RA Fanstravaganza, Day 4!

FanstravaganzaLogo You can still vote on my Vicar of Dibley polls from Days 1, 2, and 3. I’ll be taking votes until end of business on Tuesday, March 23rd. Kind comments are also welcome–especially if you have a different answer to the question than those offered below! And feel free to justify the answer you did give in the comments.

Don’t forget to check out new polls at the blogs of the Fanstravaganzers (?) as well. Thanks to Nat for organizing this, developing the image above, and for inviting me to participate. I’ve been really grateful to meet such nice people. This event is designed to highlight the light-hearted aspects of this fandom, so focus on having fun, everyone!

The Spooks Fan Blog [blog defunct]

Today I am starting with some fan showcases.  (Let me know if you’d like to be interviewed about yourself as a fan–email address is in the “About” section.) I decided to start with the very first person ever to comment on this blog, to whom I feel a sincere debt of gratitude.

*****

Richard Armitage as Lucas North in Spooks 7.3. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Today’s showcased fan is bZirk, who many readers will recognize as a regular commenter on various blogs and on the imdb.com Richard Armitage board. As a fan of Mr. Armitage’s acting, like me, she is alternately happy and disturbed at what she considers an interest in his work that is “over the line.” Her thoughtful comments on my blog made me think that people might like to know this fan better. Here are her answers to some of my questions.

Servetus: What was your introduction to Mr. Armitage’s work, and why do you think it affected you enough to make you an ongoing fan?

bZirk:  “North and South.” I stumbled upon fan videos on YouTube and was puzzled by the sheer number of them, so I decided to watch the series.  Of course, Richard Armitage was handsome. A lot of actors are, and I went in with a jaundiced eye, figuring this movie was like so many others where the handsome hero has a contrived tension with the beautiful heroine. I really didn‘t think I would finish it.  But then the tea scene captured my fascination. RA’s ability to say so much while making only slight head and eye movements effectively slowed me down to ponder that scene in a way that I often don’t when watching movies.  I wanted to savor the characters and didn’t want it to end.  I’ve experienced that many times with books but seldom with movies.  Most of the time I have to fight my mind rushing to the ending and becoming impatient to see it play out as I’ve imagined it.  At the end of “North and South,” I was reluctant to let it go, and I knew I would be watching it again and soon, and it was all part of a kind of high I get when I finish a really good book.  I knew it couldn’t be attributed merely to the storyline or the ending — great as those were. It was obvious Richard Armitage’s performance had a great deal to do with it, and I wanted to watch his other roles to see if it was a fluke.

Servetus: I’ve been struck by comments of yours that imply an intersection between themes in Armitage’s work and your own life (because my reaction is similar). The mood out there in fandom suggests that our experiences are not isolated, and that many people see Armitage’s performances as transformative for the viewer. What do you think are the universal elements either in his roles or his performances that generate this reaction?

bZirk:  He seems to take roles where identity is a key element, and/or he highlights it as a key element.  To wit: Guy of Gisborne (driven to make an identity that fills a chasm in him and lets nothing stand in his way, not even his love for Marian); John Standring (not firmly fixed on making an identity until he responds to Carol and seeks to please her — to the point of allowing her to remake even his physical identity); Harry Kennedy (hints at remaking his identity not fully explored since he wasn’t designed to be much more than a prop in Geraldine’s world); John Mulligan (a chameleon identity: supposedly he’s become a different person, but it’s all a sham; then he lashes out at Ellie for her hypocritical identity); Monet (struggling with identities thrust on him: disinherited rich man’s son, lover who becomes a father and husband, old friend who becomes a lover, and art lover who just wants to pursue his passion but becomes an artistic renegade); Lucas North (with a murky identity as a spy that’s disrupted during eight years of separation from the rest of his life, he’s not sure exactly who he is), Paul Andrews (taking too much of his identity from his lover and then chafing and trying to establish his own but wreaking havoc as a result); Ricky Deeming (belligerently reveling in remaking his identity as well as being a passionate advocate for another whose identity makes society uncomfortable); and John Thornton (whose firmly established identity is rejected by his one true love, who thus challenges him to change it). I’ve left out so much, and oh, I would love to explore all of these roles more, but I’ll spare you. LOL!

Identity is the most elemental part of life.  Without identity we have no filter to help our senses define what‘s going on around us, so we’re driven to seek it and spend our entire lives refining it through our relationships, our pursuits, and our interpretation of events around us.  Richard Armitage plumbs the depths of this human odyssey and does it with a sensitivity that seems to be borne out of keen observation of human nature.  Viewers with even a slight alertness to these issues will be affected by that.

Servetus: You gave me helpful context on actors in commenting on my long-winded remarks about the role of microexpressions in Armitage’s performances. You compared Armitage to James Dean and Daniel Day-Lewis. Beyond the method acting in the work of these performers, do you see other shared elements?

bZirk:  In some of their roles, they seem to exude a sense of wonder: the “little boy” quality.  Most women can’t resist that in a man, and I don’t think it’s always for the Freudian reason.  This quality is part of the currency of hopefulness, and most of us adore hopefulness and at the very least have some affection for it.

Servetus: You’ve also mentioned your interest in seeing Armitage in an anti-hero role on the big screen. What is it about Armitage’s style of acting that makes us so happy to see him in anti-hero roles and do you have any anti-hero roles in mind?

bZirk:  Given the enigmatic nature of anti-heroes, it only makes sense that watching Richard Armitage in that type of role would make some of us happy. He lends insight to the anti-heroes he plays without spoiling the mystique!  In fact, he enhances it. Not quite sure how he does that, but I’ll definitely think about it. 😀 As for the one I would like to see him play, I’m going with the one who continually pops into my head when I see RA: Macbeth.  Ohmygosh!  I would love to see him in that role, and how fun to speculate who would be a great counterpart in Lady Macbeth.

Biographical note: bZirk frequently practices the segue and is interested in enough subjects for a couple of lifetimes.  She happens to be rabidly Texan even though she hasn’t lived there in years.  Her kids feel like Toula in ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ and are afraid to bring anyone home for fear she will make remote references to Texas.  But hey, she can cook, so that Texas upbringing has some perks. She just misses all that Mexican food.

~ by Servetus on March 19, 2010.

11 Responses to “RA Fanstravaganza, Day 4!”

  1. Very interesting answers. I’m not surprised by them having read lots of your comments the past months but I love how you phrased it all.

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  2. I thought provocative the insight that Mr. Armitage’s acting makes films like books. What bZirk describes at the beginning, the sensation of not wanting it to end, and having that mostly from books and not from films, is something I feel strongly as well.

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  3. Wonderful interview! Thank you so much and thanks to Bzirk who I’ve always felt was a bit of a kindred soul out there in the complex group that makes up RA’s fanbase.

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  4. Yay, bZ!
    I love that she’s such a loyal follower & insightful commenter to so many of us who blog. Knowing there are people like her out there who read what we write and put in their own crazy 2 cents (haha) make our hobbies so much more fun! 🙂

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  5. Fascinating interview! Nice to know more about Bzirk!

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  6. […] You can still vote on my Vicar of Dibley polls from Days 1, 2, and 3. I’ll be taking votes until end of business on Tuesday, March 23rd. Kind comments are also welcome–especially if you have a different answer to the question than those offered below! And feel free to justify the answer you did give in the comments. Also check out my fan showcase with bZirk from Day 4. […]

    Like

  7. I love that Bzirk got into RA via fan videos! I’ve never been into them myself, but all the buzz about RA as Thornton made me watch N&S too, enough though I would not normally watch a period drama.

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  8. Thanks for all of the kind comments. I was flattered that Servetus wanted to interview me. BTW, I’m also not that into period drama although I’m changing. LOL! Richard Armitage’s performance definitely made me rethink watching them, and I’ve fallen in with a great group of people who give lots of encouragement. LOL! It also helps that they know where to get hold of the ones not readily available in the states. Thanks to all of you who make that possible. You know who you are. 😀

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  9. […] creativity and personality of some fans we all wished we knew a little better. Eli of the AA and bZirk were featured on my blog, and a number of other fans who have created memorable work about Mr. […]

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  10. […] nine. Why was this actor I’d never heard of only weeks ago taking roles that provoked me so (bZirk knew) and then upping the ante with these compelling performances? And then I’d have to stop the […]

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  11. […] in a different mix for different individuals — about appreciation of artistry, about the perception and critique of identity, about fantasy, about desire, about thinking about partners, and certainly *also* about sexual […]

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