Ex-Dwarf “not hot enough” for Richard III role

Richard Armitage turns 40 this week. What to get the man who insists he already has everything? Answer: more work for our beloved workaholic. Since watching his work gives us so much delicious fantasy fulfillment, we thought we’d turn the tables with a fantasy present: the job that he’s most repeatedly expressed interest in doing — a retelling of the Richard III story. We’re not agents or producers, and we can’t finance this project or cast him in it or write the scripts, so we’re doing the next best thing: a week of background, context, musings, and jokes about why we’re dying to see our Richard play that Richard. Would you like to share the fantasy more actively? Sign the manifesto: Richard Armitage for Richard III! We hope you enjoy the week!

See the posts of the other contributors here.


Richard Armitage, in the role of Thorin Oakenshield, in rehearsal for The Hobbit.

Ex-Dwarf “not hot enough” for Richard III retelling

London, England (Reuters).

Many reputable scholarly and public groups have been sponsoring the idea of a dramatic retelling of the Richard III story for years. All of them have issued press releases expressing pleasure, support, and approval in response to new rumors of a possible reboot of the now dusty, five-century-old Richard III franchise for the large or small screen. But the news has also done much to set the teeth of Plantagenet terrorist and other fringe groups on edge, as well as alarming some commercial interests.

The most common name bandied about for the lead, that of actor Richard Armitage, the Sparkhouse and Hobbit alum, has alternately angered and frustrated various interested parties.

Eleanor Rigby, a direct descendant of Richard III in the third generation by marriage to an illegitimate son of the tenth Duke of Beaufort, whose connections to the Plantagenets are disputed because the tenth Duke of Beaufort died without issue, is president of the terrorist group, FILM RICHARD III OUR WAY NOW OR RISK THE APOCALYPSE. She has devoted her life to the attempt to resurrect the reputation of the controversial Plantagenet by violent means. In 2011, she was arrested for criminal trespass when Scotland Yard discovered that she was planting a fertilizer bomb while picketing a London production of Shakespeare’s Richard III. She spoke from prison. “We’ve been waiting forever for an accurate retelling of the Richard III story,” she comments, “and who do they want to have play him? Some dodgy former dwarf. In order to redress the injustices of the centuries, we need a tall, handsome man with gleaming white teeth and real sex appeal to embody Richard. That guy who played Thorin has grey teeth and is only four feet tall!”

Laurence Olivier as Richard III in the film of the same name (1955).

Admittedly, twentieth-century interpretations of the infamous Richard for stage and screen have become ever more extreme, as one actor seeks to outdo the last. Laurence Olivier played him as a dastardly hunchback, while Anthony Sher, afraid of not being able to distinguish his interpretation sufficiently from that of Olivier, achieved a career breakthrough by adding the component of psychopathy to his portrayal of the early modern monarch. All of the major professional psychological and psychiatric professional organizations have criticized the pathologizing of the tortured Plantagenet as successive actors have moved closer and closer to schizophrenia in their performances, and most of these have now issued press releases praising the idea of “normalizing” a king once characterized as practically a serial killer for his (alleged) murder of his nephews.

Even so, the Sher performance still holds strong support among a group of terrorist mental health professionals: SHRINKS IN SOLIDARITY WITH CRAZED LATE MEDIEVAL MONARCHS. Their president, Skinner Freud, was recently arrested while breaking into Buckingham Palace in hopes of obtaining the confidential notes of Queen Elizabeth’s therapist and publishing them on WikiLeaks. Speaking under heavy sedation from the secure wing of a London psychiatric hospital while awaiting trial, Skinner reveals that the group will issue a public statement next week condemning any retelling of the Richard III story that makes the king sane.

“The whole point of the Shakespeare play,” Freud opines, “is to show that crazy monarchs are people, too, and certainly capable of greatness. The entire work is a paean to the governmental skills of the mentally ill. Just because you have a serious thought disorder and want to murder your nephews doesn’t mean you can’t be the king of an important early national monarchy and imperial power in the making.” Morever, the membership of the group is unanimous in its agreement that any performance involving Armitage will be politically untenable. Freud continued, “Richard Armitage is completely inappropriate for the role. We’ve looked extensively into his background and as far as we can tell he’s never done anything crazy, evil, misunderstood, or even remotely notorious. The man keeps to himself, engages in DIY projects, and raises money for charities. We’ve broken into his apartment, and it’s nowhere near messy enough to qualify him for even a supporting role in an episode of Hoarders. And he says affectionate things about his nephew to the press! We’re completely opposed. Absolutely, utterly, completely opposed.” Freud’s medication, which made him drop to the floor in a sudden attack of sleep just as little flecks of phlegm appeared at the corners of his mouth, prevented us from asking him any more questions.

Antony Sher as Richard III in the Shakespeare play (1984).

A third group, SOAP OPERA FANS SAY NO TO FACIAL HAIR ON HISTORICAL DRAMA ACTORS, has also made repeated statements urging Armitage to separate himself from the project until he can get his hair under control. This group seems less politically motivated than some other opponents of the rumors, and primarily involved in speaking up for mainstream female notions of male sexual attractiveness. Although none of its members could be reached because they were too busy watching television, fragments of their opinions are available on Internet message boards. “Richard Armitage is just not hot enough,” complained one soap opera aficionado: “All of that hair! Ick. It makes him look like a girl, except it’s also hanging off of his face. Grody. Does he have some hormone disorder? I mean, I don’t want to be, like, insulting very short men with bushy beards who can’t help being that way, but he’s just not Richard III material.” Another pseudonymous poster, who calls herself Depilada, wrote, “I want to see a The Plantagenets series like The Tudors, but not with that huge beard. I mean, small animals could live in that beard! Birds could nest in it. Just not sexy. My ovaries are striking at the thought.” This month, according to the organization’s website, members who fear that Armitage will be cast despite their objections and ongoing postcard writing campaign will solicit charity funds to be sent to the actor for the purpose of “setting up laser hair removal sessions and getting yourself to a decent hairstylist to deal with what’s left afterwards.” A small splinter group of protestors, calling themselves BEARDY THORIN YOU’RE SO FINE, who embrace the hirsute ex-dwarf’s mane and sponsor poetry-writing contests about wrapping themselves in it on a cold winter night, have charged that the first group are being funded by hair removal product sponsors, but their concerns are not being taken seriously within the larger soap opera fan community.

Kevin Spacey as Richard III in the Shakespeare play (2011).

But concerns about filthy lucre clearly lie behind the press releases of several commercial groups made in response to the rumors. The ASSOCIATION OF DECORATIVE LEG JEWELRY MANUFACTURERS has charged sponsors of the reboot with hostility towards people with disabilities, noting that Armitage has extremely long, beautiful legs and no need for any metal support on them. “Allowing Armitage to play Richard III,” the press release states, “runs the risk of making less leggy viewers — which is practically every person on the planet — feel negatively about themselves.” Off the record, a source informs us that the industry group is running scared, having bet heavily on the possibility that actor Kevin Spacey’s use of the hardware on stage in his 2011 portrayal of Richard III would set off a world wide fashion trend in which wealthy middle-aged men would see a leg brace as the must-have fashion accessory for Fall 2011. Similar motivations may have sparked a similar press release from the LARGE PROSTHETIC NOSE PRODUCERS GROUP, whose members fear that its sales, recently boosted significantly by Armitage’s popularity, with numerous men affecting a larger nose in order to pick up chicks, may fall precipitously if the actor tries to move closer to the typical Plantagenet nose style of the surviving early modern portraits of the monarch. Interestingly, despite the ruckus among the soap opera fangirls, industry groups in the facial hair branch were split on the possibility that Armitage could take this role. “The man obviously doesn’t know how to shave very effectively,” said one lobbyist for a razor producer, “but it’s unclear what that means for us. Depending on what the production comes up with, we could potentially spin it either way.”

Whatever happens with the project, continued controversy seems likely.

Although Armitage himself could not be reached for comment, a reliable source close to him informed us that, following his usual style of meticulous preparation for all of his roles, ambulances were standing by in case he was injured while practicing being poleaxed by Renaissance fair actors.

[this is a spoof. in case you didn’t notice. no hurt feelings intended. i myself am the most crazed fan of Richard Armitage.–Servetus]


Happy Birthday month Richard Armitage! In honor of this event, consider donating your time, energy, and thoughts / prayers to an effort that’s meaningful to you. If you need a suggestion, here’s a link to Mr. Armitage’s recommended charities at JustGiving, as well as a link to means of generating a charity contribution on his behalf at RichardArmitageOnline.com, and a link to Act!onAid, a child sponsorship organization for which he recorded a voiceover in December 2010. Donate to Christchurch Earthquake Appeal here.

~ by Servetus on August 25, 2011.

26 Responses to “Ex-Dwarf “not hot enough” for Richard III role”

  1. LOL! After recent developments of which you are well aware, I really needed a good spoofy chuckle. Thank you! 😀


  2. love love love!


  3. Servetus, I absolutely love your spoof. How well you can hint on things and make them wonderfully entertaining to read. Thank you for this funny collection of reasons, why RA is ideal for this role ;o)


  4. Too funny! (And wasn’t Eleanor Rigby a Beatle’s hallucination?) Rolling on floor, knocked laptop on top of cat again. 7 lives to go, Cat….


  5. ROTFL! You should write this kind of stuff more often, Servetus. I loved all the groups, and “Depilada”…was priceless!


  6. Servetus, this was brilliant. The spokesperson names are hysterical. Bravo, m’dear.


  7. Just too wonderful for words! You are almost as warped as I am and that’s saying something! No, really, you are very clever and have a brilliant imagination. I think Richard would be ROFLOL with tears rolling down his cheeks if he ever read this news release. Well done.


  8. Servetus:

    I knew you were up to something!
    Eleanor Rugby and Depilada (ouch! ) were the best!


  9. At the first parragraph I was doubting ‘is this true?’ then read on and LOL! I’ve been giggling until the end.

    OML 🙂


  10. Servetus, you are brilliant. I loved it!


  11. ROTFL! Just hilarious, Servetus! King RICHdwarf III, long may he reign 😉 !


  12. BTW, a new message has just arrived from Richard 🙂 :



  13. almost had me going there- but then it is early in the morning–if everyone sent thier research and input on what and what not to include- I could put it down in screenplay format (specscript)- then we could all autograph it and send to Richard for his next birthday (it will take that long to do this, my screenwriting skills are not the greatest I prefer the creative freedom of novels ) – he could use it in his research or just keep as a reminder of how many fans he has backing him in his quest.


  14. […] Ex-Dwarf “not hot enough” for Richard III role Richard Armitage turns 40 this week. What to get the man who insists he already has everything? Answer: more work for our beloved workaholic. Since watching his work gives us so much delicious fant… Source: meandrichard.wordpress.com […]


  15. Thanks for everyone for the positive strokes. It’s a struggle for me to be funny, so the positive reception was very much appreciated.


  16. Great fun! I particularly enjoyed Freud Skinner’s rantings. It almost inspires me to a rebuttal! 🙂


  17. […] publicist to be unavailable for comment. His publicist noted, however, that it was a good sign that the members of the many pressure groups that had opposed his casting as Richard III on the basis of … had been silenced, imprisoned, committed to mental institutions indefinitely — or were so […]


  18. […] probably felt not only targeted — but culpable in that sense. Frustration even lent itself to persiflage a few weeks later. (That post, I think, is one of the funnier things I’ve written. I can still laugh while […]


  19. […] “Ex-Dwarf ‘not hot enough’ for Richard III role.” August 25, 2011; written for King Richard Week 2011. In general, I tend to write humorous […]


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