Monthly Archives: August 2015

I hear it’s your biRthdAy (Na-na-na-na-NANA-na-na)

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Richard Armitage, you really are a pretty special guy.

And I have very high standards when it comes to the men I admire, crush on, fall in love with and marry. I did the latter two deeds over 30 years ago and haven’t regretted a moment I’ve spent with one incredibly smart, talented, witty, kind and cuddly guy, a gentle man whose smiles are always reflected in those pretty blue eyes of his. As I said, I know how to pick ’em.

So here it is, the 44th birthday of my favorite actor. I hope you feel really good about what you’ve accomplished since your last birthday.  You’ve certainly been productive, and it seems to me the projects you’ve done are things that really interest and challenge you.

My timeline may be slightly jumbled. I am not only nearly 11 years your senior, I am also feeling lots of “discognition” of late–but anyway, here goes!0a4b2e8b886ae86caf1cbde381e61887

Last summer you managed to win over the hearts of critics and audiences alike with the raw intensity of your performance night after night in “The Crucible,” earning your first (but, I am confident, NOT the last) Olivier Award nomination for best actor. So proud for you!

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Later in the year we all marveled once more at Thorin’s majesty, fretted and feared for him in the depths of his madness, grieving his loss with our tears as “The Hobbit” trilogy came to a close (my own dear blue-eyed fella was so kind when I started weeping in the theater). You were nominated and won a Saturn Award for your performance as Thorin–and it was much deserved, my dear fellow. That character has certainly brought you a legion of new fans of both sexes and in a wide range of ages.

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You also have three films in the can (or in post production), “Urban,” “Sleepwalker” and “Pilgrimage” offering you three diverse roles: a disillusioned former social worker turned unlikely savior in the UK of a generation ago, a doctor in a contemporary psychological thriller and a medieval French nobleman in a period action/adventure tale.

Production is underway on “Brain on Fire,” you’ve got a cameo in a Tim Burton fantasy film and there is that Edith Wharton period drama project, along with the action film “Clearance” coming up for you.28a955f11c4110059bb9f27a1cdeb31e

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And right now—I am anticipating the 12th episode of “Hannibal.” I admit I am feeling sad to know there are only two more new eps counting this one for me to watch. It’s been such a treat to see you on American TV, to be able to DVR your performances and re-watch them when I choose to do so. And I am absolutely thrilled your performance as Francis has been so well received!
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As much as I was dreading this role in some ways, and as difficult as it is for me to watch certain scenes (when the Red Dragon was beating the sh*t out of Francis, I knew you had to be inflicting pain on yourself, too), I am mesmerized by your performance, by all the careful and artful shadings you bring to this role.

Dolarhyde is a monster and yet he is also, as Reba says, “a sweet man.” He’s a calculating and methodical killer of entire families and a tender lover with a touch of the poet in his soul, all bundled into one complex package. I am, indeed, in awe of what you bring to the character of Francis Dolarhyde. Bravo!

Of course, there have also been all the interviews and appearances to promote the various projects, which you managed with your usual grace, good humor and aplomb during the past year. It’s always a pleasure when you are given the opportunity to talk about your craft. And it’s always fun to see what you are wearing! 😉

 

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So I raise my glass of sweet tea in a toast to you, dear Richard–Happy Birthday today and for many years to come. I look forward to seeing what this next year brings for you!

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Richard Armitage’s chemistry with … Bloggers & how they support his life’s goal

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Richard Armitage’s chemistry with … Bloggers & how they support his life’s goal

This is fun and fascinating. See how I and other RA bloggers align cosmically with our favorite muse.

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No one knows if Mr A is really aware of the impressive amount of people blogging almost on a daily basis about him, nor if he ever reads some of the funny, encouraging, serious, oh and not to forget the NSFW-stuff 😉

Not many people are able to openly communicate feelings they have towards, or because of another person in front of – literally – the whole world. To express their support and care for that person’s actions, create artwork inspired through a ‘mere’ virtual connection – which is nevertheless obviously felt very strongly.

It’s already been over half a year now, that I’m seriously musing about WHAT forces are working ‘behind the scenes’ here. Some bloggers might not even feel comfortable if they knew for sure, that Mr A was indeed an avid reader of their blog. So, why are we doing this?

I’ve tried to explain my own…

View original post 2,023 more words

OT: Hiddles as My Homeboy Hank. Tom plays ‘Hillbilly Shakespeare’

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While my fangurling heart is fully dedicated to only one charismatic Brit actor–RA, of course–I did note with interest the casting of Tom Hiddleston as Hiram King “Hank” Williams, Sr. in the upcoming film, “I Saw the Light” (the title of one of Hank’s hit songs). Today they released a still of Tom in character for the biopic.

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There’s a definite resemblance there, both men being tall, lanky fellows with enviable cheekbones and Puckish smiles.  But more importantly, Hiddleston seems to have captured that slightly haunted and world-weary look Hank had.

 

Hiddleston in character, a lone figure with his guitar. Courtesy of Bing.com

Hiddleston in character, a lone figure with his guitar. Courtesy of Bing.com

Hank was a naturally gifted musician who battled physical pain (believed to be caused by some form of spina bifida that was not discovered until his autopsy) much of his life–pain that led to his addiction to pills and alcohol. He was a country music superstar by 25 and dead by 29.

In his brief career he charted 35 times in the top ten, with 11 of Hank’s recordings hitting number one. You can’t help but wonder what he might have accomplished if he could have kept the demons of pain and addiction in check . . .

 

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Now, I am not a huge country music fan, per se, but I am a fan of Hank’s music since way back and I feel a certain connection to him. We were both born in Butler County, Alabama, September babies who arrived in this world some 37 years apart. I know folks and their descendants who remember him and his family. I’ve heard stories passed down of Hank’s childhood days in various towns and communities in the county. Hank’s daddy, a WW I veteran, had been shell-shocked. His poor health made it difficult to find steady work, so the family frequently moved in search of new opportunities, eventually moving to Alabama’s capital, Montgomery, the place where he is buried.

Every June, the town of Georgiana, where Hank and his family lived for several years, celebrates with a two-day Hank Williams Festival. I’ve met people there from as far away as Germany, South America, Japan and Nottingham, England. Documentarians from around the world have come to this town of 2,000 to film the event.

 

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Hank’s boyhood home in Georgiana also serves as a museum with many photographs, sheet music, furnishings and other items on display.

When he was just starting out with his own band, young Hank used to play at various juke joints and dance halls across the county. My mama and daddy remembered dancing to his live performances way back yonder, when “Hank was just another ol’ southern boy.”

I like to imagine a pretty young dark-haired woman, her grey-blue eyes sparkling and skirt and petticoat swirling as they swing danced to tune like “Move It On Over.”

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Hank meeting a young fan, Doug Sahm, at a club in Austin, Texas on Dec. 19, 1952. He would die at age 29 of a heart attack just under two weeks later.

 

When a film was made of his life back in the early ’60s (“Your Cheatin’ Heart”), my parents went to see it at the Ritz and they also bought the soundtrack album. I listened to it many times over the years.  Hank Williams, Jr. actually performed the songs on the soundtrack (and did an admirable job of channeling his daddy) with George Hamilton lip-syncing the performances.

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There was something simple and straightforward about Hank, Sr.’s music that I like, something raw and ever so emotive in his voice. From the high-spirited “Hey, Good Looking” to the haunting “Kawliga” and the wistful “I’m So Lonesome” he had a way of touching people’s hearts and souls with his music and mirroring their own feelings of delight and despair, happiness and heartache.  Much as really good actors do through their performances.

 

Tom practicing a few chords for the role. Courtesy of Geektyrant.com

Tom practicing a few chords for the role. Courtesy of Geektyrant.com

And so what if Hank woke up from an alcoholic stupor to be dazzled by the lights of an airport, leading him to pen “I Saw the Light”? It’s still an inspiring, jubilant song, and I actually got to sing it one year on the same stage of the Ga-Ana Theater where Hank and his Drifting Cowboys had performed in Georgiana decades before.

 

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Hank has been called the “Hillbilly Shakespeare.” So perhaps it is only fitting that a Shakespearean actor should also portray him on film.

 

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Tom on the set of “I Saw the Light.” Courtesy of Pinterest.com

Can’t wait to hear Tom’s south Alabama accent.

Lyrics to a few of my favorite Hank songs~~

 

I’m So Lonesome (I Could Cry)thX2G8LX5T

By Hank Williams, Sr.

I’ve never seen a night so long
When time goes crawling by.
The moon just went behind the clouds
To hide its face and cry.

Did you ever see a robin weep,
When leaves begin to die
That means he’s lost the will to live,
I’m so lonesome I could cry.

The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky

And as I wonder where you are
I’m so lonesome I could cry.

Jambalaya (On The Bayou)thYG1XPVEA

By Hank Williams

Goodbye Joe me gotta go me oh my oh
Me gotta go pole the pirogue down the bayou
My Yvonne the sweetest one me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
Cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio
Pick guitar fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Thibodaux Fontaineaux the place is buzzin’
Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dress in style and go hog wild me oh my oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
Settle down far from town get me a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish in the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie

Later on, swap my mon, get me a pirogue
And I’ll catch all the fish on the bayou
Swap my mon, to buy Yvonne what she need-oh
Son of a gun we’ll have big fun on the bayou
Jambalaya and a crawfish pie

Hey, Good Lookin’thUPVR2VY7

By Hank Williams

Say hey, good lookin’ whatcha got cookin’?
How’s about cookin’ something up with me?
Hey, sweet baby don’t you think maybe
We can find us a brand new recipe?

I got a hot rod ford and a two dollar bill
And I know a spot right over the hill
There’s soda pop and the dancin’s free
So if you want to have fun come along with me.

Hey, good lookin’ whatcha got cookin’?
How’s about cookin’ something up with me?

I’m free and ready so we can go steady
How’s about saving all your time for me
No more lookin’ I know I been cookin’
How’s about keepin’ steady company?

I’m gonna throw my date book over the fence
And find me one for five or ten cents
I’ll keep it ’til it’s covered with age
‘Cause I’m writin’ your name down on ev’ry page.

Say hey, good lookin’ whatcha got cookin’?
How’s about cookin’ something up with me?

maxresdefaultI am counting on you to do just that, Mr. Hiddleston. I’d expect no less.

Feeling ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ : Thoughts on Sir Guy & Francis Dolarhyde

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The viewing options for early morning TV, even with 150 satellite channels, isn’t all that great. Infomercials reign. If you want to watch “Breaking Bald” or “Fish Oil Benefits Examined,” you’re good. If not . . .

So I sometimes find myself awake in the early morning hours watching reruns of “Charmed,” a cheesy production about three cute witch sisters from San Francisco whose names all start with “P.” “Charmed” features laughably bad special effects and copious amounts of scenery chewing by the Guest Supernatural Villain of the Week. The costumes and makeup at the local haunted house looks more professional.

Yet, who am I to question all this?  After all, the show stayed on for eight years, so it obviously had its devoted fans.

And I suppose “Robin Hood” was pretty cheese-tastic, too, but at least we had the glories of Sir Guy to make up for flimsy castle walls, anachronisms run rampant (Hang gliding? Casinos? Bustles? In the 12th century?) and groan-worthy scripts.  And he and the odious Vasey were such fun to watch together.

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With Richard as Sir Guy, we got the visual enjoyment of six feet, two inches of a trim, toned athletic physique (those long lean horseman’s thighs! Those PEACHES!) clad in sleek black leather–and later, his memorable medieval couture featuring the Sexy Pirate Shirt and the Marvel of Engineering Trousers with Ties and Laces in All the Right Places.  Add in seductive kohl-rimmed azure eyes, tempting stubble, raven black rock star tresses, a rumbling baritone and hey! presto . . . the World’s Most Smouldering Sidekick was born. Wait . . . who is the star of this show again?!  ‘Cause for this chick, it ain’t Arrow Boy.

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But the thing about Richard as Guy of Gisborne is that he was so much more than another pretty face in another lightweight, rather silly television show. So much more than the standard-issue cardboard cut-out of an evil henchman.

You watched not just because you visually enjoyed him and got a kick out of the general campiness of the show. You watched because he was that character, that damaged soul, proud and arrogant, naïve and gullible, a passionate man desperate for love and a home, a mercurial creature capable of both great violence and great tenderness. A beautiful disaster.  You hated some of his actions, yet–you couldn’t hate him. Richard made you care. And cry. And wonder what might have been for Sir Guy.

Which brings me to Francis Dolarhyde, a character with even darker and more terrifying corners in his soul than Sir Guy. Dolarhyde is cripplingly shy, emotionally stunted and deeply lonely. He feels impotent, unloved, a nonentity. He longs to make a real connection, to become something, someone different–stronger, more powerful, better than he is.  His self-improvement course of action, alas, will ultimately bring death, grief and misery.

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Dolarhyde, clearly uncomfortable with the thought of Reba touching him–touching the hated scar on his face?

Sir Guy sought to raise himself by accumulating wealth, power and status, hoping to restore respect for the name of Gisborne. He sought to cleanse his blackened soul by marrying a good, pure woman (who, of course, clocked him and then left him at the altar).

Sir Guy ends up burning down Marian’s house in retaliation, but that’s nothing compared to what Francis does. He murders two entire families and he doesn’t have a wicked boss who orders him to take the lives of perfectly innocent people, or else.

Francis is a serial killer, an odious monster. A dangerous man.

And yet.

As much as I despise the heinous actions of Francis Dolarhyde, I can no more hate him or look away from him than I could from Sir Guy.

FD’s intensity is heartbreaking as he watches so carefully Reba stroking the sleeping tiger, imagining that those caresses are being given to him. This is a middle-aged man who has experienced pitifully little in the way of physical affection.  It’s a staggering experience for both Reba and Francis.

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And after their lovemaking, there is his gentleness towards a sleeping Reba.

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It is an astonishing performance and I am glad I am able to see it. I am still not a “Hannibal” convert, but I am so, so impressed with Richard’s complex and nuanced interpretation of this role and of the amazing way he is fleshing out Francis Dolarhyde for us.

Call it sympathy for the devil–and kudos to the actor taking us on the journey.

All Hannibal stills and GIFs found on Pinterest; RH stills from Richard Armitage Net