Tag Archives: Andy Serkis

Big films that may save summer box office have ties to RA, Hobbit trilogy


It’s only 18 days (but who’s counting?!) until Wet Heroic Gary arrives in our theaters.  Since August is largely one hot, miserably humid month here in LA (Lower Alabama), I have to say seeing Richard be all fatherly and bad-ass (and drenched) will be the month’s saving grace for me . . .


So far this summer has been a touch on the lackluster side for box office returns.  I did a little research online . . .

According to Rentrak, the No. 1 company which gauges box office and film industry figures, U.S. box office figures for the Independence Day weekend fell to their lowest in 15 years partly because of a limited lineup of new releases. It has been a poor summer for the industry. With sales down 17% year over year since May 2, year-to-date sales of $5.44 billion are down 3.8% from a year ago.”  

Granted, it didn’t help to have the Fourth of July fall on a Friday, which is usually an important day of the week for the industry, but other warning signs have appeared. Four major movies saw their sales drop more than 60% on their second weekends, which is unusual. According to Paul Dergarabedian, senior analyst at Rentrak, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” will now have to make big splashes for the industry’s results to recover, but 2014 receipts will probably lag behind last year’s $10.9 billion record high.”

Excerpts from “Even Transformers Might Not Save the Summer for the Box Office”  by Daniel James on the Motley Fool website

See complete article below by clicking link below:


Then along came an ape named Caesar (brought to life through performance capture technology by the amazingly gifted Andy Serkis)  in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and things started looking up. Andy, who created the unforgettable Gollum in the LOTR/The Hobbit trilogies, also served as second unit director for Peter Jackson and worked in that capacity with Richard on the second trilogy based on Tolkien’s works.


Richard and Andy pose together for a photo after conducting separate interviews for their projects in London recently. Courtesy of the BBC.

 DOTPOTA was released on July 11 and, as of July 20, the movie has grossed more than $139 million domestically, remaining the #1 movie for the second week in a row (the film’s budget was $170 million, so there seems little doubt it will be a money-maker for Fox Films.  Expectations are a take of $230 million during its run). While its box office earnings dropped 50 percent in its second week, it’s performing better than other summer blockbusters, such as “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” “The Amazing Spider Man” and the latest “X-Men” entry, which all dropped at least 61 percent at this point.  (Statistics courtesy of Box Office Mojo). The strong hold of Serkis and Company is being attributed to positive reviews, strong word-of-mouth and, frankly, some lackluster competition at the box office.  I am delighted to see such great reviews for Andy’s performance in particular.  I hope he and Richard actually get a chance to act together in some future project.


So what about the other film mentioned  that could at least partially salvage this less-than-stellar summer? “Guardians of the Galaxy,” billed as an action/sci-fi/fantasy film based on Marvel comic book characters, opens August 1, one week before Richard’s film “Into the Storm” whirls into theatres across the U.S (it opens July 31 in the U.K.).  As part of the seemingly almost indestructible Marvel super-franchise, it seems likely to do decent business at the box office. This film is said to have a more comedic, distinctly irreverent tone and attitude than the other Marvel films.



                                                                                          Title courtesy of movieinsider.com

“Guardians” also features another Hobbit alum, namely, the gorgeous and talented Lee Pace (Thranduil) as the villain of the piece, with Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and Dave Bautista among the quirky bunch of good guys.  The world premiere, by the way, is taking place tonight, July 21. You can watch a livestream of the premiere at Marvel.com.  According to the Marvel Universe site, the whole cast (will this include Pace?) will be on Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight at 11:35/10:35 Central Time on ABC Television.


83409jpg-b6922c_960w Lee Pace in full costume and makeup as Ronan the Accuser. Courtesy of IGN.com and Empire Magazine

And what about the films that “Into the Storm” will be going up directly against when it opens here August 8? Will they help or hurt the overall box office and how will ITS perform in comparison? Will Ronan end up destroying Garry and the gang when they arrive in our theatres? Will the Armitage Army beat out the Marvel Maniacs? Will Richard and cool CGI help save not only his movie son, but the summer grosses? We will just have to wait and see.

More about ITS’s direct competition in the next post.


I dream of Thorin kicking Smaug’s Scaly Arse . . . ING interview


hobbitauj-0191500470roar“Hopefully I come face to face with Cumberbatch.” Richard Armitage on possibly meeting Benedict Cumberbatch on set. BC is playing the dragon Smaug (via voice and motion capture).

In case you’ve missed it, an interesting little video featuring Richard, James and Andy discussing Smaug, that mean ol’ gold-loving dragon who drove Thorin and his people from Erebor (with no help from those effing elves). Link is below:


Now, I really like the talented Benedict as an actor, although I still maintain he resembles an otter (hey, I think otters are cute) and he has a lovely voice, too (NOT as lovely to me as RA’s, of course). But part of me just wants to see Richard Thorin kick the ever-loving daylights out of Sherlock Smaug. If you know what I mean.


Richard’s Secret Thoughts: Twitter Video Edition


I’ve always gotten the impression Richard really wasn’t all that comfortable hawking stuff. Oh, promoting his productions and praising his co-stars, crew members and more, sure, raising monies for charities, absolutely, but selling stuff–no.

I think back to the little promo he did for the Spooks 9 DVD and its special features, recalling that slightly sheepish expression he wore on his face.  I could be wrong, of course. (Maybe it was the bogus quality of the scriptwriting in Spooks 9 that was bugging him. Certainly bugged ME.)

Anyway,  I couldn’t resist having a bit of fun with the recent “thank you” vid to Twitter fans of The Hobbit, a vid which was also, of course, a shameless plug to remind everyone the DVD is coming out so BUY, BUY, BUY! (as if we need encouragement).  And I enjoy having fun with our modest fellow and imagining him having less-than-modest thoughts in that handsome head . . . in that spirit, I present Richard’s Secret Thoughts: Twitter Video Edition.


Richard, pondering his amazing combination of potent masculinity with boyish winsomeness.


I mean, really, he does have it all.  Awfully hard to fit it all in a teeny bubble.


It is almost St. Paddy’s Day, James is Irish and–I couldn’t resist the leprechaun hats, green beer and rainbow. Sorry.


Richard now gets down to the brass tacks. The reason to buy that DVD/Blu-ray/Combo pack/digital download/whatever-heckity-else-they-come-up-with to sell you.  We want him. And sadly, this may be the only way he’ll end up in our living room. Or bedroom. Or–whatever. *cough*


Yeah, there’s plenty of comic relief (albeit of the creepy kind in the case of the bug-eyed beastie) with Gollum and party boy Bofur–but for white-hot sex appeal, go for the alpha dwarf every time!


Really, there’s always someone trying to outdo the Master. Silly rabbit.


Need I say more?

Tie, cardi and talking hands. It’s all good.


Richard Armitage is joined by Tweeting buddies Andy Serkis and James Nesbitt to give Hobbit fans a “thank you” in advance of the DVD release next week. A short, sweet vid with Richard looking spiffy and doing that adorable “talking with his hands” stuff we all love.
Only a few more days until I have The Hobbit in my hot little hands! The combo package, not Martin Freeman. Just to be clear on that.

The world’s slowest Tweet session, but Thorin consoled me (new fanart)


If you read that the Q&A session on Twitter with Andy, James and Richard lasted over 3 1/2 hours, you might be thinking, “WOW! lots of questions answered!”

Well, er—no. Give three Twitter newbies one MacBook and no apparent advance exposure to the many questions tweeted in, and you have a recipe for a near-disaster.

Sorry, @TheHobbitMovie, this was not a well-planned shindig. Richard finally ended up answering 14 questions, but we are pretty sure that was due to someone else finally taking over and typing in the answers given to them by the Hobbit crew while the boys went out and drowned their sorrows or whatever. It’s the only answer I can come up with for the sudden rapid response of the hitherto Gang Who Couldn’t Tweet Straight.


I am afraid the quality of the photo somewhat reflects the quality of the whole event. A bit out of focus. Courtesy of @TheHobbitMovie

It took quite a bit of time before any question at all was answered, and then it seemed there was at least a quarter of an hour between each new retweeted question/response.  The guys were sweet and charming, but—honestly, next time around, just have one actor on at a time. Vet the questions in advance and toss out the obvious losers so they don’t have to wade through a jillion of them. Keep it simple.  As it is, I am sure a lot of fans of all three gentlemen were somewhat disappointed with the results.

That being said, we hardy commenters kept one another entertained with our own quips, cracks, fake questions (re Judiang) and blonde jokes courtesy of HeathRA. Richard would have been proud of our determination to do “whatever it takes” to pass the time.  And I appreciate the guys all making the effort.

And we learned some things: Richard’s favorite dessert is chocolate ice cream, scaling Mt. Everest is on his bucket list, his life philosophy is to follow the Golden Rule, his favorite Depeche Mode song is “Master and Servant,” and the three people (real or fictional) he’d most want to dine with are John F. Kennedy, Richard III and Sir Ian McKellen.

Oh, and if he had to choose between fighting duck-sized horses or horse-sized ducks, RA would prefer the latter. Yes, someone asked that question.  And since the questions were so few and far between for most of the event, @kadeart had time to create this delightful artwork to illustrate the answer:


Anyway, the pdf of the entire Q&A is at www.richardarmitagenet.com. Just click on the link.

I mentioned Thorin Blu-ray caps; Heirs of Durin posted a link to a new site, www.gallicka.com  which offers scads of beautiful high-quality screencaps from the Blu-ray editions of The Hobbit. Don’t ask me how.  I just enjoyed snaffling as the sands slowly went through the hourglass . . . several times. And then I started doing some photo editing. Here are some of the results of my efforts. I mean–is this dwarf alluring, or WHAT??




More Thorin art tomorrow, along with a follow-up on Richard’s interview with Lorraine Kelly on ITV, which is set for 8:30 a.m. GMT.  I know Ali at RANet is planning to post it to YouTube after she gets off work tomorrow and someone else may have it up earlier.

Oh, did you note RA did not appear to be sporting much facial hair in the above pic–but he was wearing his sexy cardigan and tie combo? Yum.

Sometimes, I get lucky.



Thanks for all the positive vibes, Folks. On a morning that left thousands (millions?) from around the world vying for less than 100,000 badges  disappointed, I was able to get the “Golden Tickets” for Comic-Con 2013. Couldn’t score all four days for both of us, but I am sure Benny can find something else to occupy him Saturday. Considering they were all sold out within an hour-and-a-half and I don’t have the world’s fastest internet connection, I feel pretty chuffed.

Sometimes, I get lucky.

He said, she said: A fan & non-fan see “The Hobbit” *SPOILERS*


It was a gloomy rain-soaked December afternoon in CA (Central Alabama), pretty much ideal weather to lose oneself in a film. And so my husband and I donned our green 3D glasses and watched the film I had long been awaiting–and, as it turned out, in HFR.

I know a lot of my fellow bloggers have been weighing in on their thoughts about The Hobbit after viewing it. I haven’t read most of them because I was waiting to see the film for myself.  Not wanting to be a broken record, I decided to do something that’s perhaps a bit different (I still haven’t read all those other reviews): share my viewpoint and my husband’s, the fan versus non-fan, if you will.

First, where each of us is coming from.

Angie’s POV: I first read The Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was 14 and I really loved it.I became immersed in that world.

I remember my sister bought me a LOTR calendar with beautiful artwork for Christmas and I kept it for years.  I didn’t read The Hobbit until I was an adult, although I do remember reading excerpts from it when I was in elementary school, in a storybook from our school library, featuring whimsical illustrations of Bilbo and the dwarves.

So,  I like Tolkien; I am a fan but definitely not an extreme one, just as I am a fan of Star Trek but not a Trekkie. I didn’t see the trilogy in theatres but waited and watched on satellite and I don’t own the DVDs. I’ve never had a desire to dress up as Galadriel or learn to speak Elvish or read LOTR fanfic, not that there’s anything wrong with any of that.  I simply save that level of obsession for Mr. Armitage.


He said: In terms of sci-fi fantasy, I definitely prefer the science fiction part of it. I’m just not into wizards and Dungeons and Dragons type stuff. Doesn’t really interest me. I’ve never read any of Tolkien’s books, never seen the movies. I can’t say I’ve been particularly looking forward to this movie. But I know you are, so, hey.  Taking one for the team. Because I am that kind of guy.

(Discussion after watching the film)

She said: Thanks for bearing with me. I hope it wasn’t too unpleasant an experience for you. So, let’s get this out of the way– what did you like the least about the film? What scenes would you have changed, maybe deleted?

He said: Well, it was just too long. I think they could have tightened it up a lot. Not necessarily by deleting scenes, but just–shortening them. It’s sort of like, we’ve got all this great CGI and we’ve got this beautiful NZ landscape, let’s keep using it.  And the battle scenes started getting repetitive.

She said: Actually, I agree with you. It could have been tightened up in editing.  And the fighting did get repetitive after a while. Although I did enjoy that gorgeous NZ scenery quite a lot.  And seeing Richard wield a weapon and use it effectively, as opposed to what they did with him in RH, making Guy look a right numpty.

He said: Now they could have left out that whole first dwarf song as far as I’m concerned.

She said: *slightly concerned*  “Blunt the Knifes,” right, notMisty Mountains?”

He said: Yeah, yeah, the one at the table.  The other one was fine. They just dragged out the whole thing with the dwarves at Bilbo’s too long.

(She breathes a sigh of relief. Would have hated to argue Misty Mountains with him. One of HER favorite moments).

She said: You mentioned something back at the theatre about being confused about who was who and what and why . . . so you feel as if your lack of familiarity with the books/movies made it more difficult for you to follow the film?

He said: Yeah, even with that prologue with young Thorin and everything, I still felt a bit lost. I was getting all the trolls and orcs and goblins confused, and didn’t understand their place in Middle-Earth. And that–whatchamacallit with Gandalf and the elves–

She said: The White Council.

He said: Yeah, that. It just didn’t seem to add anything to my understanding of what was going on. It seemed like it was just stuck in there so you could have these characters from the original LOTR films to appease the people who loved them.

She said: What about the technology? The 3D, HFR, the CGI?

He said: Well, the 3D was definitely an improvement over what we saw in Captain America. But there were times when I really didn’t notice it that much one way or the other. The HFR–again, I couldn’t really tell a lot. My eyes were watering a little when the film was over but other than that, I didn’t notice any physical effects from it. The CGI–OK, there may have been too much of it at times, but it was very well done. Weta is really good, in some ways better than ILM (Industrial Light and Magic).

She said: I really liked this 3D much better than in CA. It actually did have a dimensional feeling to it. A few times I felt myself jump a little in my seat. In terms of the HFR–I didn’t seem to notice much blur in the movement in the action scenes. I liked that. I had a bit of a headache but I had one before the movie started, so I am not blaming that on the 3D HFR.  I think the CGI was excellent, too. Having seen the LOTR trilogy, I have to say Gollum is more realistic-looking than ever. Frightening and pitiable and comical all at the same time.

He said: The Riddles scene was good, but it was too long, too.

She said: I thought Martin and Andy gave strong performances there. I have to admit there were a couple of scenes that got me choked up a bit. When Bilbo reappears and Thorin asks why he did come back and Bilbo says it’s because the dwarves don’t have a home and he does. That got to me.

He said: (a tad sheepishly) Yeah, I have to admit what I liked best were those kinds of scenes. When Thorin’s telling Bilbo he’s never been so wrong and then gives him a big hug, that was an “awwwww” moment for me.

She said: Oh, me, too! We got to see Thorin smile and Richard doesn’t play a lot of roles where he smiles, so that was good to see. And Martin’s expression, feeling as if he’d finally been accepted. I loved that.

He said: The thing is–I thought the dwarves were pretty rude the way they invaded Bilbo’s house. I didn’t blame him for being upset. They seemed like jerks. I don’t think I really care whether they achieve their mission or not, to be honest.  I mean, they were just greedy, piling up all that gold. And then the dragon shows up. Sh*t happens. (pauses, smiles slyly) Of course, my favorite thing in the whole movie was the fabulous Richard Armitage . . .

She said: (smirking) OK, I know you’re just saying that to keep me happy. But he was good, you have to admit. I do miss his forehead–the crinkles, the furrows–but it’s amazing how much Richard can express through his eyes alone. You could read a lot about the character through those eyes.

He said: (Nods in agreement)

She said: I do sort of wonder if Sir Peter has a mancrush on Richard. All those close-ups, the noble profile, looking so majestic, so heroic–

He said: But he is the hero! I mean, at least until later in the other films, right?

She said: Yep, and then the gold lust takes over–although he does redeem himself. I did think they ended the film at a good point.

His overall rating for The Hobbit: “Some sort of B. Think it should have stayed two films instead of a trilogy, frankly.”

Her overall rating for The Hobbit: “B+. Strong performances, it’s visually stunning, RA was terrific as I expected–but I feel it was padded, too. Haven’t been won over to the HFR Club yet, either.  Sorry, Sir Peter.”

I do plan to see the movie again in 2D at my friendly hometown theatre on a nicer day weather-wise. I confess I was nervous on our drive to the theatre as I knew Benny was not, indeed, looking forward to the film and was only going to placate me.

I had this horrible fear he might absolutely hate it and I’d feel horrible I’d taken half of his only full day off each week to sit in a theatre and suffer. So things turned out better than I thought they might.  And it turns out we did see eye to eye on several points. I am sure I will have more to say after it marinates a while in my brain– and especially if I do go back on my own and see it in 2D.


Oh, Richard . . . you “got me!” RA at the Arias


Thank you, Bccmee and friend, who supplied this video snippet of the Arias featuring Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage presenting the award for Album of the Year. Richard is sounding sooooo sexy (DEEP voice. Channeling Thorin?) and looking delicious back in black–and rumor has it the trousers are leather? Ohhhhhhhhh . . .



And here’s some photos that showed up taken by a lady who had a fantastic seat for the show, Erin Brown, aka Speedmouse. I believe she referred to him as “magnificent.”

I’m not worthy, I’m not worthy . . .

Still side-stepping “Hot Dwarf” issue, more fanart. Oh, you adorable boy.



Here’s another interview with Andy, Martin and Richard with dear RA cleverly side-stepping the whole “hot dwarf” issue  once more (love how Martin and Andy also chime in here). The image quality was a bit muddy on my end, but hey, you know how gorgeous he looks and you can hear him just fine. 😉  Thank you, Ali, for the link on Twitter.

And while I am at it, some more fanart from the premiere:

Oh, come on, Richard, you know you are!

It’s raining, it’s pouring–RA & Hobbity goodness!


It’s actually raining and pouring the regular wet stuff here right now. No wonder Bad and Even Worse Knee hurt all night. That may have impeded sleep, but it didn’t stop me from soaking up all the pre-premiere Hobbit hoopla. I have never been so ridiculously excited over the premiere of any movie, including one that was shot right in my hometown and county.

Of course, it didn’t star Richard Armitage as the world’s sexiest dwarf, either, more’s the pity.

Here are some photos that Sir Ian McKellen tweeted earlier of the preparations in Wellington as they literally rolled out the red carpet for Sir Peter and Company.

There are interviews which I tried to link to here, but only end up with big black holes. ?? Go to YouTube and type in “Hobbit Cast Interviews” and you should pull them up if you haven’t seen them already. Richard looks great, is in mellifluous voice and is his typical gentlemanly and articulate self. And those smiles and the laughter!

Yet another interview vid from CC


Just in case you missed it, yet another unearthed interview from Comic-Con, this one with Andy, Martin and Richard interspersed with clips from the production vlogs and the trailer. It’s from a French site, so an extra added attraction are the French subtitles, which I had fun reading aloud and imagining it was RA doing it instead. 😉

This one covers some ground not really touched on in other interviews we’ve seen thus far. There’s some interesting footage of Martin and Andy in character as Gollum in his mo-cap suit performing a scene together and discussing the challenges of filming the scene.

Other than showing up in the clips several times, Richard appears in the interview portions twice, including a really close-up shot near the end. I enjoyed hearing him talk about working with Peter Jackson and again, the theme of trust arose–the need for an actor to be able to trust his director has a vision for the film and who will be a strong guiding hand “because actors need that.”  I also love hearing the man say “trust.” It’s that “u” sound. And it reminds me of John Porter and Katie.


Thanks to Ali for giving me a heads-up over at Twitter.

A photo from Empire magazine, courtesy of E!.

Sir Peter’s latest vlog: my thoughts (part two)


Well, feeling better than I was earlier today, thank goodness. And I am thinking about Richard Armitage once more. I know. What a surprise.


I rewatched that last production vlog again earlier in anticipation of writing this second blog entry on it. Once again, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the entire thing. What an exciting journey it has been thus far! And how fortunate I feel to have the opportunity to be part of it thanks to Sir Peter’s efforts to share it with us.


The focus of this entry is to be Mr. A, but first I have to reiterate how much I admire and appreciate the infectious spirit of camaraderie and team work seen in the cast and crew of The Hobbit. I can only believe that is a positive work environment for all involved.


Something that particularly struck me on this viewing was Sir Peter’s expression of nerves on his way to Comic-Con. Of course, a tremendous amount rides on the reception of these films, yet the fact this celebrated genius of the cinema was so concerned about a positive outcome at an event which is largely fan-based touched me. The fans, as he said, are his kind of people, and he wants them to be pleased with what he’s doing.

Oh, and I must give a shout-out this time around to the charming T-shirts I actually noticed on first viewing (yes, I actually did catch things other than a certain hot dwarf and his Creator) for those working with second unit director, the multi-talented Andy Serkis: “Andy’s Flying Serkis.” Gotta love those!!

Now, on to RA.

He looks fantastic, doesn’t he?  

A happy and healthy-looking Richard Armitage. I do find those flecks of grey in his beard quite endearing.



Of course, we all saw him looking quite relaxed and fit and truly gorgeous at Comic-Con. But this vlog gave us an opportunity to see more of him along the way—the sort of moments we saw so few of in earlier production vlogs.  There were amusing moments, breathtaking moments (he really is absolutely beautiful as Thorin), moments of quiet reflection and boisterous tomfoolery.

Some of my favorite RA moments:

Richard playing “footsy” with the other dwarfs in those great cumbersome boots.  I love him in jeans, of course, but we don’t see nearly enough of him in shorts IMHO.  Legs like those deserve to be showcased. And once more that dancer’s stance shines through.

 Poetic Armitage. Like everyone else, his evocative comments about those early arrivals at Stone Street with the stars still shining in the sky struck a particular chord with me.  The man may have the profile of a king and the body of an Adonis, but he’s got the heart of a poet.


His ability to focus. The sense that he is “all there” and never slumming always strikes me. I love seeing these behind-the-scenes glimpses of Richard at work. Those azure eyes and elfin ears (rather more elfin than usual, even if he’s playing a dwarf) take it all in, don’t they?

Ah, that intent, focused gaze.

Younger Thorin? I do believe—judging by the attire and also the lack of grey hair here—this must be younger Thorin in battle. I see a hint of Sir Guy in his expression. I don’t know if it makes Sir Guy happy—I still avoid mentioning a certain warrior dwarf in his presence—but it makes me happy. And all the more eager to see younger and older Thorin on the big screen.

Leaping Armitage. It’s a “blink and you miss it” moment, but when in that one scene in which Martin is cutting up with the dwarfs you can just glimpse a tall, dark-haired fellow jumping in the air on the left side of the screen. I could only recall his Cats days—and smile.

Cheeky Armitage. He’s grown into a beautiful mature man but it’s fun to see the boyish, cheeky, flirty side of him peeping out at us. Sticking out his tongue at Graham MacTavish. Tossing that fish at Adam Brown.  Like others, I had worried somewhat that he might be so caught up in the angsty gravitas of Thorin he never really let his hair down.

Moments like these make me think he also knew how to kick back and be a cheeky monkey along the way.

I recall what the stuntmen on Strike Back said: “He’s one of us.” I suspect that is exactly how the crew felt about RA—the hard-working, good-natured, gentlemanly, down-to-earth fellow we all know and love- after working with him for a year and a half. And I do believe he has so many wonderful memories he will treasure for the rest of his life from his NZ odyssey.

And now with these continued speculations that a third film is not, in fact, out of consideration . . . so he may be spending more time Down Under.  Who knows? I just know I am now eagerly awaiting a post-production vlog from our friend Sir Peter . . .


And, of course, news of sightings of Mr. A in the Midwest re the “tornado movie.”  I think these next few months are going to be very exciting for us all. 



Sir Peter’s latest vlog: my thoughts (part one)


Well, what a day it’s been. Mine started late because I didn’t get to sleep until sometime close to 3 a.m. and was in no mood to rise early. Feverish visions of highwaymen were dancing in my head, I suppose. When the highwayman looks just like Guy, this is not a bad thing.

And then, as I was checking email and Twitter, I saw the news: Sir Peter’s latest videoblog was up! I have the World’s Slowest High-Speed Internet (and of late it seems slower than usual) so I had to allow that video to buffer, watching a few minutes, then allowing more to upload . . . it’s tedious, but some things are definitely worth a bit of tedium, wouldn’t you agree?

I was totally wrapped up in this entry from the word “go.” Often, I must confess, I have mainly been eager for glimpses and sound bites of RA in previous vlogs. Well, this IS called The Armitage Effect, right?

But this time was different. Is it due to having followed along on this incredible journey, getting familiar with the faces behind the making of this huge film project? 

Perhaps it is due to all the coverage of Comic-Con and enjoying the interviews with RA and the other Hobbit folks.


Maybe it’s just that I am now like Pavlov’s dog and start salivating at the notion of watching anything remotely connected with Richard Armitage, regardless of whether or not he can be seen or heard.

It was fun reliving those Comic-Con moments like this.

Whatever the reasons, I was excited and enthused by it all from beginning to end. Multiple sightings of Mr. A as himself and in Thorin guise did not, of course, hurt.

Since this odyssey began, I’ve come to feel a great affection, admiration and respect for Sir Peter Jackson and cast and crew of this film.

And this particular entry is less about Richard—more on him later, of course—and more about my general impressions of the vlog and some of my favorite moments.

I am one of those people who actually likes to read all the credits for a film. It’s sort of my way of paying homage to all the clapper loaders, best boys, gaffers, Foley artists, set decorators, conceptual artists, makeup artists, second second unit directors and all the others who combine their talent, creativity and experience to make movie magic happen.

I really appreciate the fact Sir Peter took the effort throughout the eight vlogs to give us a chance to get to know some of these people and to see their dedication and enthusiasm. As I have said, it takes a village to not only raise a child, but to make a fantastic film such as The Hobbit.

Some (though not all) fav moments:

*Seeing that bowl filled with pencil stubs from all the conceptual drawings from the films and hearing the sense of pride and wonder in the artists’ voices when they speak of going from those drawings to walking within the very sets they have designed really touched the artist within me.  And their work and the work of the set builders and decorators is phenomenal.

*Watching Andy Serkis in action as second unit director. I’ve been a fan of Andy as an actor for quite a while; now I am simply a fan of Andy’s, period. One could say he’s learned from the best. He truly seems to exude the same sort of boundless energy and enthusiasm for his work that we see in Sir Peter. And he seems truly grateful to have been given this fantastic opportunity.

We also found out he plays a mean sax.

I sense the smiles and bonhomie were not merely for the cameras with this project.

*Visiting the amazingly detailed and beautiful set for Dale. I could imagine feeling transported to another time and place walking through those streets.

*Lee Pace. I really, really like Lee as an actor and an all-around nice guy. It was wonderful to see the behind-the-scenes footage of him learning how to walk and move like an elf. Another tall, graceful, talented, good-natured, shy guy of whom I am very fond.

American actor Lee Pace at the ET Post-Emmys P...

American actor Lee Pace at the ET Post-Emmys Party, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Sept. 21, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

*Seeing more of the dwarfs. They really do seem as if they had an absolute blast playing these roles, don’t they?

* “I’ve never worked on such a hairy movie.” 😉 It does appear there could be yaks with chilblains in the Himalayas this winter.

Seriously, the amount of materials and supplies that went into costumes, wigs, sets and so much more is mind-blowing.

*The camaraderie.  I know it’s easy for the more cynical to dismiss those on camera talking of the sense of family and how much they will miss one another as merely part of hyping the film.

 I choose to believe otherwise; I choose to believe they really, genuinely have formed bonds and friendships and they will, indeed, miss working and playing together.  I know how much I came to care for my co-workers and those long hours we sometimes worked, literally putting out one publication at night whilst working on a special project, having said publication printed three hours away and returned to our offices the next morning—and we’d never gone home yet.  Tiring, oh yes—but such a sense of accomplishment and teamwork, too.

(Damn, I am about to start crying. I miss that, you see.)

*The hug of the two sirs. Sir Ian in his Gandalf guise giving a bear hug to Sir Peter. Really touching.  

*Seeing all those people in those final shots. A smiling, happy-looking lot of folks, indeed.

*Martin’s comments about “high-quality people.” I think he’s absolutely right. High-quality people creating a high-quality product.

And I can hardly wait to see the end results of the fruits of their labor!  And just think, this isn’t the last of the vlogs! PJ is promising more post-production goodies for us. Bless you, Sir Peter. You spoil us. ( And have I mentioned I find you, your cardigans, disheveled hair and generally rumpled air incredibly endearing . . .)