Daily Archives: November 22, 2012

“I had to pick myself up off the floor”: New interview with RA

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“With 13 dwarfs in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, audiences are expected by the film trilogy’s end to easily distinguish and recognise each one. 

    But if there’s one dwarf that will be easy to spot from the moment he appears on screen it will be Thorin Oakenshield, played by British actor Richard Armitage.

One reason is that Thorin is the leader and, going on a glimpse I got of the band of dwarfs on set during filming earlier this year, a heroic risk-taker. I couldn’t help but think that Thorin could be to The Hobbit what Aragorn – played by Viggo Mortensen – was in The Lord of the Rings . . .

Portrait of a charismatic handsome prince–young Thorin.

An older, more world-weary Thorin.

Armitage first heard about The Hobbit after Sir Peter Jackson contacted the actor’s agent. Jackson asked if Armitage could read for the part of Thorin. “I thought, first of all, I’m six foot two [1.8 metres] and Thorin’s an old guy. Maybe they want me to read it for a general audition.

“But then when I read what they’d done with the audition speech I realised that they were looking for something quite different. They needed someone who could play a warrior, who could play a young Thorin and old Thorin and also to bring the idea of somebody who could return to his full potential to become a king. That’s when I sat down with Peter and we talked through the journey and the arc of the character – and then they offered it to me. I had to pick myself up off the floor.”

~~excerpts from Tom Cardy’s interview with Richard Armitage in The Dominion Post  (NZ) 11/23/2012

Here’s the link to the rest of this interview: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/culture/7985809/Richard-Armitage-the-warrior-dwarf

Thanks to Heirs of Durin for the heads-up on the new interview. As always, Armitage brings thoughtful, intelligent and good-humored responses to the reporter’s questions.

He also discusses being on pins and needles during the months when he had the role, but the project had not yet been fully green-lighted. RA had to juggle projects, as he was determined that no one else would play the role.

And now, frankly, can any of us imagine anyone else playing the role? Just as Viggo became Aragorn, so Richard IS Thorin.

To all the naysayers, it does appear that Richard, a man in mid-life who is also strong, athletic, fit and accustomed to action-oriented roles as well as detailed characterizations; a skilled actor known for his chameleon-like qualities, is the perfect choice to play Thorin. Sir Peter obviously had faith in him.

Richard mentions the Powhiri ceremony kick-starting the production being an “amazing moment” after those stressful months of being on that knife edge, and I recall how overwhelmed he seemed to be in those opening moments: the flare of his nostrils, eyes shining with emotions, the smile on his face. And then the way he did us all proud with his little speech as representative of the movie’s cast and crew.

You also discover the importance of Thorin’s boots. I knew a broadcast journalist who taped pieces from the waist up. So you couldn’t see that she wasn’t wearing her customary high heels. “For some reason I can’t talk if I’ve got my heels on, so I do those reports barefooted,” she told me with a laugh.  Apparently Richard couldn’t play Thorin without his boots–even if the shot was from waist up! Just shows how importance costuming is to the characterization.

A GIF of RA doing a bit of boot bumping at Dwarf Camp (click on to play).  Richard said he had never traveled so far from home and felt more at home in New Zealand, it all seemed so familiar to him. Funny, that’s the way I felt about London!

Oh, things like this article only make me more ridiculously excited about the film. Just a few more weeks . . .

Elysian Armitage: TAE Word for the Day

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Elysian: (adjective): blissful; delightful. Of, or relating to, or characteristic of heaven or paradise.

From the Latin Elysium, from the Greek elysion pedyon (Elysian plain/ fields). In Greek mythology, Elysium (or Elysian fields) was the final resting place for the souls of heroes and the virtuous after their deaths. Earliest documented use: 1579.

Richard Armitage manages to evoke feelings within us which I believe can be described as truly elysian. Surely our endorphin levels are boosted when we see his image, hear his voice, read his words? We experience positive emotions; our pain seems to lessen, our bliss seems to increase. We are inspired and excited in such a manner it takes our breath away.

RA  and his cast of ChaRActers can make us downright euphoric. It seems as if we see a glimpse of heaven itself in those fathomless blue eyes, in the sweetness of his smiles and the joy of his laughter.

It’s the cat’s pajamas, too.

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Thumper seems to really like my new pajamas, too. She climbed up on my outstretched legs and made herself at home whilst I tapped away on the computer. I happened to have the camera within reach.  Eventually I had to move–my leg was asleep, even if the rest of me wasn’t–but she had a good long nap in a bed of roses, one might say.

My bedjacket arrived today! It’s lovely, a true “classic red” (the color listed online) in person  rather than the raspberryish tone it had in the photo, and it harmonizes beautifully with the pajamas. The velour gives it a rich look and it’s not heavy or bulky–just right for keeping away a chill.  I am going to see a stage production  of A Christmas Carol at Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery Saturday (this will be the fourth or fifth time, I think) and was just saying to Benny I have to figure out what I am going to wear. He smiled and gave a nod towards my bedjacket and waggled his brows.

I chuckled. “Well, with a pair of black dress pants and some jewelry, yeah, it could work.”

“Hmmmmm. I’m thinking now that I should get a smoking jacket,” he said with a definite twinkle in his blue eyes.

I laughed. “Oh, yes. And a pipe. You wouldn’t have to actually smoke it. Oh, and a snifter of brandy . . .”

Wouldn’t he be handsome? 😉

A Bountiful Harvest of RA

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‘Tis the season to enjoy such a bounty and count our blessings.  Hope your day, be it holiday or work day, is going well.  And if not–maybe these will make it a little better.

Thankful for Richard. Thankful for all of you.

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Writing in itself is a rather solitary endeavor. When I was writing for the newspaper, there were times when I simply had to take my laptop and notes and retreat to one of the conference rooms in order to block out some of the madness that could be a newspaper office (yes, even in a small town) and get the story “turned around” as rapidly as possible–written and uploaded to the website.

I work on the components of my blog entries by myself, more or less: making the fanart, creating the videos, writing the essays and so on (although, of course, I benefit from your suggestions and the upcoming rearview vid will have lots of fan input, you cheeky wenches).  Still, it’s mostly just me, my laptop and my imagination.

But if I put my time, creativity and energies into doing all of this and no one comes to the party–well, it would be rather lonely, as much pleasure as Mr. Armitage brings into my life.

And so I am thankful for all of you who stop in, whether it’s on a daily basis or just every so often. I truly appreciate it when you leave a comment. It’s encouraging. It lets me know you are reading/perusing and taking an interest in it. Sometimes you tell me that I have helped make your day. Truthfully, that goes both ways. You also help make mine.

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the US, a holiday that marks our remembrance of the first feast held by the Pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth Rock shared with the native Americans who had helped them.

Pilgrim Snoopy and Indian Woodstock extend Thanksgiving greetings to each other in “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.”

Celebrated on the fourth Thursday of each November, it means family time, feasting on holiday favorites, watching the famed Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (the same one celebrated in the movie classic Miracle on 34th Street) and football games. For some, it will actually be the kickoff to holiday shopping, as some of our “big box” retailers like K-Mart and Wal-Mart are opening at 8 p.m. offering Black Friday deals early.

From Norman Rockwell’s Freedom series, his famous “Freedom from Want” (fastcodesign.com)

But for me, it is important to also  remember to actually give thanks on Thanksgiving Day. It doesn’t matter what your religious beliefs are or whether or not you even have any; an attitude of gratitude is something that we all can practice, surely.

I am thankful for many things. There’s the everyday blessings we tend to take for granted here; a roof over my head with electricity and running water, a comfortable bed, plenty of food, technology that gives me a window on the world out here in the middle of nowhere.

Thankful for the parents who gave me a sold value system, who encouraged me to develop my brain and my talents and not just focus on being a pretty face a la those Toddlers and Tiaras parents.

For loving sisters and yes, for my own wonderful, darling, kind, sweet, funny, sexy hubby, Benny. For pets who think I’m the greatest and give me so much love and companionship and laughter.  For the blessings of a caring RL community and friendships old and new.

And for Richard Armitage, the perfect muse, the incomparable crush, the warm, witty, talented, beautiful, delightful human being. Without him, this blog wouldn’t exist. And again, I am thankful for you all and the kindness, thoughtfulness, fun and friendship you bring into my life each day

Harry Kennedy, the character Richard says is most like the “real” RA. Surely a fellow with a grateful heart.

I made this video last year to celebrate the occasion:

To my fellow American, a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. And to everyone else, a happy, healthy, blessed Thursday.