Daily Archives: March 27, 2012

Richard Armitage loves the baddies. And he keeps me from hating them.

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Richard Armitage has said he is not interested in playing floppy-haired heroic types (but, darn it, Rich, we love your floppy tresses!) and when he does play heroes, he looks for their dark side. After all, perfection would be a bit–boring, would it not?

He loves playing the bad guys, and he’s so very good at it.  Because just as he looks for the dark side in the heroes, he also seeks the humanity, the light, no matter how dim, within his darker characters.  And he always finds it. It makes all the difference in how I respond to characters like Paul Andrews, John Mulligan, Robert Lovelace , Heinz Kruger or my beloved Sir Guy of Gisborne.

John Mulligan--"Could you be a devil? Could you be an angel?"
In RA's hands, you are one complex, charismatic baddie.

I find myself unable to completely despise any of the cads, rogues, heinous henchmen or sinister spies he has played thus far. I may reject many of their actions and attitudes and find elements of their characters revolting; still, that glimpse of humanity, that sometimes subtle-yet-discernible struggle between good and evil, allows me to identify with them and empathize in a way I rarely do with other actors when playing the same types of roles.

Heinz, you are a saboteur and a murderer. And yet--I feel the need to know more about why you chose this path rather than immediately condemning you. Would I feel the same if another actor had played the role? Would I even care?

I have asked myself, “Is it because, as Lucy Griffiths quipped on one of the RH commentaries,  Richard makes  ‘such a good-looking murderer?'”

Is it Richard’s beauty and charisma blinding me to the characters’ flaws that keeps me from despising the baddies?  I honestly don’t think so.  I clearly see these are flawed, damaged, sometimes amoral and dangerous men who also happen to possess great looks and considerable charm.  The latter qualities certainly can make them easier on the eye and soften one up a bit.

Sir Guy: vain, temperamental, hungry for wealth and power, the evil Vasey's henchman who has killed and tortured for the sheriff. And yet. We also see his vulnerability, his naivety, his aching need for love, his ability to show courage and chivalry.

Still, it’s what is going on inside these characters that ultimately makes them so compelling for me.  It’s that glimmer of light inside the darkness. It’s wondering where they came from, what molded them into the men they have become and what lies ahead of them. In Sir Guy’s case, it was longing for that redemptive arc, for him to become the good man, the hero we knew he was capable of being. Before Richard, could we imagine a Sir Guy of Gisborne we’d actually prefer over the titular hero of the show?

A baddie in Richard’s hands becomes a three-dimensional, fully-fleshed-out character, a real human being with a mind, a heart and soul. And knowing they are created with such detail and dedication by  this wonderful actor, who works so hard to breath life into each one, makes me appreciate them all, good, bad, and something somewhere in-between.

So, Richard. Maybe what we need is a complex anti-hero role where you start out a baddie, end up a goodie, get the girl and survive past the final credits?  Angst, danger, brooding, romance, heroism and ultimately a happy ending. What do ya think?

"Hmmmm. Better shop that sort of scenario around to some scriptwriters . . ."

Here’s to the Painters of Light & Luminous Smiles

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Berthe Morisot by Edouard Manet-1872

Berthe Morisot by Edouard Manet-1872 (Photo credit: kamikazecactus)

Claude Monet : Rue St Denis, Fête du 30 juin 1878

Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son

Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Claude Monet’s painting of Rue Saint-Denis on the National Holiday

Several of you have mentioned you share my affection for Richard’s portrayal of the great Impressionist artist Claude Monet and the Impressionist School. Today, when we look at the paintings of Monet, RenoirBazille, Morisot and their fellow artists, we see many pretty, luminous pictures filled with shimmering color.

'La Lecture," a charming painting by Berthe Morisot, a prominent female Impressionist.

Renoir's delightful rendering of "The Boating Party."

Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Frédéric Bazille
Pierre-Auguste Renoir - Frédéric Bazille (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Portrait of the painter Claude Monet

Portrait of the painter Claude Monet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monet's love for capturing the beauty of flowers and water is shown in his many paintings of waterlilies.

But we mustn’t forget this group was revolutionary, downright radical for the times. These artists chose to escape from the rigid confines of the studio and Biblical/mythological subjects to paint ordinary people doing ordinary things such as frolicking at boating parties, enjoying a good book, bathing a child.

They didn’t just paint hired artists’ models; their friends, family and fellow painters were also their subjects. These artists put farmers’ fields of haystacks and flower-strewn meadows with picnicking families on canvas.

They sought and found the extraordinary beauty in the everyday as they strove to be “painters of light.”

Above you see a portait of Claude (is it just me, or does his real hair look like a darker versions of early John Standring?) and of course, I cannot leave out  Monsieur Monet as depicted by the incandescent Richard Armitage . . . sometimes a girl just needs a little artistry in her life.