At least for me, Mr. Armitage, you got it just about right

Interview with Mr. Armitage in the Leicester Mercury (h/t Richard Armitage Online) and he gets asked the dreaded and dreadful question about his fans again, but I think he got everything right this time:

“You can’t tell people what to like but I can control how much I let that influence me. I just leave them to it. … I’m glad to have their support but at some point, I’m going to do something they hate and they’ve got to accept that. I talk about them as if they’re one person, but they’re so diverse,” he adds, laughing.

Way to go. Sit back, laugh, enjoy the good parts, shake off the rest, and above all, don’t take this aspect of your career too seriously. You gotta do what you gotta do, Mr. Armitage. Because we’re going to react the way we end up reacting no matter how hard you try to prevent certain things, no matter what you intend, or how you wish we would respond. It’s the only way for you to grow, and the only way for us to have the chance to grow as spectators along with your growth as a performer.

Because: yes — as you state here in a such a satisfying, indeed confident, way — we’re not a monolith. Some of us will like some stuff better than other stuff — and the more diverse your fan base gets, the more people watching you, the better for you in terms of the artistic and professional freedoms you will gain — and ultimately, I still believe, even if every project doesn’t please every fan, the better for (most of) us, who will get to see more of you.

Aaaah. Nice to read this in so many ways. And he was wearing a blue sweater! (Servetus loves sweaters.) And eating grapes! (The mind pales.)

[ps. If any readers have written to me off blog in the last ten days and didn’t get an answer, it’s just because of the unfinished grading. I should be freer again beginning Wednesday.]

~ by Servetus on October 17, 2010.

32 Responses to “At least for me, Mr. Armitage, you got it just about right”

  1. Well said servetus! Hear! Hear! I salute what he said, and what you said about what he said. And I chortled merrily at your sweater / grape comment. 🙂

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  2. So glad that he doesn’t take us too seriously, and we really shouldn’t take our too seriously either! I feel a bit sorry for him, it is almost like he has this mass of women telling him what to do! Most men only have one women telling him what to wear, nagging him about his job, etc. Mr. A has an army. Poor guy.

    Blue sweater setting off those blue, eyes, lounging on a couch, eatin grapes…

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  3. I thought his response was perfect. Anyone who complains about that needs to lighten and loosen up, IMHO. And yes, dear Richard, we are a very diverse group of fans and I believe your fan base is growing all the time as you take on new and varied projects.

    And some of us, no matter what projects you may choose, will eagerly await them because it is another opportunity to see a master craftsman and a beautiful soul at work. I am first and foremost a true-blue admirer of Richard Armitage, the actor and human being, not of JT or Guy or JP or Lucas . . . although I admire them a lot, too. ( :

    As for the image of RA this brought to my mind–ah, those lovely long legs encased in denim, one folded casually over the other (boots on those big, beautiful feet?) his blue sweater accentuating those azure eyes, surely twinkling with good humour; long, elegant fingers plucking juicy grapes and popping them between those shapely lips, a lock of dark hair falling over his forehead as he chews, the lightly stubbled jaw chewing in between questions. *sigh* And I agree, @Rob, the man must be a true gentleman and have the patience of a saint to deal with the thought of thousands of women trying to dictate how he should live his life. Bless his heart . . . he’s one in a million.

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  4. Eloquent as always! My favorite line, ” you gøtta do what you gotta do…” What I love about being an admirer of his work is that it has introduced me to new literary works, people, even blogging and delightful fanfic. I would not have found Bernard Cornwell without Lords of the North, nor Georgette Heyer without Venetia, etc. My urge to write fanfic would not have blossomed without Sir Guy and his smoldering blue-eyed, leather-clad sexiness and, sweet Mother of God, his horseback riding! So, to my dear Mr. Armitage, I say, lead on! Wherever the road winds it is bound to be interesting and I look forward to the journey with our dear man and all of you.

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  5. I liked this interview and I’m glad you picked up hs comments about the fans in this post. “At some point I’m going to do something they hate, and they’ve got to accept that ….”. That’s an interesting comment to make – I wonder what prompted it?. I’ve been reading quite a bit of negativity about Spooks and his action role choices but I’m sure he doesn’t visit the same sites as I do. Are there people within the fandom who think they have some influence over what he does? Surely not ?

    At the moment I’m a happy follower of his work – I’ve appreciated what he has done so far but I think he has a lot of talent that the industry has not discovered yet. I certainly hope he continues to find challenging roles that demonstrate his skills. If he loses a pocket of fans because he is not doing work that is to their taste, it is no big deal as he will more than likely gain new fans who enjoy the work he does in the “here and now”. The fandom has to move with him or not at all. I agree that at the end of the day, it is his choice what he does – he is his own Master. 🙂

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    • I think there are people in the fandom who wish they had some influence on what he does. Ultimately the only influence a fan has is to vote with his/her feet. But I’d have been sad to see him turn into an artist who produces things primarily because he knows his fans will like them (a la Barry Manilow) as opposed to an artist who’s taking risks and challenging his fans. I think the events of this week have definitely taken him beyond any need at all to think about what his original fans wanted from him: and I am SO glad about that.

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  6. I love the thought of him as he “erupts in laughter”.

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  7. Those interviews with local papers often seem to go better and allow him more room to be himself/present himself in the way he wishes. The big papers too often have an agenda and put a spin on their articles to please their readers. The tabloids inevitably try to put the word sex in the headline even if all he said was that he is not sexy, the high-brow papers, well, try to be high-brow and dismissive. The way the questions are asked and the answers are presented in the context of the interview have an awful lot to do with the way he comes across.

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    • The Leicester papers in particular support your point, Jane. I remember an article from a while back in which he was asked about visiting Leicestershire and he said that he came for Christmas, “got fed,” and then got back on the road. My fellow fan and I here were laughing about that because you can’t imagine an American actor would ever say anything that blunt, or that a statement like that would appear in a national publication.

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  8. Here here! Whatever he wants to do, he should. We as fans shouldn’t force him (or make him feel forced) to do only stuff we’ll definitely like. I mean, I didn’t particularly enjoy “Strike Back”, for instance, and “Frozen” bored me to tears but it’s an opportunity to see him act, and that’s really all that matters.

    Sam Neill has made some godawful movies in his time, but it doesn’t stop me from watching them. Might sound a bit harsh because it does mean I’m only watching them because of fandom rather than because of any artistic merit that the production might have on its own (not that the worst ones have any!). SB does have some artistic merit, but I really wouldn’t be interested in watching it for the guns and action if RA hadn’t been involved.

    Funny how the interview had that kind of comment from him, as it was that sort of thing you’ve recently been blogging about! And here, ta-da, is the man’s own views on it. Now that’s timing! 🙂

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    • I don’t know if it is still the case (he says no) but there was a time when he was very well informed about what was said on forums and now and then took the opportunity to comment on it, either in messages or in interviews.

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    • I think that he must have realized — probably ahead of me, since it’s his life and I’ve only been blogging for a few months — that that was the only way to go, that thinking too much about his fans, no matter how grateful he may feel to them in terms of their early support of his career after North & South — was going to impact his own creativity negatively.

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  9. Yay, the Leicester Mercury! It was my local paper for two years when I lived in Leicester so it made me feel nostalgic.

    However I thought it was a very staid interview for a local paper to have with one of their own. It seemed almost as though he was at the start of his Spooks career, rather than this being his third season with the show. I’m also always very disapointed when they refer to North and South and his fanbase. As if he hasn’t done anything since he was “discovered” in that series. I do agree, though, that he handled these questions well.

    Aren’t journalists curious when they have the object in front of them? I would have thought that part of the game was asking questions that said something about where he is at present and not so much about where he was in the past.

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    • I thing we forget that those interview are not directed towards the fanbase that already knows every bit that has been written about him and longs for something new. They are directed towards those that know nothing about him. The “army” still seems to be interesting enough.

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      • The Leicester Mercury had an interview with him last year with very much the same stuff. I would imagine they would assume that they had the same readership from year to year!

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    • It was in the “this is Leicestershire” section, no? That probably also plays some role — people wanting to read what they expect to read?

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  10. A fine balance between “being oneself”, and the learning curve of how much to say; how to present oneself with honesty, while avoiding the lessons learned of TMI. (And, having a nice sense of humour, throwing out the odd remark here and there, which will rivet the “fandom” attention – forever dissecting – what are we – pathologists?).

    Compare early interviews (N&S, Gisborne) and watch the evolution. When speaking professionally, note the measured, certain and articulate speech and body language, with the slightly more teasing tone taken with (female) journalists now. Charming, but having learnt to “play” the immediate audience. Love those too, have to be dead before responding to that aspect!

    But the interviews, discussing characterisation, are more indicative of the person/dedicated actor?

    I have my list of characters and plots (Monk, please, for starters) Already pre-disposed toward SB (next month, here) – pure prejudice. RA is up to JT, but is JT up to to RA? Down, girl…wait and see…)

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    • You need to write his agents a letter.

      So now that you’ve seen the beginning of SB, what do you think? Are you completely repelled? 🙂

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  11. It’d have been nice that he’s asked other question but at least he had the opportunity to say we ‘are a diverse’ group (which we certainly are) and (indirectly) he’ll choose the projects he likes.
    Personally there’s (almost)nothing I’d hate, only things I might ‘not enjoy as much in comparison to’. In general, as others have said, watch him act is in itself enjoyable (for example I’m crazy trying to figure out Lucas, still is delicious to see RA ‘confuse me’, LOL)

    OML 🙂

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  12. Whoops, mispelled – not JT – JP!! JT is sacrosanct! JP – not so sure….

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  13. Just finished watching the last episode! OMG!!!!!!! My mind is blown. Can’t wait to read your post on it.

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  14. I just finished watching too! Once again I’m exhausted, but in a “good” way this time. (Well, except for episode 5 previews, but one episode at a time!).

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  15. Vwey well said indeed, servetus. I really enjoy reading what you have to say so eloquently in your blog and am so pleased that youi picked up on the comments from Mr Armitage about fans.

    I have been a keen follower of his work since North and South but I do not – and nor would I expect to- like everything he decides to do. Mr Armitage should do whatever he wants to do: he owes ‘fans’ nothing whatever and I fervently hope he has the success he wants. I suppose I would say, as a follower of his work, I want for him whatever he himself finds satisfying to work on as an actor.If he wants roles that challenge him and a wide diversity of roles, I hope he gets them. I find it strange indeed if any element of a fan base think they can or should influence what he may do, or even to wish they could do so. I appreciate most of the things he has been seen in but not everything. That’s as it should be.If I don’t like something he has chossen to appear in, well, I can decide for myself whether or not to watch it. Different admirers will have different preferences but Mr Armitage’s career is his own.I thought his response to the question was exactly right.

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    • Thanks for the kind words, ladyj, and welcome. Always happy when people agree with me, especially on something I feel relatively strongly about. I want him to go everywhere he can professionally — and that can’t happen with me (or people like me) insistently clinging to his coattails.

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