I do wonder what Richard thinks about it all.

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A pensive Richard on board the TV Guide yacht at Comic Con in San Diego.

A penny for your thoughts, Richard. How do you really feel about events like Comic Con?

Is it sometimes silly yet satisfying fun as you promote your projects?

speaks onstage at the "Hannibal" Savor the Hunt panel during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in San Diego, California.

speaks onstage at the "Hannibal" Savor the Hunt panel during Comic-Con International 2015 at the San Diego Convention Center on July 11, 2015 in San Diego, California.

Or do you just feel like throwing things at people??

(Not that you actually would, of course.)

What set me to thinking about this was something I saw on the Bing homepage here on my laptop.

This is excerpted from an AP article by Linda S. Zhang who interviewed actor Jesse Eisenberg, one of many celebrities featured at SDCC last week.

 

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Jesse Eisenberg’s Comic-Con experience apparently wasn’t a joy.

Eisenberg, who plays Lex Luthor in the upcoming “Batman v. Superman, ” was at the massive San Diego convention last week with co-stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. In an interview Monday, he was decidedly negative about the experience.

“It is like being screamed at by thousands of people. I don’t know what the experience is throughout history, probably some kind of genocide. I can’t think of anything that’s equivalent,” he said.

Here’s the link to the short interview with Eisenberg:

http://www.msn.com/en-us/movies/news/actor-jesse-eisenberg-compares-comic-con-to-genocide/ar-AAcYpVR?ocid=ansentap11

He got himself into hot water for his comments, which led to Eisenberg trying to clarify today while speaking to Ms. Zhang what he’d said in that interview last week.

“I of course was using hyperbole to describe the sensory overload I experienced. I sometimes do employ that,” he said. “I’m a normal person who has normal sensory experiences, so Comic-Con was very overwhelming for me. That said, it was really an honor to be on that end of such jubilation.”

Eisenberg said it was “wonderful” to be involved in something that is so highly anticipated and loved.

“That people are excited about it in that way is unheard of and thrilling,” he said.

He added: “I’ve been on the receiving end of movies that no one loves and no one anticipates. That’s worse, even though it’s a much quieter press tour.”

It led me to wonder just how the typical celebrity really views an event like this, which is one of the largest of its kind on the entire planet, I suppose. I imagine it can be overwhelming (especially for a first-timer) and I am sure it is grueling.  Maybe it’s not the right fit for every actor or every fan.

I have a condition that makes being in large, noisy crowds sometimes difficult and I really have to force myself to stay calm and to concentrate. I can do it–I’ve survived everything so far, so my track record is good–but it does take its psychic toll on me. I must have some time to recharge.

I also know what it’s like to be part of the “pariahs” (as Eisenberg refers to the media)  just doing what the media is paid to do,  although I have never had to jockey for position with quite so many other photographers and journalists trying to get the best angle and/or that sound bite to make their editors/producers happy campers. Seeing how they lead the actors from one group after another to pose for pix, answer a few questions or move to a new spot for yet another group or individual interview, I know the celebs have to be running on empty by the time their day is done.

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Richard Armitage on his rounds at ComicCon, including the EW SoundCloud interview and wearing the teensy dragon and ever-present floral crown for the Pannibal. And giving a former co-star a tongue-in-cheek shout out.

However, I am sure the actors who participate in CC also feed off the fans’ enthusiasm and energy, their passionate devotion to their characters, the shows and the films. Some fans have come a long way to attend and all seem determined to make the most of their experience. They line up early and wait hours to get autographs and pix of their favorite celebs. It’s easy to see in the selfies posted by fans taken with these actors and other celebs, for them, those brief Comic-Con encounters are exhilarating, and not soon forgotten.

 

 

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As Eisenberg said in today’s comments, being on the receiving end of movies that are not loved or anticipated is a whole lot worse, even if it’s not so nerve-wracking at the time.  When nobody wants your autograph on their ankle or book or theatre program, or a photo with you, when they stop buying tickets to see you or tuning in to watch your show–then, just maybe, you’ve got a problem.

Richard has always shown a genuine appreciation for his fans, not to mention that fear of not getting more work (which I really don’t think need ever be the case anymore). I think he understands you have to deal with  craziness and hoopla along the way. It’s part of the business, part of the job. You have to promote yourself and your projects in order to keep practicing your art, your craft.

And hey, Richard, you really DO look good in floral crowns and loud jackets. Just sayin’ . . .  😉

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15 responses »

  1. This is funny, I had a total of 1,001 followers a couple of days ago, lost one, posted this and just lost another. I think those are the ones who follow me for the wrong reasons anyway . . . I mean, they aren’t particularly interested in the key subject matter. Oh, well. You’ll have that. 😉

  2. Firstly, I love the Star Wars jacket. It was so right for the occasion and I think RA could so have gotten away with wearing it! 🙂

    Secondly, I agree that events like this are not for everyone. RA is hard to read. I wouldn’t be surprised to find he’s somewhere in the middle whereas the likes of Tom Hiddleston appear to lap it up…I’m thinking of his appearance as Loki a couple of years ago.

  3. Yes, Tom seems more of an extrovert who really enjoys moments like that. I don’t get the impression RA is as comfortable with those kinds of situations. I can’t see him coming out dressed and made up as Thorin and roaring at people, although I am sure the fans would have LOVED it.
    That jacket was fun! It was perfect for the occasion and it certainly looked good on RA, who, after all, actually has been in a Star Wars film (just don’t blink or you might miss him . . .) 😉

  4. I think Richard is such an introvert that these things visibly drain him after awhile–although sheer fatigue could also be a factor as well when you see him in his more pensive moments like on the TV Guide boat. I’ll use another Tom Hiddleston example (someone who clearly thrives off the adulation/crowd energy). You could see his poor co-star in Crimson Peak–Mia Wasikowska looked quite uncomfortable and at times, terrified in some of their group interviews! Some of Tom’s fans thought there was some issue between the two of them b/c of it but in one video you can see him literally patting her leg trying to reassure her and her nervous laughter in return. Mia’s an introvert too so I think for those types of people, these types of events are really difficult. We should celebrate people like Richard and Mia for putting themselves out there for their fans though. And PS–Richard made that Star Wars jacket look freaking fantastic!

    • Hi, DeeDee, welcome and thanks for commenting. I remember back when I was in college and we were doing Sorority Rush. By nature I
      am a somewhat shy individual myself and I recall being pretty nervous before the events. But then when we got to our chapter room, it’s as if a switch was flipped in me. My roomies and fellow sorority sisters said you would have thought I owned the place, I seemed so poised and confident. It was a performance of sorts–“fake it ’til you make it”– and over the years situations like this have become easier for me. However, I also feel drained afterwards. Mia is such a unique talent–I am glad she had someone kind like Tom sort of looking out for her. ❤ Richard + Star Wars Jacket=STELLAR!! 😀

      ye

  5. I have never been a fan of crowds. I’m sure it has limited my life experience but that’s who I am.

    I don’t think every performer likes the limelight. I think acting/performing and ComicCon are two very different animals and some people are more suited to it than others. What I notice and appreciate about Richard is that comfortable or not, he puts himself out there for the benefit of his fans. Did anyone ever talk about Mads not attending? Somehow I can’t imagine him at a ComicCon event.

  6. You know, I wondered why Mads wasn’t there, but I tend to agree it doesn’t really seem like his cup of tea.

    As Kathryn mentioned above, it’s also hard to imagine Richard doing something like Tom HIddleston did at an earlier CC-appearing in character as Loki and commanding everyone to “KNEEL!”

    Tom obviously had great fun doing it, but everyone isn’t suited to same things in life, are they? But yes, I think Richard is always willing to step out of his comfort zones whether it’s in the context of a role or an event like this primarily for fans. Heaven knows, for a man who is not a water baby, he’s been submerged quite a few times!! And I do truly respect and admire him for that.

  7. Mads has been there in the past, not sure why he wasn’t there this time. Armitage hasn’t been there the last two years for The Hobbit due to previous engagements.

    I felt like Armitage was more positively disposed in 2012 — then again he’d just wrapped The Hobbit, and was still clearly very occupied by the whole thing, and Thorin was the role of a lifetime. This time he seemed less “into it” (for lack of a better word), but the role was much smaller, he was not really one of a team in the same sense but more like a special guest star, the Fannibals really have an ingroup dynamic, and a particular sense of humor and language that he may or may not share. He had been a Tolkien fan as a child, but his position on horror / gore is clearly ambivalent at best. He may have, at some point, heard one too many jokes about his physique (remember his mood in 2009 when it seemed all reporters wanted to ask him was how he felt about being “totty”).

    I have the impression that he would never do this if he weren’t either contractually obligated or somehow felt obligated. But I don’t have the impression he thinks it’s like “genocide” (a questionable metaphor for hyperbole if there ever was one).

  8. I’ve watched celebrities at SDCC for years, but even if I hadn’t the “genocide” comparison was embarrassingly inappropriate here.

    I think that there’s an interesting dynamic for RA this time. People have mentioned that he was a guest on the show, but of course the elephant in the room is that Hannibal is essentially a cancelled show, but not long cancelled, so there’s some angst and anxiety inherent in it. That’s got to be a very different vibe than TH:AUJ at SDCC was.

    On the other hand, surely he’s used to this by now and has built up a bit of an armor to it? After all, this isn’t his first promotion rodeo. SDCC was probably no more draining that the endless rounds of PR for any of the Hobbit franchise. Possibly less.

    From observation, I think that the way actors behave at these events doesn’t necessarily have to do with whether they’re extrovert or introverts. I think that it’s a question of finding a technique for dealing with this kind of situation. And one way of doing that (which I’ve seen with some pretty extroverted performers) is to treat big fan events like an extension of the role, complete with makeup and costume. That would be the Hiddleston technique (also the Gene Simmons technique). Another technique (which most actors probably develop) is to have a persona for these occasions. This isn’t a lie or even a mask necessarily I can only explain by an example. I know of a few high level athletes (one a gymnast) who separate their sports life from their every day life by having this other persona who exists only during the competion. One of the athletes even uses a different name in sport than in her everyday life, and has from the time she began high level competition, which as you might now, can include large crowds, autograph seekers and sometimes even lots of press. As a teenager, she told an interviewer that this was a way for her not to let her competitive results impact on her too much. I imagine that there are other performers who have a similar technique for dealing with this. RA didn’t seem that uncomfortable to me (sometimes more bemused really) so maybe he too has some sort of method of dealing with this.

    • I saw him as being somewhat detached–sort of slumming for lack of a better term–and, yes, bemused by it all. I don’t think he was in abject misery by any means. 😉

      I do think there is a sort of persona he takes on for events like this (much as he has his photo shoot persona). Just as I put on a persona all those years ago in the sorority chapter room. I think many of us become adept at playing such roles, regardless of what we do for a living.
      It’s a way to retain a certain degree of control and level of sanity and lower the stress in our lives, I think.

  9. I agree with what has been said before, I think RA was tired and aware of being a late guest too. He handled the whole situation professionally more than with personal passion.

    On a side note, Bryan Fuller has a kind of overwhelming presence and his interactions with the fans were sometimes disruptive to the other participants of the panel. I’m thinking of the moment when he jumped off the stand to reach for a fan’s gift, interrupting poor Hugh Dancy explanations. And I don’t know what to make of RA’s reaction after BF replied “you are welcome” when RA said he felt he was naked half the time into the shooting or something like that. But Fannibals were obviously very happy so certainly that is what it is all about. 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting, Margo, and welcome. Yes, I do get the impression Fuller is a “larger than life” sort of guy who likes being center stage at all times. 😉 Yes, if the whole purpose of the Hannibal panel was primarily to please fans, then it seems it was a smashing success. 😀

    • I absolutely agree with this. Fuller interrupted the proceedings several times. I also had the same reaction to Fuller’s comment about Armitage being naked — did not know what to think (a) about the comment and (b) about Armitage’s reaction to it. There’s a certain paradox to being cast as what essentially amounts to a monster (and possibly being interested in the role precisely because it’s not the gorgeous lead) and then being idolized for one’s beauty yet again — and openly by one’s director. It can’t be the most comfortable thing.

      (In general, I thought while watching the panel, if I liked Fuller I would probably find his jokes and behavior hilarious, but I already am neutral to negative on him based on his Twitter presence, and this kind of behavior doesn’t endear him to me, either.)

  10. RA was totally working that jacket! Love it and the expression on his face. RA seemed like he was dealing with the panel well enough. In other panels, people mentioned is was difficult to hear what anyone else on stage was saying due to the microphones, and with the lights in their faces it was hard to see beyond the first few rows. Not only is he just a guest star at the end of a cancelled show, but his episodes haven’t aired yet so they probably don’t want to talk too much about what’s coming.

    That Eisenberg interview seemed rather choppy, I wonder what else he may have said that didn’t make it into the article. But yeah, when he’s being greeted upon entering hall h, he IS being screamed at by approximately 7,000 people. LOL Maybe he forgot that from a few years ago when he was in hall h for Zombieland? Or maybe there were a lot more people excited for B v. S than for Zombieland.

    • Hey, Asilomar! Good to hear from you. 😀 Yes, indeed, RA in that jacket is one of my favorite moments and images from the whole event. Guess Jesse should just be glad there *are* teems of screaming fans excited about his upcoming movie (I admit I have a hard time picturing him as Lex, thought . . .)

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