

I have managed to work on a few Hannibal-related photo edits in between editing submitted pet photos and I thought I would share them with you, along with a few thoughts.

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I am not sure what the diagnosis for Francis’s mental illness would be (I think we can all agree he is mentally ill). Paranoid schizophrenia has been suggested and it seems a fairly spot-on diagnosis.

However, seeing Francis’s struggle with his inner demons and how unhappy he is with life, his desire to reinvent himself–to Become–his battle with those voices in his head–I could only think of the word “fractured.” He’s broken inside and looking to be put back together. Sadly, he seeks that wholeness in such horrific ways.   It’s amazing how much Richard telegraphed about the character without dialogue.

I remember Sir Peter Jackson talking about the quality of stillness Richard brings as an actor, how one can be captivated by this man when he isn’t even speaking a word. We saw that in this episode introducing us to Dolarhyde. Whether still or moving in that sort of stylized dance,  straining and contorting his muscles in an almost tortuous way as part of his terrifying metamorphosis into the Red Dragon, I simply couldn’t take my eyes away.

dolarhyde demons hideI find words from “Imagine Dragons” songs running through my head when I think of this character, too, and used some quotes from two of their songs in the photo edits.

francisbeastinsideedit2francishidetruthRichard has talked about the tragic romance between Francis and a character that will enter the picture in the next episode, Reba. This blind co-worker manages to get under his skin and awaken tender feelings inside.

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I admit I am very much looking forward to the episode featuring the visit to the zoo and the opportunity to touch the sedated tiger, a visit arranged for Reba by Francis. I suppose it was my favorite passage in the novel “Red Dragon.”

FRANCISREBAWAKINGUPI don’t think I can be considered a “fannibal,” but I am impressed with Richard’s interpretation of this complex character, a serial killer for whom one can feel some pity and compassion, even as you are repelled by his heinous crimes. Yes, I am actually looking forward to the next episode–although I won’t be able to watch it until later that night. I have an event to cover for the paper and hopefully, I will also sell some more stills. Fedoralady wears a lot of hats.

 

I will leave you with one more image that I simply lightened so we could enjoy all the hard work Mr. A put into having that muscular physique described in Harris’ book.  Thank you, Richard. Even when a role you undertake isn’t a first choice for many of us, you make it worthwhile to watch on a number of levels.

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DHR seeks BCHS’s assistance with elderly couple & their 25 cats: Can you help?

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fedoralady:

My heart goes out to people who have hearts for animals. Everyone who finds unconditional love and companionship with cats/dogs doesn’t have the financial means to do what needs to be done for them. So I not too proud to reach out to the fandom and seek help for those in need. <3

Originally posted on Butler County Humane Society:

There’s an elderly couple here in Butler County who loves their cats. They’ve taken strays into their modest rural home and into their hearts, taming and feeding them, caring for the formerly home felines to the best of their abilities and their income.

600px-woman-kissing-therapy-cat                         ( Image of elderly woman with therapy cat is courtesy of Bing. For  illustrative purposes only.)
But these pet lovers are now in need of a helping hand themselves.

The couple is trying to care for a dozen adult cats and another 13 kittens who are their offspring. It is simply too many pets for an older couple on a small fixed income to manage and that number will only grow without intervention.

Butler County DHR is trying to help this couple, providing several window A/C units to the currently A/C-free house to help them survive during the intense heat of a south Alabama summer.

In terms of the cat overpopulation issue, social services has turned to the BCHS for help.

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The Final Countdown…Bah-dah-dah-dah bah-dah-dah-dah-dah!

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fedoralady:

Want a chance to win a signed Crucible poster while sharing RAndom acts of Kindness? Read on!

Originally posted on SpReAd The Love:

Wow, my Twitter TL is saucy tonight…’cause there’s eating of people and stuff and you need sauce and I’m just going to shut up now. Anyway, it’s the final week till the first appearance of Francis Dolarhyde on Hannibal and Obscura and I have something really cool to celebrate. Last summer during the run of The Crucible a friend of ours went out of her way to get us a poster signed by The Dude and now it’s time to give it away.

This one, in fact. Forgive the glare but check how legible the sig is! This one, in fact. Forgive the glare but check how legible the sig is!

So, to win this fabulous, signed by The Dude poster you know what to do, right? Leave a comment with a kindness that you’ve done or that’s been done for you and we’ll draw one name from all commenters next Saturday around 9PMish ET. Cool? Cool. Okay, cue the hairband and happy commenting!

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It really *is* all in the perspective.

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Recently, this photo taken last year in London of RA with that bottle of champagne (one that was ultimately auctioned off for charity) popped up and pretty much everybody agreed it just looked–odd. Servetus blogged about it over at Me + Richard Armitage as commenters chimed on what made it such a funny-looking photo of Mr. A.

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Holding that oversized bottle (is it a magnum or a jeroboam?) in his hands makes our strapping six-foot two (or three) inch tall actor look positively diminutive, doesn’t it? The lighting doesn’t help, casting shadows that somehow make his slender yet solid neck look downright skinny.

We are accustomed to others looking petite in RA’s majestic presence. Below, a still of Dexter Fletcher as the German “boobie” on the set of Robin Hood with RA as Sir Guy. At 5’6″ Dexter is my height (and the same height as Lucy Griffiths, who played Marian), yet from this angle he appears even shorter, doesn’t he?

 

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Now, take a look at this photo of pro basketball player turned commercial pitchman and occasional actor, Shaquille O’Neal.  I should point out that is a normal 12 oz. soft drink can he is holding.  Shaq is 7’1″ with a weight of 325 lbs. and wears a size 23 shoe. I am guessing he has them custom-made . . . he can certainly afford it.

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It really IS all in the perspective, isn’t it? Next to Shaq, almost all of us are shrimps! ;)

 

 

I do wonder what Richard thinks about it all.

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A pensive Richard on board the TV Guide yacht at Comic Con in San Diego.

A penny for your thoughts, Richard. How do you really feel about events like Comic Con?

Is it sometimes silly yet satisfying fun as you promote your projects?

speaks onstage at the "Hannibal" Savor the Hunt panel during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in San Diego, California.

speaks onstage at the "Hannibal" Savor the Hunt panel during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in San Diego, California.

Or do you just feel like throwing things at people??

(Not that you actually would, of course.)

What set me to thinking about this was something I saw on the Bing homepage here on my laptop.

This is excerpted from an AP article by Linda S. Zhang who interviewed actor Jesse Eisenberg, one of many celebrities featured at SDCC last week.

 

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Jesse Eisenberg’s Comic-Con experience apparently wasn’t a joy.

Eisenberg, who plays Lex Luthor in the upcoming “Batman v. Superman, ” was at the massive San Diego convention last week with co-stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. In an interview Monday, he was decidedly negative about the experience.

“It is like being screamed at by thousands of people. I don’t know what the experience is throughout history, probably some kind of genocide. I can’t think of anything that’s equivalent,” he said.

Here’s the link to the short interview with Eisenberg:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/movies/news/actor-jesse-eisenberg-compares-comic-con-to-genocide/ar-AAcYpVR?ocid=ansentap11

He got himself into hot water for his comments, which led to Eisenberg trying to clarify today while speaking to Ms. Zhang what he’d said in that interview last week.

“I of course was using hyperbole to describe the sensory overload I experienced. I sometimes do employ that,” he said. “I’m a normal person who has normal sensory experiences, so Comic-Con was very overwhelming for me. That said, it was really an honor to be on that end of such jubilation.”

Eisenberg said it was “wonderful” to be involved in something that is so highly anticipated and loved.

“That people are excited about it in that way is unheard of and thrilling,” he said.

He added: “I’ve been on the receiving end of movies that no one loves and no one anticipates. That’s worse, even though it’s a much quieter press tour.”

It led me to wonder just how the typical celebrity really views an event like this, which is one of the largest of its kind on the entire planet, I suppose. I imagine it can be overwhelming (especially for a first-timer) and I am sure it is grueling.  Maybe it’s not the right fit for every actor or every fan.

I have a condition that makes being in large, noisy crowds sometimes difficult and I really have to force myself to stay calm and to concentrate. I can do it–I’ve survived everything so far, so my track record is good–but it does take its psychic toll on me. I must have some time to recharge.

I also know what it’s like to be part of the “pariahs” (as Eisenberg refers to the media)  just doing what the media is paid to do,  although I have never had to jockey for position with quite so many other photographers and journalists trying to get the best angle and/or that sound bite to make their editors/producers happy campers. Seeing how they lead the actors from one group after another to pose for pix, answer a few questions or move to a new spot for yet another group or individual interview, I know the celebs have to be running on empty by the time their day is done.

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Richard Armitage on his rounds at ComicCon, including the EW SoundCloud interview and wearing the teensy dragon and ever-present floral crown for the Pannibal. And giving a former co-star a tongue-in-cheek shout out.

However, I am sure the actors who participate in CC also feed off the fans’ enthusiasm and energy, their passionate devotion to their characters, the shows and the films. Some fans have come a long way to attend and all seem determined to make the most of their experience. They line up early and wait hours to get autographs and pix of their favorite celebs. It’s easy to see in the selfies posted by fans taken with these actors and other celebs, for them, those brief Comic-Con encounters are exhilarating, and not soon forgotten.

 

 

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As Eisenberg said in today’s comments, being on the receiving end of movies that are not loved or anticipated is a whole lot worse, even if it’s not so nerve-wracking at the time.  When nobody wants your autograph on their ankle or book or theatre program, or a photo with you, when they stop buying tickets to see you or tuning in to watch your show–then, just maybe, you’ve got a problem.

Richard has always shown a genuine appreciation for his fans, not to mention that fear of not getting more work (which I really don’t think need ever be the case anymore). I think he understands you have to deal with  craziness and hoopla along the way. It’s part of the business, part of the job. You have to promote yourself and your projects in order to keep practicing your art, your craft.

And hey, Richard, you really DO look good in floral crowns and loud jackets. Just sayin’ . . .  ;)

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Read this book. You won’t regret it. ‘Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness’

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Having learned of Richard Armitage’s latest film project, rather late last night I decided to purchase (via my Nook) Susannah Calahan’s harrowing account of her battle with a mysterious illness that threatened her sanity and her life. I fully intended to read a couple of chapters at most. So much for good intentions.

I stayed up until close to dawn with only 40 or so pages (including the afterword) left to go. I finished reading it this morning. CJw1a8IUYAEmFgr

Photo tweeted by Richard Armitage as he headed back to Canada for his latest film project, based on Susannah Calahan’s best seller. Looks as if he’s started his note taking on his character, Tom Calahan, Susannah’s father.

 

There are best sellers that I don’t think deserve to be best sellers. Thank heavens this non-fiction account is not in that category.   Susannah has to put all her well-honed journalistic skills to use to write this memoir. Her “month of madness” is all an incredibly muddled blur for the reporter, a painful period she seeks to reconstruct by interviewing medical personnel, co-workers, family members, her boyfriend and others. She reads their journal entries and watches the videotapes shot while she is in the hospital.

What she sees is this pasty-faced, underfed creature prone to seizures and hallucinations, riddled with paranoia, struggling at times to form her words. Someone who can be violent and combative, forced to wear restraints, or silent and rigidly staring into space.

That Susannah is barely recognizable as the bright, outgoing, ambitious and fiercely independent young New York Post reporter everybody knows.

The book recounts her struggle to discover what is causing her physical and mental decline as she tries to make her way back to some semblance of normality and sanity. Early on, one doctor tells her to quit drinking and going out and get more sleep and she will be just fine. Another puts her on antipsychotics for schizophrenia. Susannah is doggedly determined she is bi-polar. Physicians seemingly give up on her when a battery of medical tests and examinations keep ruling out various diseases and conditions.

However, her boyfriend Stephen and her family do not give up. The moral support they give her throughout her ordeal  is inspiring and heartbreaking all at the same time.

Richard will be playing the role of Tom Calahan, father of Susannah. Tom and Susannah’s mother are divorced. Both remarried, they make a point of avoiding one another whenever possible (it was clearly not an amicable split).  Yet when this crisis arises, they manage to put aside their mutual animosity to focus on their daughter and her needs. And she has never needed them more as her inflamed brain continues to attack her body.

An emotionally detached man whose relationship with his own father was strained, Tom and Susannah have never been particularly close. Behind that wall of reserve, however, beats a fiercely loyal, protective and caring heart. There is no doubt he loves his child. If he has to curse out a group of medical students so Susannah can get a little peace and quiet, then so be it. He gives her positive words to repeat like mantras. Sometimes, he cries.
I have absolutely no doubt Richard will bring all the shading, all the complexity to this role we could desire and more. He makes a great onscreen dad (think of Porter and Lexi in Strike Back, Peter Macduff in Shakespeare Retold or Gary in Into the Storm, not to mention Thorin serving as a father figure to his nephews in the TH trilogy).  Plenty of opportunity to share fatherly angst and protectiveness and love here.

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The fact that Susannah was able to write this book lets you know there is ultimately a happy ending for her.  By sharing her story of battling what turned out to be auto-immune encephalitis, first via an article for the Post and later in her book, she has helped others with the same condition ultimately get the right diagnosis and treatment. She has given people true hope, and that is always a good thing to give.

https://aealliance.org/

(Above is a link to learn more about the condition)

It took courage to write her story.  Courage to go back and retrace the steps of her “month of madness” and read those words, see those images, to hear how much she had frightened and dismayed those who loved her, to discover just how sick she truly was.

 

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Calahan speaking to an audience at Yale about the early signs something was amiss. On the screen to her left are images of her in her hospital bed.

It will be a challenging role for any actress. At only 18, Chloe Grace Moretz is actually several years younger than Calahan was when she fell ill (24), yet she has a certain maturity for her age that will bode well for her portrayal.  I’ve read interviews with her and was impressed with her maturity and level-headedness.

I first saw Chloe in “Let Me In,” the English language version of the Swedish horror thriller “Let the Right Ones In” and she made a strong impression on me. She was also delightful, alternating between tough crime fighter and vulnerable kid in the irreverent “Kick-Ass” and has appeared in a diverse collection of films, from the remake of “Carrie” to YA favorite “If I Stay.”  It doesn’t hurt that she also bears a good resemblance to the author. Photos of both Calahan and Moretz.

Susannah Cahalan recently returned to her beat at the New York Post after recovering from autoimmune encephahalitis.  Photo by Zandy Mangold

Susannah Cahalan recently returned to her beat at the New York Post after recovering from autoimmune encephahalitis. Photo by Zandy Mangold

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The fact that the gifted actress Charlize Theron is a producer for the film is another plus for me.

I will be eager to learn more about the upcoming film, and eager to hear your own thoughts as you read Calahan’s memoir. A highly recommended read, and not just for Richard Armitage fans.  The book is available for Nook and Kindle and there is an audio edition from Audible.com as well as in traditional book form.

Here’s a link to the author’s official website

http://www.susannahcahalan.com/

Looks Like Speculation About “Brain On Fire” Was Real….

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fedoralady:

So it looks like our Richard will be working on this project with Charlize Theron as producer—busy man!

Originally posted on preoccupiedwitharmitage:

CJw1a8IUYAEmFgrSo often, speculation is just that… speculation. RA had followed Charlize Theron and a couple others involved in the project a few days ago on Twitter. Then this tweet. Looks like he’s already making his notes!

Description from book excerpt:
‘One day, I woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to my bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. My medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which I have no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier I had been a healthy twenty-four year old, six months into my first serious relationship and beginning a career as a cub reporter at the New York Post.

My memoir Brain on Fire chronicles the swift path of my illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving my life. As weeks ticked by and I moved inexplicably from…

View original 138 more words

So, do you practice safe selfies, Rich? And other stuff on my mind this week.

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In case you missed it, Russia’s Interior Ministry has put together a leaflet aimed at reducing the number of injuries and fatalities occurring when Russian citizens take selfies. According to the Ministry, there have been more than 100 injuries, some quite serious, and at least 10 fatalities since the beginning of the year due to people attempting what I dub “Danger Selfies.”

 

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A worker taking a selfie before detaching a Ukrainian flag placed atop a skyscraper by protesters in Moscow, August 20, 2014. PHOTO: Ilya Arlamov, AP.

How exactly do you kill yourself with a cameraphone? Well, try striking a cool pose with a “non-lethal” pistol while taking a selfie. That’s what one 21-year-old Muscovite did. Bad idea.

A teenager tried to photograph herself standing on railroad tracks and died. Guessing she didn’t stop, look and listen.

Young people, who cannot imagine a world without constant self-documentation, it seems, want to post selfies with wild animals, on tops of high buildings and in other spots and situations that aren’t particularly safe.  We call these “Hey, y’all, look at this!” moments in my neck of the woods, and almost invariably, those moments do not end well for the person calling attention to themselves.  Body parts often get blown off/burned off/gnawed off or broken into a million bits.

There have been electrocutions, falls and yes, even deadly grenade explosions whilst young Russians attempted to capture their Kodak moment, hoping, I suppose, to one-up all their friends on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook.

Now, I am certain that Mr. Armitage, in spite of his professed love for “danger sports” and a certain fondness for selfies since joining Twitter, would never be as stupid as some of these folks have been.  When you are young, you think you’re ten feet tall, bullet-proof and quite possibly immortal.

When you’re 40-plus, hopefully, you know better.

So Mr. A, have fun slapping meat on your face, looking ridiculously attractive, boyishly sweet, posing in sports jerseys and the like. Just don’t do any of it perched precariously astride a tiger on top of a skyscraper with a live grenade in your hand, OK? Practice safe selfies. ALWAYS.

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At least you and PJ didn’t decide to take your selfie stick and hop up on those dodgy bricks in China . . . *shudder”

 

Richard will be part of the Hannibal panel at Comic-Con in San Diego this weekend, so I am sure he will have the chance to take lots more selfies if he so chooses. ;)

Speaking of Comic-Con . . . some cute artwork by Dorkly Comics, found on Pinterest

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*POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR HANNIBAL IF YOU ARE WATCHING BUT NOT CAUGHT UP*

 

 

 

 

Speaking of Hannibal . . . I felt as if I had shot myself up with whatever Gillian Anderson’s character was tripping on tonight. There was the use (or near-use) of a variety of instruments of torture and death (guns, knifes and power tools among them, close-ups of droplets of blood, lovingly photographed). The series is certainly not lacking in high production values.

This ep also had a lesbian love scene with a kaleidoscope visual effect that was pretty but left me asking, “what’s the point unless it’s just to make it all the more aesthetically appealing? Is it to contrast with the blood and pain to come?” The episode ended with Hannibal and that poor old glutton for punishment, Will Graham, in yet another fine mess.  One episode to go before Richard arrives on the scene . . .

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Here are links to some articles giving details of “death by selfie” problem in Russia:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2015/07/07/globalpost-russia-selfies-safety-accidents/29825231/http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/08/asia/russia-selfie-death-brochure/index.html
http://rbth.com/society/2015/07/08/the_dangers_of_narcissism_leaflet_tells_russians_how_to_take_safe_sel_47561.html