RA offered role as Richard III *UPDATE*

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 Is Richard’s vision of giving a sympathetic portrayal of the much-maligned British monarch one step closer to reality?
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Could be.
Below is the contents of an article by Kathleen Nutt in The Herald Scotland dated today, February 2, 2013.

A Scots-based researcher who instigated a dig for the remains of Richard III says she has persuaded The Hobbit star Richard Armitage to play the king in a proposed new film.

Philippa Langley finished a screenplay about the medieval monarch’s life last year, months after she led archaeologists to a spot where a skeleton believed to be his was found.

Ms Langley, 50, who is secretary of the Scottish branch of the Richard III Society, came up with the idea of the search during a meeting of the group in February 2009.

Results of tests are to be revealed over the next day or so, conclusively proving whether the remains are indeed those of the last Plantagenet monarch.

Ms Langley contacted Armitage, 41, who plays dwarf leader Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s blockbuster, and says he agreed to take on the role. Armitage has also starred in a number of television series including Spooks, Robin Hood and the Vicar of Dibley.

Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 by the forces of Henry Tudor, effectively ending the 30-year-long War of the Roses.

He is often regarded as an ugly, hunchbacked tyrant, but Langley believes history has judged him unfairly and the popular view of him stems from the Tudors, who were keen to damage his reputation in order to justify his killing.

Her screenplay presents a sympathetic portrait of him, underlining his accomplishments such as the introduction of the presumption of innocence of an accused facing trial.

It also disputes the opinion he was responsible for the murders of his nephews, 12-year-old Edward V and nine-year-old Richard, Duke of York, the so-called Princes in the Tower.

“I had to write the screenplay. Richard III’s story has to be out there. I want that story to be told. I had Richard Armitage in mind to play him and he has agreed,” said Ms Langley.

“Not only he is a dead ringer for Richard III, but he was born a few miles away from Bosworth field and was named after him.”

Ms Langley, who lives in Edinburgh, is now seeking funding for the film.

She has also drawn up plans to give the dead monarch a proper burial, commissioning an artist and historian to design a tomb if, as expected, tests confirm the remains found in a car park in Leicester in August are his.

A photograph given exclusively to The Herald shows part of the tomb. It is decorated with the White Rose, the heraldic sign of Richard’s House of York, and the cross of St Cuthbert, one of his most venerated saints.

“I always had two aims,” said Ms Langley. “One was to undertake original research into Richard III and to bring the real historical figure to the forefront rather than the Shakespearean and Tudor version of him.

“But the second, which was actually my main aim, was to try and retrieve his remains from an undignified place and give them the reburial that fits a king.”

After Richard III was killed, his body was despoiled before being taken to Leicester, where he was buried in the church of the Franciscan Friary, known as the Grey Friars. However, over time the exact whereabouts of the Grey Friars became lost.

Kirk Wheelan-Foran, Armitage’s agent, said: “It is very early days. Richard is not in the country at the moment.”

 The documentary Richard III: The King in the Car Park, about Langley’s search for Richard III’s remains, is to be broadcast on Channel 4 on Monday at 9 pm.

It’s certainly exciting news (especially on one’s blogiversary!). And Richard’s profile has definitely risen since his impressive performance as Thorin Oakenshield. Of course, as his agent pointed out, it’s very early days yet.

One assumes it would be shot in or close to the U.K. so Richard would have to be available to do so. He’s got several weeks of Hobbit scenes to complete in New Zealand and possibly other commitments of which we aren’t aware.

And before filming could start, financial backing has to be in place. That could take some time. Scouting locations, lining up a good director, casting . . .  there’s a lot that has to come together before the Richard III film is a reality.

Still.

I’m excited.  How about you?

UPDATE 2/3/2013  According to a Tweet this morning by @BBCLeicester, Richard Armitage will join @adavearadio from LA live after 5 p.m. to talk Richard III on 104.9 FM 

Will we hear more about the proposed film project? Maybe . . .

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About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

29 responses »

  1. What exciting news! I really hope this project comes to fruition. Although I confess to not being a huge fan of much related to Richard III, it would be amazing to see Richard’s long held dream of playing the king made reality.

    • It’s been his dream for so long, I certainly hope all the stars will align and it will become a reality. I told someone on Twitter if ever there was an actor born to play a king, it’s Richard.

  2. Sounds like a very positive step in the right direction on a project that clearly means a lot to him. It would be great to see some sort of mini series collaboration between somebody like HBO and the BBC …a budget like the Tudors and The Borgia, but attention to detail lik ROME and John Adams. Fingers crossed…

    • That is along the lines of what I was also thinking, Obscura. A British-American co-production with a good budget and strong production values. Of course, this may all be a matter of an overzealous Ricardian jumping the gun a bit, but I so hope it isn’t a rerun of the Charlie debacle that RA Frenzy brought up in her post regarding this. I know a lot of proposed projects never get greenlighted, but I am keeping my fingers crossed it will happen for Richard. We know he’d be nothing less than spectacular in the role.

      • Yeah, it is probably dangerous for any actor to get too attached to a project too soon. Watch and wait 🙂 This is such a sweeping story…seems better suited to a mini series than trimming it to feature film length.

        • I am going to hope for the best and hope that we will hear from Richard regarding it at some point. Yes, I always thought a mini-series would be a better choice. Honestly, some of the better ones can look quite cinematic, too.

    • I believe the BBC could certainly pull it off: they are currently dramatising Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. Both these books have won the Man Booker and the second the Costa, and are also being staged by the RSC next year. Significant 20th century works both, with heightened public expectations; if the Beeb can be trusted to get this project right then Richard III should be well within their capabilities. And they have provenance: their historical dramas are legendary.
      As for Richard, given his height, howsabout painting hom blond and giving him the role of Edward IV?

      OT and stop press: Fault has landed!!

      • Wydville, yes, I think a BBC mini-series would be the way to go, if only they’ll commit to a decent budget, enough to support good production values and to do the script as it should be done. I really hope they can do justice to Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies! Wonderful books, they deserve the best productions, screenwriting, directing, and acting talent the BBC can muster. The additional vote of confidence from the RSC should help nudge them in the right direction.

        At least Richard and his agent now have experience negotiating with the BBC, and they know how to get what’s needed.

        Brilliant idea to have Richard go blonde and play Edward IV. The age fits; the athleticism fits; and the conflicts and duality, that could work, too. Richard has played womanisers before, too, just not a regal 15th century one. Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth Woodville?

        • He could do blonde, too, the right shade. I’ve done a few manips where he had it and it worked. Will be interesting to hear what happens with the DNA announcement and what we may hear from Richard in the coming days re the project.

          • I’d love to see him as Edward IV, never thought of it to be honest, I had men like Warwick in mind. Edward was described in The Sunne in Splendour as very handsome so he’s just right for the part in that respect! As for going blonde, it could work, with his fair skin and eyelashes, and blue eyes. The only tricky bit would be his eyebrows, you wouldn’t want them dyed. No doubt there’s a way of lightening them with makeup of some kind.

            • Oh, yeah, he’s got the handsome part of it down to a T. 😉 Richard is fortunate in that with his particular coloring, he can pull off a variety of hair colors. The brows could be lightened with a brow powder or tinted gel. And actually, blondes’ eyebrows are often a little darker than lash and hair color (I speak from personal experience here).

  3. I’m trying very hard not to get too excited about this, but it would be lovely to see this project come together for Richard. He said himself in Wellington that he may have become too old to play Richard III, but there are still other roles he could take on. A mini-series would be perfect.

    • I am keeping my fingers crossed it will work out. trying to think positively. 😉 Judging by the portrait of the real R III, I do think Richard could pull it off age-wise with a little assistance from makeup and lighting and his own amazing acting talent. However, as you say, there are other roles he could also play.

      • I would absolutely love to see him in the title role of the adult king, and, as you say, he could pull it off age-wise. It was mentioned here at one time that in those days people probably looked older than their chronological years anyway, because their lives were so hard. Fingers and everything else crossed!! 🙂

  4. I want his dream come true and like you all I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Is this a good sign but did you notice Ms Langley’s first name is Philippa like Philippa Boyens ?
    And happy blogiversary Angie ! This year was full of emotions and really can’t realize a year has passed.I hope you continue to delight us for many years to come and can’t imagine Armitage World without you.

  5. Fingers crossed that the project comes to fruition the way Richard wants. The excitement generated by the prospect alone may get investors to come forward, but that does not mean a green light. I’m just thrilled that it has gotten this far, and I’ll celebrate every step along the path.

    That last manip is probably the closest to being a historically accurate vision of the king. Somehow all the manips of the king’s portrait, even good ones like yours, can’t seem to get the rotation of his head just right. It might take a manip that adjusts the king’s costume to Richard’s body in a shot like the one you use for blog wallpaper, to get the angle right.

    Meanwhile, Lucky’s tail is sticking out of my tote bag, where he has “hidden” his toy mouse and one of my bras…

  6. Obviously i’m always excited about news of RA’s future projects and i sincerely hope this project comes together in a way that RA would like. Having said that, i do have one major reservation. I’m happy to be corrected because i don’t pretend to be an RA expert but i’m not convinced he does still want to play Richard. I know this will not be a popular opinion but let me attempt to explain my reasons. RA spoke very enthusiastically about the project in 2007. At that point he was gaining a name for himself – most notably as JT and GoG. The title role in a lavish serial in the style of The Tudors would have been something any ambitious actor would dream of. Coupled with this, RA had personal reasons for wanting to do such a project. I wonder, though, if RA ever imagined that by 2013 he would be starring in The Hobbit trilogy and in a position to be wooed by Hollywood? If this project is to do RA justice it must have a healthy budget, a great script, good production values etc… RA is a pretty canny man as far as picking good scripts and knowing when to wriggle out of things – i’m thinking about SB2 – when they aren’t going to add to his portfolio. Add to that, existing commitments and Hollywood projects and the RIII is going to have to be pretty special to make it worth his while. Philippa Langley might want him in the title role (and who can blame her) but has he said anything more than a diplomatic deflection about this role in recent years? I felt his answer in NZ was polite but non committal – and i have wondered how it might feel to have fans petitioning and getting excited about a role he might not be that keen on now. Having said that, this might be RA’s opportunity to produce and to have more control over a project. That is something i do see him wanting. I could also see him playing Warwick – he has a bit of a history for making the baddie much more interesting than the title role…

    • I’m thinking along the same lines as you Bollynickers. I may be wrong about this, but I don’t recall RA saying he wants to play Richard III – just that he’d like to make the movie which to me means he’d rather be on the production end. In addition, if I remember correctly, he’s always had some reason why he wouldn’t be able to play Richard the III, i.e. he’s too tall, too old. I remember once RA made the statement he’d rather be behind the camera than in front. I’ve always assumed whenever he discussed Richard III, it meant he’d like to have the opportunity to make a movie about Richard III rather than portray the character.

  7. Update: At the time of the BBC Radio broadcast, Richard was on a plane to LA and couldn’t call in. I hope we’ll hear from him soon.

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