Monthly Archives: July 2012

Dr. Track needed on set?

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Saw this Tweet this morning by @OonaCC and retweeted by @fabomanto. It made me smile so I thought I would share:

Richard is getting freckles and he looks EVEN FITTER. Just a warning, women are already fainting on set.

I have no diffculty believing any of this could be true although I cannot absolutely ascertain its veracity. 😉

I have noticed RA’s tendency to freckle in certain close-ups from past roles taken out of doors.

He has an uncanny ability to look fitter every time I see him.

And between the summer heat and the hotness of the man, fainting sounds entirely feasible.

If it is true, it sounds as if RA may need sunscreen and the ladies might need the ministrations of a certain physician who has the capability to make neon orange really sexy . .

It’s Guyday Friday already somewhere, right?

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I am hoping to get to sleep well before 2 or 3 a.m. Of course, this could very well mean I will be awake again at 2 or 3 a.m. It’s all a crapshot, frankly. But the humidity has shot up, the heat index is still 87 a few minutes after 10 and Weather Body says, “Please be gentle.” And so, ladies and gents, I offer you some Guyday Friday goodness a little early.  I am off to take a nice tepid shower.

Yet another interview vid from CC

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Just in case you missed it, yet another unearthed interview from Comic-Con, this one with Andy, Martin and Richard interspersed with clips from the production vlogs and the trailer. It’s from a French site, so an extra added attraction are the French subtitles, which I had fun reading aloud and imagining it was RA doing it instead. 😉

This one covers some ground not really touched on in other interviews we’ve seen thus far. There’s some interesting footage of Martin and Andy in character as Gollum in his mo-cap suit performing a scene together and discussing the challenges of filming the scene.

Other than showing up in the clips several times, Richard appears in the interview portions twice, including a really close-up shot near the end. I enjoyed hearing him talk about working with Peter Jackson and again, the theme of trust arose–the need for an actor to be able to trust his director has a vision for the film and who will be a strong guiding hand “because actors need that.”  I also love hearing the man say “trust.” It’s that “u” sound. And it reminds me of John Porter and Katie.

http://www.allocine.fr/personne/fichepersonne-19053/interviews/?cmedia=19375129

Thanks to Ali for giving me a heads-up over at Twitter.

A photo from Empire magazine, courtesy of E!.

Thorin & Trilogy Speculation for Thursday

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Tolkien's Cover Designs for the First Edition ...

Tolkien’s Cover Designs for the First Edition of The Lord of the Rings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sooooo–I thought when all this talk of a possible third Hobbit film came up at Comic-Con, it was simply the media deciding to run rife with speculation.        Media is like that, yes it is, precioussssss.

I was a bit skeptical early on about making The Hobbit, a rather slender children’s book, into two films, to be honest.

Now, of course, I know flashbacks are included not seen in the book, and characters and events from LOTR and its appendices have been incorporated into the storyline, fleshing it out satisfactorily enough for two films. Plus we’ve got to have those singing dwarf sequences!!)  And if it gave me more of Richard Armitage as the world’s sexiest dwarf on the big screen, well–bring it on.

However, having read this detailed article provided  byour trusty friends at  TheOneRingNet, I see there are several possible options for Sir Peter, and a lot of it revolves around the 100 or so pages of appendices at the end of  the LOTR trilogy.

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2012/07/26/59799-third-hobbit-movie-how-what-when-why/#more-59799

Here’s an excerpt from that article discussing why Warner Brothers may very well be contemplating giving the green light to a third film:

It says shooting would be for about two months next summer (North America’s summer presumably). It seems Jackson thought about it, mentioned it to the studio, floated the idea at Comic-Con and is energized and now wants to do it, or at least that is how I read it.

I trust that Hollywood Reporter story for the best accuracy and fans who want to read it carefully might find further clues.

Reports in New Zealand are that he was at the top of his game during “The Hobbit,” shoot. It seemingly went well and actors seem happy despite the length of the shoot. The team seems creative and energized and ready to keep telling the story of Middle-earth. But, shooting movies, especially big ones with a big crew and big logistical needs costs big money. So WB is into two films for something like $500 million. For another, say $100 million or less, they now have three films to collect box office from, three different home video sales items to ring up. Instead of grossing $2 billion for a $500 million investment, they get to dream of $3 billion for $600 million. Seems like smart finances. It also fills a hole in the 2014 schedule, which will please stock holders and best of all, the desire to make the film didn’t come from marketing or merchandising, it came from the creative team involved. It also seems the only time to do this is now and not try to start the whole thing up from scratch in two years. The right people, the big movie-making machine that helps Jackson realize his vision, is in place.

There seems to be no doubt that Sir Peter is a director with some major clout. And I think we’d all agree he’s a creative genius.

Of course, the big question for me is: would there be any Thorin in a third film? I hope I am not providing a spoiler here when I point out that Thorin does not *sob* survive the original book.

It sounds from the article as if we might get more Lee Pace as Thranduil, which would be a big plus for me, but I have to confess it’s Mr. A that is my primary interest. After all, what’s the name of this blog?

If you haven’t read the entire theonering.net article, I suggest you do so and then share your thoughts on the subject. Do you think a third film is a good idea/bad idea and why? And would you still feel an urgent need to see the third film sans Thorin?

Try a little tenderness . . .

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A touch of angst and sweetness.  A excerpt from the second chapter in the latest revision to my novel-in-progress The Lady & The Panther  . . .

“I can’t claim to fully understand you. But I cannot believe you are a truly bad man, somehow.”

He gave her an enigmatic smile, tilting his head as he stretched out his hand to capture another errant strand of chestnut hair to smooth it back.

“And in spite of the fact you seemed fully ready–if not, dare I say, well prepared–to kill your husband, I cannot think you are a truly bad woman, somehow.” His voice was mocking and gentle all at once.

The colour in Lizzie’s cheeks deepened and she dropped her gaze.

“It is more than his lordship being a drunken, faithless lout, is it not? He’s ill-used you in some way, hasn’t he, Lizzie?”

She nodded slowly, her eyes still fixed on the floor.

“I also know what it feels like to be desperate,” Lizzie whispered. She raised her eyes to meet his.

So much pain inside this woman.

“Lizzie, ma pauvre petite . . .”  The stranger leaned forward and, ever so gently, pressed the tenderest of kisses to her mouth.  

Her lips were just as soft and sweet as he had imagined. Oh, I am being tested tonight.

 Not without some reluctance,  he lifted his mouth from hers, and gave a small sigh as he pressed his forehead against Lizzie’s.

 She was breathless. The kiss was–lovely. So unlike any she had ever received from Horace. So unlike any kiss she had ever expected to receive. Lizzie almost felt like crying again.

 The stranger lifted his head. He cupped Lizzie’s face in his hands, gently stroking her jawline, his eyes rather somber, his voice husky.

“Forgive me for the impertinence, Lizzie. But it seemed as if you–needed that.”

Gisborne in his sweet moments and tender JT at the train station were definitely inspiring me here.

I am reading a new book on writing  titled Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook the Reader From the Very First Sentence. http://www.amazon.com/Wired-Story-Writers-Science-Sentence/dp/1607742454/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1343259807&sr=8-1&keywords=wired+for+story

Author Lisa Cron makes an excellent case for how we as humans are hard wired to need stories in our lives, that stories tell us about what it means to be human. Here’s a quote addressing the subject of theme:

The universal is the portal that allows us to climb into the skin of characters completely different from us and to miraculously feel what they feel . . . it is only when expressed through the flesh-and-blood reality of a story, that we are able to experience a universal one-on-one, and  so feel it.

I think as a storyteller (for that is what I think of Mr. A as being) he is able to help us climb into the skin of characters with him, to see through their eyes, to experience what they experience, the joys, the sorrows, the pleasures, the pain. And in turn, inspire us to write our own stories of what it means to be human.

Sir Peter’s latest vlog: my thoughts (part two)

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Well, feeling better than I was earlier today, thank goodness. And I am thinking about Richard Armitage once more. I know. What a surprise.

 

I rewatched that last production vlog again earlier in anticipation of writing this second blog entry on it. Once again, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the entire thing. What an exciting journey it has been thus far! And how fortunate I feel to have the opportunity to be part of it thanks to Sir Peter’s efforts to share it with us.

 

The focus of this entry is to be Mr. A, but first I have to reiterate how much I admire and appreciate the infectious spirit of camaraderie and team work seen in the cast and crew of The Hobbit. I can only believe that is a positive work environment for all involved.

 

Something that particularly struck me on this viewing was Sir Peter’s expression of nerves on his way to Comic-Con. Of course, a tremendous amount rides on the reception of these films, yet the fact this celebrated genius of the cinema was so concerned about a positive outcome at an event which is largely fan-based touched me. The fans, as he said, are his kind of people, and he wants them to be pleased with what he’s doing.

Oh, and I must give a shout-out this time around to the charming T-shirts I actually noticed on first viewing (yes, I actually did catch things other than a certain hot dwarf and his Creator) for those working with second unit director, the multi-talented Andy Serkis: “Andy’s Flying Serkis.” Gotta love those!!

Now, on to RA.

He looks fantastic, doesn’t he?  

A happy and healthy-looking Richard Armitage. I do find those flecks of grey in his beard quite endearing.

 

 

Of course, we all saw him looking quite relaxed and fit and truly gorgeous at Comic-Con. But this vlog gave us an opportunity to see more of him along the way—the sort of moments we saw so few of in earlier production vlogs.  There were amusing moments, breathtaking moments (he really is absolutely beautiful as Thorin), moments of quiet reflection and boisterous tomfoolery.

Some of my favorite RA moments:

Richard playing “footsy” with the other dwarfs in those great cumbersome boots.  I love him in jeans, of course, but we don’t see nearly enough of him in shorts IMHO.  Legs like those deserve to be showcased. And once more that dancer’s stance shines through.

 Poetic Armitage. Like everyone else, his evocative comments about those early arrivals at Stone Street with the stars still shining in the sky struck a particular chord with me.  The man may have the profile of a king and the body of an Adonis, but he’s got the heart of a poet.

 

His ability to focus. The sense that he is “all there” and never slumming always strikes me. I love seeing these behind-the-scenes glimpses of Richard at work. Those azure eyes and elfin ears (rather more elfin than usual, even if he’s playing a dwarf) take it all in, don’t they?

Ah, that intent, focused gaze.

Younger Thorin? I do believe—judging by the attire and also the lack of grey hair here—this must be younger Thorin in battle. I see a hint of Sir Guy in his expression. I don’t know if it makes Sir Guy happy—I still avoid mentioning a certain warrior dwarf in his presence—but it makes me happy. And all the more eager to see younger and older Thorin on the big screen.

Leaping Armitage. It’s a “blink and you miss it” moment, but when in that one scene in which Martin is cutting up with the dwarfs you can just glimpse a tall, dark-haired fellow jumping in the air on the left side of the screen. I could only recall his Cats days—and smile.

Cheeky Armitage. He’s grown into a beautiful mature man but it’s fun to see the boyish, cheeky, flirty side of him peeping out at us. Sticking out his tongue at Graham MacTavish. Tossing that fish at Adam Brown.  Like others, I had worried somewhat that he might be so caught up in the angsty gravitas of Thorin he never really let his hair down.

Moments like these make me think he also knew how to kick back and be a cheeky monkey along the way.

I recall what the stuntmen on Strike Back said: “He’s one of us.” I suspect that is exactly how the crew felt about RA—the hard-working, good-natured, gentlemanly, down-to-earth fellow we all know and love- after working with him for a year and a half. And I do believe he has so many wonderful memories he will treasure for the rest of his life from his NZ odyssey.

And now with these continued speculations that a third film is not, in fact, out of consideration . . . so he may be spending more time Down Under.  Who knows? I just know I am now eagerly awaiting a post-production vlog from our friend Sir Peter . . .

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2012/07/24/59777-la-times-third-hobbit-movie-may-be-coming-from-peter-jackson/

And, of course, news of sightings of Mr. A in the Midwest re the “tornado movie.”  I think these next few months are going to be very exciting for us all. 

 

 

No sweet dreams, no (beautiful) nightmares–alas

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Phew! It’s been a rough day, so far, blogees (those who read your blog?). I slept v. badly for a couple of hours or so during the night (between 2 & 4 a.m.) during which I had a really twisted sort of dream that I do not care to discuss.

Sadly, my dream did not include this image.

When I woke up, I couldn’t get back to sleep because everything was itching. It’s as if I’d had a mad rush of histamines coursing through my entire body. Everything except my mouth itched. Maddening.
(And I take allergy meds every day.)
Finally got back to sleep at some point after 8 a.m. and slept until 10:30 a.m. And now, ladies and gents, I’ve a headache and I’m queasy and burning due to a bout of good ol’ Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Sometimes my plumbing doesn’t like me.

It’s sort of like I have a hangover but didn’t have any fun getting smashed.
 Ah, well . . .    Here’s a cute aaaaawwwww-inducing pic for you.

Sleeping Koala

Sleeping Koala (Photo credit: Jill Clardy)

More later, my dears. Everything needs to settle down.  Love y’all.

Richard on Singing and Partying Dwarf-Style

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Thanks to @richkitsch at Twitter, I found this full-length version of a Hitfix interview with RA where he is discussing the singing in TH. I also learned that dwarves are not only smelly, they like to party really hard. 😉

Comic Con 2012 – Richard Armitage for 'The Hobbit' by HitFix

Some RA/Thorin fun

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It’s getting late and my brain is too fried to complete my second post on the last vlog, so for now here’s some photo fun with RA and Thorin. Enjoy!

I really need to look for that song on iTunes. Sort of a companion piece to Thorin: King Under the Hair

I just love those three-quarter views of his face. Gorgeous.

Sir Peter’s latest vlog: my thoughts (part one)

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Well, what a day it’s been. Mine started late because I didn’t get to sleep until sometime close to 3 a.m. and was in no mood to rise early. Feverish visions of highwaymen were dancing in my head, I suppose. When the highwayman looks just like Guy, this is not a bad thing.

And then, as I was checking email and Twitter, I saw the news: Sir Peter’s latest videoblog was up! I have the World’s Slowest High-Speed Internet (and of late it seems slower than usual) so I had to allow that video to buffer, watching a few minutes, then allowing more to upload . . . it’s tedious, but some things are definitely worth a bit of tedium, wouldn’t you agree?

I was totally wrapped up in this entry from the word “go.” Often, I must confess, I have mainly been eager for glimpses and sound bites of RA in previous vlogs. Well, this IS called The Armitage Effect, right?

But this time was different. Is it due to having followed along on this incredible journey, getting familiar with the faces behind the making of this huge film project? 

Perhaps it is due to all the coverage of Comic-Con and enjoying the interviews with RA and the other Hobbit folks.

 

Maybe it’s just that I am now like Pavlov’s dog and start salivating at the notion of watching anything remotely connected with Richard Armitage, regardless of whether or not he can be seen or heard.

It was fun reliving those Comic-Con moments like this.

Whatever the reasons, I was excited and enthused by it all from beginning to end. Multiple sightings of Mr. A as himself and in Thorin guise did not, of course, hurt.

Since this odyssey began, I’ve come to feel a great affection, admiration and respect for Sir Peter Jackson and cast and crew of this film.

And this particular entry is less about Richard—more on him later, of course—and more about my general impressions of the vlog and some of my favorite moments.

I am one of those people who actually likes to read all the credits for a film. It’s sort of my way of paying homage to all the clapper loaders, best boys, gaffers, Foley artists, set decorators, conceptual artists, makeup artists, second second unit directors and all the others who combine their talent, creativity and experience to make movie magic happen.

I really appreciate the fact Sir Peter took the effort throughout the eight vlogs to give us a chance to get to know some of these people and to see their dedication and enthusiasm. As I have said, it takes a village to not only raise a child, but to make a fantastic film such as The Hobbit.

Some (though not all) fav moments:

*Seeing that bowl filled with pencil stubs from all the conceptual drawings from the films and hearing the sense of pride and wonder in the artists’ voices when they speak of going from those drawings to walking within the very sets they have designed really touched the artist within me.  And their work and the work of the set builders and decorators is phenomenal.

*Watching Andy Serkis in action as second unit director. I’ve been a fan of Andy as an actor for quite a while; now I am simply a fan of Andy’s, period. One could say he’s learned from the best. He truly seems to exude the same sort of boundless energy and enthusiasm for his work that we see in Sir Peter. And he seems truly grateful to have been given this fantastic opportunity.

We also found out he plays a mean sax.

I sense the smiles and bonhomie were not merely for the cameras with this project.

*Visiting the amazingly detailed and beautiful set for Dale. I could imagine feeling transported to another time and place walking through those streets.

*Lee Pace. I really, really like Lee as an actor and an all-around nice guy. It was wonderful to see the behind-the-scenes footage of him learning how to walk and move like an elf. Another tall, graceful, talented, good-natured, shy guy of whom I am very fond.

American actor Lee Pace at the ET Post-Emmys P...

American actor Lee Pace at the ET Post-Emmys Party, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Sept. 21, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*Seeing more of the dwarfs. They really do seem as if they had an absolute blast playing these roles, don’t they?

* “I’ve never worked on such a hairy movie.” 😉 It does appear there could be yaks with chilblains in the Himalayas this winter.

Seriously, the amount of materials and supplies that went into costumes, wigs, sets and so much more is mind-blowing.

*The camaraderie.  I know it’s easy for the more cynical to dismiss those on camera talking of the sense of family and how much they will miss one another as merely part of hyping the film.

 I choose to believe otherwise; I choose to believe they really, genuinely have formed bonds and friendships and they will, indeed, miss working and playing together.  I know how much I came to care for my co-workers and those long hours we sometimes worked, literally putting out one publication at night whilst working on a special project, having said publication printed three hours away and returned to our offices the next morning—and we’d never gone home yet.  Tiring, oh yes—but such a sense of accomplishment and teamwork, too.

(Damn, I am about to start crying. I miss that, you see.)

*The hug of the two sirs. Sir Ian in his Gandalf guise giving a bear hug to Sir Peter. Really touching.  

*Seeing all those people in those final shots. A smiling, happy-looking lot of folks, indeed.

*Martin’s comments about “high-quality people.” I think he’s absolutely right. High-quality people creating a high-quality product.

And I can hardly wait to see the end results of the fruits of their labor!  And just think, this isn’t the last of the vlogs! PJ is promising more post-production goodies for us. Bless you, Sir Peter. You spoil us. ( And have I mentioned I find you, your cardigans, disheveled hair and generally rumpled air incredibly endearing . . .)

 

One. Hot. Dwarf.

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Like pretty much everyone else in Armitage World who is awake right now, I’ve been ooing, aahing, smiling and squeeing over the latest videoblog from dear Sir Peter.  I have a lot of thoughts about this, both from the standpoint of Richard’s appearances and his quotes, and from watching the video as a whole as part of the experience of being on this journey that is  the making of The Hobbit.  Hasn’t it been fun and interesting and educational and, dare I say, heartwarming? And there will be more to come!!

But for now, I offer this, cropped from a screencap courtesy of Ali at www.richardarmitagenet.com and embellished at www.picmonkey.com

Yeah, I know it’s Richard listening intently to directions from Sir Peter between takes, but a girl can dream, right??

I saw the intensity of that look and had a punch in my solar plexus. My vocal reaction was something along these lines: “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Ohhhhhhhhhhh. Wowwwwwwwwww. One. Hot. Dwarf.”

(You must excuse me now, I have a dark knight glowering in the corner to placate. *sigh*)