‘I would definitely go to the mountain.’ RA answers fan questions for WB

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Here is Warner Brothers Q&A based on fan questions submitted via Twitter. Thanks to Ali at RANet for the heads-up.

Richard. Thank you so much for taking the time. Thank you for having me.

So we have a few questions from the fans if you do mind. Go right ahead.

Dave Cooper asks: Were you envious of any of the other dwarf’s beards? Um. Yes. I have to say that Jed Brophy’s… because it was just this crazy kind of series of platted snakes and it looked fantastic when it was undone. So yes. Jed’s beard. Nori…. He also runs a sushi shop in Erebor.

Really? <Laughs>

Patricia Ryan asks: Did you agree with Peter Jackson’s decision for your character to leave the burning tree and try to fight the goblins, rather than stay up the tree, like in the book? {Thinks}. Yes. I think it was important to show Thorin, at that point in the story, taking control of the situation and rising to his heroic prowess.You know, this is how the king under the mountain… or the potential king under the mountain… would have behaved so yeah I was in agreement.

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Peter Stroud asks: How do you cope with fans obsession with your character and associating your person with that character? I think the fans’ obsession with the character is why the fans turn out to see the movie so… you know… it is every character in the story, um, has their own group of fans and it is when you construct a character based on a beloved book that you have that interest so… I don’t mind the association with myself and the character though I don’t feel I am particularly like him in real life.

Merilyn Wigley wants to know: Thorin is a leader by birth so leadership seemingly comes naturally to him, do you consider yourself a natural born leader or is it something you work at? I am more a natural born listener so I have to work at that kind of leadership but, I think, when you are given the sort of goal that the dwarves have it is unachievable without someone who steps up to the plate. Thorin is that guy.

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Blaise Terek asks: How long does it take to get all the make-up etc on each day & did you do your own stunts? It takes about three hours from sitting in the chair to walking on set. That prosthetics for an hour and forty five and then the hair takes about forty five and a bit of beard adjustment. I did most of my own stunts. The only things I can’t really do myself are the big falls which we haven’t seen yet but all the wire work I did myself and the fights I did myself, with the help of the stunt double of course.

Janette Hardy has asked: Did you feel nervous stepping into The Hobbit after the huge success of its movie predecessor The Lord of the Rings? Yes I was nervous, but at the same time it was nervous excitement because I love that world, I love the Lord of the Rings movies and walking into Bag End for the first time was both exciting and exhilarating.

Siobhan Lamerton asks if you could have seven people dead or alive over for dinner who would you pick? Wow. Okay. Um. Well if we stick on a movie theme how about Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, Alfred Hitcock, Orson Welles and Buster Keaton. I think they would have a good discussion about film. Or an argument.

Alaya Yu said Hi Richard,My question is: if you were Thorin Oakenshield,  would you go to the lonely mountain as in the books and the films or stay in blue mountain creating better life with your people? I would definitely go to the mountain. I think it is very much unfinished business, and I like to think I would set out on the journey with the intention of writing the wrongs of my ancestors… but, I would hope I could resist succumbing to the dragon’s sickness.

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Danni Roberts asked: You are such an amazing actor, what was the hardest part of preparing for your role as Thorin? Um, The hardest part of preparing for Thorin was finding the voice for the character and also trying to find his sense of humour. When we meet Thorin he does not really have a lot to laugh about but so addressing that part of his character was very difficult.

Judith  Worrall asks – Richard, playing the part of Thorin Oakenshield has obviously been a wonderful experience for you, no doubt there were good days and other days. Can you tell us a little about this experience, in particular what was your best experience and what was the hardest thing you had to do whilst filming? The first thing that jumps out as the best experience was the day we were taken to the top of a mountain and dumped in the wilderness whilst Andy Serkis flew around us taking aerial shots from a helicopter. That was one of the best days. Most challenging… I think the day we shot the escape from the Goblin tunnels because it was so incredibly hot. We were on the sound stage in the middle of summer, in hot and heavy costumes, there were live flames everywhere and an awful lot of heavy fight work to do so that was a difficult day.

Nat Hart asked:  Mr Armitage,   Of all your acting roles to date, which one have you found the most challenging as an actor? Also which the most rewarding, the most enjoyable? And lastly, of what performance are you proudest? Thank you! Thank you Nat. Um, it sounds like an easy answer but playing Thorin has been the most challenging, if anything just because of the logistics of the shoot, working on the green screen, the weight of the costumes. Then there was the extent of the fight sequences and the fact that it was also different voice and a different face. And it was also the most rewarding. Partly because overcoming all those challenges but also when I sat in the movie house and saw what Peter Jackson had done with the movie, viewing Thorin and not recognizing myself in the role, that was very satisfying.

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Catherine Witteveen asked – Which scene was the most difficult to rehearse and then shoot in Unexpected Journey? Why? Well I mentioned the escape from the Goblin caves already but also one of the most difficult scenes was in the prologue when Thorin is fighting at the battle of Azanulbizar, try spelling that one. We had a stunt double and a scale double fighting in the same fight, I had to fight seven orcs at the same time and I hit myself in the face with the shield and put my tooth through my lip but there was not time to stop so we had to keep going and so I did it with a bloody, bleeding lip and that was pretty difficult. Ouch Ouch.

Jenny Lambert wrote in to ask – What ongoing strategies in terms of physical training do you have in place to ensure you protect yourself from injury given the physicality of the role of Thorin? One thing I would do a lot was strap up my ankles with tape, which I think a lot of hikers or runners do. When you are running over uneven ground you can turn an ankle and we were doing that in boots that were very heavy so I did that a lot. We were also in the gym training from January right the way through the shoot and we did a lot of strengthening exercises on our back, lets and arms…

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That was for carrying the suit? The was for carrying the costume and also all the fight work. Orcrist is a very heavy sword and I had to have my back and arms working properly to wield it.

Marisa Tintaputra asked – have you ever received any impressive gifts from fans? Um. Its actually not related to The Hobbit but I did receive a pair of boxer shorts with my character’s face on the butt once… which was kind of impressive…, but the most impressive gift I received was not from a fan but from Peter Jackson that was Orcrist… The sword? Really? Yeah.  It’s in a bank vault. Really? No. But it should be. Is it the real thing? I mean metal rather than a plastic replica Yes. It is the full sword. It is dwarf scaled as well so it is massive.  Huge. Wow. That is impressive.

Oya Yseilada asks: How have you been preparing for part 2 & 3, as your characters role evolves with the story? I made quite a lot of notes before we started so in preparation for two and three I have gone back to the biography that I wrote for the character. We have lots of fight work still to cover as well so I have also stayed with the training regime. Hopefully I will be able to start on day one with pickups with some decent fight moves.

Shelly O’donnell asks What is it that attracts him to film/tv/etc. projects? What sort of projects would he like to be involved with in the future? I like piecing together a character slowly and making adjustments as you go along so projects and crews that allow me a chance to do that are obviously exciting. Great directors make a huge difference, Peter Jackson had such a vision… For future projects… who knows, perhaps a change from such a high tech movie, perhaps something a bit more intimate… something from literature maybe?

Sarah Lees asked which band or artist do you most enjoying listening to? Right now I am really enjoying Gotye. I got to present him with the Aria which was great. I like Radiohead. On set my playlist was mainly Killers and Kings of Leon.

Well Richard, we have loads more questions for you but sadly we are out of time. Thank you for taking the time and we hope you enjoy the rest of your stay. Thank you.

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5 responses »

  1. Thanks for putting all of that together for us. As usual well thought out, we’ll worded answers from Richard. Some new ideas put forward. Love the mental image of the arms and back still being in good shape! Thanks for all the visual stimulus and doesn’t he look the sweetie in your last shot!

  2. That last photo is absolutely to die for, I don’t think I’ve seen that one before–also, the questions were great (getting a little tired of the time in the makeup chair one, though) and some interesting info came out. I love reading Richard’s responses on how his process works and how he creates his character–cannot get enough of that. Wonderful, Angie, a terrific gift on a very rainy, dreary Tuesday in the DC area–thanks!

  3. Thank you for finding this and, of course, editing the whole package so beautifully. How good to finally know something of the music RA likes. And how interesting that he likes the Killers. Their song Bones — elegant, intense, slightly menacing, compellingly sexy — has always made me think of RA. Does anyone else associate certain songs with our movie-boyfriend?
    He also mentions Gotye, who lives in Melbourne not far from me!

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