This is not my observation …

… but fitzg‘s, about Mr. Armitage’s compelling facial structure: “Profile or 3/4 view, it appears a very lean, angular face. (With those high, flat ‘Plantagenet’ cheekbones) Full face, it’s broad across the brow and the cheekbones. And softly rounded at the jaw. Very confusing. An excellent ‘chameleon’ face for an actor.”

I thought about it again this weekend while watching Strike Back 1.2:

John Porter (Richard Armitage) gazes after “Scarface” / As’ad (Fenar Mohammed-Ali) as the door to his prison swings shut, in Strike Back 1.2. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

It must be a trick of the lighting, but here the face that showed itself so frequently in parallels and contrasts and curves seems to be all flat planes and ridges. Fascinating.

And here, as fitzg observes, the very broad quality of the face, with a brow compressed into almost Neanderthal proportions:

John Porter (Richard Armitage) watches over the sleep of Katie Dartmouth (Orla Brady) during their captivity in Strike Back 1.2. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery

~ by Servetus on July 20, 2010.

37 Responses to “This is not my observation …”

  1. I have always been amazed at how different the same man can look from role to role, different hair styles, facial hair or no and other aspects aside. I suppose being able to make use of that chameleon’s face is indeed a great asset to an actor. He has described it as an “odd-looking” face, I believe, in the past. I think it has grown more interesting-looking and appealing the older he has gotten.

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    • Yes, I’m actually eager to see how he ages.

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      • Me too. I have found him more and more attractive and distinctive looking as he has approached his 40s. I would say he is going to be a very striking-looking older man.

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  2. He is a natural actor, it seems he changes easily to portray his different roles.

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    • Yeah, he’s got it down to a very subtle art. You’d never confuse Lucas North with John Porter, for example.

      Has your SB DVD arrived ?

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  3. I have been wondering whether Lucas North will look like John Porter since he went straight into Spooks filming. He gained so much muscle mass then again if not kept up is lost very fast.

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  4. I think he may have lost some of it,but he was still looked rather well-muscled across the chest during the rounds of SB interviews, from what I could judge with his shirt on, of course.

    I was glad to see his face still more filled out (versus the “lean and hungry” look he wore as Lucas in S7, distressing yet perfectly suitable for a man stuck in a Russian prison for all those years) so I am assuming Lucas is still enjoying the occasional chocolate-covered doughnut along with his workouts.

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  5. He is an astonishing chameleon, as versatile in looks as my other favourite, Sir Alec Guiness, and his features are more conspicuous, if I may say so, than Sir Alec’s. I suppose his face looks flatter because of the lighting, and it suits the scene – remember, he was badly beaten after he’d given himself up.

    Neanderthal? Nooooo! Never! The face is still too long and lean. BTW, I hope he keeps some of the muscle in Spooks 9; on the other hand, the pale, ethereal look of Lucas in 7.3 and 7.4 is still haunting me.

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    • OK, Neanderthal was an exaggeration. But he really bunches that brow up.

      Am intrigued by the comparison to Alec Guinness, which I think is a solid one.

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  6. @nietzsche, Ah, Sir Alec! I was a big fan of Olivier. But he was a big ham! (almost of the 19thC Irving etc style) Guiness was simply a consummate actor. The role, not the ego, ruled.

    Isn’t Mr. Armitage closer to this “model”? Despite the more distinctive features? (Clooney and Pitt, look and weep.)

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    • IMO he is!

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    • @fitzg and nietzsche,

      I agree, Richard’s chameleon-like qualities evoke the marvelous Sir Alec, who gave so many memorable performances!
      Richard is a character actor graced with a leading man’s face and body, in my opinion. In a world of sometimes bland male beauties, Richard simply shines.

      Re his look in Spooks 7, I am torn. It was such a shock to see him, not overweight to begin with, down a stone, after being accustomed to Guy’s more robust appearance.

      But, yes, he had a definite ethereal beauty with those chiseled cheekbones and the very wide and expressive eyes . . . further showcased by the upturned collar of his pea coat. As I think I have said elsewhere, I never really find him less than beautiful.

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  7. Am the only one who liked the Spooks 7 face best? I liked the thinner face and how the cheekbones and eyes popped out.

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    • I liked the greater presence of the eyes, but anyone so painfully thin calls forth my motherly impulses, and that was a bit jarring for me in regards to Armitage.

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      • As I have said before, I keep wanting to offer whippet-thin Lucas a nice sandwich and another choccie doughnut. I don’t have kids but I do have pets and I felt my nurturing instincts really coming out when I saw how – depleted he looked.

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  8. @jane: you are not alone. I’m a total pushover for facial bone structure. The type that lasts age. No coincidence that Audrey Hepburn was my female screen icon. Not conventional or perfect, but. Or I’d rather look like Helen Mirren, Cate Blanchette, or Tilda Swinton than Scarlett Johanssen etc.

    @servetus, for the broadest Armitage look, there’s that screen cap that everyone loves; Guy apres the Tin Man debacle with Marian. We could analyse that shot till the cows comes home, in terms of lighting, hair, and angle of face.

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    • Maybe it’s time for a term paper at the RIAS: each seminar participant will take up a specific issue?

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      • A good idea, but as the field of Phwoarosophy is so wide, I’ll have to give it some thought!

        I’ve brought a shiny red apple for Miss! I’ve enjoyed your analyses so far and have learnt ever so much this term!

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        • LOL. When I was a kid it was lilacs. When they bloomed in the spring little girls took a bunch, wrapped in a damp paper towel, to the teacher, who hopefully wasn’t allergic 🙂

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  9. I’ve already written my term paper, right? “Ways to Make Sex a Cliche in an RA-Related Fanfic.” I’m a little worried, though. Can we be graded pass/fail?

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    • If you enroll pass/fail, you do take the risk that the course will not count for degree requirements in your major. 🙂

      I always tell my students that they’re graded on the quality of their argumentation — not the extent to which I or anyone else agrees with them.

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      • Well heaven knows I’m argumentative, so I should be fine! My paper’s thesis was “Too much RA fanfic suffers from certain cliches and it makes me crazy,” and I tried to support it with examples. Obviously, the mere fact that there are many, many RA fans who would read my paper, say that such fanfic is not just exciting but deserves a taking-a-shower smilie ’cause it’s so HOT, and boot me out of RAdom, or RAology, or RAphilia, counts for nothing, because . . . uh . . . I’m argumentative!!

        (Okay, okay, if this is an instance of my incisive thinking I’ll flunk out and be sent to the School of Tautalogy.)

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        • Is there such a thing as too much fanfic ??? 8•) 😉

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        • In my classes, it’s good to be argumentative as long as you outline the premises upon which your argumentation proceeds and try to account for any obvious holes in them. Which I would say you did. 🙂

          I don’t like all fanfic. But the stuff I like, boy, I really really like it. And it tends to have clichéd sex in it, I’m afraid. 🙂

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  10. Uncanny resemblance?

    commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:King_Edward_III.jpg

    humphreysfamilytree.com/Royal/edward.iii

    Please let me know if these open here.

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  11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Edward_III Not sure if fitzg meant this pic but I sure see it!!

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  12. @iz44blue – That is it. With the caveats that the eyes are light/hazel brown (odd, considering Norman/Norse ancestry), and that it was painted approx. 200 years posthumously. The other pics are of Edward III’s tomb effigy and death meask, in the Dean’s Chapter, Westminster. These seem to have formed the basis of the “Plantagenet” features of the portrait.

    Anyway, Mr. Armitage’s features seem rather similar. Not really significant to discussion of work/acting etc., just a trip down the visual lane….

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    • @Fitzg it is absolutely striking and that pic kept popping up when I was watching Strike Back fanvids. I keep crossing my fingers for his Richard III project to come off the ground w HBO or Starz or such quality networks.

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  13. […] evidentially, via a “B reading.” Jane apologizes for the Rechtschreibreform. Jane likes Lucas’ face best in Spooks 7. She learned medieval poetry at school. Jane thinks spelling errors are charming, but she is […]

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