Saturday, October 23, 2010

He's Made It! Big Break or Big Ache?

He put in his thumb
And pulled out a plum
And said, "What a good boy am I!"
 ~ Little Jack Horner rhyme  

This "good boy" just won the movie sweepstakes. 

In all the worlds in all the universes, no one could have imagined or predicted that The Armitage would be aiming for or land a role of seismic proportions and reverberations such as the role of Thorin Oakenshield in the much anticipated, Peter Jackson directed film, The Hobbit.  Confusion of a sort reigned when it was announced earlier that he was playing a minor villain in a major comic book movie.  His own words regarding a role in the future were revealing yet cryptic.  Somewhere there is a role involving deep, dark water.  Somewhere there is a related and anticipated press release.  We remain none the wiser.

The entire internet universe is atwitter.  When I say "universe",  I mean every technologically sophisticated country in the real world. That's a lot of exposure.

I'm enjoying the comments of Tolkien book/film fanatics.  I especially love the following comment by frank, echoed by some others:  Martin Freeman is beyond perfect, of course. I dunno about Richard Armitage, though. Lookin' at the guy in other roles doesn't scream "grizzled, confrontational dwarf" to me, but then I'm not Peter Jackson.

No, frank, you are not Peter Jackson.  But I can't explain to you either about how your doubts might be alleviated without sounding about 14 years old and telling you that the Armitage will own the role and probably own the picture.  I won't say that because though I might believe it, I cannot predict that this will happen. But then a lot of people didn't believe in Secreteriat, so maybe I will tell you outright that I believe that Richard Armitage will own the film. Yeah.

Neither being a fan of Tolkien or a fan of the films (though I did enjoy them), I have difficulty imagining the long-legged, 6 foot 2 inch Richard Armitage as a dwarf.  But then I suppose I imagine dwarves in a way that Tolkien did not.  I also imagine dwarves all looking like Gimli from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The cast announcement suggests, however,  that the company of dwarves is rather replete with the pretty so I am scratching my head about the point of it all.

I also mourn the aesthetic loss of gazing upon a pleasing countenance and limbs.  In other words, I don't get to go breathless while indulging in his beauty, as if this were a bad thing (well, according to Himself it is). To me, in no particular order, this is Ache#1Beauty is such a wonderful thing to celebrate and I will miss that.  I bless beauty every day.  As an aside, Himself should get a clue and understand what a gift he possesses in that department and just be damned grateful and get over himself.

In a recent interview The Armitage proclaimed he was ready to be the "Elephant Man".  We know he has long chafed at the heartthrob label.  Okay, I will empathise.  It is hard being handsome when you want to be taken seriously. Often, it is not his admirers who do this as much as the media, so I sometimes wonder whom he is really fighting, his "army" of female admirers or lazy reporters and journalists.  Often, he has bared his upper bod and then cried foul when it came to that same admiration- I've said it before and I'll keep saying it because it is confusing. Personally, I think admirers of his acting get short shrift.  He thinks he's being stereotyped????

This is the official casting call description of this plum role: Powerfully built and a legendary fighter, Thorin has led a tough and dangerous life and it shows on his face. He is sharp eyed and sharp tongued, proud in his bearing and un-trusting of those he does not know. But Thorin is also capable of intense loyalty, immense courage and surprising gentleness and humour.

A piece of cake for The Armitage.  But that's such a given and not really newsworthy. Yet, it makes my heart leap.  I bought all three series of the Robin Hood DVDs practically sight unseen in order to see what he made of Guy of Gisborne and was not disappointed.  It was a tour de force and no matter how cheesy it all seemed, he saw the opportunity to show a vast range of emotion and behaviour, rather operatic at times. Such a breathtaking role and yet, for me, apart from the aesthetic, a true character study and evolution, hidden behind and in spite of a mask of leather and guyliner.  I love the actor's willful and creative defiance of the role.

So, it is very newsworthy that this is the role of endless breakout possibility for him.  This is the character role for him.  This is the role of real challenge.  He gets to hide and to project.  This is the time of celebration for him.  This. Is. It. For him.

And the question is, will we buy it?  How exciting is that?  Thorin Oakenshield is his wished for Elephant Man.  And he knows it.  A dream come true.  And will Hollywood buy it, all the bigshots and bigwigs, all those who make or break?  He is now in the "in" crowd. Such cachet.

Not to mention the other major and big connections.  If Cate Blanchett (his dream casting) appears in the film, well that is so much closer to heaven, isn't it?  The networking is mindboggling.  This is huge, so huge.  This is big, so big.  This is the alpha and omega, the make or break.  Seriously, it sounds nuts, but Hollywood is still the Holy Grail for aspiring and ambitious actors.  I guess, The Armitage is one such actor...majorly ambitious. 

I also want to extend a shout out, applause, to his agent who came through for him.  There was a plan and a trajectory.  Much better than not knowing.  Still, I feel cheated.  Because The Armitage mentioned a play for the summer of 2011.  I do believe by the time of that interview he knew that he had secured the part in The Hobbit. So, what gives?

And so....

Ache #2 Good-bye.  

I am a relative newbie to the Armitage sphere.  I am impressed by the long and longsuffering loyalty of some of his admirers.  So very long.  The current euphoria for his sake is palpable.  I feel it too.  He has been a cherished treasure.  Professionally and personally.  A small lambent treasure, covert, undiscovered.  And now he is discovered and has become big.  One can't stem the flow of events. 

Good-bye to the secret treasure.  It will never be the same again.

We will be inundated with something else.  And it will be BIG.

So I salute all you diehard Richard Armitage admirers, all your sweet moments and all your adoring missives.  I salute all your love and devotion, the wishing and the hoping.  I salute all those who worried about his career (and I did, too).  Your faith has borne fruit.

I feel ambivalent.  I feel loss.  It will never be the same again.   I loved the small crowd.   I don't know how long I will hang around, now.  Hollywood and the man have met.  


It's Amazing (FanVid)


  1. I love your post on The Hobbit news(and have enjoyed reading your Blog whenever I've lurked here, though not always agreeing with it all). Like you, I have no doubt he'll own the part and the film. I pray and hope it will have the same effect on his career as LOTR did for Viggo Mortensen. (Hope Mortensen fans forgive me for saying that Richard Armitage is a much better actor. Well, that's an understatement really). I'm from the US so to say the name "Richard Armitage" to any friend or co-worker brings up an entire different image of a man. I think our Mr.Armitage is an intelligent man with a great sense of humor and hopefully will not sell his soul to Hollywood, and one way is to stay living in England and for heaven sakes, please don't move to LA!

  2. Total agreement with all your comments, pi. Will miss the fun of the fan base of a smallish group of bloggers and commenters. BUT, time to share an outstanding actor with a bigger world. (sigh)

    Hope he doesn't become a total Hollywood actor; just have the choices to select the good Hollywood (or Indie) scripts. And preferably not comic books. Association with Peter Jackson might be a very good career mover. Not much into fantasy films, but Jackson is imaginative, and visual, and far from as obnoxious as "I'm the king of the world" producer...


  3. What a brilliant post! I'm certain he will own the film, partly because he will be great and partly because the audience will not be expecting what they will get. And I'm still amazed he is doing this!!

    I am sure things will change in the 'fandom' but perhaps not by as much as you imply. I think its quite diverse already and there are lots of places you can get your kicks!

    Anyway, hopefully I will still be around in a couple of years.

  4. Great post pi! You said exactly how I have been feeling:

    "Good-bye to the secret treasure. It will never be the same again."

    @Musa, I'm another American hoping the Armitage does NOT move to LA. Does that make us unpatriotic? LOL!

  5. Have only just discovered your blog, strangely enough, but I'm glad I'm here! Couldn't agree more with your post, pi. I have the same sort of feelings (including worries) about the Thorin part. It's a huge role and he gets to show off all his amazing acting skills, and the world will get to discover our "secret"... Maybe that's the thing? Until now, he's sort of been a hidden gem, deeply treasured, but this will mean he'll become more mainstream. All of a sudden there might be many more of us, and while I welcome any new fans (to be fair, I've only truly been a fan for about a year and a half now), it won't be the same. We'll see how it all pans out.

  6. Dear Twinkling Moon :)
    Unpatriotic? :) I think it makes us fear for him a little caught in the Hollywood glare, don't you think? Maybe I wouldn't worry as much if he was likely to move to Maine - LOL.

    Maybe an irrational fear he'll turn into Charlie Sheen if he moves to LA!!

  7. @musa, Charlie Sheen???!!! God forbid!!!!! Yeah, Maine's okay with me. He likes to ski, doesn't he. New England is a great place for that I think. Maybe I'm not unpatriotic, but un-LA-otic, LOL!

  8. Pi,

    Interesting post. The first part of your post,the "integrity trumps everything"part struck me as life imitating art. I see a parallel between what you've written and the journey of Lucas North (series 9 up to the end of episode 6).I hope that Mr. Armitage has a better outcome than dear Lucas.

    Also, I fear that we worry needlessly. There is a part of the Catholic Mass that I hold close to me every day and that I find comforting and helpful. It is the phrase, "Lord, save us from all useless anxiety."

    Mr. Armitage is not a young, impressionable man. He will 40 years old next year. His moral base is already established.So I will trust in his judgment and the words I've written above and not worry, for the time being. But weave a web of prayers and good wishes for him.

    Keep up the good work!

  9. Just thought I should mention that the casting call to which you refer is, as I understand it, not the genuine article.