Daily Archives: April 8, 2013

A ‘handy’ post: RA talks dealing with prosthetic digits in ‘Chronicles’

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My job was to try and make the character of Thorin feel very real, despite the heavy makeup, working my facial muscles, making sure the wig moved like hair, without too much appearance of vanity, which Thorin has very little of. The biggest challenge was the prosthetic hands.

I think hands reveal so much about a character.  They are sensitive little beings all of their own, and the enlargement with the silicone hands could quite restrictive. I wasn’t able to put my hands through my hair, or pick up anything with ease.  Touching my face, or touching another character’s face in a tender moment, was always going to be difficult. Hands are also connected to the emotions. The clenched fist and the relaxed shaking fingers–these are things we had to learn to live without.

~~Richard Armitage, actor, Thorin  From the Weta Workshop book Chronicles II, “Dwarf Prosthetics”

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I found this fascinating in terms of our fascination with Richard Armitage’s own beautiful, expressive hands and how he has used them in past roles (as well as his endearing penchant for talking with his hands in interviews).

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I can only imagine he did find it frustrating to be restricted in the use of those hands whilst playing Thorin. Richard strikes me as an actor who uses all the “weapons” in his acting arsenal, facial expressions, voice modulation, hair, body language and those amazingly expressive hands, to bring a character to life. The restrictions placed on him by the makeup and prosthetics proved just one more challenge for our gifted performer to take on–and triumph over!

When he speaks of “touching another character’s face in a tender moment” my stomach does flip-flops. Once again I envision the object of Thorin’s affection being gently, tenderly caressed, face cupped in his hands before a soft, beardy kiss. Sort of a Thornton moment for Thorin . . .

(I know, I know, Thorin doesn’t have a romantic interest in the book, it’s not canon, yadda yadda yadda–but a girl can dream, right?)

Something that I have wondered about is how the actors were able to wield their weapons as dwarfs so believably and effectively with those unwieldy prosthetic hands.  And I found the answer within the pages of this book, too: dwarf mitts!

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According to Jason Docherty, the special makeup and prosthetics supervisor for Weta, the use of fighting mitts was the answer:

“The silicone covered only the top, leaving the fingers, palm and bottom completely open, and thereby not inhibiting the grip of weapons at all–great for fight sequences but not for a close-up. For close-ups, we always used a full arm or full hand.”

Docherty also mentions how much time Thorin spent with his forearms exposed and so he often wore the full arm prosthetic. That included battle scenes, so there were “fighting forearms” lacking palms, too, for just such occasions. Hmmmmm, battling Thorin with bare forearms. Roaring, hair flying, eyes flashing. Works for me . . .  *whimper* Can’t wait for some sneak peeks of him in full Bared Forearm Alpha Fighting Mode.

That being said, I really would like to see those hands on the big screen free of any silicone, being beautifully expressive. Oh, Black Sky, where art thou?

‘He’s a hero on screen and in real life.’ From the new Chronicles II book

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Here I am bloody crying again and it’s not my wonky Even Worse Knee (now being iced) that’s making me tear up. It’s reading both Richard’s words and those of others who’ve worked with him found within Weta Workshop‘s beautiful new book, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Chronicles II, which arrived today.

Here’s a snippet of what Amy Hubbard, UK casting director, had to say about RA (who gave what she called “one of the most committed performances I have ever seen”). Bold font my addition:

“I know he won’t mind me saying that Peter saw potential in Richard that hadn’t been fully exploited before . . . (Richard) turned down the opportunity (to appear in next series of Strike Back) to make himself available to appear in The Hobbit. His commitment to the films . . . was an inspiration to all of us. And I believe it was a much-needed boost to the filmmakers’ morale during a marathon casting process. And Richard really deserves credit for that. He’s a hero on screen and in real life. Other actors made similar sacrifices, but Richard made this one very early in the casting process.”

Amy Hubbard

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The book also states in the opening section on Thorin that “it was essential filmmakers cast an actor in the role with the same charisma and simmering dignity that the character demanded. Fortunately the casting directors found Richard Armitage, an actor with the quiet intensity and thoughtfulness needed for the role, and a man in whom both the rest of the cast and the audience can believe.”

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Didn’t those casting directors do a splendid job? I most definitely do believe in the power of the Armitage, and appreciate all the more the commitment he made to the film when it wasn’t even 100 percent green lighted yet. Richard, you tall, gorgeous drink of water and inspiring morale builder, you.

*Smiling even as I blink back tears* I am so very proud of you, Richard.

What would YOU ask Richard Armitage? Redux

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I asked this question in a blog entry last summer prior to Comic-Con. Because haven’t we all fantasized about being able to conduct our dream interview with Richard Armitage?

Or, in my case, I actually dreamed I did interview him and in the back of a limo, no less (sadly, I can remember none of the questions, just how charming and funny and gorgeous he was).  Speaking of gorgeous, let’s look at that footie action from Magic FM again, shall we?

jamie edwards and Rich playing table footie

With the recent flurry of new interviews prior to the DVD release of THAUJ, the whole WWYARA question popped into my mind again.  We’ve seen the same old chestnuts about the circus *sigh* fun ones about whether or not he does impressions of other cast members (earning us that delightful “ooooh, BIL-BO Baggins . . .” in the Bin Weevils interview), and, frankly, strange queries about whether or not Thorin would rather fight horse-sized ducks or duck-sized horses. That one still has me scratching my head. The person who submitted that must have been on something stronger than my Kahlua and Coke. 😉

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Would you ask him questions about Thorin? Does he ever fear being typecast as Tolkien’s heroic dwarf?  Or  would you ask him about past characters and their development and, perhaps, what the future held for them after the scriptwriters finished their work (or in some cases, their hatchet jobs. Looking at you, Spooks people)?  Are there any of his past characters he would long to see brought to life on the big screen?

How about future projects? Looks like he’s been queried enough about RIII at this point, as well as any future prospects of a VoD reunion. Favorite novels (other than The Master and Margarita) he’d like to see become screenplays?  He’s said he wants to do smaller, more intimate film with a great, literate script–any specific director he’d love to work with? Does he still have directing aspirations of his own? Dream cast he’d love to direct?

The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Would you ask if he’d consider doing a voice role in an animated feature for, say, Disney/Pixar?  Because he all know he’s a great storyteller for children  . . . and he loves the studio’s films.  How about the possibility of narrating more audiobooks? Is there a list of books he’s dreamed of recording?

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Would you ask about his favorite films, books, music, TV (assuming he’s gotten to watch any) over the past year?  Is there a television series he’d love to appear in (Game of Thrones, anyone?)?  But then again, he’s trying to get away from the action/violence genre, so, possibly a comedy or period drama such as Downton Abbey?

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Downton Abbey visits Seattle (Photo credit: KCTS OO9)

Or how about the best advice he’s ever been given as an actor? Who most inspires him as an actor? What counsel would he give to aspiring actors?

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Favorite chocolate ice cream blend? Rocky Road? Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough? Or just pure, rich, unadulterated chocolate? Does he like it with whipped cream and a cherry on top? OK, getting silly here, but I suspect he likes a little silliness tossed in here and there. The man obviously loves to laugh.  And there is always “What are you listening to on your iPod right now?”

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ipod shuffle loja online leilao (Photo credit: sucelloleiloes)

And hey, my new Weta Workshop book was just delivered by spouse. Arrived a day early! Hooray!!  Here it includes this photo, which I found courtesy of Servetus at FB:

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Can’t wait to discover any other gems within that volume! Loving Mr. A in green. NTM the beard and muscles and everything . . . and isn’t Adam a cutie?

And again, I ask, what would YOU ask Mr. A? Do tell!

Tonight, I will be nursing the Even Worse Knee (yep, fell again) and perusing my new book. I am sure I will have something to share from it later. 😀

(other screencaps courtesy of Richard Armitage Net)

Tah-dah moments, footie fun & that blasted elephant in the room.

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I am late to the party and I apologize. After an extraordinarily tiring Saturday and a largely lethargic Sunday, I couldn’t get inspired or motivated to do much more than catch up on some comments, wash a load of clothes and do a bit of work for the next DVD project, the Relay For Life Pageant.

As I was doing some photo editing, this particular pic really made me smile. I like the sort of “ta-dah!” moment with the one little red-haired girl.

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The contestants ranged in age from four months to, shall we say, “of a certain age.” Many are not normally pageant contestants; they participate in events like this to raise funds and awareness.  An oncology nurse from Mobile came to be one of the adult contestants; she walked in honor of all patients battling cancer. Everyone took the stage in honor and/or memory of a loved one, friend, neighbor or classmate with the disease.

Take a look at this “tomboy” named Sydney:

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She is the young teenage daughter of a long-time friend who works at our bank. Marie, was diagnosed with a very rare form of lung cancer several years ago. I am happy to say this lovely young wife and mother of two beat it and has gone on to be a very active part of the Relay For Life Board every year. Sydney has been a helpmate to her mom all along the way, a really good kid.

Is it any wonder the two pageants this normally jeans-and-t-shirt kind of girl has participated in– her middle school’s (a requirement by event sponsor for its female yearbook editors) and in this ACS fundraiser, Sydney was chosen first runner-up?  I find it perfectly reasonable. I can’t wait to show some of the pix to her mom.  Sydney is a beautiful young lady both inside and out.

And now, on to some Richarding!

531976_439153266177657_2017111501_n                                   Richard with Jamie Edwards of Magic FM.

I read through the transcript of Richard’s radio interview with Rick Astley (and NOW I can’t get “Never Gonna Give You Up” out of my head) and saw Astley brought up “that old chestnut,” yes, the story of young Richie running off to Budapest to toss batons and perhaps, perform a bit of mime (or is that “meme”?).  I think Richard should just start mock-strangling chat show hosts with more ferocity and maybe they’d stop asking.

Looks as if he’s still keeping a safe distance from the whole Richard III project. And we now know he’s a fan of Gotye (one of my little fantasies is to sit down with RA over an cup of coffee and talk music, films, TV and books. A very large cup of coffee . . .).

Here’s the link to the transcripts at Richard Armitage Central: http://t.co/TgHZLeGJkX

Go to the news page at http://richardarmitagecentral.co.uk/news/ for a link to the audiofile.

jamie edwards and Rich playing table footie

My gosh, but I like this photo of Mr. A playing tabletop footie with Jamie Edwards of Magic FM.  Apparently, Rich’s footie skills are rusty, but I’d say his form is just–dandy. The boots, the hands, the long, long legs in those jeans . . .  lots to love.

Richard will be in what we can assume is a pre-recorded interview on Steven Wright’s show on BBC Radio 1 at 2 p.m. Monday UK time. Wonder if he gets the circus question yet again? Bless his heart.