Daily Archives: November 8, 2012

True-Blue Thorin: How Sir Peter inspired RA’s Characterization

Standard

Peter Jackson doesn’t know this,” Richard Armitage confides, “but I’m using a bit of him in the way I play the character of Thorin. Peter shows and commands great loyalty. That quality–to inspire and be inspired by loyalty–forms an important aspect of my portrayal of Thorin, and it comes directly from Peter.”

~~Richard Armitage in a profile article by Brian Sibley in the Official Movie Guide.

Judging by the many actors and crew members who were eager to return to Middle-Earth to perform and work their creative and technical magic, it would seem PJ does indeed have a loyal following of more than just Tolkien fans. Call it Jackson’s Army.

And the actor chosen to play Thorin has a pretty loyal “little community” of his own.  Lots of loyalty in play here, folks. Hence the “true-blue” in the title of the post, and the blue central to the artwork–blue being a great color for RA and midnight blue, Thorin’s key wardrobe color for the film. And it’s one of my favorite colors–can you tell?

Dwarf Milking & To-Die-For Warrior: More Nuggets from “The Movie Guide”

Standard

First of all, this just below. My cropped photo of a two-page photo spread (I think we used to call it a “double truck” at the newspaper) of Richard Armitage as Thorin. This is actually from The Visual Companion, so, yeah, you’ll probably want to buy it, too.  *sigh*  I had one of those visceral reactions to this photo. The old punch in the solar plexus, if you know what I mean . . .

Tell me that is not a piercing stare. Go ahead. Tell me.

I swear, I am not getting a kickback from New Line or Warner Brothers. Just hoping Mr. A gets in on the royalties from all this.

Apparently, Richard Armitage wasn’t kidding when he described dwarves as a sweaty bunch.  In spite of “chillers,” tents with huge amounts of cold air pumped in to give the actors a chance to “chillax” between takes (an idea amongst the actors made reality the very next day!) and lots of rehydrating drinks that wouldn’t send them to the dwarf port-a-potty, once those hot studio lights went on, it didn’t take long for the perspiration to begin to pool.

This leads to a need for “Dwarfen Irrigation,” as Aidan Turner (Kili) calls it.

Here’s Richard’s description of it:

“Perspiration runs down, combines with the prosthetic glue and collects in little pools underneath our silicon eyebrows. Prosthetics Supervisor, Tami Lane, squeezes these little reservoirs and projectile sweat shoots out of your head. We refer to it as being ‘milked!'”

Probably not the sort of-ermmmm-“milking” some people had in mind in regards to RA . . . . Sorry, sorry, my mind and the naughty corner are so well acquainted. I have a reserved seat there. *cough*

With the varying looks for the dwarves, it took anywhere from 30 minutes (for younger dwarves such as Fili, Kili and Ori) to three hours (for the plus-sized Bombur) in the makeup chair for application of prosthetics (I am not sure if that time estimate factored in hair application . . .).

Here’s a photo that’s been circulating online of RA in the makeup chair:

(courtesy of Jas Rangoon and Tumblr)

There is nothing quite like looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing someone totally different looking back at you. There’s no better way for an actor to “get into character,” because 50 percent of the work is already done for you!”

~~Richard Armitage quoted in “Being Dwarfed” from The Hobbit Movie Guide.

Seems to be no doubt that the clothes–and nose and brow and hair, etc.–make the man. Or dwarf, as the case may be.  By the way, they had to create forty individual facial silicon appliances for every single day of filming.

Ann Maskrey, head costume designer for the film,  pointed out that Tolkien’s descriptions of the dwarves hanging up their different colored hoods at Bilbo’s house reminded one a little too much of “garden gnomes,” not really the image they wanted to project onscreen.  However, since the passage is one of the few bits of description Tolkien provided about the dwarves’ appearances in the book, Maskrey decided to have the lining of each dwarf’s cape hood feature the key colors mentioned by the author.

Then she chose to color-coordinate each of the dwarf’s costumes. Thorin? Midnight blue, of course. Perfect choice, don’t you think?

“The fabrics used for the Dwarves are a mix of wool, silk, corduroy and moleskin combined with leather and suede decorated with angular detailing to give a Dwarven look–we even managed to create Dwarf designs on knitted scarves and waistcoats.”

~~Ann Maskrey, Chief Costume Designer for The Hobbit

(Good grief, guys, I hope you don’t mind me sharing more of what I am gleaning from the two latest additions to my growing Hobbit collection.  Given that some of you have purchased said books after my earlier post, I am thinking you won’t mind a few more quotes/details/pics. It is all so entertaining, informative and FUN.  Oooh, and I got an email today that my Thorin cuddly plush should soon be on the way from Jolly Olde England. Squeeeeeee!!!!!! Gee, am I 52–or 12? Oh, I don’t care . . .  I am having the time of my life.)

“An Experience Like This . . .”

Standard

“I know there are a million people out there for whom I will probably not be their version of Thorin, but I can only be my version of Thorin. Yet even that is elusive, and I still don’t know whether I can achieve what I want to do with this role. Peter thinks I can do it, thinks I can get there; so I trust his judgement and hopefully we’ll get there together. And that’s very exciting because an experience like this doesn’t come around very often.”

~~Richard Armitage in a quote from The Hobbit:  Official Movie Guide by Brian Sibley.

This is a photo taken of a fairly small photo situated on a page that would not lie flat, so there is some distortion.  Still, I think you can see why I liked it so much.

This book and the movie tie-in visual guide both finally made it into my hot little hands tonight.

Benny and I watched Prometheus together whilst dining on Papa John’s pizza, so I haven’t had the chance to properly peruse them both. Something tells me I won’t be falling asleep early tonight either. The guide is a large 166-page paperback with slick and glossy pages, tons of photos, including all that behind-the-scenes stuff so many of us love and lots of interviews with cast and crew.

But, what do you know– my fingers immediately seemed to find Sibley’s article with RA.  There is a photo I had not seen before of Richard and Sir Ian standing in a field talking together,  a down-filled coat covering Sir Ian’s costume. For some reason it put a lump right into my throat. And then I read that Richard was trying “desperately” to stay in character on the first day on set whilst thinking, “That’s Gandalf!” Seems he still gets starstruck, too. Which I find so endearing–the seasoned professional sparring internally with the wide-eyed boy feeling a major squee coming on.

The BTS photo of Richard in Thorin gear looking down with a pensive expression is amongst the photos in the article; the cutline is “An actor prepares. Richard Armitage becomes Thorin.”  This perfectly mirrors what many have expressed about that particular photo, that it is neither Richard nor Thorin, but a combination of the two melding before our eyes.

Turns out our poor lad was doped up on painkillers when he auditioned for the role–he’d injured himself doing a stunt for Spooks, which makes me hate TPTB there just a little more–and says if nothing else, he had succeeded in showing his ability to convey pain!

And the clever boy has come up with a reason for Thorin’s beard being so short compared to the other dwarves and the description by Tolkien. It seems that his father and grandfather’s beards were badly singed after their encounter with that wicked dragon Smaug. Thorin decided to cut his beard short to show his elders respect for the indignity suffered by them. And if he ever does get to sit on the throne again, maybe he will grow it out again!

And that’s just a small portion of the good stuff you will find within.   In his interview alone, RA elaborates on the Shakespearean connection to Thorin, why the part needed to be played by a younger man,  why it’s important to know the history of the other characters as well as yours, and more.

It’s $18.99 for the paperback or $9.66 for the Kindle edition. Personally, this is the kind of thing I would prefer in traditional book form, particularly if you don’t have a color e-reader.

If you haven’t already gotten a copy of the book, you can do so by visiting www.richardarmitagenet.com and using their Amazon or AmazonUK portals to order and a portion of the sale will go to charity.

Resistance is futile. Go ahead and dive right into full-fledged Thorin Mania if you haven’t already.  What an amazing ride!!