Armitage seaweed?

The Daily Mail reports a turning point in Mr. Armitage’s career as the result of a particular experience: “It was after playing a piece of seaweed in a Sarah Brightman video that he wisely decided he was ‘in the wrong lane’.” A quick glance at google didn’t give me any information about this appearance — maybe this is one of those things you have to read the discussions boards to know about — but I assume this is the video. He’d have been 22, so this is two years (approximately) after the dorktastic video, assuming that’s him, as well.

Sarah Brightman, “Captain Nemo,” from her album Dive (1993).

Me being me, I was wondering if we could identify him. Not that there’s a lot of dancing seaweed in this video — essentially only two figures and one seems to be a woman. The figure on the right is a tall man with muscular thighs. I was really hoping for a definitive ear or profile shot, but was disappointed. The video above does yield the following caps:

0:34

0:43

1:00

2:18. I’m including this because it has a hand shot. Mr. Armitage’s fingers?

2:24: A really long shot, but look at the prominent ear and chin of the submerged figure on the right. Still, I don’t think it’s him. Face seems otherwise too feminine.

2:32. Included mostly because of the posterior shot. This piece of dancing seaweed does appear to have prominent buttocks.

3:39. Included for the profile shot.

A slightly different version of the video here yields the following cap, which I include because it shows the nose of the dancer.

So nothing definitive here. I will add that in the slightly different version of the video, the male dancer makes a couple of head moves that are marked similar to those made by Lucas while he is being lapdanced in Spooks 7.7.

The lapdancer, Katherina (Dolya Gavanski), informs Lucas North (Richard Armitage) that the FSB is hot on his heels in Spooks 7.7. Source: Richard Armitage Net

Not a lot to say about this. Cheesy video. Typical Sarah Brightman kind of song. The shots where the seaweed pieces bump up against each other are kind of entrancing in a cheap way.

If this report is true, and the dancing seaweed on the right is Richard Armitage, cheesy video’s loss is definitely our gain. If he needed this experience to prompt him to go to drama school, well, I think I need to write Sarah Brightman a letter of thanks.

~ by Servetus on August 26, 2010.

49 Responses to “Armitage seaweed?”

  1. Yeah, that’s it. LOL!

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  2. Thank you Ms Brightman!!! & Servetus too!

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  3. I had actually seen this before after it was mentioned in some article . . . yep, many thanks, Ms. Brightman! Musical theater and cheese-tastic video’s loss is definitely our gain . . .
    And I am still totally jealous of the actress who played the lap dancer. And got paid to do it. Life is so unfair sometimes.

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  4. That is definitely our man! The neck, the adam’s apple, and the rear end! 😀 Always loved that waving seawood bit of ephemera, even better than the dancing banana…

    The usual tangent: all my favourite actors have trained initially in dancing….

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  5. Should we send her a fruit basket? The proportions definitely seem correct for him and the butt and thighs are convincing.

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  6. I can imagine, if his “seaweed” experience was anything like the screen caps you just shared, a major “aha” moment, followed by “what the hell am I doing with my life” would have occurred. Having experienced one or two or three of those in my own life sometimes they are necessary to course correct one’s path in life. I wholeheartedly second your comment about writing a letter of thanks to Sarah Brightman for the actor that is Richard now.

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    • What’s interesting to me about this is that the performance of the male figure is actually very strong. He moves well — I am really impressed by the time of the parallel movements to the female figure, for example, and the positions of the arms and legs throughout. It’s a clean performance.

      So this must really be a generic issue, i.e., he didn’t want his artistic future to be spent on this kind of product. I.e., it must really have been a fundamental decision on his part.

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  7. I believe that is the video that has been discussed before, including the question if the the young man’s face that can be seen floating under the surface of the water is his. I think the features look wrong but that could be distortion caused by the water.

    I actually think that this video isn’t that horrible, it is typical for it’s time and there is nothing wrong with appearing in it for a dancer. When RA said this experience made him decide to try drama school I think it is more one of his usual self-deprecating jokes, choosing something that is especially weird and makes him look especially bad to get his point across. He just likes to tell such stories in interviews and it works. It makes us smile and sympathise with him.

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    • You nailed it. He is sharp, and this is the perfect story to make us smile and love him even more while conveniently dispatching an awkward part of his image. Clever. Clever indeed.

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    • Have to agree too, it’s something he would do, in a very sharp way too.

      OML 🙂

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      • Never let it be said our boy isn’t a very clever, savvy individual. Those self-depreciating comments of his always delight me. As Jane says, they make us smile and sympathise with him. And on a related topic, hasn’t he come a long way with interviews? So much more comfortable in his skin than back in, say, his North and South days.

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        • I love his self-deprecating comments, too, he never comes across as boastful and never uses others as a target for humorous but potentially hurtful comments but only himself, which is endearing. But one has to know to take his comments.

          In the past he has given other reasons why he gave up musical theatre/dancing and went for a career as a classical stage actor (at that point of time), among other things he said that musical theatre was too much “showing off” for his taste and on another occasion he said that he wanted to do something that engages his brain a bit more.

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          • There seems to be no meanness there; no desire to score a laugh at someone else’s expense. He is a true gentleman, and I admire that.

            Yes, I remember him saying ultimately musical theater and dance didn’t seem the right fit for him. And yet we see that dance training show in his acting roles–look at some of the balletic moves of Guy, John Porter and Lucas when they are in action.

            He is so keenly intelligent I can well understand the need to engage that lovely brain a bit more, and his modesty would make him resistant to “showing off.”

            And think of how many more people’s lives he has touched through his work who would never have seen him if he had stuck to his original career route? (me, for one)

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          • I personally make a lot of self-deprecating comments myself, and you have to watch it. If you’re not careful some people really will read it wrong. He does it well, but it’s not an entirely unrisky strategy.

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            • On principle alone, I was NOT going to comment on this post because talking about dancing seaweed, well, it just takes it to another level of “Fandom.” But, dam you all, you sucked me into this conversation!!!

              Isn’t that the charm of all Englishmen? That self-efficacing, self-deprecation thing that they do. American men are so in your face about their accomplishments, penis size, cars, jobs etc. Englishmen have that charming sense of humility. Collin Firth, has that in spades as well. It is so refreshing, and I think that’s why they hold such a strong appeal for me.

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    • Yeah, I didn’t cap the submerged figure because I really do not think it is him — either from the frontal view or the side. Armitage has a pretty specific ear formation, both in placement on his head and in the ear itself.

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  8. Thanks! I watched this video a while ago too and guessed he was one of the dancers you point out – but it’s very hard to tell. Love it! Sarah Brightman herself was a dancer originally I think.

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  9. Many thanks! I have seen the video before and I am sure it’s Richard. The thighs, the buttocks and the calves! look like his, and he moves very fluently. (I think his calves are lovely too, not too thin!)

    Although I am glad he took up acting, I would love to see him dance one day – stop sending Lucas to the silly strip clubs, let him meet a contact at a proper dance party!

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    • He has a beautiful pair of legs, period. I love seeing them in action. I agree, @Nietzche, I would dearly love to see our boy doing some proper dancing in one of his roles. I love your scenario with Lucas tripping the light fantastic with a contact on Spooks . . . now that would be a treat!

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    • Yeah, bring on the dancing. It would have been neat if Guy had danced, as well.

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  10. Thank you for sharing those screen caps. Profiles 3:39 and the following one are especially Armitage. No doubt questions and references to the Brightman “career” are as tedious to Mr. A as those of smelly circus elephants; but the bananas and seaweed are FUNNY!

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    • The screencaps really make you see more clearly that it is without a doubt RA. (I do think that is him in the “dorktastic” vid as well, which I find absolutely charming. A group of dancers having a good time in what I suspect was a very impromptu performance . . .)

      I wish the “ran away and joined the circus?” question by interviewers would be buried and never resurrected, but it is almost irresistible to refer to shimmying seaweed and balletic bananas LOL

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      • Hopefully we will learn more about the bananas when Spooks publicity starts. IIRC Sophia Myles met him at a time he was playing a banana?

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        • Yes, I believe that is the case; I can imagine him saying “dancing banana” with that twinkle in his blue eyes and a bit of a geeky giggle in interviews . . . speaking of which, they can start the publicity machine on Spooks any old time they wish. I am afraid I got spoiled with all the treats we got with the build-up of Strike Back.

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          • I’m confused about this a little. The primary association I make between Fay Weldon plays and bananas was an advertising campaign that she is alleged to be responsible for. I’ve heard him mention that he played a banana in a Faye Weldom play, but in that case I don’t think it would be a role — it would have been some aspect of the staging or what the Germans call “Regietheater.”

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  11. Fantastic research. LOL

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  12. At least the bananas and seaweed incorporated proper dance training and expertise! 😀

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    • Yeah, I’d argue that he dances really well here *for what this piece is,* i.e., obviously not high art. But pretty and moving nonetheless *if you like this kind of thing.*

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  13. That is probably correct. Somehow, I don’t think bananas were featured in the Brightman video – I don’t think they grow underwater…can’t remember anything except a brief reference to dancing bananas from an interview.

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  14. […] The effect of backlighting makes Lucas’s ears look almost translucent (this note is for you, Jane): […]

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  15. […] [Cf. "Armitage epistemology," which I've promised Frenz I'll get back to later this summer. I also think that the "banana" statement is a red herring. I have no proof, however, and would love to be proven wrong.] But this is the kind of detail I […]

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  16. […] dance video, to which my reaction was also immediate and highly emotional, and the apparent glimpses of him in the Sarah Brightman “Captain Nemo” vid and in the Cats rehearsal vids. Young Armitage. Returned from Budapest with Equity card, slogging […]

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  17. […] this kid out of Dodge to a place where he can flourish.” If, once established as a dancer, he didn’t enjoy the sort of dancing he was doing, and that moved him toward pursuing acting roles, still he has always called himself a very […]

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  18. […] like Gillian Lynne, who urge him to strive for more. He gets a decent number of roles; he gets cast in a Sarah Brightman video. He’s dissatisfied and is beginning to look for non-musical acting roles. One wonders how he […]

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  19. […] he worked on and ultimately, apply to LAMDA. What I know about the seaweed incident is documented here. In 2005, he described the circus as a “movement theatre type mime group” and describes […]

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