Will the real Richard Armitage please stand up? Or–maybe not.

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“Who’s Richie A, Who’s the real guy, will the real Richie A please stand up, please stand up”

(with apologies to Eminem aka Slim Shady, who is, in fact, actually a guy named Marshall Mathers)

Fedoralady plays the devil’s advocate a bit here . . .  tossing out some food for thought.  Glean from it what you will.

 

Who exactly is Richard Armitage? That seems to be a question a fair amount of fans are asking these days.

What concerning RA can we agree upon?

I think we can all agree he’s enormously talented. Charismatic. A hard-working professional (maybe even a workaholic). He shows an appreciation for his fans and has a generous heart, supports worthwhile charities and encourages others to do the same. He is not at all hard on the eyes. In fact, he seems to get more attractive with each passing year. There is a lot to like and appreciate here.

The RA that most who have been fans for a longer period have come to expect is this thoughtful, diffident, humble, bookish, boyish, good-humored and gentle sort of gentleman—a kind of Harry Kennedy come to life in some respects. Richard himself once said HK was the character he had played who was most like him in real life, which led to quite a few “squees” in the fandom.

 

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We saw glimpses of this “Admirable RA” in television and radio interviews to promote his shows and films, in the behind-the-scenes features for DVDs and in some print interviews. There was never a great deal offered up about his private life, even when interviewers tried to pry or provoke it out of him. He preferred to focus on his work, a subject about which he was clearly passionate.

Some fans who first discovered him as Thornton in “North and South” found Richard Armitage the perfect romantic hero and longed to see him in more high-quality period drama. Those who adored him as Harry Kennedy pined to see him perform in a wittily scripted rom-com. Others found “Action Hero with a Heart” Armitage and “Beautiful Baddie (Who Really Isn’t)” irresistible.

 

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For certain fans, RA pretty much ascended onto a pedestal. If he wasn’t a saint, surely he was an angel, almost too good to be true.
After all, look at all his virtuous qualities . . . he was different from all that riff-raff out there in celebrity land, and we could pat ourselves on the back and smugly smile and say, “We fangurl only the best and the most pure of heart.”

 

And other fans said (in private, if not on forums), “Virtuous qualities, shmirtuous qualities. He can effin’ read the phone book for all I care (preferably in really tight jeans and a shirt with a few buttons undone) as long as I can hear that smooth chocolate baritone and gaze into those hellagood azure eyes and imagine all the bad, bad things I could do to him!” (I should point out these feelings can be found in fans who really, really admire his personality and acting talent, too.)

 

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As for Richard, he has always tended to dismiss talk about his sexual allure, expressing disbelief that he could ever be considered a hottie, proclaiming he’s always found himself a bit odd-looking.

RA has seemed like the perfect celebrity crush for the discerning fan girl: bright and gifted, yet humble and modest. Beautiful and sexy, yet seemingly unaware of his physical charms (although quite a few of us found that hard to swallow). Here was an intensely private man who clearly intended to remain so, one who wanted the focus to be on his body of work as a serious actor–and not his body, as it were.

And then he joined Twitter. Dived in headfirst, one might say.
And we started getting selfies. Lots of selfies. Some were quite funny and cute and a little weird, but in a good sort of way. And one or two were— “Huh? Zat you, Richard?”
They seemed to be of a handsome young man but they didn’t exactly look like Richard Armitage—maybe a younger look-alike relative?

Clearly, our Richie was doctoring his images. Hey, no big deal, right? Don’t all celebrities (and quite of few of us nobodies) use filters and other touch-up tools on our photos before we post them to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like? And he’s working at lot in Hollywood now, where youth is the religion; he’s almost 44 and there are always younger actors up for the same roles.

 

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B4cEX4uCIAE03cWAnd maybe, just maybe, Mr. A is a bit more vain and conscious of his good looks than we were led to think.

Then there’s this whole thing of tweeting—and deleting. And tweeting and deleting some more. “Make up your mind, Mr. Armitage, a legion of fans is apparently hanging on your every word and trying to dissect what went wrong that caused you to need to remove a particular image/words!” Fans cry out.

So, tell me, Richard,  are you just teasing us, or are you in fact still a bit inept when it comes to this whole social media morass? Inquiring minds want to know. Some fans are getting downright frustrated!

And there are some of the roles Richard is choosing—very action-oriented, one even described as “hyper-violent” and of course, that blood-soaked turn as a serial killer later this season on “Hannibal.”
Didn’t he once state horror was a genre he didn’t think was a good fit for him?

“What caused you to change your mind?” ask some fans, disappointed over your decision.

“Aren’t people allowed to change their minds?” Other fans respond. “This isn’t your run-of-the-mill splatter fest, anyway. There’s great scripting and character development. The critics love it!”

There’s a lot of disquiet and a certain degree of disappointment expressed in the fandom of late and it has led me to query: While we’ve never been completely harmonious, were fans in general happier when RA was actually less accessible?
Was ignorance bliss for some of us when that alluring veil of mystery still swirled around him? Is a portion of it still there or has social media permanently dispelled it?

 

8992342a74186be2f224f6dbd9d00254I wonder, would it be more acceptable for some fans if he were like a movie star in the old studio system, in which the Powers That Be carefully groomed and molded their stars’ images . . . and kept anything negative out of the press.

Has Richard Armitage as an individual actually changed in any fundamental way, or are we simply seeing him break out of his shyness and shake off some of that British reserve,with the self-professed late bloomer now “busting out all over” with a nearly nude photo posted on Twitter? (Of course, it’s not like he hasn’t gotten naked before for the camera . . . on several occasions, in fact. “Between the Sheets,” “Spooks” and “Strike Back.”)

Do we know/see a little too much now, and are some of us afraid of what we might discover next about “our Richard” that could potentially shatter our illusions about him?

And do we as individual fans and as a collective truly want the real Richard Armitage—whomever and whatever he might prove to be—to stand up? Or can we ever really “know” a man who is such an expert at immersing himself into his characters?  Actors–well, they ACT.

Would we prefer to only fangurl a Richard made to our personal specifications . . . and is there any harm if we do?  Should we hold tight to our fantasies even if reality turns out to bite?

I wonder.

62 responses »

  1. I have posted a poem on my twitter feed this morning which I believe may have some of the answers to these questions, questions which I suspect many more than we are led to believe are deep down pondering on, just as we are.

    • Thanks, I will have to take a look later. I’ve had so much on my mind, not just related to this but also to work-related issues and such, I haven’t been to bed yet (it is just after 5 a.m. here) and I am starting to crash. At least I got this out of my system for whatever it’s worth.

      • Wow! If you can write with such clarity at 5 am and haven’t even been to bed yet, you must be quite impressive when you are refreshed and energetic. Please let me know what you think about the poem when you read it. Thanks and sleep tight!

        • I was a full-time newspaper writer and columnist for several years (still work part-time for the local paper) so it’s sort of ingrained in me now. Thanks!

    • I hoped it would be, Jazzy. It stormed almost all night here and I just can’t sleep during electrical storms due to the FMS, so I worked on a video for PRP and I wrote this post. At least I spent it constructively and not just pinning cool stuff on Pinterest.

  2. Hi, yes, Angie, good article, thought provoking. But look at this way. Whatever he does/says is going to have someone moaning. You just can’t please all the people all of the time. And he does try, so hard… as he says he’s a hopeles people pleaser, and that’s because of his sweet nature. And sometimes, of course in trying to master a new technical thing (I still can’t fathom out Twitter, just keep sending messages to myself and not to the person I thought I had!!) he’s going to make mistakes and withdraw messages ( he’s better than I am ) – so don’t be too harsh on the poor guy, he ‘s still learning and he wanted things to be fun for his fans, so that’s why he went on twitter to ‘lighten things up a bit’ – As I said, no matter what he does, there’ll be those looking for flaws, and that’s their choice, so he chooses what he does for himself. Certainly proffessionally. Not always to my taste either, but hey, that makes him more exciting, he’s certaily not in any rut. Hope you sleep well.

    • I guess the point I was really trying to make by staying up through the night and writing this is this: are fans having difficulty accepting Richard as he presents himself now through Twitter and other social media. vs. the “old” Richard of “our little community” and the person he was generally, if not universally, perceived to be earlier in his career . . . and would some fans prefer him to be the man of mystery vs. Richard with the ham on his face and his nekkid bod on display. I am not saying one “Richard” or the other is better or worse; neither may be the “real” guy. Or these qualities may all be part of a very complex personality. And yes, I do wonder if additional habits, preferences and so forth come to light that some fans are not comfortable with—will they chose to ignore them and cling to their version of Richard, or will they embrace him, warts and all? Or stop being a fan altogether because he is not who they thought he was? I personally don’t think anything will make me think really badly of him unless he did turn out to be a serial killer/rapist/child or animal abuser (none of which I think are likely).

      • I think that’s a great question, and at least from what I see, some fans really do seem to prefer their own imagined version of RA rather than take him as he is – or as the evolving way he presents himself, “warts and all” lol. You’re going to find people like that in any fandom, though.

      • Slightly OT but your quotation marks are appearing as vowels with accents on them in my email and browser, making it a little hard to read. Eh, probably my crap OS or something I did.
        No matter, what I can make out of your statements I agree with (especially the bacon and nekkid parts 😉 )

        • Cill, I know! It does not appear that way on my end when I type and post, but it sure does when I see it later onscreen. It does this on other WP sites, too, whenever I comment. A problem with WP, I guess. So I have been trying to avoid contractions LOL

  3. I’ve never minded that he’s on twitter. The parts of his personality revealed are hardly off-putting to me. Maybe that’s because I’ve never confused him with any of his roles, and I always wondered that the person was like.
    And I think my standards for how I expected him to behave were pretty realistic, because I didn’t expect Thorin, John Porter or John Thornton.

    I’m used to actors, musicians and celebrities whose personalities have a lot more rough edges, who are plainly egotistical (not just a little vain), selfish and self-absorbed and inarticulate and often not too smart. Sometimes they’re abrasive and sometimes even downright a-holes. By comparison with them RA seems a nice guy, like my other celebrity crush Elijah Wood.

    By comparison with a lot of the people I know in real life from work or university or family, RA’s social skills and personality are miles ahead. (I admit that in my experience university is not a milieu where you find a lot of advanced social skills, and sometimes not much compassion or honesty, so maybe my expectations were too low 😉 ).

    Here’s the thing: I never expected him to be perfect, any more than the people in my real life are perfect. And if those people do something I don’t like, I say something about it. But if they do or say something that’s meant to do good or be good, then I’ll defend them (warts and all). Until RA starts behaving like a douchebag, I extend him the same courtesy.

    • Ftr, I have never been totally uncritical of RA.
      I pretty well trashed his choice of role in Hannibal in various places online where I commented and said I wouldn’t watch it. However on one level, I’m sorry to see the show go under because a lot of talented people were involved. On another level, I wish they hadn’t been involved because the show disgusts me and I think it’s not really something that’s needed.

    • Do you think that is part of the problem for some fans, Cill—that they fell for John Thornton or Harry Kennedy or Thorin or Standring, just to list a few possibilities, and for them that is who RA really is? Maybe a difficulty with the lines blurring a bit between fantasy and reality . . . or in their minds there is the possibility of an actual relationship with RA so they feel compelled to see him as their perfect man . . . and their perfect guy isn’t a serial killer . . . and neither, of course, is RA, thank goodness. Blurred lines again. I’ve never seen him as perfect, either, as I have said more than once. I could do without stuff like the overly touched-up selfies. But some fans sure seem uncomfortable and almost angry with the direction he is going in now. And this is the only fandom I have any personal knowledge of or experience in, so I have nothing really to compare the current state of affairs in Armitage World. That’s why it’s nice to hear from those who are able to shed a little more light.

      • Sometimes it really does seem to me that some fans want a Thorin or Thornton or a Porter or a Harry Kennedy (all idealized characters really). (For some even RA’s little jokes and liking for toys disillusions them it seems. I don’t get it).
        Otoh I think this is pretty common: people who fall for Will Turner or Legolas or even the polished public persona of some musician or sports figure. (On the other side are people who identify actors with other sorts of fan-created fantasy but that’s a whole other can of worms).

        Orlando Bloom is a good example. 10 years ago, he was possibly the prettiest thing on the planet (even compared to my other crush Johnny Depp). He seems to have a sweet personality but I was never a fan of him as a person because it was pretty obvious that he wasn’t someone I could really relate to. (I’ve never been a fan of real person Johnny for the same reason, except for the sweet personality bit). However there are a lot of fans who really do identify Orli with Legolas (witness vicious attacks on Evie Lilly on imdb and elsewhere) and before that Will Turner. (Some have other ‘reasons’ relating to the fantasies I alluded to above). Whatever the reason, OB (of whom no one who knows him in rl speaks ill as a person) is so hated by a small group of fans that they call him Whorelando and continue to trash him, MIranda Kerr and even their child.

        When it comes to putting the blame on social media, I think people forget that even in the days of interviews and no social media some celebrities could disillusion people with their sexism, rudeness or general douchebaggery (and sometimes some of *that* wasn’t real either).

        • I just wanted to add that not liking the direction of someone’s creative choices is a whole other matter afaiac. I used to be a huge Elijah Wood fan but haven’t seen many of his roles since he became a fixture of slasher movies. I’m happy to watch a lot of his other stuff still (like Wilfrid) but I think sometimes the desire to be ‘edgy’ becomes kind of an addiction.
          Otoh I Hannibal is only one role. (I can’t remember which RA role is ‘hyper-violent’. I thought that was Hannibal). If RA decides to make a career or roles I can’t watch then I will seriously re-think my fanning.

          • The one described as hyper-violent (by one of the people attached to the project and my brain is too muddled to remember right now who) is the medieval-era film, “Pilgrimage.” Lots of swordplay, I am guessing.

            • Thanks. I wonders sometimes about these descriptions because lot of movies and tv shows in the past few years might be described as hyper-violent.
              Even Spooks (head in the deep fryer, anyone?)

              • Yeah, one man’s hyper-violence is another man’s typical action thriller, nothing extreme. And I feel a little bad saying we as Americans are pretty much accustomed to violence in entertainment—but the truth is, we are. Oh, remembering that fryer scene makes me cringe. Ouch!!

        • Throwing phones at hapless desk clerks, getting into fistfights at bars and harassing flight attendants were the kinds of things that people did and the news got around quickly enough even before iPhones.

          • Or anything Ozzy Osborne ever did before his reality show.

            And sometimes people just put their feet right down there by their tonsils in regular interviews. Eg, virtually anything Gene Simmons ever said in public before his reality show.

  4. As always, an excellent post, Angie!

    “…Would it be more acceptable for some fans if he were like a movie star in the old studio system, in which the Powers That Be carefully groomed and molded their stars’ images . . . and kept anything negative out of the press.”

    Yes. Simply, yes. The mystery. The allure. And (most importantly) the reinforced separation between the person and the character. Vital for some people. For me, there are alot of similarities between Richard and Cary Grant. ALOT of similarities! Cary would have had many, many more personal and professional problems if working today..as has Richard. Seemingly.

    Ultimately we are all fallible human beings. A percentage of which are not well, need a godhead / father figure / hero to glom onto, while having an inability to separate. The incidence of celebrity stalkers have only increased with the larger circulation of the tabloids, the explostion of the internet, and perceptions in approachability and access. I knew it was an issue when I stumbled across a fan site in 2003 called Alter and Shrine. And the hair went up on the back of my neck.

    If I was still in school and I’d do a multi-disciplined, crossover study between psychology, sociology and media communications on it all. And I’ll bet many folks already are. BUT the most telling thing for me is how many entertainment people are leaving or have left social media, due to hate, bullying, fan entitlement and perceptions of actor accountability to said fans. After all…they have to work. Lee Pace doesn’t post for awhile, and people freak. Tom Hiddleston is busy working, so doesn’t tweet …and people start wailing. Phhhtt! It’s enough to make one take a pause oneself. As I have.

    RA is not a sparkly unicorn. I am not a horror-lover, but am glad he is working on American TV, even if some of us have already seen him there (in an admittedly less promoted way ) when PBS stations aired SPOOKS as MI-5. Because ultimately that is what he is.
    Cut through the glitz and perceptions and at his core, he’s a working actor. And Hannibal’s a high-profile job. Which could lead to a higher level of U.S. casting director awareness and result in more work. So, Bravo him.

    • Although I’ve yet to find a course that would let me fully explore fandom and its psychology, I have been a keen student for a couple of decades. If you’re interested in fan wankery stemming from obsession and fantasy, I can recommend a couple of introductory links. Unfortunately the servers at the main source for articles about online fandoms are offline for the forseeable future. Luckily a few key pages were archived and can probably still be accessed.
      I’ve been around online fandoms for about 15 years and I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff go down about actors because of people trying force the pattern of the 1950s Hollywood onto actors of the 21st century. It created a lot of nonsense over a decade ago with people stalking, harassing and even publicly embarrassing the LOTR actors (and continues to cause trouble in other fandoms) and often because they couldn’t let go of anachronistic thinking or baseless gossip. (A few of them still even believe it).

      You’ve made some valid points about the celebrity stalker syndrome, that was probably around a lot longer than people think, particularly during the 1960s with the Beatles and other bands. (I don’t know enough about Elvis to say if it was true of him also. Now there’s a guy that had things that needed to be kept out of the papers, like a 14-year old girlfriend). I don’t know if Elvis were around today if he’d have a twitter account or an official facebook page. John Lennon might. He was a man with something to say and causes he believed in. Kind of like RA.

      Otoh I think that the basic thesis that the public at large need ‘mystery’ or ‘mystique’ and that people who are private have something to hide hold water any more. I guess what I’m saying is ‘In the age of Caitlyn Jenner, are assumptions based on Cary Grant still valid?’

    • As for the Cary Grant comparisons, I don’t get it. I’ve always failed to see any similarities in personality, acting style, looks, life choice or anything else about RA. Especially not voice.
      (
      Did all this start when RA got his ‘middle-aged’ haircut in 2012 and suddenly looked so much older than he had before he went to film TH?

      • Ever since various bruhahas in 2009 and 2010, I have thought that RA should have less fan interaction, not more. And his people-pleasing ways were not serving him, even then. His actions merely served to embolden certain fans, especially those on the IMDB boards as I recall, to behave in a manner that could only be called Entitled.

        As I pointed out at that time, when Richard issued an apology and they crowed, it was probable that they’d won the battle and lost the war. And they’d be lucky to hear from him more than once a year, at Christmas. Which is what happened…until he joined Twitter.
        Now all bets are off. I say this as someone who has to work with Twitter as part of my job… He would do well to pull back. But, and I say this with love, truly, I don’t think his ego will allow him to do so. Plus, he might be cutting loose and having too much fun… Possibly to his own detriment.

        You may wish to do a bit of digging in the, as you say, “life choice” area of both (which to me isn’t a “choice,” merely “life”)…British, tall, dark, handsome, talented, with loyal female fans,…. Cary had a 17-year quiet, documented relationship with someone the studio did not want made public…And that the middle America, ticket-buying public knew nothing about… Heck, my mother didn’t know until a week ago, when I told her. You may disagree with me. However, I see it as merely reviewing some facts, looking at timelines, doing some math, and respecting human psychology / nature. And also understanding that anything that threatens a career, needs to be respected, so may never be openly acknowledged or discussed.

        My point really was that some people in the public need, and should have, a solid separation between an actor and a character, as some are unable to separate for themselves.

        In 2008, I met a young woman in Stratford, watching David Tennant play Hamlet, who became physically ill when he cut his own hand with a knife at the beginning of the play (to “swear an oath.”). She actually had to get up and leave the theatre, going out into the lobby for several minutes (missing that part of the play!). When I asked her why, it was because she couldn’t bear to see David in pain. In a play. With fake blood. That she knew was not real. And yet she became ill anyway. And she wasn’t feeling that about Hamlet…but about David.

        The insanity over the LOTR actors and the whole Prancing Ponies business I just learned about 6 months ago, and it apparently really was insane. When something generates an international police action, and Elijah Woods confronts someone to their face at Comic Con, you know its gone off the deep end.

        The old studio system had some major, major issues; However, one positive aspect of it was the protection of (their investment in) young, more inexperienced actors…and / or those who had lives or habit which at that time a majority of the public would question / not approve.

        I like and respect RA’s work. I think he’s a kind, respectful, quiet, caring, hard-working talented man, who was raised to be cogniscent of others, and attempts to do the right thing. I respect his work. I think he was openly mocked as a child for his looks – his nose, forehead lines, skinniness and height – which impacted him, and he is only now starting to make up for lost time — wiping out those lines in selfies, etc. I think he has fudged/lied about his height for years, calling himself 6’2″ when he’s really 6’3″, so he’d get work. (This is a reality in Hollywood, where I’ve had a 6 ft. friend call himself 5’10” quite a bit, so he’d get cast opposite at 5’9″ male lead…and make sure he wore sneakers, not boots to the set. And they were still careful to position him lower down a hill, in 2-shots…) Do I have an issue with this? Are you kidding? I don’t tell my actual weight on my Drivers License and that is not impacting my ability to get a job. There are just cetain realities in the life of a working actor, and one of them is being a journeyman, dealing with expections of other people’s reality — not your own.

        I have never watched Hannibal. I will now for RA. And will no doubt curse the fact that I’m taking the story into my dream state, as horror is NOT my genre of choice, even done well, with amazing actors such as Mads, Gillian, Hugh and Caroline (who I loved in Fuller’s “Wonder Falls”). My problem: I suspend my disbelief far too easily. Will I also watch the Oct. release of Guillermo Del Torro’s CRIMSON PEAK, which even Steven King upon screening it has called “terrifying?” Not willingly, but yes, for Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain’s work. Though I plan to watch in the daylight, mid-day, and come home to a fully lit house…. As I plan to watch Hannibal. We shall see. 😉
        (Sorry for the long reply on your post, Angie)

        • I don’t need to do any digging to understand your reference . I’ve heard all this before (even to the mention of Cary Grant) 12 years ago and for a couple of years afterwards. The same tropes, stereotypes and timelines and math were trotted in the fandom in 2002ff about Elijah Wood, Dom Monaghan, Orli Bloom and the others.

          I watched the lotr insanity unfold. I was there online from the beginning of it reading every crazy post from fake insiders and fans, including a guy who posted on a gay gossip forum *as Elijah*, then in another fan forum as a ‘supporter’ of Elijah and also on his own blog where he wrote a strange kind of self-insert fanfic posted as diary, in which a drunk Elijah contacted *him* to talk about his unhappy pr-smothered life. After a couple of years someone did some digging and revealed his identity to some other fans. (Iirc his name was Johnny Darling). He would make a fascinating study, not quite as labyrinthine as the whole MissPinkie/AOTI/anonymous insider mess that also spawned the prancing ponies or the even more outrageous Amy Player/Victoria Bitter/Jordan Wood multiple personality madness. (There’s a book about the latter. The real victims there were other fans and some lesser-known cast members from the movies).
          Some of those fans (like Jordan Wood and Johnny Darling) seemed to have almost identified with the person they admired. Well, scratch ‘almost’. One of them impersonated him online, and the other changed her name to his and said she was turning into him. This is another manifestation of the blurring of the line between reality and unreality that you mentioned with the DavidTennant fan, although a much more extreme one.

          As I said elsewhere here, RA can lie about his height or weight or smooth out his selfies. I could give the the furry crack of rat’s butt. It’s no different that things ordinary people do. He can choose whatever roles he likes, but I won’t watch them if I find them really distasteful. (I draw the line at Hannibal. I’ll sign the petition to keep it on the air, so others can watch it, but I won’t.) If I don’t care for the causes he supports, I’ll ignore them (unless they’re really egregiously corrupt organizations or bad causes. Then I might write a fan letter).

          • Even though I am not really interested in Hannibal beyond Richard’s performance, I am also supporting the drive to keep it on the air. I do know fellow RA fans who are also Fannibals, and I understand how it feels to have a show you really love get cancelled. For me, re the fans who become so consumed with celebrities they really lose all touch with reality, it is a frightening and sad thing (NTM potentially dangerous to the celeb).

  5. Maybe our favorite actor is just stretching his acting wings. Seeing what he likes best. Deep down, I, don’t think he has changed much from the normal Richard. He is passionate about his work, we know. When you love someone, be it lover or actor, you have to be willing to take what you get. Remember an exhausted Richard, signing autographs and whatever after the “Crucibile” every night. Very humble and very lovable. He will always have my fan heart. And, I will always love Mr. Thornton, because, he was my first introduction to the marvelous Mr. Armitage. love u RA.

  6. Great post!

    This is turning out to be a fascinating discussion over the last few weeks, in a variety of places.

    I think some are being hyper-critical of everything he does or says. Who among us doesn’t make mistakes once in a while? Who among us is dead consistent all the time — going back to views they expressed years ago? That seems to be the expectation by some for Richard. Why would he be any different than the rest of us?

    The howling over the fact that he appears to be changing; how do any of us know for sure? Do we know him? Fact is, we really don’t. And we never will. We know what he chooses to show us. Not gonna lie — that last tweet — I liked what I saw:)

    Ahem. Back to my point. There is one consistency that jumps immediately to mind. He has commented more than once that the challenge for him, as an actor, is to take the good guy and show the dark side and take the dark character and show redeeming qualities. By all accounts he has tried to do the same thing with Francis Dolarhyde.

    Hannibal isn’t my scene for sure, but I am not angry or frustrated he took the role. It’s his life, his career, not mine. I will watch his episodes. I want to see what he does with the character. (I watched the first episode of S3 and I found it boring).

    As to the selfies, I like them. I don’t care whether he photoshops them or not. His face; his choice.

    My view is we should all relax and enjoy the ride. If he wants to be goofy, or cheeky or tell people to be nice to each other, whatever. World peace isn’t at stake here.

    Thanks for the chance to fully express my view, Angie. I got smacked on another board for making this exact point and I have been a little gun shy ever since.

    So, I really hope I don’t offend anybody here.

    • You won’t offend me 🙂
      I like a lot of his selfies and it’s not like he shops all of them. Most of them are sort of ‘as is’ I think and for someone who says that he’s insecure about his looks it might be that he’s more likely to shop than if he was simply vain. And that’s not a ‘stan’ talking, it’s someone who hates the way she looks and wishes she had the nerve to shop.

    • Well said. What the hyper-critical fans probably never consider is whether they would appreciate being held up to the same intense scrutiny and judgement that they dish out toward their celebs. The same people who analyze RA’s every word and action to excruciating lengths would be very bothered, I imagine, if someone gave them similar treatment.

      I share the view of relaxing and not taking life (including celebs we fancy) too seriously, but the critics aren’t very keen on that idea. And I don’t mean it unkindly when I say it’s their loss – it really doesn’t seem too fun to be that heavily fixated on every detail of a celeb’s life/career. That type of highly reactive, easily distressed and disgruntled state of being is not something I would wish on people, but for whatever reason, they prefer to hold onto it. Although, I guess after a while they do burn out and become disenchanted, leaving the fandom to perhaps continue the same pattern elsewhere.

      • Being hypercritical by yourself is one thing because everyone has an opinion, but I’ve noticed that there’s a domino effect. I’ve seen this over and over again in real life, people nearly brought to tears because one person nitpicked something they did or were responsible for and then others jumped on the bandwagon (presumably for the sake of a minute or two in the spotlight because the things they were talking about were irrelevant or completely outside the person’s control, like the weather or a fire alarm). I guess my point is that negativity seems to reproduce exponentially but positivity seems to need a lot of work.

        • Sort of like mob mentality . . . and I have experienced that a couple of times in the fandom. Funny thing is in one case the people who were giving me such a hard time about an issue completely outside the RA fandom and making me feel like a complete failure as a caring human being, were people who know me ONLY online. Those who actually know me in RL and have a pretty good idea of what kind of person I really am, were the ones rushing to my defense. I do think you have to work at positivity, it doesn’t seem to come naturally to a lot of us.

          • It’s fascinating but depressing to me that many people who make the argument that we can’t know what Richard Armitage is really like through our media lens (something I agree with), also seem to think that they can know exactly what other fans are like, or what their reactions to particular circumstances might be in real life, even though they know them only online!

            • YES. It is contradicting yourself (to me) if you, on one hand, believe you cannot truly know a celebrity like RA who is not part of your real life experiences, and on the other, assume you know everything about another ordinary person who happens to be part of the same online fandom you are. You do not live the life, battle the battles or deal with the choices the other person does anymore than you do Richard Armitage in his life.

    • Kim, you are most welcome here and feel free to express your views. All I ask of anyone posting here is to be civil and not attack other posters (or start telling yours truly what she should and should not post. What can I say, it gets my back up). And I have enjoyed the discussion here and elsewhere.

  7. Hmm. I actually disagree that what we’re seeing now in Armitage reflects signs of liberation, but maybe that’s a topic for another post on my blog. Or two — because I think most of the problem right now has nothing to do with Richard Armitage, but rather with us — noting for the last two weeks something in the fandom something that I’ve seen over and over again, which is that we can’t accept each other’s negative feelings very easily (and that’s true of me, too, although I’m trying to be on a better learning curve). For some reason we can’t just note that others feel differently and say “oh” or even say, I sympathize with your feelings even if I don’t completely understand your position — rather, we feel the need to explain others’ negative reactions in our own terms. (This is one of many reasons we will never have a unified fandom, IMO, because many of us simply can’t accept each other’s reactions — and this was the point of my post on Armitage as tulpa. We will never be able to.) I’m very much reminded of last spring, when a huge controversy was going on about Armitage’s sexuality, and what was interesting to me about it (as an observer on that particular issue) was that a fan could say almost anything about it, except for one particular thing that, as soon as anyone said it, led to a storm of policing on that fan: that they were disappointed. As soon as a fan said that, it had to be explained in someone else’s terms to the detriment of the person who was disappointed. (It also meant that I ended up having all the really interesting conversations in the wake of that incident in private — although I asked one fan if I could publish what she wrote, she wasn’t prepared to read the onslaught of fansplaining she knew she’d be subjected to.) It really raises the bar for any blogger or anyone else, for that matter, who wants to say something even slightly negative. It fascinates me, for instance, that I have never said one to one anywhere in public exactly what is bugging me right now about Armitage, yet I read in numerous places what I and others who aren’t thrilled about Armitage in the wake of CyberSmile have supposedly done wrong that brought us to these places (not assuming my problem is everyone’s problem). People have even written me emails about what I should have done differently. OK, then.

    • This raises an excellent point. Why do we need to be unified? We are individuals and we see things in very different ways. Is that a problem? I don’t think so. I think it is enriching. The conversation is deeper.

      For example, I do not think that the conversation that numerous bloggers have encouraged about Cybersmile has hurt anybody. The discussions have been fascinating on an important subject — some of which RA bloggers have experienced first – hand, sadly.

      I think that is the main problem. Let’s have the debates, respectfully. Let’s agree to disagree.

      My opinion when it comes to what RA is doing is live and let live. Others believe his comments about cyberbullying in particular are misguided. Fair enough.

      All I would like is that people are not rude to me when I express an opinion.

      • I apologize, everyone—we had storms here which did a number on me physically (FMS) and also played havoc with the satellite signal and the internet connection. While I had a connection this morning, it wasn’t allowing me to send or receive emails or connect to FB or anywhere else. Suddenly, it decided to work again. Hooray! So I now have a ton of emails and some things on FB and the four pages I have there to catch up on along with my video production work . . . glad to see people weighing in on what they think.

      • Personally, I don’t think we do have to be totally unified on all issues just because we all admire the same actor, especially as said actor’s fan base continues to broaden. It sort of reminds me of the Borg in Star Trek TNG–“Resistance is futile, you must assimilate!”
        I think discussion where different POVs are shared and everyone agrees to respect each other’s views whether or not we agree on certain points is a good thing, indeed. One reason I can’t stand IMDB is that comments on message boards all too often turn into personal attacks on others. Just not necessary or helpful or constructive IMHO.

    • It is complicated . . . and I agree that a lot of what is bugging some of us is not necessarily RA himself and what he does/does not do or say, but our own individuals reactions and feelings about it. And I am trying really hard myself to be more empathetic to views that do not mirror mine, even if I think some of them are truly cock-eyed. Not saying I am terribly successful at times, but I am trying. Thanks for adding to the discussion, Serv.

  8. I was going to respond to the bit about his selfies and then promptly got called away, but as someone who works with Photoshop extensively, I’m fairly certain he doesn’t edit his selfies for wrinkles and whatnot – at least from the ones I’ve seen. He does often use popular photo filters and that can somewhat mask an imperfection, but it’s really not what makes us go “hmm, what’s going on with his face?”

    What makes him look like a different person in selfies is just two things, which is poor lighting and lens focal length. We see that poor lighting causes graininess or highlights that are overexposed or totally blown out, and both can hide wrinkles and other facial features. Though if you zoom in on the last two selfies included, you can definitely make out his forehead lines and eye crinkles. Then there’s the lens… Smartphones have come a long way in terms of photo quality but when you have a lens with a short focal length (all camera phones, sigh) you end up with a great deal of image distortion as a result, and this is ultimately why people can look so different in pictures. I noticed that for RA it tends to thin out his face, and that’s one very common issue. I’m envious that his selfies are still better than any I’ve taken…

  9. If I were to write down every occasion a favourite of mine have said/done some seriously disappointing stuff, it’d probably be a very long list. Over the years I’ve learned to accept that there’s simply no way to actually know the “real” person, unless you’re somewhat close outside the showbizz environment. I mean, these people pretend for a living. And (most) actors are even professionally trained for it. I remember last year when Richard’s possible relationship with Lee kind of blew up into the fandom’s face, lots of fans were disappointed not because of the relationship per se, but because they couldn’t accept the thought of Richard not being completely honest with them. This is the harsh reality of showbusiness, though… become whatever they want you to be and all that.

  10. I’m sorry but I don’t agree with you at all. Although Hannibal is something we are not quite used to seeing Richard in. I have not noticed anyone complaining as much as you do. Yes it’s a bit bloody but we all know it’s a ROLE and not the real Richard. As for what we want Richard to be. We all want him to be himself and happy. We don’t want some old Hollywood phony star. We want Richard just the way he is. None of us are perfect and we make mistake. Richard is a brave man to do that for the whole world to see. We love Richard just like he is and I for one don’t want him to change.

    • Maria, I was actually playing devil’s advocate a bit here–you have misunderstood me if you assume I only want Richard to play certain types of roles. I actually embrace him playing a variety of roles because I think he’d be horribly bored underused as an actor if all he played were, say, variations on John Thornton or Lucas or Thorin.

      I have had my misgivings about the Hannibal role simply because he himself had expressed a distaste for horror and so it seemed to me he was contradicting himself . However, additional comments he has made have led me to believe the fact he isn’t acting out the horrific crimes of Dolarhyde on screen, yet has a very complex and dark role he can (pun fully intended) sink his teeth, made the role a very intriguing and challenging one for him. 

        If you would read my subsequent post about watching him in the Hannibal role you would see I am quite mesmerized by his performance (which I sadly had to miss this Saturday due to work obligations). Frankly, he’s never failed me yet with his performances and I’ve been a fan for eight years.

      I am guessing that English is not your first language, and that may have lead you to misunderstand the points I was trying to make. I have great affection and respect for Richard, although, truthfully I  don’t always agree with everything he says or does.  I don’t put him on a pedestal. And I don’t feel any obligation to do so.  Yes, we all make mistakes, we all make questionable decisions –and we all have a right to agree or disagree with each other whether in fandom or real life . If we can do it civilly and with a sense of humor, it’s so much nicer. 😀 

      • He hasn’t disappointed me either. I really disliked the idea of RA playing this role but I watched it anyway. I didn’t like the show (or even its aesthetics) at all. RA otoh really blew me away.

        • Exactly, Cill. I can’t say I’m a Fannibal by any means, but I AM a fan of what Richard Armitage brings to the role. He makes me think about what it would be like to live inside the head of such a troubled, conflicted human being. He brings humanity to the monster, you might say. Not every actor is so gifted.

    • And I  am not sure if you are directing the “I have not noticed anyone else complaining as much as you do” directly at me, Maria, but if you are, I beg to differ. There have been fans who have complained FAR more than I ever have about the Dolarhyde role.  I’d say I was more conflicted about it than anything else–a certain discomfort over the idea I might feel attracted to a serial killer, albeit a fictional one. Anyway, to each his or her own.

    • Fedoralady is right in the middle of the spectrum. There were fans that were extremely frustrated with this role choice (and still are), some of them for IMO very justifiable reasons, but Fedoralady is not one of them. But even if she were the most vehement Hannibal-hater ever, that would remain her right. Fans don’t have to approve of everything Richard Armitage does.

      • Thank you, Serv, Well said. The Libra in me sees both sides of the issue, so I suppose you could say, for better or for worse, the middle of the spectrum is the perfect place for me. And YESSSSSSSSS as I and you and others have said, we don’t have to agree with everything RA does or says–and if we don’t, it doesn’t make us a “bad” fan or a “mean” fan or a “bullying” fan. And I guess that is all I have to say about the matter.

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