“With 13 dwarfs in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, audiences are expected by the film trilogy’s end to easily distinguish and recognise each one.
But if there’s one dwarf that will be easy to spot from the moment he appears on screen it will be Thorin Oakenshield, played by British actor Richard Armitage.
One reason is that Thorin is the leader and, going on a glimpse I got of the band of dwarfs on set during filming earlier this year, a heroic risk-taker. I couldn’t help but think that Thorin could be to The Hobbit what Aragorn – played by Viggo Mortensen – was in The Lord of the Rings . . .
An older, more world-weary Thorin.
Armitage first heard about The Hobbit after Sir Peter Jackson contacted the actor’s agent. Jackson asked if Armitage could read for the part of Thorin. “I thought, first of all, I’m six foot two [1.8 metres] and Thorin’s an old guy. Maybe they want me to read it for a general audition.
“But then when I read what they’d done with the audition speech I realised that they were looking for something quite different. They needed someone who could play a warrior, who could play a young Thorin and old Thorin and also to bring the idea of somebody who could return to his full potential to become a king. That’s when I sat down with Peter and we talked through the journey and the arc of the character – and then they offered it to me. I had to pick myself up off the floor.”
~~excerpts from Tom Cardy’s interview with Richard Armitage in The Dominion Post (NZ) 11/23/2012
Here’s the link to the rest of this interview: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/culture/7985809/Richard-Armitage-the-warrior-dwarf
Thanks to Heirs of Durin for the heads-up on the new interview. As always, Armitage brings thoughtful, intelligent and good-humored responses to the reporter’s questions.
He also discusses being on pins and needles during the months when he had the role, but the project had not yet been fully green-lighted. RA had to juggle projects, as he was determined that no one else would play the role.
And now, frankly, can any of us imagine anyone else playing the role? Just as Viggo became Aragorn, so Richard IS Thorin.
To all the naysayers, it does appear that Richard, a man in mid-life who is also strong, athletic, fit and accustomed to action-oriented roles as well as detailed characterizations; a skilled actor known for his chameleon-like qualities, is the perfect choice to play Thorin. Sir Peter obviously had faith in him.
Richard mentions the Powhiri ceremony kick-starting the production being an “amazing moment” after those stressful months of being on that knife edge, and I recall how overwhelmed he seemed to be in those opening moments: the flare of his nostrils, eyes shining with emotions, the smile on his face. And then the way he did us all proud with his little speech as representative of the movie’s cast and crew.
You also discover the importance of Thorin’s boots. I knew a broadcast journalist who taped pieces from the waist up. So you couldn’t see that she wasn’t wearing her customary high heels. “For some reason I can’t talk if I’ve got my heels on, so I do those reports barefooted,” she told me with a laugh. Apparently Richard couldn’t play Thorin without his boots–even if the shot was from waist up! Just shows how importance costuming is to the characterization.
A GIF of RA doing a bit of boot bumping at Dwarf Camp (click on to play). Richard said he had never traveled so far from home and felt more at home in New Zealand, it all seemed so familiar to him. Funny, that’s the way I felt about London!
Oh, things like this article only make me more ridiculously excited about the film. Just a few more weeks . . .
- “An Experience Like This . . .” (thearmitageeffect.wordpress.com)
- 41: RA’s climacteric year? (thearmitageeffect.wordpress.com)
- Dwarf Milking & To-Die-For Warrior: More Nuggets from “The Movie Guide” (thearmitageeffect.wordpress.com)
- True-Blue Thorin: How Sir Peter inspired RA’s Characterization (thearmitageeffect.wordpress.com)