Shake me harder, Richard Armitage
How did I love this interview? Let me count the ways.
I had a go with the beard today, having my own beard, ’cause there’s a lot of beard-wrangling to do.
And even through the early days of rehearsal and shooting, I didn’t really unpack my bag for about three weeks, ’cause I thought that I was going to be on the plane going home. But yeah, it’s worked out all right.
On the problem of creating authority through physical substance:
But what’s really crazy about it is that when you’ve got all the gear on, the padding, the costume, you feel bigger than your real self, so mentally, I’ve been walking around for the last year as a bigger version of– It’s like a giant version of yourself, and then they shrink it down. But it’s not until you see it shrunk down that you think, actually– Yeah, it’s just a connection that you make in your head, ’cause you’re bigger than everyone, and heavier. But I think that’s not a bad thing, that we haven’t been playing small people.
Making it worth it for all of us non-fight fans to watch the fight scenes:
So, yeah, the fighting has been a big character-building thing.
Shades of Richard III:
Knowing that his grandfather failed, and his father failed, so if he doesn’t do it, there’s no other member of his line that will ever do this. So he will continue through history as the king that failed to achieve the potential for his people. That’s something, again, which is a huge burden to carry. And I think that’s what drives him, but it’s also the thing that he fears, that he will fail. … But I think because he’s been a very heavy, melancholic character, I think the gold is going to change that, and it’s going to sort of bring him to life and make him the king that he should be, and more vibrant. But it comes at a price, I think.
On the identity of dwarves:
Dwarves don’t belong in a cozy, domestic situation. They belong in giant halls and on a battlefield. And so, to be in a kind of cottage-y, strange place, it was all very useful, the aggravation at being brought here to take this little strange person on a quest, which is monumental to them. This little fellow that he’s being forced to take on board is such a big frustration. So that was my experience of Bag End.
On the quest — this really makes the film even more interesting to me. I love to hear Mr. Armitage speculate about how his character feels, thinks, reacts. Also we’re going to see Armitage humiliation, which is one of his best acting moods.
But it’s kind of a loose project for Thorin to accept, I don’t think he’s ever bought that. I think he needs Gandalf to go on the quest, and if Gandalf says they’ve got to take this hobbit, then fair enough. ‘Cause he can’t really do it without him, because Gandalf has the map and the key, and he’s kind of hoodwinked into doing it. But all the way along, there is this antagonistic relationship between Thorin and Gandalf. I think Thorin is trying to prove that Gandalf isn’t correct, and most of his assumption is that he’s trying to usurp his leadership. When Gandalf isn’t there, Thorin really becomes a leader, and when he turns up, he has to be subservient, and it’s not something that he likes at all.
Love the practicality of this: I struggled with it but in the end I did it.
Well, I needed him to be heroic on the battlefield and somebody that still has a potential to rise to that state of brilliance on a battlefield, even though it’s like– He’s like a flame that’s fluttering, and has nearly been extinguished, but it has the potential to re-ignite. It’s like a dying flame when you first meet him, but he still has to be a flame. It’s something I’ve struggled with in creating the role, but then you get on with it.
Interesting look into dwarf, human, and Armitage values:
I think the dwarves by nature are greedy and stubborn, and they covet gold, there’s no getting away from it. They don’t see that as a bad thing. You have to remove your human sentiment when it comes to greed and the accumulation of wealth. They see it as a very positive thing. … we haven’t actually got to the point yet where we really see the gold and start touching it and owning it. So it’s going to be interesting to see how that divides this very tight unit of questers.
On the stunt thing — I wish I could emulate this own attitude — just do it and trust the people around you, trust that it will be okay. And: shake me harder! What a line!
Do you know what? If it catches fire though, someone will run in and throw a bucket of water over me. You’ve just got to do it. It was a good day, we’ve had a few good days like that, when you see what they’re going to do, and they practice it on the stunt guy, and then you get to step in and do it. I think we did something the other day on a rig where I was in the mouth of a Warg, being shaken around. Pete always wants to push it further, so it got to the point where I was being severely shaken around, but you watch playback, and at a hundred-and-twenty frames a second, it looks fantastic, so you think, “Okay, get me back in there and do it again. Shake me harder.” So yeah, I always wanted to do more.
Another sign it’s going to be a great, great film:
And that’s what I love about Philippa and Fran and Pete, the way they write is that they start to hear your voice, and they write for you, and they write for all of those characters.
Talk about taking one for the gang. Another moment of “just do it Armitage.”
I think I put a shield through my lip and I smashed the shield in and had a mouthful of blood and this big, huge broken lip, and he said, “Okay, can you just try another one now?” I’m like, “Yeah, okay”, with this big mouthful of blood. But it looks great on the shot, because I’ve got this sort of bleeding teeth and it’s dripping out of my face. … That’s, maybe, a ‘holy shit’ moment, swallowing my own teeth.
On people possibly recognizing him. He seems rather confident.
It’s interesting, ’cause that character really doesn’t look anything like me, so it’s kind of nice. It will be good.
Oh man, oh man, t’s going to be hard to think at all if this continues.