Category Archives: fandom

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


“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.















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.)



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.



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.

Maybe the honeymoon is over . . . Fedoralady, RA & the fandom


I used to experience many more highs and lows when it came to my participation in the RA fandom.

I would be giddy with anticipation awaiting any new project, gleeful when new images (or old images new to me) surfaced, glum when we went weeks, months without hearing or seeing much of anything concerning my favorite actor, desperate for some small bone to be thrown the fandom’s way.

I wept with frustration when my not-so-high-speed internet connection didn’t allow me to properly watch live streaming from various premieres and other events. And to be perfectly honest, I was more than a little green with jealousy when others got to see him perform or be interviewed in person, got to meet him, feel his arm around their shoulders, or just bask in the glory of his presence. Don’t get me wrong; I was also genuinely happy for those fortunate fans, too.


Something has happened to me in regarding how I view the fandom and Richard himself. I am not completely sure why.

Maybe part of it is I am tired of the squabbling amongst various factions of the fandom over things that just don’t seem all that important to me, and weary of efforts to police other fans, which I find abhorrent.

Maybe it’s Twitter and Weibo and other social media making him more accessible and thus, the mystique I always appreciated about him has been encroached upon . . . again, I really am not sure.

I just know there have been internal changes as far as I as a fan am concerned.

I went to my Pinterest board for RA a little earlier and changed its title. It used to be “Richard Armitage Owns Me *sigh*” and now it’s “The Armitage Effect on Pinterest.” I guess I just don’t want to be owned anymore? Go figure.  I haven’t really wanted to make a fanvid, create fanart or write fanfiction in a while. I still do and (enjoy) video/photo editing and writing, only now it’s for our production company and for the newspaper.

I still admire, respect and love Richard as much as I can anyone I don’t actually know, will never know or have as a daily presence in my life. Not in the same way I know and treasure my husband, pets, family and friends, both in real life and online.

I think Richard is well-intentioned and a truly kind person at heart. He’s a bright, wonderful, versatile talent with the gifts and the drive to go far in his chosen profession. And I will always be grateful for the creative inspiration he and his ChaRActers brought into my life and the difficult, dark waters he helped me navigate.

Perhaps, I have moved through the blazing bonfire of infatuation/obsession and on to a sort of low, slow, steady burn that comforts rather than ignites?  I can’t speak (and have never pretended to speak) for any other Armitage admirer. I can only tell you what I am experiencing.

I will keep you posted.

Richard Armitage: So Much to AppReCiAte. Remember, it’s ALL good.



Richard Armitage is all that and a bag of chips. An extra-large bag of Golden Flakes, made right here in Alabama and one of  favorite guilty pleasures to this day.


golden-flake-potato-chips-86225Actually, I prefer their regular chips for everyday eating, but the hot variety seemed ever so appropriate for the subject at hand . .

I believe we all can agree that Richard is enormously talented and versatile in his gifts. The man can act phenomenally well, using every facet of his physical being–that deep, earthy voice, amazingly mobile face, those big, elegant hands and so much more–to bring his characters to vivid (and at time, heart-wrenching) life. We can easily believe he is the individual he is portraying as we take a journey alongside him. We watch, we listen, hang on the edge of our seats as we hold our collective breath; we cheer and we shed tears. We mourn. We do not forget. Those characters, this man, sticks with us.



Richard as Thorin back inside Erebor for the first time in years. Courtesy of The

Along with those acting chops we have a man who can sing, play instruments, ride horseback and perform fight scenes with the grace and agility of the professional dancer he once was.  All that he has experienced in his life and learned and trained for in each of his roles has helped bring him to where he is today–an increasingly acclaimed actor of both stage and screen with several new projects on the horizon. Workaholic that he appears to be, I don’t think we have to worry about Richard “resting” (as unemployed actors refer to being in between roles) for very long.



He’s also a consummate professional described in glowing terms by co-stars, crew members, scriptwriters and directors. Richard is hard working and humble, affable and kind, generous and good hearted with an infectious laugh that reaches right up into  those twinkling blue eyes. What’s not to love?

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Now, not only is he an amazing talent, he also happens to be really, really attractive.  Easy on the eyes with that arrestingly handsome face and the sort of tall, broad-shouldered masculine physique that invites daydreams and fantasies.  “Oh child of Venus, you’re just made for love . . .” He was always a cutie, but I swear he’s grown into more masculine gorgeousness with each passing year.

And it’s perfectly OK to celebrate that physical beauty along with his intelligence, talent, work ethic, charisma and charitable instincts. Because these qualities, inner and outer, are all part and parcel of what makes Richard Armitage Richard Armitage. And keeps us coming back for more . . . and more.

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So don’t be hatin’ on bloggers who take time out from their serious discussions of his work to light-heartedly enjoy the siren call of Mr. Armitage’s outward qualities, whether it be nipples, biceps, bum or other physical attributes. Because it’s ALL good. Just like a big ol’ bag of Golden Flakes . . .

ICYMI: At long last, the Popcorn Taxi interview!



Meri daring to stroke The MAN”S beard during their brief encounter on the Mornings Show in Sydney.

I was working on the Kindergarten vid in the wee hours and that somehow segue wayed into making a simple (but sexy!!) little RA vid, which I may get uploaded later. In the meantime, I see this video finally showed up. In case you missed it, take a gander at the Popcorn Taxi interview some of our own got to enjoy IN PERSON. 😀 Not to mention beard stroking and book signings earlier . . .

Time for lunch and a little nap. Later, y’all.

The Power of a Character: Thorin conquers the world



Richard smouldering into the camera during the shooting of the scene where he confronts the very-much-not-dead Pale Orc.

I’ve been reading the comments left over at DJ’s blog, Heirs of Durin, on a guest post by Anjy Roemelt celebrating the brotherhood and spirit of Thorin and his company of dwarves. I admit I especially enjoy the comments that pay homage to Thorin and to his Creator, Richard Armitage (yes, I know you are totally surprised at that).

I continue to be delighted over the impact this ChaRActer, and ultimately, the Creator, is having on people of all ages around the world.  Richard’s majestic presence, his use of body language and those mesmerizing eyes through which he is able to express so much about his character, not to mention that amazing, deep, rich voice–which simply cannot be replicated by dubbing actors, sorry.

Here’s what a German-speaking fan and mother of young children had to say. These comments are as written; I have italicized some passages.

(Melian commenting at Heirs of Durin on post “What’s So Special About These Dwarves?)

“I was in fear about the changing of Thorins character in part 3 when I started to deal with his character deeper but now I am not. To come closer to Thorins character made my understanding of his deeds and the reasons for as big that I cant imagine now to turn away from him because of his acts in the last part. I will feel with him and will be sorry and sad but I will not judge him, I am very sure of it

. What you told about perfection is the same I also think. Aragorn is perfect to adore him but too perfect to identify with him, he is a hero almost without faults and thats impossible to be. Another character in another movie told once a quote fitting well to that fact: “There are no perfect human beeings…only perfect intensions” (Azeem out of “Robin Hood, King of Thieves” Thats why we love Thorin: He is not as perfect, he has the same fault like we have, he does the same mistakes we do, he makes the same wrong decisions we make sometimes…and thats why he is our hero , a character so close to ours that we can see us in him…

I had to smile reading about your sons obsession….I have a son of now 8 and a daughter of 5…and both are infected with her mothers Hobbit-obsession, to the eyerolling amusement of my husband too. My son get read the book when he was 5 and he felt the end is sad and unfair…now he is reading the Hobbit himself…as the first book he will read ever….other children learn to reads with a fairy-tale maybe… son with Tolkien….lol….and he never forgot about the end!

After more than 2 years he remembered and brought up that subject again….and so his little sister realized about too…she was also crying then and telling thats terrible sad and unfair. I have to say both saw the movie (except the war-scenes I wiped out of course) and both loved it…they know most of the english scenes and the whole movie in German…although they cant speak english they understand all scenes and can speak in German what is happen in english…every evening they want to see some scenes…and want to speak about it.


Both of them love Thorin…my daughter likes another figure every week but Thorin stays on the top…..and often she ask me about that end…WHY??? Knowing nothing about psychology, seeing a grumpy and harsh Thorin in the movie they even understand his essence…only by feeling… ..I found your part about the translation very good…they may use the right words but it is not the same!

First is that no German speaker is able to copy the deepth and expression of Richards voice…its not his fault because its simply impossible to reach….but some scenes have a totally changed atmosphere in German compared with the original, as Thorin and the Goblinking, the scene with the map and Elrond in Rivendell or even the Carrock-scene.

Since I saw it first time in english I adore Richard even more…his voice for acting is extraordinary like Freddy Mercury`s was for singing…nearly nobody could reach that score…It makes the beautiful parts even more beautiful …but the sad parts more sad too…”

A portion of Misty’s comment:

 ” . . . This is not the little story I expected, but something stunning, mesmerizing,
amazing, awesome.

Except that at the beginning, when Thorin entered at Bag End,
I thought, my goodness, this is a KING, with capital letters and with all what
it means, but then the way he talked to Bilbo looking down on him, disappointed
me for a few minutes and I thought that the much he looks awesome the arrogant
he is and if I have to be watching this guy for almost three hours I would go

And then came the scene when he says “I would take each and every one of
these dwarves over an army from the Iron Hills” and that he had no choice, only
to make me realize that I have never been so wrong in all my life, and to be
angry with myself for judging by first impression.

And of course by the end of the film I was obsessed. And still I am.


As much as I have never been with any
character in all my life and as much as I myself would have never expected. And
as you say, no sign of cooling down.

And this obsession is not only due to a handsome face (though it would of course

be foolish to deny that it adds a good deal). It is more due to Thorin’s character.

We do not fall in love with Aragorn
(or at least I never did – though of course liked him). Because he is so
‘perfect’, judging by human standards.

We fall in love with Thorin. Because he is not so ‘perfect’ by Aragorn’s standards.

But he is perfect for us. Because he is more HUMAN.

With all the nobility and flaws going with it. And HUMAN also
means having flaws, making mistakes sometimes, reacting to situations not always
in the best manner or as others would expect us… That is why he is so close to
us. And I think he can be loved even more for those.

He can be loved because he proved himself to deserve and be worth to be loved.


So let me put it this way: I
would risk to take it even this far (and I have made a similar comment elsewhere
on the site): ‘king’ is a title, in the sense of ranks.

But primarily he is a person, just like you or me.

And are there any persons who never make mistakes?
And if your answer is no (I guess it is), then why criticize Thorin for making
I would not dare to quote what my husband says about all this,
especially now that my six-year-old (OK, almost seven) son has also become a
massive fan.


He himself has seen the film at least three times (and me… I do not
even know now, how many times) and is still begging me to see it even more. And
he also asked me to read out the book for him. And he often comes up to me
saying: ‘Mom, let us talk about The Hobbit.’ And I try my best to explain him
things and he remembers them the next day, in three days time, in a week’s

Of course after the film I could not wait to purchase the book and read
it both in the original and on my mother tongue. Imagine me, I did not know
before the film made me dig deep into the issue what the end of the story would
be, and I was totally shocked when I found out.

And imagine my son, when he
found out that they would die, he cried for like twenty minutes. And sometimes
he still asks me whether I was sure that it has to be this way, whether the film
could end differently…
After having seen the film in my mother tongue (of
course it was in Hungarian in the cinema) I could not wait either to watch in
the original, to hear the original voices (Richard’s is just mesmerizing), and
also to find out about the original words used, as sometimes they are not
properly translated or even if they are, I mean the words used in the
translation are correct, still they cannot reflect the same feeling (and I did
detect some).

My son, who does not speak English (yet – only a few words),
watched the film in Hungarian, but then he also watched it with me in English as
well, just to be part of the original.”

There are many more interesting comments at the blog, which is linked here:

I look at the growth in the fan base, seen through comments such as these, along with new FB pages, blogs and other social media devoted to Thorin Oakenshield, and I know that Richard’s dream of bringing this character to life on screen has been resoundingly successful.  I hope the newly obsessed will also go on to discover his work in earlier roles, to study Porter and North, Thornton and Gisborne, and outstanding turns in supporting roles such as John Standring in Sparkhouse, Ricky Deeming in George Gently and Percy Courtney in Marie Lloyd. Oh, such wealth there is to discover, my friends!

I knew I woke up before dawn for a reason. Read. this. now. *squee*


PT: It’s remarkable. And the female response to your character and obviously yourself, which I find fundamentally puzzling. I mean, you’re a nice looking bloke, I’m sure you can act a bit.

RA: I can string a sentence together and walk and talk without bumping into the furniture. But that’s about it.

PT: Why?

RA: You know what? You need to point the microphone into the audience. Actually, don’t do that. I don’t know. I’ve been really lucky. I’ve got a really loyal little fan base of very well-educated, well-read ladies. Well I don’t think they’re all ladies. God, you know. But they’re incredibly supportive. I often do a lot of research. I didn’t know I was doing a Q & A screening until I read it on one of the websites and they were booking tickets. I was like, ‘Oh, that’ll be nice. I better brush my hair then’. No, they’re great. They’re really supportive. I try to look after them.

A fantastic  pre Q&A interview by Popcorn Taxi with Richard Armitage has appeared at their site! This one is really a goodie IMHO. Lots of info about the process of getting into his characters mentally and physically, which I always find fascinating.

RA’s relaxed, thoughtful, witty, silly and thoroughly delightful and the interviewer does manage to ask new questions! And not a word about that bloody circus! WIN. Click on the link to read it all:


Have a happy Monday, everyone!

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


A Fan’s First-Hand Experience at RA’s Sydney Q&A: A Must-Read!


Boys and girls, do I have a treat for you. For those of us who didn’t get to attend the Q&A with Richard Armitage, this is the next best thing to being there for now, thanks to groovergreen.  I have also included some photos taken during last night’s session courtesy of my peeps at Twitter.

Groovergreen, I owe you a big one, mate (oh, and why don’t you have you own blog, little missy??)  Enjoy!!

Greetings, everyone, from the middle of the Sydney night, the sleepless aftermath of the Richard Armitage love-in at the Orpheum Picture Palace! Thanks to the Popcorn Taxi’s The Hobbit Q and A, 700 of us had our first chance to quiz Mr Armitage directly — unmediated by media — to gaze admiringly on his magnificence and to ponder: How can the gods devolve so much power of enchantment on just one human being?

Reckon the Popcorn Taxi boss could have used a bit of that, for he warned us against letting our love flow too freely. “I suggest you deal with the wetness on your seats,” said he with such delightful delicacy and tact. Bewdy, mate, thanks, will do.

Despite having been interviewed to within an inch of his life this week, RA was tireless and gracious, and for 45 minutes we sat rapt in his bass-baritone eloquence as he expounded on life in Middle Earth. He scrubbed up all right, too, in sleek white shirt with skinny neo-Modernist tie, jacket of a peculiar green-gold hue and exquisitely tight (tight, I said!) black jeans. Ooh!


No digital recording was allowed, so I cracked a notebook – an old-fashioned paper notebook — and transcribed almost all the Q and A in shorthand. (Well, as best as I could in the dark and while bedazzled by RA.) So though this may be superseded by an official transcript in days to come, I reckon that between Lady 0akenshield’s pictures from the front row and my own humble offering we have this one covered for at least the next 24 hours in the fandom. You will see where I have paraphrased some things for better flow and sense, but mostly I have preserved RA’s words.

A big thank you to Angie the Fedora Lady for hosting this transcript on her wonderful blog, The Armitage Effect!


First question of the evening: What has RA learned from playing Thorin that is useful to him in real life?

RA (with the winsome meekness that we adore but don’t quite understand): “I am not really a bold leader as a person, and I found in him a nobility that is about leading by example, not necessarily dictation. That is the best thing I have found for myself.”

To create Thorin’s distinctive look required prosthetics and heavy make-up (about $1.6 million worth, according to a report in a Sydney newspaper this week). Was RA shocked by how he looked in Thorin’s body?

When I met Peter (Jackson), no, before I met Peter, I was given a character break-down and one thing it said was ‘you will be required to wear some prosthetics’. I knew there would be something, but it was extensive and the initial manifestation of Thorin was more extreme.’’ RA worked with make-up artist Tami Lane to tone it down, including Thorin’s wild eye-flashing.

I didn’t want to be inhibited in any way. The key to seeing into Thorin’s heart is through his eyes. When the makeup came off, my face was much more animated than I am as a person, but I think that is because all the facial muscles had been exercised a lot more.’


How differently might today’s audiences and readers interpret The Hobbit compared with the original readers in the 1930s?

RA: “I read Tolkien’s biography and he talked a lot about his experiences in World War I. That he lost his fellowship was what he was writing about, and the rise of evil… but we are living in a time when we send other people’s children off to fight battles. The idea of dwarves exiled from their homeland pervades across times, I think.’’

Amid chortling about his “266 days of hard work emoting through Thorin’s hot and heavy costume and make-up’’, RA was asked whether he had fun on the Hobbit set.

I have got to say that most of the fun was off the set,’’ he said, explaining that Thorin required all his concentration. “He isn’t a big bag of laughs, I’ve got to be honest,’’ he said. “But for me, I have fun when I’m stretching myself fully.”

The cross-cultural exchange among the dwarves actors kept the amusement factor high too, he said. ‘’Without the British and the Kiwis, the coming together of those two cultures, it wouldn’t have been as much fun. I’m looking forward to seeing them again. We have 10 more weeks of shooting. We haven’t done a single frame of the Battle of the Five Armies. Actually I think it might be the Battle of the Six Armies. I started training again at the end of January so I could swing that heavy sword around you are talking about. I’ve had practice; I was very close to taking it to the gym with me. I didn’t bring it with me now. I would never have got it through security.”


Popcorn Taxi host: “I’m determined to find out some of the stories that haven’t been told and retold about fun on set — such as director being put in embarrassing situations?”

Our director put himself in very embarrassing situations,’’ RA replied, recounting a complicated shoot in which Thorin had to run down a tree trunk. “Peter said ‘this is how you do it’. He came down that tree trunk so fast his pants fell down around his ankles and the film crew kept on filming it. So somewhere there is a film with Peter Jackson with his pants around his ankles. For Peter’s 50th birthday we decided to make a naked dwarves calendar. As you know, dwarves when they take their clothes off have a lot of padding , and the calendar featured dwarves of the movie in various compromising positions. There is only one copy. Graham wanted to make more but I said absolutely not, and there is only one copy.”

Host: “Did you have a strategically placed piece of oak?”

RA: “What happened in the calendar stays in the calendar!”

Host: “In The Hobbit you sing a song, Misty Mountain. You were a song and dance man before you went into the more serious side of drama. What was it like returning to singing in a production?”

RA: “I did a production of The Hobbit when I was 13, and it was a musical, really. I know that Tolkien had written lots of songs through the literature. I was really excited there were going to be these songs in it. (Hobbit co-writer) Fran Walsh wrote the tune to this song, and I was honoured to be asked to take it on. (For research) I listened to a lot of Russian church music. I listened to a Welsh male voice choir. We took the pitch down and down and down … I wanted to keep recording it until the end of time because I was not ever happy with it.’’

The audience was then invited to ask questions, and one was about The Hobbit’s horses.

I love my horse, her name is Shaman and she and I became very close,” RA said. “She had her long hair thing going and so did I. We would ride the horses out on location at the weekends… In the Tolkien literature it describes dwarves as not liking horses because they don’t ride very well, which I was slightly annoyed about because I was in love with my horse.’’

How much control was RA given over the way Thorin looked?

RA: “I remember asking for more grey at the sides (of his hair) because I felt it would give him more age. I originally conceived Thorin as being like a bison and I wanted better body bulk. That included the pelt he wears. When I didn’t have the pelt on I felt I was missing a part of him.”

A fan helplessly entranced by RA’s voice (like us all, really), complained the Misty Mountains song was too short and might there be an extended version in the offing? “I know Neil Finn did it but it isn’t as good,’’ she said with complete lack of finesse.

RA: “It is quite long. If that song had been any longer I think people would have been quite impatient. There was a moment when I nearly got to sing the song at the end. Nearly. But Neil Finn did a version of the final song which extended and developed it, which I absolutely love. I am hoping there will be more singing in movies two and three.”


The next inquisitor was a woman who asked RA how he had met Geraldine, and when he was going home. Er, no dear, this is not a Vicar of Dibley time warp.

Q: “How did you imagine Thorin as a child compared with the role under Peter’s vision?”

RA: “I do remember very clearly reading the book as a 12-year-old, and then as a slightly older 12-year-old man. I had seen him as a bit older. But the important thing was that he was the potential king who can return to his people and show his prowess on the battlefield. He was older than I am, but he still had the prowess to swing that sword around.”

RA was asked about working with Sir Christopher Lee, who plays Saruman and who is apparently noted for unusual behaviour.

RA: “I hate to admit it but I never worked with Christopher Lee. I don’t like to give away too many secrets of filming but all of Christopher’s stuff was shot in the UK because he was too old to travel, so I never got to meet him.”

Q: “If you hadn’t been cast as Thorin, who would you like to have been cast as?”

RA: “You tell me!” He likes the portrayal of Beorn: “He really lives up to the images of him I had as a kid.”

Q: ”How did it feel to play Thorin, then see him on screen?’’

RA: “It was really surprising. I actually thought I hadn’t done very much in the first movie and that most of my work was in movies two and three.” He explained that Peter Jackson had chosen to give Thorin more and extended scenes. “I hadn’t looked at what he had chosen. I was pretty pleased. He made Thorin look awesome. It was his doing, not mine.”


Jackson, he said, tended to make decisions on the run: “It was always very difficult to get Peter to sit down … he likes to have these conversations when the camera is rolling.”

Q: what are the differences between doing a movie such as The Hobbit and television?

RA: “The main thing is time. When you have a budget like The Hobbit had it buys you so much time; in particular, time to experiment. And working on a green screen. I had never done that before. I was nervous of it. But it does fire up your imagination.”

Q: ‘What personal life experiences helped you shape Thorin?”

RA: “I suppose the thing I really love about Thorin is that he does have a fear of what he is going to do. He is on a path to something that is thrilling. He will get to be a king and he will accumulate a huge amount of wealth. But in that mountain is the most terrifying thing he has ever experienced in his life … I assimilate that to a holocaust of some kind, the bomb dropping on Hiroshima and the devastation it caused … He is walking towards something that he wants to do but it is repelling him. That dichotomy is the most appealing thing.’’

RA is noted for preferring to do his own stunts on film. Asked about his favourite stunt in The Hobbit, he nominated the scene in which the mountain splits open, Bilbo falls off the side and Thorin has to save him.

‘’It was one I didn’t know I was going to be able to do,’’ he said. “Just getting on the horse and doing something your stunt double has shot is really thrilling. Not that it gives you a sense of heroism, but it makes you feel like you are living the character.”

Speaking of that, how about the one RA is named after? Does he still plan to play Richard III on film?

RA: “Many, many plans but they are all in my mind at the moment. There is a possibility but it is a matter of when and how. Maybe I’ll be too old to do it.’’ (Collective groan of disbelief from the Armitage Army in the front rows.)

Q: “You have played a lot of dark, brooding, grumpy characters. What would you say about casting to type? Are you looking forward to choosing different sorts of roles in future?”

RA: “I always get very nervous when I read something that is close to myself. I predict I won’t get it, because I am better at playing someone very far away from myself. I fantasise about playing the romantic lead character, but I don’t think my face suits that.’’ (More groans.)


Host: “You’re right. I think you look inherently evil.”

RA also talked about The Hobbit’s spectacular sequence known as Scene 88: ‘‘It felt like we were running through the whole of the North and South islands. But it was so great to be out in those locations, to see them, because I might never see them again. I did have to tape up my ankles, though, because the ground was so incredibly uneven.”

Q: “Will Smaug (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and Thorin be in the room together (in Hobbit 2 and 3)? I wonder whether that has happened or whether you have talked about it.”

RA: “That is a pretty awesome thought. I went into the motion capture studio because I wanted to see how Ben worked – I’m a huge fan of his — so we did cross paths. I love the fact that they cast him because it means the dragon will have an incredible intellect and an incredible voice. I also think they may be able to use certain aspects of his bone structure in the face of the dragon, but nobody knows yet. But I don’t know if Thorin and Smaug ever come face to face. That is something I will find out when we do the reshooting. I hope so.”

Alas, time dances too merrily away in the Dionysian presence of Mr Armitage. And so to the final question: If there were one question he could ask of Thorin Oakenshield, what would it be?

The thing I want to know, that I’ve tried to fill in in my little biography, is: Who was the love of his life? I felt he had made a sacrifice in his life, that he gave up something for his people, for his quest, and I imagine there would have been a princess he would have been betrothed to as King Under The Mountain. So that is probably what I would ask Thorin.”

Then, to a standing ovation and with a bashful smile, RA was gone … out the wrong exit, whereupon an usher gently led him across the cinema and we shamelessly turned our mobile phone cameras on those long, sleek legs, that nose, that FACE in those precious last seconds of his being there.

Safe travels, Mr Armitage, and thank you for an evening that was well worth my journey of 1000km!


Wasn’t this a wonderful report, folks? As I said, next best thing to being there . . . give groovergreen some love and let us know what you think of the Qs and As!

TAE Word for the Day: My man ain’t no fanfaron!


Nothing wrong with being a fan or aficionado. But you really don’t want to be a fanfaron. Or be a fan of a fanfaron.

FANFARON: a boaster or a braggart. From the French fanfaron, from the Spanish fanfarron, perhaps from Arabic farfar (talkative), of expressive origin. The words fanfaronade and fanfare have the same origin. Earliest use in English language traced back to 1622.

Fortunately, Richard is many things, but one thing he isn’t is a fanfaron.   Put it down to typical English self-effacement, to a very proper upbringing by John and Margaret, to something innate–Rich is not a lad to go around tooting his own horn. Instead, there is a sort of quiet confidence in his stillness. He’s the thoughtful, grown-up fellow who doesn’t feel the need to try to impress us.

And there’s that rather adorable–if occasionally maddening–tendency to downplay his talents and abilities.   I wouldn’t take a hundred boastful egocentric Kanye West types for one man who’s the real thing. Richard Armitage: my man ain’t no fanfaron! And I love him all the more for it.





Go Bil-Bo. Beat Snow-White (Clap-clap-clap-clap-clap!)


The MTV Movie Awards are Sunday night and one of our own–Martin Freeman, aka Bilbo Baggins of The Hobbit–is up for “Best Hero” against Batman, The Hulk, Catwoman, Ironman and Snow White aka Kristen Stewart.



There are now over 1,000,000 votes EACH for the two top candidates, Bilbo and Snow White (the rest are far, far, far, far behind). Even though a lot of Twihards are talking about boycotting the awards show (the last Twilight movie only got one nod this year and they feel cheated) plenty of KS fans are voting for her.

Some have apparently threatened violence or have just been needlessly rude over the fact their choice isn’t trouncing all competition.  To this I have to say–come on, guys, let’s all play nice! We are kids at heart but we don’t have to behave like the worst of junior high days.

Maybe some KS fans just assumed she’d walk away with it. Ah, but they didn’t reckon with the power of the Tolkienistas, the Freemanians, Richardettes and the Hobbit Heads, did they? We can be a very determined bunch!


Me, I have always been one to pull for the little guy, the ordinary fellow, the unlikely hero, the dark horse. And I really want to see this particular little guy with big hairy feet and a willing heart win.  Go to the link below and cast your vote.

If you are on Twitter, you can also vote with every Tweet by adding #votebilbo to each message.  They are apparently only counting one hashtag per Tweet, so you can use the other characters to say something witty or profound if you wish.

As you can see, the ChaRACters and the CReAtor are also supporting this initiative:





So go here and vote to your heart’s content this weekend.  Help an ordinary little hobbit officially achieve “Best Hero” status. He deserves it!  Go, Hobbit-Heads!


What would YOU ask Richard Armitage? Redux


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

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

jamie edwards and Rich playing table footie

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


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

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

The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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


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

Downton Abbey visits Seattle

Downton Abbey visits Seattle (Photo credit: KCTS OO9)

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


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

ipod shuffle loja online leilao

ipod shuffle loja online leilao (Photo credit: sucelloleiloes)

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


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

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

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

(other screencaps courtesy of Richard Armitage Net)

Nimue’s HobbitCon Memories: ‘Waves of Affection and Goosebump Moments’


Nimue kindly shared some of her HobbitCon experiences with us in the comment section of a previous post, and I enjoyed them so much, I felt they deserved a post of their own here on Thorin Thursday.  It certainly sounds like it was a fabulous event for fans of the film and has whetted my appetite even more to see the next installment in December! Thanks again, Nimue, for sharing highlights of this fab experience with us here at TAE. I have used some of DarkJackal’s screencaps from the film and from the Best Buy doc to add some more Hobbit-y dwarfy goodness. 😀

I was at the HobbitCon -it really was such an amazing and unforgettable experience! I’m still over the moon! The actors were so nice and approachable-they mixed with the normal people, often sat amongst us in the audience during each other’s panels, listening and sometimes intervening ,-). It could happen that you found yourself next to one of them in the lift or at the breakfast buffet, which I found kind of surreal sometimes, but great nevertheless!

They even were at the parties and told us beforehand that we could ask them questions. Really and truly very fine guys- each and every one of them! In their behaviour to each other you could see and feel, that they are not only colleagues but have become close friends.

Most of the time they needn’t to be asked about Richard, but mentioned him on their own. And their great admiration, respect and friendship for him was so sincere and really palpable I sometimes was nearly moved to tears. You could virtually feel the waves of affection all over the place! Goosebumps moments! My impression was that Richard was especially close with Graham (who mentioned that he auditioned for the role of Thorin as well) – a true gentleman like Richard himself.






BTW- as to one of your quotes above, concerning the mail exchange between RA and Adam ( so funny and cute- the poor guy was kind of shaky at the opening ceremony)- Richard wrote that he couldn’t answer him right now, as he was “on top of a mountain” . Mount Everest/Machu Picchu – mountaineering or skiing ;-) ?

Anyway, we got such a great amount of information, I’m still processing! According to their behaviour and their tweets, all of the actors enjoyed the experience as well ( the Gameshow they did- ” Tossing the dwarves”- was a hoot, I think for them and the audience, we nearly died with laughter). They said they’d like to come back- maybe persuading Richard as well ;-)

I really grew very fond of (the actors). Liked them all before, but having met them in person is something completely different. The word “fellowship” comes to mind when you see them in each other’s company. It was e.g. really cute seeing Dean and Adam walking around the lobby, Dean having his arm over Adam’s shoulders. Sylvester McCoy also is one of a kind- very charming and extremely hilarious- I was in stitches. A bundle of energy like Jedi (Jed Brophy)- always on the go. He also is a very good-smelling wizard. I know now the eau de parfum he uses- and it is not ” Eau de dwarf” ;-) .


Graham said that Richard took great care that they all were very well looked after on set (enough time in the cooling tents etc.) like a good leader would. He told us about the rings they all had made- each one has a special, individual engraving and a picture on the inside to remind them of the bond they formed. At one point I even saw him wearing the ring. He said that in a way their role in the movie corresponded to their real-life position in the group- Adam being the “baby/youngster”, Richard the leader who inspired utter loyalty. etc.

There really were a lot of highlights. The boys seemingly all like dancing- I remember Adam doing some Beyonce dance moves and allegedly some (funny) dancing was sometimes going on behind the scenes on set as well ;-)  Jed and Mark did some dancing on stage. For PJ’s birthday calendar, Aidan and Dean did the Tango together, with Aidan dipping Dean, who had a rose in his mouth. Sir Peter is said to keep the “naughty calendar” in his bathroom. The guys are all starting or ramping up their training again. Jed in particular is very athletic, always doing cartwheels, splits etc. Mark was full of praise for Richard’s fighting and riding skills.


When asked what was especially funny, they mentioned the barrel scene. They weren’t allowed to talk about it yet, but we are in for a treat when we can watch the behind-the-scenes special on one of the next DVDs. I wonder if it has got something to do with Richard’s fish throwing ;-) .
Probably we will also see more of the dwarven underwear in the next two films :-) . “The Adam Thing” is also one of the mysteries that only will be solved when we’ll get to see the material for the next movie.

It was my first Con experience and I was surprised how lovely and kind of intimate the atmosphere was. I’ve been told by more experienced RingCon visitors, that the HobbitCon really was very special in that regard.

‘A concentrating actor’: Richard on his acting & the challenges of The Hobbit

 From Facebook. Thanks to Ali at Richard Armitage Net for the link. Well worth reading, although I found myself sorely tempted to edit out some typos. 😉 How do you spell Oakenshield??
One of the most interesting aspects is we now know RA definitely doesn’t think of himself as a Method actor.
Having read Alfred Hitchcock’s fascinating bio recently and learned how he wanted a leading man with sexual charisma and a dark, edgy, dangerous feel (and wasn’t always able to get what he wanted due to studio issues), I’ve envisioned RA in a Hitchcock film. After all, one of his favorite films is one of Hitch’s-“North by Northwest.”
However, Hitch was not particularly fond of Method actors, who frequently tried his patience (he actually had more affection and respect for the acting profession than has been reported; after all, his daughter, Patricia, became an actress).   However, I think the director would have found working with RA very rewarding indeed . . .
Alfred Hitchcock, head-and-shoulders portrait,...

Alfred Hitchcock, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Richard Armitage (Thorin Okensheild) DVD Q
by Magnavision Home Video (Notes) on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at 12:44am

QUESTION: What was the greatest challenge for you to act in this film?

RICHARD ARMITAGE: I think the greatest challenge of taking on Thorin was to attempt to make such a physical transformation feel real.  Our body shapes change.  We wore a considerable amount of padding, huge boots and a facial prosthetic which at first was kind of limiting. It meant that you had to animate your own face more to make sure that the expression that you were feeling inside was being transported through the makeup. So that was a physical challenge. In terms of the character I think layering the character with this inner fear of driving sickness and madness and the horror of what happened in the mountain; but at the same time show his dwarves the face of a leader that was not afraid, that was something that fascinated me.

QUESTION: Had you been a fan of the books?  Did you grow up reading the series?

RICHARD ARMITAGE: I read “The Hobbit” when I was 11 years old.  Then when I was 13, I was in a stage production, a very local piece of theater with no money. Gollum was made of paper, I remember that very clearly.  I was paid 15 pounds a week.  But that led me on to read “The Lord of the Rings.”  Then I watched the animated version, which was never finished, in the ’80s. I remember being very frustrated that it was never finished.  Then, of course, Peter[Jackson]’s trilogy defined the entire cannon in Middle Earth and that was incredibly fulfilling. I went back to read Rings again after that.

Gollum in Ralph Bakshi's animated version of T...

Gollum in Ralph Bakshi’s animated version of The Lord of the Rings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

QUESTION: Do you feel that there’s a certain sequence or scene that stands out as your favorite part of the film?

RICHARD ARMITAGE: From my viewing of it, or from my playing in it?

QUESTION: Let’s take it from your viewing.

RICHARD ARMITAGE: The sequence I found incredibly moving is the sequence at the end when the eagles pick up the injured party and take them to safety.  I think all of the ordeals that this crew has gone through and the terrible dilemma that maybe their leader is dead is traumatic.  There’s this incredibles oaring sequence of stillness.  It feels like some kind of salvation; I was moved to tears when I saw that moment because it’s such a relief after such extreme circumstances.

In terms of what was the most important moment for me to film, I think my first time on location,which was being directed by Andy Serkis. I was helicoptered to the top of a mountain where there were no roads or no power cables. There was no sign of any human life there.  There were just three of us dwarves with some food in a backpack. He did 360 degree helicopter shots all day.  So we were left alone in character.  I remember feeling absolutely immersed in the character.  It’s in the prologue; I’m thrilled by that.


QUESTION: Would you describe yourself as a method actor?

RICHARD ARMITAGE: No I wouldn’t.  I wouldn’t describe myself as a method actor.  I think other people apply that label.  I think I’m a concentrating actor.  So in order to do my work in the course of a day, particularly with a character like this I have to concentrate.  So it’s about staying in the scene, staying with my head in the scene and attempting to keep the character with me.  It doesn’t mean I can’t have a conversation or go and make a cup of coffee. But I actually stay with the character for 18 months.

QUESTION: Other than your own character, who’s your favorite?

RICHARD ARMITAGE: I think my favorite character has to be Mr. Baggins.  He’s the heart of the story.  He’s the character that the audience fall in love with and follow on his journey.  They fear for him, they hope for him.  He’s endearing and hilarious to watch.


Oh, Richard, it’s not just Bilbo with whom audiences fell in love. Thorin has his own legion of admirers, too. Thank you for all you did to bring him to life for us.   (HD screencaps courtesy of Heirs of Durin and DarkJackal–thanks!)

“Near-stalkerish.” Really?! I don’t think so.


I’ve spent much of this weekend working on a birthday video for our video production company partner’s grandson. I am still very much in the learning process of using footage versus still photos/screencaps and even with some handy-dandy editing software, it’s been a tricky process.

Lots of technical glitches, lots of trial and error. More than a few moments of frustration. I am still not fully satisfied (when am I ever in terms of what I create?), but my part is finally done, and it’s half-way through saving now, whittled down from over 32 minutes to 17, with a soundtrack including a half-dozen birthday and celebration-oriented songs. Benny will put the finishing touches on it.

My personal favorite moment? When the little boy’s husky dad heaves the rather large and very handsome family dog onto his shoulders and takes him away, striding in slo-mo. The dog seems to be enjoying himself.

I’ve always enjoyed making my little slideshow fanvids, choosing the rights songs, images and adding my captions, well aware they lack the technical know-how of our goddesses of fanvids like Heather or Daria (Giz the Gunslinger). Still, they’ve entertained me and provided catharsis in the making of them.

If in sharing them with others, I’ve also provided some entertainment, those “ooh” and “ah” and “swoon” and “thud” moments, and a few good chuckles along the way, then I feel as if I’ve “done my job.”  None of us receive any compensation for what we do in terms of fanvids (or fiction or art, etc.) so it is all a labor of love.  A way to pay tribute to someone who has brought so much pleasure and friendship into my life and the lives of others, who has sparked my imagination and my sense of wonder and urge to create.

What a lovely muse he is–so much more than merely  handsome, fit guy who’s nice to look at.

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A photo edit I did of the latest bit of Ascroft deliciousness that has appeared.

So I confess to being really bothered when two different comments showed up on my Dreamer video ( a career-wide video I made prior to The Hobbit celebrating RA as a hard-working and talented performer from his youth) suggesting my work was “near-stalkerish.” I am sorry, but I just don’t see it. If I’d felt it exhibited that vibe, I would have never made it and posted it in the first place.

I think the suggestion particularly hurt simply because out of the hundred-plus vids I have made, that happens to be one of my favorite ones. I love the music by Elizaveta and the message of that song, “Dreamer;” all the images of Richard from slighty gawky youth to sleek and assured grown up and the hopeful and positive spirit I believe it offers. It’s truly meant to be a celebration of the man as both actor and special human being, and dare I say I am rather proud of it? I have always hoped that if RA ever got the chance to see it, he would approve.

I did not rummage through the man’s trash to find these photos or in any other way “stalk” him. Thanks to some wonderful ladies like Ali at Richard Armitage Net, the folks at Richard Armitage Central and the gals at the Russian RA site, we are provided with many, many images of RA from throughout his schooldays and his career. These are not paparazzi pics invading his privacy, but headshots, professional photo sessions, behind the scenes photos on his various sets, official school photos and the like.

I personally love looking at old photos from the scrapbooks of friends, co-workers, family members and I know many others who do, too.  Why shouldn’t we enjoy these gems from the life of a man we like and admire and adore?

And frankly, looking at Richard Armitage makes me feel good. It lifts my spirits, moves me, makes me smile. It’s not just about the surface good looks and obvious sex appeal, although there is plenty of it; it’s about the decency and humor, the kindness and mischief, modesty and intelligence I believe I glimpse in that countenance. As for his performances, they are truly relevatory.
Surely there is a big difference between appreciating and admiring from afar and actually stalking someone, a person you clearly know you do not have a personal relationship with nor do you have any illusions you ever will?
Ah well, you can’t please ’em all.

And so I suppose I shall continue my practice of not only “objectifying” Mr. Armitage, but “stalking” him as well by making fanvids, art, writing about him and watching his performances. I am thinking of stalking Thorin next time around. Maybe he won’t slay me with the mighty Orcrist . . .

In the meantime, “stalk” Mr. Armitage with me, won’t you? And I hope you have had a lovely Easter. (Quietly busy here,with the thunderstorms kindly waiting until late afternoon to strike.)

It’s Thorin Thursday! Part 2 of “How I Fell for a Hot, Hairy Dwarf . . .”


(If you missed the first installment,

It’s Bechep! Welcome back dear readers to the next and final instalment of my guest post  “How I Fell Hard for a Hot, Hairy Dwarf & Never Looked Back”  If you missed last week’s post then I invite you to go back and have a read – even if you find the post uninteresting, there are some nice pictures!

Fasten your seatbelts and get ready for some blatant dwarf love!

Part 2. Hot and Hairy Dwarf.

Warning: For those fans that disagree with the objectifying of Richard Armitage, please look away now. Do join us again in Part 3 as I’m afraid there is lots of worshipping and objectifying about to take place.

Now dear friends, let”s just start with a pretty picture.

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If I begin to talk nonsense or babble incoherently, please feel free to throw a bucket of cold water over me.

Right, let’s get started discussing this hot and hairy dwarf.  Well, where to start? Let’s just take it from the top shall we?

The Hair –  And yes I use a capital letter for the Hair because it deserves it don’t you think?  I want to wash it, braid it and then wind said braids around my finger, grab handfuls of it, smell it, run my fingers through it and brush it.  It is like something out of a shampoo commercial.  The way he flicks it around in such an outstanding fashion and it all falls back into place just so – *sigh*

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Hair acting at its finest.

Younger Thorin with his shorter, darker mane is positively dreamy.  But I can’t help being ever so fond of the longer, thicker, slightly greying locks.  They just make him look so regal and worldly. I just want to brush them away from his face and…*cough* let’s get back to it, shall we?

The eyes –  OHHHHHHH the eyes. Richard’s eyes are quite honestly the most amazing, mesmerising eyes I have ever seen.  Their colour makes me gasp and their intensity makes me swoon.  Put these eyes onto a hot dwarf and Cha-Ching! You have got yourself a winner. Imagine if you will, staring into them while he talks with you about his quest to return to Erebor, well I don’t know about you–but I just melt into a puddle.

I cannot move on without just mentioning the eyelashes.  The way he flutters them at all manner of hobbits, wizards, dwarves, elves – no wonder Lord Elrond returned Orcrist the sword to him.  I’d quite frankly give him anything he wanted if he batted those eyelashes at me.

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See what I mean?

The Beard –  Again I use a capital letter.  I have seen many pictures of Richard as himself sporting this beard and, although not normally a fan of beards, I will confess that I love it.  Thorin’s beard is quite simply a thing of beauty. It’s sitting there all “look at me” and well, I comply and look at it!  It adds to the whole majestic, royal, yummy, scrummy vision that is Thorin Oakenshield. And no matter what sticky situation he has managed to get himself into, it always looks so well-groomed – how does he do it? Oh, well you see, he’s perfect.  Ohhh I just want to graze my hand along it and have it tickle my face…  Ummm, perhaps you should get that bucket of cold water ready, dear readers.

The voice– I don’t really think I need say too much about the voice as I’m sure you are completely aware of Richard’s voice. It’s one of his most wonderful and appealing features. That deep baritone and lovely accent. I would be quite happy to sit down and listen to him read the Phone Book with that voice.

But back to Thorin. The way he barks orders at everyone, speaks kindly to an old warrior, utters the name of the elves in disgust, apologises for his doubt to a hobbit, it really has me swooning.  Of course, one cannot talk about Thorin’s voice without mentioning the singing – I believe I actually hyperventilated right there in the cinema when he starting singing by the fireplace. *THUD*

Hmmmm it must be time for another pretty picture – one that shows off the beard I think…

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I realise that I am running out of time here (I do tend to waffle so when talking about Thorin Oakenshield) so I will just make a general final list of all the other things that made me fall for this hot dwarf:

  • His divine lips that curl in contempt, smirk with arrogance or smile in pleasure.
  • His coat pelt that just begs me to run my fingers through it or wrap it around me (or both at the same time)
  • His sword, belt, ring axe and shield – all add to the majestic vision of the King Under The Mountain. And the way he wields that sword…*ahem*
  • His attitude has me all in a tizzy. Because let’s be honest, there’s nothing quite like a bit of a bad boy with an attitude to match.  He’s so damn arrogant, haughty and domineering – and I can’t get enough of it! Of course he can also be humble and kind when he thinks no-one is looking.

So, there you have it.  Some of the reasons why I “fell hard for a hot, hairy dwarf”. And as I wipe the drool from my chin we shall sum up with-

Part 3 Never Look Back

As I move forward as a new Richard Armitage fan and Thorin Oakenshield admirer I’m quite excited to think of all the things that I can still look forward to. I will continue to have all those experiences that I mentioned in Part One last week (yes dear reader, I may still get those underpants!) and many new ones too I’m sure.

Of course there are the other two movies to look forward to,  but I can’t wait to meet more new people (Richard Armitage fans are really the best ever!), learn, tweet, blog, talk and read about Richard/Thorin, I still have many TV shows to watch that star our boy from Leicester,  and I’m very, very quietly going to whisper to you that I may even try writing a Thorin fanfic.

So,  that hot, hairy dwarf started a chain of events that has led me to a wonderful, educational, exciting, busy time in my life.  I wonder if I thank him will he look at me like this and say in that deep voice “You are welcome, Lady0akenshield” (QUICK get that bucket of water and throw it on me now!  *THUD*)

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And now as I dry myself off – that water went everywhere! – all that remains is for me to bid you  farewell.  I hope you have enjoyed reading my ramblings about Thorin Oakenshield and I managed to make you smile and, if you weren’t already a fan of our dwarf, see some of his outstanding qualities.

And to you Angie, thank you so very much for having me on your Blog. I was honoured that you asked me.  Now, I have tidied up, put everything back in its place and left the key by the door.  I may just leave a small belonging behind, perhaps up on a shelf so I have an excuse to come and visit again.  I won’t stay long I promise!

Visit Bechep’s blog “Such is Life” at