Category Archives: heroes

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

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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:

http://www.popcorntaxi.com.au/2013/05/blog/interview-richard-armitage-mr-majestic-of-the-hobbit/

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Have a happy Monday, everyone!

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Roaring, Raging, Smouldering, Stroppy: RA ChaRActers Get Their Fierce On

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“As a person I’m quite calm and placid, so it’s nice to give vent to a little anger.”  Richard Armitage

 

For such a sweet, laid-back soul, RA certainly knows how to smoulder and simmer, to be sulky and stroppy,  to rant and rage and roar magnificently. Richard Armitage knows how to get his fierce on.

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

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

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

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

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

Really? <Laughs>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Sunday SmoRgAsbord in More Ways Than One

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The last couple of days–wet, chilly and quite FMS-unfriendly–have not strictly been the most productive for me. However, I did get some rest including actual restorative sleep (a rarity for me) involving several really nice dreams. I got up this morning in a happy mood, moving fairly well. Benny and I enjoyed a good cuddle on the sole day each week he doesn’t have to get up and head to the salt mines.  Amongst his many fine qualities, he’s an extremely cuddly kind of dude. 😉

I’ve been visiting Facebook and snaffling some images and words of wisdom and inspiration I enjoyed, as well as playing with some images of Mr. A. Thought I would share them with you all as I hope you are having a restful, fun, inspiring kind of Sunday (or good Monday, as the case may be).

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And some in all ways: looks, personality, character. *sigh*

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courtesy of Joane Severin at Facebook

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Courtesy of Ms. Gigglepants via Twitter and Tumblr

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Courtesy of My Life-My Rules-My Attitude at Facebook

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

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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!

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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!

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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.’

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.)

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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!

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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!

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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.

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Thorin Thursday arrives early!: oh, those inappropriate dwarfy thoughts . . .

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Last night I watched “Snow White and the Huntsman.” What can I say, I liked the villain of the piece best of all–Charlize Theron as the mad evil Queen lusting after the heart of her stepdaughter to provide her with the immortal beauty and youth she craves. Snow White was OK, but I certainly am glad Bilbo beat her out for Best Hero. She just didn’t–inspire me.  I wasn’t particularly rooting for her.

As for Snow’s dwarves, well, they were a rather crotchety, crafty bunch, played by a cast of familiar Brit character actors given human dwarf bodies through the magic of CGI. Good performances, but they just weren’t Bilbo’s dwarves.  And not a Thorin amongst them to put inappropriate thoughts in a girl’s head.  They didn’t have his romantic mane of hair, his noble profile, his soulful, beautiful eyes, his deafening roar, his majesty. *sigh*

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So, as more and more folks get their TH DVDs, the continued thudding, squeeing, drooling and sighing over  a certain vertically-challenged hottie takes place around the world. Wonder how many DVDs/Blu-rays have almost been paused and rewound and slo-moed to death already?

Did we ever think we’d feel this way about a sweaty, hairy, almost 200-year-old dwarf?  No, we didn’t. But we DO.

I found a few GIFs on Twitter I thought I would also share with you.  Oh, the joys of Thorin smiling!!

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Someone suggested RA was doing his John the Baptist imitation here with his attire. Whoa–a bit wobbly, are we?? From PJ’s sneak peek of the second film.

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Bilbo, that’s just what so many of us want to do–leap into Thorin’s strong arms! 😉

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Fun Facts & Quotes from The Hobbit ‘Chronicles’

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It’s been a few days since I shared anything from the latest in the series of ‘Chronicles’ books from Weta Workshop. Thought these tidbits about various aspects of the production might make a fun read for Sunday, along with a few more images in glorious HD (thanks to Heirs of Durin) from the film.

And don’t forget if you do have a Twitter account you can vote for Bilbo as “Best Hero” at the 2013 MTV Movie Awards through tonight when the broadcast takes place.http://www.mtv.com/ontv/movieawards/2013/best-hero/  As I write this on Saturday near midnight Bilbo is still in the lead by several thousand, but that could always change . . .

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The Eyes Have It

 Jeffrey Thomas, who plays King Under the Mountain Thror, actually wore colored contact lenses to increase his resemblance to the actors playing his son and grandson, Mike Mizrahi and Richard Armitage, respectively.  All three men have blue eyes, but unlike his light-eyed co-stars, Thomas’s are a very dark blue that resembled black when photographed.  A pale blue contact lens color not only tied him to his son and grandson but also served to “age him as well as give him a hint of the crazy eye, which fits considering his obsession with the gold.” (Tami Lane, prosthetics supervisor)

Cate Blanchett also wore contact lenses for the role of Galadriel. Rather than completely recolor them, these lenses were designed to lighten and enhance Cate’s own pale blue eyes, “making them feel even more remarkable and beautiful, but still based on her natural coloring,” said hair and makeup designer Peter King.

Peter Hambleton, who played the dwarf Gloin, the father of Gimli of LOTR, also wore lenses to change his eye color. “I have blue eyes and we wanted to make a connection with Gimli, whose eyes are brown,” said Hambleton. The actor didn’t require the dark lenses for distant shots, just more close-up ones, and a licensed optician on set would pop them in and out for him (remember, he was wearing those clumsy prosthetic hands). “I hope the brown eyes sing out,” Hambleton said.

Thoughts on Fili and Kili (Dean O’Gorman and Aidan Turner)

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“With no sons of his own, Fili and Kili are his family. Thorin is tough on Fili and overly protective of Kili. He sees their hope and their ambition, their youth. It’s a great driving force for him, to seek out something to bequeath for their future.”    Richard Armitage~Thorin

“Dwarves are a proud and noble people who were at  one time very wealthy. They carry jewelry and ornate plaiting in their beards to show their pride and a way of holding on to their lineage. . . they begin looking very ornate and proud, but their journey humbles and batters them . . . but it isn’t the same for each of them.

‘Fili and Kili don’t have the big, ornate, blinged-out beards of their fathers. They have a different attitude and aren’t as burdened down by the loss that gnaws at Thorin and Gloin and the other Dwarves who are obsessed with the gold. They haven’t decorated themselves as heavily, like kids who can’t see the reason for wearing shoes in a restaurant. They’re not holding onto an old grudge. They’re freer spirits.” Peter King~Hair and Makeup Designer

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“Beards are already in at the moment, but I have to wonder after these films come out whether there might not be a sudden rise in braiding and beard decoration?”  Dean O’Gorman~Fili

“On one level, we’re funny little guys, and on another, we’ve won wars and are actually pretty dangerous  . . . don’t laugh at the Dwarves because they will mess you up.”  DoG

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“It’s tough being a dwarf in Middle-earth. It’s exhausting  . . . they get chased around and for all the times they get caught, they really aren’t wanted anywhere.” ~Aidan Turner-Kili

Saturday Spy Games featuring Luscious Lucas

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Richard as alluring Russian oligarch.  How can a man make references to “dog faeces” sound sexy??ep5_253xxxx

Lucas deals with the duplicitous Sarah Caulfield . . . and looks absolutely delicious doing it. She was right, Lucas–you ARE clever–and beautiful.

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Lucas undercover in Moscow being entertained by the curvaceous asset at the Bedouin Bar. It’s a shame he couldn’t have enjoyed some more time with her after completing his mission . . . nice chemistry there.

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Lucas waiting for Oleg at the assigned spot. Beautiful publicity still. I love the hand here, partially covered by his sleeve, and the intensity of his gaze. Hate to think of the humiliation he is shortly going to endure at the hands of his longtime tormentor . . . and for such an unworthy creature as La Caulfield. Grrrrrrr.

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Richard as Pete the banker in his pinstripes and power tie with his “fiancé.”  What an attractive couple they made.

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Lucas in mentor mode. Loved his scenes with young Dean. *sniff* Here’s another example of him looking sublime in green.

Lucas North–the spy we love. ‘Cause nobody does it better . . .

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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:

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So go here http://t.co/XGreLY2ei3 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!

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Guy Friday: Beautiful in Black & White

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After last night’s storms, a quiet, cooler day with humidity below 50 percent. This is a good thing. Doing knee strengthening exercises as I put this entry together.  They aren’t all that much fun, but looking at Sir Guy is.  The lashes, the stubble, the delicately-shaped lips that curve into such delicious smirks, the intensity of his gazes, the curls at the nape of his neck, the tousled mane . . . yup, those knees are hurting just a little less now. *sigh* Happy Guyday Friday, dear ones.

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Guyday Friday: The Peacock!

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I quite like peacocks. peacocking Wouldn’t mind having some out here except the dogs would like not give them any peace. Those gorgeous shades of green and blue, such a feast for the eyes!.  Our late, lamented cat Smokie used to sit outside the hall closet door and cry for the large peacock feather (purchased at a cat show we attended) that she knew was tucked away inside there. Fantastic kitty fun!! That pussy loved her peacock plume!

I like peacocks so much I have some peacock-related items on the way:

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To give my updos a bit of color, two of these peacock hair clips.

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And for those moments when hot flashes hit or it’s simply a sticky summer’s day in south Alabama, how lovely it will be to whip out this pretty, peacock-ish hand fan and cool down in style.

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Peacock earrings, for those times I want a bit of bling. All the above not likely to be worn/used at once. 😉

But what, pray tell, do all these things have to do with Sir Guy?

Well, wouldn’t you say our proud, vain, beautiful henchman was just a wee bit of a peacock?

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Just as a male peacock would do, Sir Guy likes to present his–er–plumage and show it off for the ladies. He knows what they want to see. And he’s quite proud of it.

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In honor of Sir Guy and Guyday Friday, here’s my little tongue-in-cheek captioned fanvid tribute to not just the Hot Velvet Henchman, but several of the CReAtor’s delectable characters.

“Whatcha waiting for, it’s time for you to show it off–
“Come on baby, let me see what you’re hiding underneath. . .” 😉 😉 😉

Thorin Thursday: My kind of ‘stormy’

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It’s warm and sultry here this afternoon, thunder rumbling in the distance, with a wind advisory, tornado watch and severe thunderstorm warnings all in place. Oh boy. Buckle your seatbelts, fellow Lower Alabamians, it could be a bumpy night.

Feeling the closeness of the heavy, humid air, I twisted up my hair and clipped it in place with my “Octopus” (what clever hair accessories Goody comes up with!) to get it off my neck. Ah, better now.

I went out to pick up the mail and play with the dogs a little, and felt the flare of pain in the FMS trigger points inside my knees and hips.  FMS no likee tempestuous weather.  However, I am quite fond of a certain rather tempestuous, brooding, heroic warrior dwarf who can roar louder than the fiercest March wind and fight with the  ferocity of a killer tornado. Oh, Thorin, you are my kind of stormy.

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‘First Impressions’ of the Leader of the Company: More from ‘Chronicles II’

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More fascinating tidbits from the latest Weta Workshop book, this time from Peter King, makeup and hair designer:

First impressions are often lasting . . . when you are designing a character for the screen it is vital you get their look absolutely right for the first shots in which they appear . . . so that we impart a message about the character we want them to understand instantly when he walks on screen. Consequently, we put a lot of thought into Thorin, and his arrival in the movie is built up by the other Dwarves as they await his arrival at Bag End.

thehobbit-p1_1274Thorin, as he appears at Bilbo’s door. Our first glimpse of the majestic dwarf in present day.

There is an awe and a reverence that surrounds him. He is very strong and slightly scary, but also hypnotic and charismatic. Thorin is the leader, a king among his people and the Dwarf upon whose shoulders the future and hopes of his people rests.

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I have to say that I was “wowed” by the first impression of Thorin when Gandalf opened that door to him.  Charismatic? Absolutely. Hypnotic? Hmmmmm–was I saying . . . oh, yes. Definitely.

I was truly awed.  (Not that I expected anything less than awesome with Mr. A involved.)

King discusses how Thorin’s look evolved:

We went through a number of iterations before we settled upon his final makeup, which consisted of a thin forehead and nose, wig and ear. Thorin’s nose was Romanesque, which imparted a sense of nobility. His wig was also composed entirely of human hair, without any yak, which was used to add body to some of the other dwarves. That allowed it to flow and move more romantically.

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*sigh* Works for me, Mr. King. Works for me.

As for Thorin’s beard, King has this to say:

For the same reason, Thorin’s beard ended up clipped quite close to preserve his more refined appearance and to not hide the actor under a full face of hair. It was important for people to understand and relate to Thorin so we didn’t want to build a wall of hair in front of him that would impede that in any way.

Very wise decision, sir. That face is much too expressive to hide it all under heavy prosthetics and excess facial hair.

And here are some thoughts from Mr. Armitage himself:

Early on in the shaping of Thorin’s look, we had some quite extreme prosthetics and elaborate beard designs. I was very pleased with the effort, which was such a transformation.  I looked like another being–older, and very much like a Dwarf.  As the design began to change, with resculpting, reshaping and stripping back, I realized that is was a process we were going through, to find a point at which Thorin and the actor inside him were both visible.  Of course, that feels like a great compliment, although Richard Taylor did tell me fairly near to the end of filming that they straightened my nose, which is apparently off-center . . . I didn’t know that!

Gosh, I thought his real nose was darned near perfect. Perfect in its imperfection. And truly noble.

And I do love that romantic hair . . .  I think it’s time for my “Thorin: King Under the Hair” fanvid!

A ‘handy’ post: RA talks dealing with prosthetic digits in ‘Chronicles’

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My job was to try and make the character of Thorin feel very real, despite the heavy makeup, working my facial muscles, making sure the wig moved like hair, without too much appearance of vanity, which Thorin has very little of. The biggest challenge was the prosthetic hands.

I think hands reveal so much about a character.  They are sensitive little beings all of their own, and the enlargement with the silicone hands could quite restrictive. I wasn’t able to put my hands through my hair, or pick up anything with ease.  Touching my face, or touching another character’s face in a tender moment, was always going to be difficult. Hands are also connected to the emotions. The clenched fist and the relaxed shaking fingers–these are things we had to learn to live without.

~~Richard Armitage, actor, Thorin  From the Weta Workshop book Chronicles II, “Dwarf Prosthetics”

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I found this fascinating in terms of our fascination with Richard Armitage’s own beautiful, expressive hands and how he has used them in past roles (as well as his endearing penchant for talking with his hands in interviews).

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I can only imagine he did find it frustrating to be restricted in the use of those hands whilst playing Thorin. Richard strikes me as an actor who uses all the “weapons” in his acting arsenal, facial expressions, voice modulation, hair, body language and those amazingly expressive hands, to bring a character to life. The restrictions placed on him by the makeup and prosthetics proved just one more challenge for our gifted performer to take on–and triumph over!

When he speaks of “touching another character’s face in a tender moment” my stomach does flip-flops. Once again I envision the object of Thorin’s affection being gently, tenderly caressed, face cupped in his hands before a soft, beardy kiss. Sort of a Thornton moment for Thorin . . .

(I know, I know, Thorin doesn’t have a romantic interest in the book, it’s not canon, yadda yadda yadda–but a girl can dream, right?)

Something that I have wondered about is how the actors were able to wield their weapons as dwarfs so believably and effectively with those unwieldy prosthetic hands.  And I found the answer within the pages of this book, too: dwarf mitts!

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According to Jason Docherty, the special makeup and prosthetics supervisor for Weta, the use of fighting mitts was the answer:

“The silicone covered only the top, leaving the fingers, palm and bottom completely open, and thereby not inhibiting the grip of weapons at all–great for fight sequences but not for a close-up. For close-ups, we always used a full arm or full hand.”

Docherty also mentions how much time Thorin spent with his forearms exposed and so he often wore the full arm prosthetic. That included battle scenes, so there were “fighting forearms” lacking palms, too, for just such occasions. Hmmmmm, battling Thorin with bare forearms. Roaring, hair flying, eyes flashing. Works for me . . .  *whimper* Can’t wait for some sneak peeks of him in full Bared Forearm Alpha Fighting Mode.

That being said, I really would like to see those hands on the big screen free of any silicone, being beautifully expressive. Oh, Black Sky, where art thou?