Tag Archives: early roles

Ten Things I Learned from “This Year’s Love”

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Last night I finally got around to watching This Year’s Love. It’s the 1999 Indie film that provided Richard Armitage’s screen debut in a very small but memorable role as the delightfully named “Smug Man at Party.”  Richard’s character obviously finds tattoo artist Danny (Henshall) completely out of place at  the posh party his partner Sophie (Jennifer Ehle) the rich rebel, has him attend.

Richard looking very handsome and suitably smug, given his role, with two unidentified actors in a scene from This Year’s Love.

 
Here’s the link to the snippet from the film that features Richard:

The film has a strong ensemble cast led by Jennifer Ehle and Douglas Henshall and a great soundtrack. It follows the misadventures of six young people in Camdentown, London as they keep searching for Mr. or Miss Right.  It’s funny but also quite painful in parts, not unlike real life, I suppose. It’s an interesting film and worth seeing even without RA’s film debut.

Now, here’s a list of things I learned while watching the film:

1. Don’t let your new husband find out you cheated on him with a friend’s husband on your wedding day. It doesn’t bode well for the future.
2. Never get drunk with a tattoo artist and let him tattoo your bum. It doesn’t bode well for the future.
3. Never get involved with a womanizing artist who never washes his hair. It doesn’t—hey, you get the idea.
4. Lizzie Bennett with long blonde dreadlocks and tattoos but still speaking posh is slightly disconcerting.
 5. Either have an excellent ear for Scottish accents or use the subtitles if you want to understand a large portion of the dialogue spoken by Douglas Henshall and Dougray Scott, or, as I like to think of them, the Two Dougies. (Fortunately, I have the former.)
6. It’s a heck of a lot better than Cleopatra (not that most things aren’t), but you don’t get to see Richard’s legs.  *sigh*
7. I sometimes miss Richard’s floppy hair. Reminds me of Harry and early Guy. *sigh*
 8. “The cast of Trainspotting gate-crashing Four Weddings and a Funeral” is a pretty apt description of the film. Posh mixed with squalor. Humor mixed with despair and tragedy.
9. Kathy Burke is a wonderful actress. I think I had only seen her on a chat show prior to watching this film.
10. Richard Armitage has always looked just swell in a tux.

The production even RA trashes: Cleopatra 1999

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Handsome Man in Toga and Caesar Coif.

A sort of close up of Richard as Epiphanes with Rupert Graves (Octavius).

Before there was Guy and Richie, there was Epiphanes and a Horse with No Name.

That's a Guy-like look in Epiphanes' eyes.

Richard played Epiphanes in a Hallmark Entertainment made-for-TV production back in 1999. Even Richard has said this movie is bad. And knowing the kind and considerate fellow that RA is, you can pretty bet that means Cleopatra is a turkey
The titular role is played by Leonor Varela, an exotically beautiful young woman who wears a lot of diaphanous costumes which allow ample views of her physical charms. Unfortunately, there is very little acting talent on display, with a performance on par with some less gifted grade-schoolers I have encountered.

The dependable Timothy Dalton does the best he can with the role of Caesar and as Marc Antony, Billy Zane is–Billy Zane.
Rupert Graves is, for me anyway, unintentionally hilarious as Octavius. He is wearing a brunette Harpo Marx wig and walks around clutching his toga in a very self-important manner. It’s one of those roles I doubt Rupert puts on his C.V.

But what YOU really want to know is–what about RICHARD? Well, if you are looking for numerous opportunities to listen to that chocolate voice, you are out of luck. I think he has at most one or two audible lines in the whole film. Nor are there lots of close-ups.

Mostly, he is seen in his flattering toga and helmet astride a horse (the man has the legs for a toga, in case you haven’t noticed), or standing around in his toga (with and without his nifty helmet), popping up periodically and almost always in the background. But it seems a criminally long wait one has to endure to see him for the first time, requiring one to sit through a lot of stilted dialogue.

I can report he wears a Caesar haircut extremely well, and his smudgy bedroom eyes seem precursors to the era of Guyliner that will arrive seven years later.

Would I recommend adding Cleopatra to your RA DVD collection? Well, let me put it this way: unless, as I did, you can find it for a very, very cheap price somewhere–no.
Remember, even RA said it was rubbish. And you know RA . . .