Fan showcase (Jane, part 3)

The conclusion of my interview with Jane. Part 1 is here; part 2 is here. This third piece is the most controversial part of the interview, so a reminder of the rules of engagement for discussion may be in order. Any and all comments are welcome that challenge the substance of an opinion (“I disagree with what you say because”). Comments that attack the person who expresses an opinion (“You are an idiot because”) will be edited and/or deleted as necessary. If you need a guide, keep in mind that I disagree strongly with much of what Jane says in this final portion of the interview, and yet we were able to keep talking equably — and learn quite a bit from each other, even if we didn’t end up changing each others’ minds.

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Jane is not immune to the aesthetic charms of Porter, suspicious as she may be of the production. This is “a personal favorite.” Richard Armitage as John Porter in Strike Back 1.5. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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S: Your reaction to Strike Back offers a nice segue into the reason I wanted to interview you. One thing I always enjoy about your comments is your willingness to present your own position even if it blows against the prevailing winds. As the last piece of the interview reminded me, you’ve been fairly critical about some of Mr. Armitage’s career choices in the last year or so. In your perfect world, what kind of opportunities should he be offered and accept?

J: At the moment he is in between his TV based work and whatever will happen after The Hobbit, so it is a little bit unfair to dwell on criticisms I might have made in the past. I never expected him to land a role like Thorin, and surely not that quickly; it is a bit of a Cinderella story coming true and a huge feather in his cap, whatever comes next.

But it is true that I have been dissatisfied with him doing mainly roles as brooding action heroes in television series. I want him to do a wider variety of things. I’d like to see him prove himself as a lead on stage. And play a greater variety of characters. In interviews, RA has talked about many things he would like to do: a stage play, the frequently mentioned Richard III project, a comedy, an “elephant man” role, working behind the camera. I would be happy if he were able to realize some of those projects instead of being confined to action man parts in projects that are commercially interesting but artistically less so.

I suppose I’m ambitious for him (as I would be for a favorite athlete) and it makes me proud to see him “playing in the same league” as actors and a director who won Oscars and got knighted, even if he himself hasn’t (yet). I’ve never belonged to the group of people who are happy just as long as he is working and content with himself, though I might be if I were a friend or relative of his. But I am not, and even though his decisions and the reasons for them are none of my business, I still have opinions about them.

S: As does every fan — as is every fan’s right. This is a great example of a view, though, that doesn’t square with what a lot of fans think (or will admit to thinking), and I’m grateful to you for your willingness to express it. Why aren’t you satisfied with just seeing him in anything?

J: My views are probably influenced by the lack of exposure British material gets in Germany. British fans see him regularly on TV, but to become even slightly known here (or in many other parts of the world), a British actor has to appear either in an American TV series or an internationally successful movie. Or he could cultivate a renowned stage career, win an award for an independent film, or get a Golden Globe nomination – in those ways he would come to the attention of the German entertainment or arts press and viewing audiences. But before being cast in The Hobbit, RA was simply non-existent for most of us. That leaves me with the impression that his previous work was neither high profile nor high quality when looked at in the greater scheme of things. I understand that an actor can only take what he is offered and has to keep himself working, but it puzzled me why he accepted something like Strike Back instead of doing a play for a change.

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A good actor in a popular series: good TV? Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead. A strongly contrasting role for Lincoln, who’s done a lot of rom-com, and it has made it into syndication in Germany. Lincoln’s definitely got his tongue in his cheek about it. Source.

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S: You know, though, if he were cast in a U.S. television series, it might be as bad as or worse than Strike Back from the standpoint of your preference for projects with strong artistic merit. I’m thinking here of Andrew Lincoln’s post-Strike Back appearance in The Walking Dead, which has been described as “post-apocalyptic zombie horror.” To be sure, TV critics like it. I’ve seen one episode, and he’s pretty good, including managing a credible American accent, but from my perspective, the project as such leaves something to be desired for a serious actor.

J: You make a good point. If RA did an American TV series, I might not appreciate the quality (depending on the series, of course!); if it ran for many years and involved twenty or more episodes per season, it would leave him almost no room to do anything else – or to prove that he can do something else. Of course, it could be a next step if film roles don’t materialize – as it was for Dominic Monaghan, who did Lost after Lord of the Rings.

S: Honestly, although I don’t watch that much television, most of the time I’d rather watch British than U.S. drama.

J: Me, too, but at a time when RA was sticking with British TV but other actors of similar celebrity in the UK made it across the pond (and subsequently onto German TV screens), I decidedly felt that they had achieved something that RA hadn’t. I wondered whether RA wasn’t good enough for U.S. TV, or if his contracts with other shows prevented it. He said he went to LA and read for television pilots, so he was not confining himself to the UK in order to pursue the elite arts and remain above it all.

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Great(er) art? Richard Armitage as Angus in Macbeth. Source: Richard Armitage Online.

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S: This matter of “great art” is something you and I disagree about (Servetus’ position part one; part two).

J: It is all very well to argue that TV, especially British TV, produces excellent stuff and that there is no need to do film or try one’s luck in the U.S., but the British shows RA has been in haven’t been excellent. Fans have discussed Robin Hood, Spooks, and Strike Back in excruciating detail and found much to be desired. Even if he doesn’t go to the U.S., I want to know what he needs to do to recommend himself for better shows, with scripts that actually stand up to critical scrutiny. It is my theory that an actor who has done high quality projects in the past is more likely to get cast in such roles again. Projects that don’t support that goal, whether Strike Back or audiobooks, seem to me like wasted effort — though he may see himself as earning money, enjoying the work, keeping himself in front of audiences, or maintaining his reputation in the industry as an industrious, congenial colleague. Clarissa, for example, was such a brilliant piece of acting that it was a shame that it was only a radio play. As a TV mini series it might have won him a BAFTA! After all, period drama is a genre usually considered for BAFTAs.

Even apart from improving his professional reputation, better roles would be better for us, too. While many fans choose to rail against the writers, I suppose pondering his career choices and options is my way to deal with the basic problem of repeated disappointments at the hands of series TV. It isn’t his fault that scriptwriters made Guy kill Marian or turned Lucas North into John Bateman, but it reflects poorly on him that he finds himself committed to badly written series. Consequently, I suffered when I read the harsh criticisms of Spooks 9, even when his acting wasn’t the point of attack. Even if we as fans discard the equation rubbish show = rubbish actor, we lose out because of the missed chances for the impact of a convincing story. Imagine, for example, that “Lucas and Sarah” or “John Bateman and Maya” had been written in ways that had moved us as much as “Mr. Thornton and Margaret” or “Guy and Marian.” We would rave, make videos and write fanfic, and generally enjoy discussing the subject. With matters as they are, we mostly end up rehashing our negative feelings.

S: I have to concede that that’s an excellent point. Now that you say that, it’s interesting to me that the fanfic writers I know haven’t rewritten either Sarah Caulfield or Maya Lahan as stepping stones to AU Spooks fanfic; instead, they seem to have discarded them altogether.

J: In the end, it’s all speculation, of course. Perhaps I’m too fixated on the idea that RA’s CV is not “good enough” for him to be considered for certain roles. We don’t know what roles have been options for RA nor why he gets the ones he does unless we are told. It seems RA owes some roles to previous work and didn’t have to audition, but got The Hobbit solely based on his audition, with few or no preconceptions on Peter Jackson’s side. This is especially good news because it suggests he didn’t get the role on the basis of notoriety as a ladies’ favorite.

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Jane says: “This was one of RA’s best screen kisses and could have worked so well in a different context. We could swoon over it if only we could forget everything else.” Lucas / John Bateman (Richard Armitage) kisses Maya Lahan (Laila Rouass) in Spooks 9.3.

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S: In the U.S., having a reliable audience gets actors cast and keeps them employed. Surely the attention of a devoted female audience isn’t an argument against casting an actor?

J: I think in RA’s case it may have led to getting the wrong kind of offers. He was cast in Robin Hood, Spooks, and Strike Back at least partly to attract female audiences to genres that aren’t the average woman’s cup of tea. (I recall that Robin Hood’s producers freely admitted they did cast him for “the mums.”) And I’m pretty sure there is a reason why Thorin has a short, real, brown beard! I know what he said on the subject himself, but I don’t completely buy it. I’m sure he’s more comfortable with the real beard, but who decided for a short beard in the first place and why? Like “action men,” “heartthrobs” are often not taken seriously and their acting is automatically dismissed. Though I’ve never seen anything Robert Pattinson’s been in, I know from the German RA board that his fans are often annoyed that his acting and his other projects are judged unfairly because high-brow critics have difficulty acknowledging that he can act. I think he suffers from the same phenomenon RA has to deal with, only a hundred times worse. Thankfully the role of a dwarf in The Hobbit is more reputable than playing a teen vampire in Twilight!

While on the one hand, I think these kinds of roles prevent future casting directors from seeing RA fairly, on the other, I don’t trust my own and other female fans’ judgment when it comes to RA’s acting. It is impossible for us to be unbiased if we are affected on an emotional and/or physical level. Even if he is talented enough to do justice to the parts he plays, he may not be the exceptional actor he appears to be to us.  Even if you do frame-by-frame analysis of micro-expressions to demonstrate what he is doing, are you sure that other actors aren’t capable of the same, but you just don’t bother to look because you aren’t attracted to them?

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That short brown beard: emotional and oh-so-sexy: Richard Armitage in preproduction vlog #3 from The Hobbit. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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S: I think this is a fair question – if we want to say, “He’s the best actor,” we need to make comparisons. My interest in Richard Armitage has always stemmed from the effect he makes on me as a viewer, and so by definition he does it better than anyone else who doesn’t have the same effect. And he’s the first actor ever to affect me this way, so his work does attract me more than anyone else’s. However, you effectively raise the problem of why anyone is moved by any dramatic performance and what Armitage specifically brings to us.

J: I think if one is blown away by a performance, it is always due to a combination of factors: acting, looks, charisma, voice, and script (Skully’s piece about “the character of desire” is very interesting in this light), never superior acting alone. So I understand why an actor who owes his success at least partly to his effect on women isn’t taken seriously by outsiders to the fandom, or why some viewers might even think that his acting ability doesn’t play a part in his popularity at all. This divergence in attitude explains why the quality of a production is so important for professional reputation. If a casual viewer says, “he’s okay, but nothing special,” I can understand that reaction based on much of the material he’s been in.

To give an example: I’m just not an aural person and don’t “get” the hype about his voice. (I’m not hearing impaired, but I don’t have a musical ear and never recognize voices.) I rarely listen to his audio work, however brilliant I’m told it is. I like his voice and its range, but I like other actors’ voices as well. While I may not be able to appreciate his voice as much as others because I’m lacking the required sensitization or something, I also think that knowing it is his voice makes a difference for many fans. You usually learn to love the voice of the person you love. If we look at his acting in the same way that I tend to look at his voice work, I think we can understand why he has yet to prove himself to unbiased audiences, especially male viewers, reviewers, and industry people.

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The “lovely song”: “Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold,” from the trailer for The Hobbit (December 2011).

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S: Don’t you think The Hobbit has a chance at convincing those audiences?

J: Maybe. It’s as high profile as it gets, so it should be a more effective door opener than Captain America. Hopefully, it won’t suffer from the quality issues that some of his other projects have. I hope Thorin will have memorable moments, as the characters in Lord of the Rings did, and of course, a lot of men will see it. Like many of his previous projects, however, The Hobbit is an ensemble piece, plot driven, and action heavy. And Thorin looks like another dark, brooding anti-hero! Of course, I’m happy that RA seems to think The Hobbit is the project of a lifetime, and I have had moments of thinking that, too. But only the roles he gets afterward will determine whether it’s a breakthrough or the summit of his career.

S: Did the trailer premiere shortly before Christmas 2011 make you hopeful that The Hobbit might provide the desired career breakthrough?

J: I am determined not to buy into the hype inside the fandom right now; even apart from principle, I personally am not as excited as everyone seems to be – in spite of the lovely song.

S: Is this a genre question?

J: Not really, or at least not exclusively. I admit that although I enjoyed the LOTR films, I am not a big fan. For me, LOTR is basically another successful Hollywood franchise – although I know the Tolkien fans would strongly disagree! As a teenager I did read fantasy, but never Tolkien; I liked material that centered on strong women, so the lack of female protagonists presents a disadvantage for me. But I left behind my own fantasy phase and I’m not sure I can revisit it. Aditionally, Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth is not visually naturalistic enough for my taste. I watch many nature documentaries and frankly would have preferred that aesthetic. New Zealand, as it is, is beautiful enough — without adding CGI.

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Jane says: “It just looks too unreal for me.” Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Cate Blanchett as Galadriel in the trailer for The Hobbit (December 2011). Source: Geek Dad.

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J: But I don’t think my skepticism results only from a relative lack of enthusiasm for the genre. Right now almost all the Hollywood blockbusters are sequels / prequels of successful franchises. In the current atmosphere, almost no one is taking the risk of producing anything original. Although The Hobbit is based on a literary classic that was actually written before LOTR, it falls into the same category and is obviously being marketed as a LOTR prequel to appeal to LOTR fans. That is a safe bet financially, but it won’t go down well with critics and awards people. Just as RA has to prove himself outside Armitageworld, The Hobbit will have to prove itself outside the segment of the Tolkien fandom that embraced Jackson’s vision. Fantasy movies in general are not well liked by “the academy” and rarely get nominations outside the technical categories, so I have considerably lowered my expectations with regards to awards.

S: You’ve read The Hobbit, though, so you know that the script is going to have to be heavily adapted – and that the trailer suggested this was the case. Would that provide the novelty that might attract you?

J: I’m beyond relying on writers! I have nothing against Peter Jackson, but I’ll wait and see. Right now, I’m basing my judgment on the book itself, not on my hopes about what PJ might do with it. First and foremost, the book tells the story of Bilbo’s journey (in more than one respect) and I can’t imagine that will change. The film will flesh out Thorin’s role, but it will also add so much other material — new characters, new storylines, filling in other characters – that Thorin won’t be a primary concern. For now, I don’t see Thorin as a second lead, at least not in the first movie, but rather as an important supporting character. Though I have to say RA’s recent MTV interview has eased my fears a bit, as he has confirmed what the optimists have predicted and hoped for. But then, all those interviews are publicity! At the moment, I’m still not sure that his work on this project will recommend RA for more heavyweight character roles. The Hobbit is mainstream Hollywood and seems more likely to lead to offers from the action / adventure / blockbuster corner. And those will be financially a lot more attractive than more artistically sophisticated material.

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The face that makes it hard for us as insiders to be objective: Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood 1.9. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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S: Oof! My bubble has really been burst! But that’s part of what I like about talking to you.

J: (Laughs.) You should know what to expect by now! Perhaps you should ignore me. I suppose if RA ever won an Oscar, I would still insist on waiting to see what sort of roles he got afterwards. Honestly, I don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun. I’m not being snarky on purpose. I just try — always — to see things from an outsider’s point of view. I feel many fans are missing that perspective. I always ask myself, if I had never heard anything about RA (which I wouldn’t have, if I hadn’t stumbled across North & South), and I looked him up as I would any other up-and-coming actor starring in his first blockbuster, would I be impressed? So far, the answer is no. So right now, I’m staying cautious.

S: So back to my question about the parts he should get in a perfect world: After The Hobbit?

J: I still very much wish that in a few years he could be where Michael Fassbender is right now.

S: (Cringes.) Bubble burst again! I dislike Michael Fassbender. Did you have to bring that up?

J: (Laughs again.) It’s not about liking Michael Fassbender. Even if he rubs you the wrong way personally, you have to admit that he is doing a brilliant job at balancing mainstream Hollywood movies and heavyweight stuff (plus managing time for a bit of period drama)!

I hope that The Hobbit brings RA more choices and that he chooses wisely and stays secure enough to wait for the best roles, instead of taking on the first role he’s offered because every offer could be the last. He often talks about trying to bring as much variety to his projects as possible, so I hope he will do just that! It would be great if he could impress audiences with a smaller, more sophisticated movie that everyone tries to see because he is one of the stars of The Hobbit. He has to exploit the momentum from the Thorin role; it won’t last forever. (Colin Firth once said that no one would have looked at The King’s Speech if he hadn’t gotten an Oscar nomination the year before.) However, I don’t mind TV as long as it is high quality and doesn’t involve an indefinite commitment. The Hobbit is worth the time he’s spending on it, but who knows what he has missed in the past because he was constantly under contract for various series.

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Thorin: A long way from Thornton. Richard Armitage pictured in Project magazine, July 2011. Photo by Matt Holyoak. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Thorin: A long way from Thornton. Richard Armitage pictured in Project magazine, July 2011. Photo by Matt Holyoak. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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S: Are you sure you’re a fan? You may be a sort of “anti-fan.”

J: Not anti-fan, a critical fan who doesn’t like to see the world through rose-colored glasses. Some women happily embrace fangirling and don’t care what the rest of the world thinks of them. I don’t feel that way. I wasn’t even doing the “fangirling” thing as a teenager. I don’t want to be a foolish female who thinks he is the greatest actor in the world, when in fact I only fancy his cute bum. Reading – as I have, often enough — that he owes his popularity to looking good in leather insults not only him, but also the taste and judgment of everyone who admires him for more than his good looks.

S: Some readers might be thinking that there’s nothing wrong with a cute bum.

J: For people who do fancy him primarily because of his appearance in leather, that’s probably fine. As we have discussed, in principle there is nothing wrong with admiring beauty or being sexually attracted so someone; I’m not above that. But in a way, proving himself more fully as a serious actor also proves that we were right to trust him all these years and follow him through some disappointments – and this is where being a fan becomes personal. His reputation as an actor is inseparable from our picture of ourselves and our reputations as fans.

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Back to the beginning, a last glimpse at the Richard Armitage who enchanted so many early fans; a screencap from the interview on the North & South DVD extras. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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S: One dynamic that clearly influences yours and my differences in perspective on Armitage’s career is our length of time as fans. I’ve been interested to follow the poll at RichardArmitageNet.com about the length of time the respondents have spent in this fandom. As a five-year participant, you’re in a group of about 15 percent of the fans. Is there a typical path that you’ve observed Armitage fans go down as time passes? From your perspective, what are the factors that affect fan loyalty and persistence? What happens to fans who go away?

J: Especially on the German board, many fans of RA have fallen for someone else, often the hero in the next period drama, though they stay in contact with the board. A sub-board for Matthew Macfadyen and separate boards for Toby Stephens and JJ Feild have been born out of the RA board. A group of RA fans fell hard for the BBC series, Merlin. We also have quite a few that practice “polygamy” – of course only when it comes to their favorite actors! So I have never had the impression that RA is unique in any way or that falling for him usually is a once in a lifetime experience, whereas within the RA community one could easily get that impression. I have also seen fans expressing frustration with the quality of RA’s projects and finally leaving or finding someone else because following Robin Hood or Spooks wasn’t satisfying for them. That saddens me. Apart from that, often “fangirling” is just a phase that fizzles out after some time. Sometimes real life matters take over.

Fans also come and go with different roles. Some love the various characters more than the actor behind them. Many of the original North & South fans were first and foremost period drama and classic literature fans and bound to be disappointed with Robin Hood or Spooks. On the other hand, Robin Hood won him new fans who still haven’t gotten over Guy’s demise. And those that loved his sexy action heroes are unhappy with the prospect of a bearded dwarf. I even remember reading some very early threads that ardent fans of Mr. Thornton thought that watching RA’s interview on the DVD and seeing he’s a real person, different from Thornton and while lovely, lacking what made Thornton special, somehow spoiled the perfect illusion of North & South for them.

S: (Nods, recognizing something that happened to her, too.) And why do you persist, despite your frustrations?

J: (Laughs). Don’t ask me why I have stayed so long! I guess partly because I became so involved and partly because nothing else has taken over, neither real life nor a passion for someone else. And also a strange feeling of loyalty to the guy. Before RA was cast in The Hobbit I was close to quitting, because the prospect of more Spooks and more Strike Back frustrated me, but now I’m staying to see where his path will lead. I certainly have always been more a fan of the actor (and the man) than of his roles. I did a happy dance when I learned prematurely that Guy was to be killed (it leaked because accidentally some DVDs were shipped before the last episode aired), because it meant that RA could move away from Robin Hood. It was perfectly fine for me that he left Spooks and I didn’t care much about the “how,” which has been a big issue for others. Given how strongly series 8 and 9 have been criticized, it was very good news indeed that he left. And I did the happy dance again when we got confirmation that John Porter would be shot in the head. Apologies to anyone who is still traumatized; I have what we call “das Gemüt eines Nilpferds” when it comes to fictional characters’ fates. That the actor is off to greener pastures matters more to me.

S: Hmmm. Maybe “I’m as thick-skinned as a hippo?” But despite that, if you feel a strange loyalty despite your artistic reservations, I think you’re still definitely one of the fangirls. Thanks for taking the time, care, and effort that you did with this interview.

J: Thank you for inviting me to be interviewed and for your patience! It took a long time, but has been great fun.

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Servetus reports of Jane: Jane didn’t want to report anything about herself and consistently ignored requests for a bio. Servetus concluded that Jane is mysterious! So we will proceed, 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 annoyed by Umlaut erasure. She keeps her eye on Armitage’s Spotlight page. She thinks botoxing is cheating. She’s good at puns. She’s left-handed. She likes to wear Birkenstocks. Oh, and in case you’re curious: her written English is outstanding. Hopefully, you get the picture.

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[Fan showcases are an irregular feature on “me + richard armitage.” These segments seek to highlight the opinions and activities of a cross-segment of the very diverse group of people who have become fans of Richard Armitage. Previous showcases can be found here: bZirk, Eli, LadyKate63, fitzg, Angieklong, khandy, jazzbaby1, Amanda Jane. I plan to continue this feature intermittently, so if you are interested in being interviewed, please let me know. My email address can be found in the sidebar under “About.” — Servetus]

~ by Servetus on January 18, 2012.

149 Responses to “Fan showcase (Jane, part 3)”

  1. […] Jane’s own take on quo vadis […]

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  2. I’m still reading all of these parts, but frankly, anyone who has read many of Jane’s comments will not be surprised at her take on RA. I actually have no problem with her stating her opinion and hope she always feels free to do it. I think it’s sad you had to put a warning on your piece. BTW, I agree with her about many things such as his possible work behind the camera. I’m more anxious for that than actually seeing him in a role. However, I disagree with her about his voice, which is fine. We merely disagree. No biggie.

    As for LOTR, I have never been a fan either. My kids and husband have been fans, and I’ve been the lone holdout in the family. I fell asleep at the movie theater during the second movie. Yes, it was that boring to me. But I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Tolkien lately and beginning to get the fascination. I admit readily I never would have done that if not a fan of Richard Armitage, but hey, he’s led me to all sorts of things I wouldn’t have ordinarily done 😉 and I’m glad.

    I do wish Jane could just let go and enjoy the ride and not care so much whether ‘The Hobbit’, an Oscar or anything else helps RA’s career. IMO, this makes her more of a fan than I am. Then again, maybe she is enjoying it and that’s how it manifests for her.

    Okay, that was personal, but I think Jane knows it’s not a criticism. I hope she does. 🙂

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    • Maybe I should edit the intro a bit. I got three posts on the last segment that moved into ad hominem. I know I should shake it off, but reading ad hominem makes me want to stop blogging. It also kills the atmosphere of trust that’s necessary for the comments section of a blog to work well.

      One thing that this interview sheds a great deal of light on is to what extent and *how* exactly the admiration of Armitage *personally* makes a difference to a fan. Armitage cultivates the sincerity trope in all of his interviews, but that’s a really dangerous rhetorical choice and this interview potentially shows why. Jane is someone who’s taken his statement about his artistic ambitions seriously, and has been faced with having to ask herself questions about that. That’s an incredibly moving piece of this interview for me — how Jane deals with her frustrations around this issue, because I am absolutely sure she’s not alone. And it’s become a prism with which she identifies and through which she and fans who share that position are inevitably going to judge his later efforts as an artist.

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      • I think you’re right that she’s not alone, which is the greatest testament to his acting! Then there’s a fan like me who has such a jaundiced eye that I take something seriously after someone has proven themselves several times over.

        But the reality is that many in the public eye are like this, and RA is likely no different:

        “I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say. ” — Marshall McLuhan

        Most people are in a state of flux, so they may say one thing one place and late say something else. I can’t remember who said it, but someone in the public eye commented on how they should not be frozen in their thoughts by the public. Well said!

        The ad hominem stuff is childishness. People need to grow up.

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        • It was not people who are regular commentators, so it got caught in moderation, which makes it marginally easier to take.

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      • I think there are many who admire the artist as whom he present himself in interviews, the one who does character diaries, argues with the writers, wants to direct some day and tries to learn as much about his craft as possible. A lot of respect for the artist stems from the interviews, not from the result of his work.

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  3. I find the debate about British tv being better than American kind of amusing, since RA and other British actors seem to take an opposite view. I think there’s quality and crap on both sides of the pond–perhaps it’s just a grass/greener mentality. Being an Anglophile and also being a sucker for an accent, I prefer to watch more British productions as well–though I may be the only female alive with a pulse who failed to see the charm in “VOD”. A bad sitcom is a bad sitcom no matter the location.

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    • I’m not a VoD fan, simplegirl. I hesitate to write about it because I know it’s not a popular position. I tend to find the acting on British television to be of a much higher calibre than on US tv, though.

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      • I kind of like that RA has taken roles in genres that I’m personally not interested in as it has actually given me more of an appreciation for his talent. I can wallow like a happy pig in period dramas such as N&S all day long, but “Spooks” wouldn’t have even been on my radar. Yet not only did he draw me into his character, I got interested enough in the rest of the cast and the world of the show to consider watching episodes prior to 7, 8, and 9. 🙂 “Strikeback” is definitely not in my wheelhouse at all, but based on the few scenes I’ve managed to see I’m interested to watch the whole thing (ARE YOU LISTENING NETFLIX?!?!)–and not just because he’s attractive and shirtless, but because his ability to absorb a character is so convincing. I think that why “Sparkhouse” is one of my favorites; he’s so against “type” but completely believable.

        I would love him to do more “worthy” roles too but at least he elevates whatever he’s in.

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        • I think the question is: if, after he did something you loved in a genre you really appreciate, he only ever did roles in genres you could at best tolerate. Would you stay a fan of him? Or would you limit yourself to saying, wow, that production was really great, but I’m not really a fan of his.

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          • Well, I have no interest in seeing “Captain America.” Granted, if he had had a bigger role in it I might have considered renting it someday. “Ultimate Force” has no allure for me either. I know his name gets bandied about for James Bond stuff and I’d probably pass on that as well.

            I’m a huge “LOTR” fan, so the fact that RA has a major role is just gravy. Delicious, bearded gravy.

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          • Now that is an interesting question. I haven’t seen all his roles, simply because they don’t pique my interest. Sometimes I happen to catch them on TV, like Frozen or (repeats of) Cold Feet, in the latter he didn’t really register on my radar when I first saw it. The former I ended up watching, because it was different from everything I’ve seen. And I generally enjoy Shirley Henderson as an actress.

            I guess in general I’m more a fan of the actor and him, then a role. Though can’t deny that in some cases it is the production that almost seduces me to like an actor, but looking back it’s the role in that particular setting that is charming me.

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    • As I’ve thought so many times — what dull, dull world it would be if we all agreed.

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  4. I heart Jane. She needs her own Army…

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    • I think she speaks for a lot of people who have reservations about this or that and think they don’t belong because they’re not screaming fangirl crazy. That’s why it was important to publish this.

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      • Is there room for me, given that I am still a fangirl crazy, oogling his bum and the likes?LOL

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        • 🙂 Yes, of course. But whoever is in the majority (and the people who are taking the time to visit internet sites are in the fangirl segment) tends to drown out majority opinions. I don’t think there’s any shortage of crazy RA fangirling. We can all be fans together, is what I am trying to say, and is also my consistent message on this blog. Let every woman have her own conscience.

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      • I think I may also speak for lot of people that are gone by now and lost to RA and the fandom. I have been around for a long time, I discovered RA about a year after N&S and a few month before RH aired, I have had many discussions with people that were very critical of his work and I have seen them finally leave because he/his work didn’t meet their expectations. Those expectations weren’t “only romantic period drama”, but something well written that is actually fun and challenging to discuss.

        And yes, the discrepancy between how he presented himself as an artist in interviews and what he actually did became more and more obvious and frustrating. After all, there are actors who do the stuff he talks about, not exclusively, but now and then, between lighter and more mainstream projects, which is perfectly fine.

        So the question came up what the reason for that was – lack of offers based on image/reputation problems? Choices based too much financial reasoning – after all long running series are the closest to steady employment an actor can hope for. Or in the end lack of talent?

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        • In my opinion he picked some of the roles because he needed to keep on being visible and talked about, since I assume in the show business, it’s all about that.. I watched RH only because Servetus popped him up on this blog and I was shocked on how bad the script was and how cartoon-like he acted in the first 2 series!! Of course I do like her screencapping!
          About the financial reasoning, if you think at all the effort needed for the audiobooks and how much he could be paid for that… I think he was looking at different ways to express his talent and at the same time making sure he was not belly up on the couch in quiet times 🙂
          Overall Jane, I really liked your interview even though I don’t agree to all your statements: was amazed about your indifference to Colin Firth and his Darcy’s role .. that shaped a generation of BBC viewers and made that TV invest much more in historical dramas of all types.
          You complain about German dramas but hey travel a bit south and in Italy right now you can just watch dramas about priests, nuns, would-be saints and old style mafiosi 🙂
          Thanks again for the nice piece!

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    • @jazzbaby1: I don’t think that she needs her own Army, she needs jazz. 😉

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    • I was just thinking the same thing. I admire Jane for her honesty and not being afraid to tell it like she sees it. Wonderful interview, Jane and Servetus.

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  5. Jane, I don’t agree with a lot of what you say, but gee, you make some very good, thought provoking points.
    I had to smile when servetus asked “Are you sure you’re a fan?” because at that point I was thinking exactly the same thing! Maybe you need a different word!
    Thank you both for a very interesting interview.

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    • I actually think Jane is much more a fan than most. She has invested a lot of thought into what he’s said versus what he’s done, and her expectations of him are much higher than many. Nothing wrong with that at all as I know she’s not going to sit on his doorstep to tell him what she likes and doesn’t. LOL!

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      • I realize that there are no two fans alike. And that is what is fun.

        He did say he was not going to please all his fans.

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      • One dictionary definition of a fan is “a person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular sport, art or entertainment form, or famous person.” A very broad term, so lots of room for us all! 😉

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      • I’ve been thinking about this Frenz, and I have to strongly disagree with your first sentence.

        Investing a lot of thought as you say Jane has does not make her more of a fan than someone (early or recent) who has invested time (and money) in RA; watching his performances, buying dvds/cds, reading about him, listening to his audiobooks, searching for information, taking part in discussion, making fanvids.
        Someone who has invested emotion in him as a man, an artist and his characters, who thinks about him often and wishes him health, happiness and fulfillment, the same as they would for anyone they love.

        I’m not saying Jane is any less a fan either because of her stance, there is room for all.
        But I have to say, part of being a fan, to me, is the sheer delight and fun of it all, and I hope Jane has time for fun with her RAfandom too.

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        • Here I think a cultural difference does come into play. A German would almost never say that because they are very critical of something they don’t enjoy it. Delight and frustration with something coexist much more easily in German culture in my experience than they do in the U.S. (for instance).

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          • As a parent I have had years of delight and frustration co-existing! 🙂

            The cultural difference is interesting. I reach a point of being critical whereby the enjoyment of something is gone, but it’s not always the case.
            I quite enjoyed SB in spite of it not being my usual fare, and although it was basically crap, the leading actors and production values were very good.

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          • Almost never, dear Servetus- I must be the exception to the rule ;-).
            I am a German, but I simply cannot truly enjoy things I’m too critical off. Right at this moment I remember a certain British actor saying: ” If it has stopped being fun, than it has stop altogether.” ( Although he said it in a completely different context).

            Why should I follow the career of an actor if I can’t stop critizing? That makes no sense to me! In that case I would just quit.

            There are a lot of good actors out there, but there’s something about Richard that I haven’t found in any of them- a charisma , genuineness and even a kind of innocence ( hard to put that impression he has on me into words…) I can’t see in any other . He really makes me care about the character he plays.

            BTW, like you, MF makes me cringe- I just can’t watch him. I find him too obsessive in a way- that scares me off. Dedication like this ( he seems to have lost far more kilos than Richard in the beginning of Spooks 7- I’m glad RA didn’t hunger himself to a skeleton). Somewhere you have to draw a line before it get’s mentally and physically too unhealthy .

            What I wanted to illustrate was that for me the enjoyment is the crucial part. As a teacher I have to do a lot of critzing ( grading …:-( ) every day in order to help my pupils to improve in their subjects- but it’s not something I really like to do. In my leisure time I really love to enjoy what I do and not get it marred with overanalyzing or going into a critical mode.

            As for Richard, I can only say: ” He still fascinates me.” ( Another quote you might possible recognize 😉

            Hope you are feeling better soon- wishing you a speedy recovery!

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            • Thanks for the good wishes, Nimue.

              The work issue you raise is an interesting one to me because I think about it in this context also. There are certain things I don’t want to do as a fan because I do them all the time at work: moderated re-reads / readalongs / rewatches. Essentially, that’s 40% of my job, and I’m happy to do it there and good at it, but the reason I blog is to think my own thoughts. I hope they are helpful to others, but I’m not going to be doing moderated discussion as a leisure activity. (And also after years of being the professor it’s hard for me to avoid being professorial in such settings.) OTOH, precisely because I’ve been working in this way so long, I have a tendency to look at things in certain ways that I find enjoyable for myself. I think others would look at me and say, “why do you read” (for example) “if you end up being so critical of the books you read?” I can’t turn that off and I enjoy it on some level. On the whole I tend to find German culture friendlier to critical engagement with things. In the US, often if you make one slightly critical comment about something people think you didn’t like it.

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              • I enjoy a critical discussion and I enjoy discussing Richard Armitage’s career choices. Sometimes I’m frustrated, but if it wouldn’t bring me enjoyment, I wouldn’t be here. There is a difference between being critical, but fair and measured and taking different aspects into account, and bashing. The first is what I enjoy and what I have tried to achieve here. I do try to put myself into his shoes, which isn’t too hard, as I come from a very similar background and have been brought up with similar values regarding work and dealing with money. I also am very willing to listen to other points of view and consider them, one thing I don’t like in a discussion is if the opponent never says, I never saw it that way, but you might have point, or at least, I don’t agree, but I see were you are coming from. Most of the time this happens in Armitage world and I think in this discussion as well.

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  6. Michael Fassbender, eh? I’m hoping more a Viggo move after The Hobbit, while not all as successful, he has made some very interesting movies since.

    I do agree though with Jane about the non-originality from Hollywood the past few years. One of the main reasons why TH got greenlit was the massive success LOTR turned out to be, and there is a ready-made audience for another Tolkien movie. Though I will admit, I will go the cinema and pay for that overpriced 3D ticket.

    It is interesting to read the POV from someone who’s been around since the early days. It no doubt makes a difference in how you see RA and his career trajectory. As someone who only joined the ranks, so to speak, early 2008, late 2007, it is around the time his popularity on TV had picked up speed, so there wasn’t a frustrating wait between roles.

    Personally I don’t hold his words against him, I think he tends to utter what he would love to do one day, but if they don’t come to fruition, so be it. Until he’s set to do what he’s said in the past; a play, Richard III etc, will I take his words seriously.

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    • I was thinking while editing this that if he goes over to a stage career, that will be the end for me, as I can’t imagine my life extending to regular trips to see him on the London stage. Films are nice, but there are long waits between them for all but the most prolific actors. Most don’t appear in five films a year. Really, for the amount of Armitage I’d like to have in my life, TV would be great.

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      • I don’t know about it being the end for me, but I have to agree with you servetus. All the while I’m reading about films/stage/directing the selfish fangurrly (for want of a better word) part of me is saying nooo, wanting back to back tv series and lots of ’em!! 🙂

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        • It’s a bit like the casting discussions that occur from time to time — we’d work the man into the grave if we could 🙂

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        • Me too. I think the theatre can be wonderful but so can a big hollywood movie.

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          • I agree with you Gracie,and maybe Richard is afraid of the hordes of fans from around the world(and from moon)in the backstage.:)

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            • Gracie, I agree with you, too.

              I absolutely don’t understand why some people seem to think a stage actor is automatically a better artist than an actor who’s in the film business. But I have to admit that all of this very theatrical overacting just isn’t my cup of tea anyway.

              In some respect I’d say that working in front of a camera is much more difficult: doing everything completely out of a chronological order, microphones and cameras all over the place or sometimes virtually next to your face, endless repetition of takes and getting into the feel of the role again when there are so many distractions around you. You have to focus really hard to stay in character. And in my opinion getting even mikroexpressions right is a greater achievement than strutting around on stage with big gestures. But that’s just my personal point of view.

              I also don’t get why the genre ” comedy” seems to be so underrated. Some mentioned here that they couldn’t understand, why he took a role in the restauration comedy ” The rover” into consideration. A role that would give him no opportunity to flex his action muscles, so to speak.
              I’ve read many interviews with so called ” critically acclaimed” (btw. I really don’t like this expression) actors who said that it’s way more difficult to play comedy than drama.

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              • The problem with ‘The Rover’ is not that it is a Restoration Comedy but a bit of an odd beast. The character of Wilmore is a drunken philanderer with no redeeming features. ‘The Rover’ is primarily played these days because it was written by a woman, Aphra Benn, and seen as the first feminist play although to the 21st century mind it is hard to see it as such.

                Any actor appearing in the West End acting in the manner you describe would be laughed off the stage.

                There are many great actors in each of the acting genres but the true greats have made a mark in both stage and screen performance. As Jane has commented, there is time for RA to make his particular mark in both and I’m sure we all hope he will.

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                • In the radioplay “Clarissa” he played the role of Robert Lovelace- a character who also doesn’t show any redeeming features–and Richard’s portrayal of him was simply fabulous. As long as we actually haven’t seen ” The Rover” I’d find it hard to judge in what manner it would have come out.

                  I may have described stage acting in a caricatural manner, but still I think, my personal opinion once again, that it requires a ” louder” kind of acting. It’s in the nature of things.

                  I’d love to see Richard on stage on day (reportely, despite a long absence, he did quite well in the Old Vic, albeit not a real play, of course). And I really believe that he’d love to do some stage work when the opportunity and the appropriate time slot arises , but I’m also completely content with seeing him on screen.

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                  • The character of Lovelace has considerably more depth and nuance than Wilmore. I saw “The Rover” with Jeremy Irons as Wilmore in an RSC production in the late ’80’s and really wondered why they had chosen the play.

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                    • If he did appear in “The Rover” in a production that got any attention at all, he’d suddenly jump to the top of the list in US academic circles. After I heard that announcement, I started looking idly at the bookshelves of friends when I was visiting their offices. I would say 90% of my colleagues in my last job owned an edition of that play — presumably because of Behn & feminism.

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      • On the German board we have a few people that invest their holidays and money to frequently fly to London to see their favourite actors in plays. And it seems, most TV actors regularly appear on stage. Who really knows if that is by choice or by lack of TV/film offers.

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        • Good question, Jane, it does make me curious how the people in the business view him. And yeah, appearing in a play wouldn’t be that of a deterrent as London is in my backyard so to speak.

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        • yeah, and if I were a fan of London theatre more generally, I could see doing that. I in fact know academics who do that — especially people who specialize in theatre — they travel to important productions the way art historians travel to important art exhibits. But I can’t say that I need to see the London theatre either professionally or emotionally. Occasional incursions into local productions fully satisfy my needs. But it points out that if you are a fan of what Americans call, tongue in cheek, “Tha Theyata” (fake British accent) before Armitage, that particular atmosphere influences their perceptions in a way that’s mostly foreign to me.

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        • The lack of stage work over the last ten or so years is the main issue I have with classing RA as a great actor. If he had wanted work on the London stage in the last few years (contractual commitments allowing), he could have had it without a doubt. I’ve seen Toby Stephens, Matthew Macfadyen and Damian Lewis in three month runs of established plays in mainstream venues with strong supporting casts. For whatever reason, RA and his agent have not pursued that route.
          Perhaps he wouldn’t be very good. He has invested an enormous amount of professional energy in developing a very subtle style of acting that relies on microexpressions with the end result that the camera has an afair with his face in everything he does. That would make it very hard to do stage acting without a complete reversal of style so that his acting was actually visible to anybody further back than the first three rows of the stalls. Can he do that? Does he want to do that?
          Thanks to Jane for encouraging me to voice my doubts.

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          • I completely agree. It is really not so much that I personally long to see him on stage, I have no burning desire to see him in person and am too lazy for weekend trips to London, but a great actor HAS to prove himself on stage and those you mention DID. Many actors that are considered lightweight choose to do stage work out of the wish to improve their professional reputation, actresses like Keira Kneightly or Katie Holmes come to my mind. Big names like Hugh Jackman or Daniel Craig appear on stage to counterbalance the blockbusters they are famous for. Why can’t RA? Why only talk about it, give the impression he is a serious stage actor when he apparently drops a stage project as soon as another TV offer materializes?

            In his defence, during the time he was committed to both RH and Spooks it was virtually impossible to squeeze anything in and apparently he WAS serious about the Rover, we have confirmation about that from the theatre company, and that he postponed/cancelled that for the Hobbit is understandable. But the slot when he did SB would have been exactly right and apparently there was a project he had interest in.

            Stage work is very badly paid, I think about 500-600 pounds per week and often even the stars don’t earn much more, so that may be a reason to stay away from it. Apart from the reasons you suggest.

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            • ‘The Rover’ itself always struck me as a very odd choice. The character of Wilmore is not one that offers great depths to explore. It would have been a good romp in contrast to the TV roles he was taking but it would not have put great demands on RA as an actor seeking to stretch himself.
              He will never prove himself if his work choices are driven by the memory of standing in long lines of young hopefuls for dance auditions only to be rejected because he was too tall for that particular chorus line.

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              • Yes, the Rover stuck me as odd as well. I understand the wish to do comedy for a change and proving he can do comedy certainly is important, but proving he can do heavyweight is much more important, so a comedy is the last I would recommend. But then, perhaps he is not driven by that need to prove himself at all and content with his professional reputation. It seems he also was content with his place within TV world and did not actively pursue a film career. CA came by chance and the Hobbit was something everyone auditioned for.

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                • Also because he knew the play well already from drama school?

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                  • I think for me that may be the key. He was at a point, after playing dark characters, when he wanted to have fun, and he had positive memories of working on this particular play at LAMDA.

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                    • It makes sense to me (again from the professorial perspective). If I am going to teach a book, it’s not enough for me to like it, or to be even reasonably familiar with it. I need to know every inch of that book, to have “mastered” it, to have thought about it in many contexts over time. Just “picking up” a book and doing it is a recipe for disaster. And if he’s at all nervous about a transition back to stage, a role like this with a touring theatre might really be a good step.

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                    • While I have some reservations about the play itself, I’d love him to do “The Rover” with ETT if he would enjoy, and because they generally play Richmond or Brighton or both so I would be able to see it – in the case of Richmond, possibly twice!!!
                      My concern about his transition back to stage work is one of the reasons I’m concerned about the whole Richard III thingy. If he were to play/direct it on stage, I doubt he has the experience to carry it off. It were a TV project, it would either be “celebrity led” history, which is about the only kind you can get made in the UK these days, or some dreadful thing that has no historical value. The whole Richard III scene is so partisan that is a minefield best avoided since one side will say he is a saint, and the other that he was the darkest villan that ever lived, while you and I know that as with most historical figures the truth lies somewhere in between.

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          • I agree with the general point that the way Armitage is acting now — in which someone says the camera ends up in a love affair with his face — would have to be modified for the stage. In fact, I think there’s an argument that he’s becoming *more* subtle over the last few roles.

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            • He may. LN and JP certainly aren’t character that are supposed to show lot of emotion outwardly, that is just not what spies and elite soldiers do, however, the attempt to imagine what the character feels and then do nothing may not work well for all viewers.

              Wooden is a poplar criticism and a death penalty for an actor and for me painful to read. If an actor is wooden, he’s apparently not acting at all, so then what is it all about. Perhaps it would be advisable to be a little less subtle so people can see he is doing something.

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              • I remember seeing a workshop on TV many years ago focussing on Michael Caine as an actor and the part that has stuck in my mind was his explanation of microexpressions and how he had developed the subtle facial changes. He would never have claim to be anything but a screen actor and some may claim he is wooden but he has certainly had a long and successful film career.
                I totally agree that RA development as an actor in any media is dependent on the choices he makes post-Hobbit. A 2* romcom with Jennifer Aniston would finish me off as a fan where as an action movie might keep me hanging there to see what he did next.

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                • Actually I wouldn’t be against a rom com with Jennifer Aniston, as long as it is Jennifer Aniston and not an unknown actress. She is as famous as it gets and co-starring in a movie with her would be very good for his profile. Same goes for an action movie with Angelina Jolie. You have to get into a position to be considered for movies with those actresses first. It is not all about quality I’m trying to say, it is about profile as well.

                  It may very well be that offers he gets after the Hobbit allow him to further rise his profile and feed his bank account and he chooses to do that – when should he do that, if not now? I don’t think that right now is the time to turn away from Hollywood and embark a stage career. I just hope he manages to find a healthy balance.

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                  • Great discussion! I’m not sure why the stage has more kudos than film or TV. Isn’t it just another medium? I saw the Michael Caine masterclass too and he was mesmerizing – oh so subtle.

                    I agree with Pam that RA’s acting style may not translate too well to the stage now. I was lucky enough to see Alan Rickman playing in Liaisons Dangereuses years ago and he was spellbinding. Years later, after being immersed in his film career, he was booed on stage in Cleopatra – people couldn’t hear him! You felt for the poor guy.

                    I sometimes think RA feels he ought to try the stage, before it’s too late, but his heart isn’t really in it. And he did say in the Telegraph interview last July, talking about his early stage career, ‘I’m not much of a show-off. I don’t really go for that kind of applause.’ He’s said he wants to move behind the camera and that may be where he finds he’s really most comfortable, one day. But please, not Richard III!

                    I’d love him to have a gold-plated all-round career like Benedict Cumberbatch but RA is kind of a late starter. They both started getting roles about the same time – 2001 – but RA was already 5 years older (and didn’t have parents who were actors). So I fear it’s not to be.

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      • As you might expect, I’d be tickled if he did a few stage projects. I really don’t need a real excuse to go to London. 😉

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    • Wait between roles never was an issue – RA has always been working like mad, so there was always material to watch and discuss. Right now, we have the longest famine by far. It was more the wait for the breakthrough that was anticipated after N&S but didn’t come. At least not in the expected way, but more as painfully slow climbing up.

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    • Viggo Mortensen, just as Elijah Wood, are actors that are on record for deliberately choosing a lower-profile path after LOTR, avoiding blockbusters and doing independent movies (or no movies at all in the case of VM) instead. I would totally respect such an approach by RA, even if that means we see less of him. I would even respect it if he choose to stay in NZ and become a sheep farmer (back to Sparkhouse).

      I think I haven an idea in my head I might call “artistic integrity” – I know that sounds high and mighty, but I don’t know what else I should call it. It is just that based on past experience I don’t see that RA is strongly guided by that concept.

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      • Viggo definitely is one who lives according to his artistic integrity, I know with the proceeds from LOTR he started a small independent publishing company, went to exhibit his many photos and paintings, before even stepping back in front of a camera. Though I must admit, it was because of LOTR that gave him the opportunity and freedom to do these. And Viggo seems to truly embody an artist
        I guess in RA’s case it will be interesting to see what he chooses after TH, if it does become his massive breakthrough.

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      • I don’t know that I would say that he has *not* pursued artistic integrity. I don’t think that anything he’s appeared in has been something where I would say, uch, the concept is just so awful that no reputable artist would appear in this. Even if you didn’t like SB, it was filled with reputable actors. Even Jodhi May, who has a reputation for only doing the highest brow of the highbrow.

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        • It was full of reputable artists. Someone said, if it is good enough for Toby Stephens, how can you think it is not good enough for RA? My answers to that is that TS can afford doing it for a change, RA can not. It won’t harm his reputation because he already has a reputation as a serious actor. All those actors manage to balance different media and high-brow stuff with lightweight mainsteam stuff and occasionally rubbish. In the last few years RA has exclusively done lightweight mainstream TV stuff, with the possible exceptions of Moving On and Clarissa.

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          • maybe my bar is too low, but for me “lacks artistic integrity” would be something like reality tv or p*rn or a really bad sitcom (which for me is something like “Married with Children”). Something where someone is selling his body or celebrity with no art involved, or something where art is perverted for no apparent reason other than money. I don’t think SB qualifies as much beyond low-brow (although his performance pulled it way up), but I don’t think that it lacked artistic integrity. It had a script that made sense, it had solid character development of more than one character, it followed all the rules of mainstream drama, the performances were uniformly strong. For something to “lack artistic integrity” or to say that Armitage doesn’t think it’s important because he was in SB it would have to have been a lot worse than it ended up being. (Now, if they had filmed the novel more closely, I might have agreed with you.)

            I had meant to ask you about what you thought of Moving On, and forgot about it.

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            • Don’t forget I’m highly prejudiced against SB! We touched the subject of Moving On in our emails, but dropped it. I really like the concept of MO and definetely think he should do more in that vein – real people with real problems set in the real world. Strong focus on character, no action or fast plot. I also think it was a brilliant performance because I despised his character and sensed his fake charm (as opposed to the genuine charm of Harry Kennedy or RA himself) from the beginning. The script itself had it’s problems. I also disliked that again he was cast as the love interest, I would like do see him in something that is totally unrelated to his appeal to women.

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  7. Wow. Thanks for this entire series, Servetus! And thank you, Jane! You really embody the spirit of the German board – “hart aber herzlich.” I’m also really glad you mentioned Michael Fassbender (I know it makes you cringe, Serv).

    If I did not work in London, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t know EITHER of these actors. That said, since I do work here, and these are two British actors I currently follow, it’s hard not to compare and contrast sometimes. Obviously – these are two VERY DIFFERENT MEN and also two very different actors. But I have to agree with Jane, it’s not about liking Fassbender. Whether I liked him or not (and I kind of didn’t really like him in Jane Eyre), I was impressed to learn of all the films he’d made between 2010/2011. He’d been in 6 separate movies in 18 months, working with great directors like Steven Soderbergh, David Cronenberg, Matthew Vaughn, Steve McQueen, & Ridley Scott. It kind of took my breath away the pace of his ambitious schedule and really just earned my respect. I also had the good fortune to meet a Fassbender blogger (she has been tirelessly supporting him for over 3 years) recently, so seeing him do well made me extremely happy for her.

    Fassbender is probably a greater risk taker than RA. He’s also younger, brasher, and definitely not shy. I think @Rob said it best when she said one was an Irish rogue and the other the quintessential British gentleman. Really, is there a need to choose? I feel the world is blessed to have both of them in it. 🙂

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    • What strikes me about MF is how he managed to get cast in all those great and very different projects. I think it was the role in Hunger a few years ago that was shown in Cannes that really made the difference for him. I think RA desperately needs a role like that to prove he can really act. MF did starve himself for that role (as a prisoner on hunger strike), RA did starve himself to play an ex-prisoner in Spook plus allowed himself to be tortured and all for something that was just light entertainment and didn’t matter at all.

      http://www.thesqueee.co.uk/2012/01/hunger-2008.html

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      • Wow, Jane, that’s a really solid comparison of actions taken by both of these actors (almost during the same time period!)

        It’s true ‘Hunger’ became an open door calling card for MF to top directors, but Steve McQueen movies aren’t exactly for the faint of heart and can really push an audience to the edge, at times. MF has confessed to being relieved that his mother could not attend the first screening of ‘Shame’ at the Venice Film Festival and to watching most of that screening slouched down low in his seat while hiding behind his hands.

        Do you believe, then, that these are movies RA would be comfortable and happy pursuing?

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    • what I won’t suffer for the sake of real discussion!

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    • Well, being a member of the German RA- board myself, I wouldn’t say that Jane is” the embodiment of its spirit”. We all enjoy our discussions, but I don’t think all of us share her sometimes rather pessimistic or critical views. There is always a great diversity of opinions, which in itself is always a good thing , of course. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’d say the majority of the RA- fans in our board have a rather favourable attitude towards his roles and projects in common.

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      • They have, Nimue, at least those that are still active in the RA section (and relatively new to RA), but we have lost a lot of fans, sometimes originally very passionate admirers of his craft, because they were disappointed by the path of his career.

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      • I have been reading the German board now for may months, and although my German is pitiful, the sense of excited expectation for each of RA’s roles is very apparent there.

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      • Hi Nimue, I didn’t mean to imply that I read the German board and should have been more clear that I was simply referring to the spirit of the slogan Servetus had referred to in her earlier post, namely “hart aber herzlich” (severe, but sincere?)

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        • I’ve been thinking about this translation a lot. Maybe “hard but heartfelt”? Does that make it better?

          Germans tend to be more blunt than Americans on the whole. I always had to watch it when I moved back to the US after more than three months in Germany. Sometimes people thought I was being mean or rude when I was expressing a sentiment that would have been a normal thing to say in Germany.

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        • Hi UK expat, I know you didn’t mean it that way and referred to ” Hart aber herzlich”. But I thought it would be a good opportunity to emphasize, that there really is a great variety of opinions as far as our board members are concerned.All in all I’d say that the ” herzliche” or ” hartfelt” side is much more predominant on our board.

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  8. I first saw RA in RH (the episode with that Meg girl was the first one I’d ever seen), then sought him out in N&S. I have seen a few seasons of Spooks and a few episodes he was in, but I find it too stressful in general to watch. Totally excited that he’s in The Hobbit as I ❤ Tolkien. Not a fan VOD so I've never seen him in that. I didn't make it through the first episode of Strike Back (not my thing). I like live theater so if he were in a stage production I'd probably want to see it. I don't own any of his audiobooks, but when my financial situation improves I may try one out because I like the genre. I personally don't watch (for example) True Blood, and if he showed up on the show I still wouldn't watch it. PS- he can show up on Once Upon a Time whenever he wants.

    The point of all that babbling about self: I consider myself a fan even if he does projects that I don't find interesting and choose not to view. I don't feel that makes me any less of a fan than the person who does view/listen to everything he does. I like the eye candy and respect that he does a great job with his characters. He is the only actor who has ever really interested me enough to look for blogs about him and then to actually comment on them, so I think that says a lot.

    As long as he's not abusing people or animals I don't care what he does in his free time or what projects he chooses. If it's something that interests me, great. If it doesn't interest me, I'll catch him another time or enjoy his other work. It's his career and the choices he makes affect him at the end of the day and not me (I can still watch the things he's done in the past that I enjoy).

    I feel there is room for varying levels of fans. I actually see Jane as a high level-fan because she has given a lot of thought to his career and different options/paths and what would be good for him. People can agree or disagree but the love is there. 🙂

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    • If he showed up on “True Blo0d” I would squee my pants.

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      • That’s where the differences in fans are good. I’m sure plenty of fangurls would just go crazy if he showed up on True Blood. Honestly, if he showed up on that or Game of Thrones, it would be a huge boost for him and get his name “out there” even more.

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        • As I’ve said before a vampire role would be a real struggle for me, much more so than Porter ended up being. but I’d try it out, of course.

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          • There are plenty of roles on TB besides vamps. And don’t get me wrong, the show is ridiculous, and I’ve never read the books. But I consider it fan fic I don’t have to write. A little smut on a warm summer night is a good thing. 🙂

            I agree with “Game of Thrones” as well–he could reunite with Iain Glen.

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        • I’m coming from a totally different perspective and don’t consider if I personally like TB or GoT. I think in comparison to his previous TV roles, a role in a successful HBO series would have been a huge step up, but after the Hobbit I would hope for more films.

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  9. Really interesting interview.

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  10. This has been a really interesting series of posts. Part of what I enjoy most about this fandom, is reading the discussions that go on between fans. What a boring world it would be if each of us had the same tastes and opinions! Thank you Jane, for willing voicing your opinions. They may not follow the mainstream, but they are just as legitimate and they are certainly thought provoking.

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  11. I have not read the whole blog, but my eye sadly caught a sentence in the final part, about doing a happy dance when John Porter was killed. To feel this way about a graphic scene of appalling cruelty – the execution of a helpless man – a scene, that haunted my dreams for several nights is, well, how to put it mildly enough, interesting. Right now, I am sitting here crying. Congratulations!

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    • ((Nietzsche)) I haven’t seen SB2, and doubt I ever will. The stills of Porter’s execution are bad enough for me, I couldn’t bring myself to watch it on screen.

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    • Oh, he did wash off the blood, went home, and a few days later was on a plane to New Zealand. 🙂 I have no emotional attachment to JP whatsoever, I just know that the day I learned he would definetely and irretrievably leave SB, for nothing less but the Hobbit, was one of the best days since I joined fandom.

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      • Your cynicism doesn’t make things better, you know.

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        • I have a lot of respect for your opinions, Nietzsche, but only the wording of this comment keeps it on the border of ad hominem. Warning.

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          • Don’t worry – I am planning to withdraw from here and other sites anyway, especially when the definitions of ad hominem are that narrow. I am very sorry that you don’t see that Jane is being cynical and that I for once may be hurt. Just saying. I am not a small child to be warned off.

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            • I’m not being cynical. I’m trying to see things like the world outside probably sees them. And I see that in some quarters it hurts RA’s reputation to have done something like SB. That is why it makes me happy to see his attachment to the show come to an end.

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            • I don’t know how else to communicate that calling someone else cynical is not acceptable behavior here. You may state that you find their opinion cynical and give a reason.

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    • I also would not have cheered for Porter’s death, Nietzsche, and I’m sorry that you cried over Jane’s comment. I have to agree, though, that fictional characters are different from real people. There are plenty of fictional characters whose death we cheer over for many reasons — Voldemort in Harry Potter, for example. Jane’s point was that she was happy the character was killed because it meant he was going on to something else. She wasn’t rejoicing over anyone’s death.

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  12. Again, I hesitated before jumping into this pool, but here goes:

    Is there anything wrong with being a fangirl for an obscure English actor? Why does he have to be MORE? I appreciate RA in pretty much everything I have seen, and if he had chosen to stick with English TV I would have happily watched what I had access to. Instead he has chosen The Hobbit, and I’ll happily go to the theatre and see that in December. I just like watching him act, period.

    I have to agree with Serv (and others) that John Porter is one of my favorite RA characters, and I found SB interesting to watch. I was distressed to see him executed, although in reality I know RA did wash off the blood and go home. Still, I loved John and wished I could have seen more of his story.

    I’m not sure if my position makes me a “good fan” or a “bad fan”. Perhaps I’m just easily pleased.

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    • Oh, but if he should win the part of Matthew in the screen version of A Discovery of Witches, I would be over the moon with joy.

      I know, I know, let the vampire debate begin! I can’t help it, he just fits the part so perfectly!

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  13. Ough…I must agree that I felt a bit uncomfortable (‘cold’) when I was reading this interview. Nevertheless, I am someone who always find it very interesting to hear other people’s point of view and I have absolutely no problem if it turns out that I disagree with what’s being said. We are all unique human beings, experiencing life different from each other.

    But..when we somehow (unpurposely) seem to have hurt others with our remarks, I think it would be recommendable to show a little more empathy.

    FH

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  14. As a very new RA fan (I just ‘discovered’ thim last October when a friend lent me North and South DVD). I’m Brazilian and over here the influence of American entertainment industry is huge and we almost never have access to British or other nations productions, specially regarding TV. As I’m very curious about the world culture, I’m always looking for different and new things. So… when I watched NS and loved it, I started looking for information abour RA and confess I was very disappointed to know he worked basically for TV and it wouldn’t be very difficult to see more of his works. Since I began my RA investigation I came across many fan blogs and read a little about him and I also decided to buy some DVDs with his work.
    Well, It’s the first time I see RA fans discussing so eagerly about his career and choices instead of his good looks (I also find him very handsome). I have to confess that I really enjoyed reading Jane’s thoughts as I found myself sharing many of them.
    I’m not here to judge anyone’s preferences or choices, but I also think he has potential for more and would love to see this come true someday. Maybe after Thorin??? I don’t know but hope I’m lucky enough to see it!!

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  15. I’m a “polygamist”. I first saw the actor in RH. Was bowled over for totally non-intellectual reasons. (Duh) Sent for the N&S DVD, and was happy to note that the actor can act. (Which makes one’s school-girl crush seem a little bit less stupid.) In any case, I have enjoyed the range of roles and characters, though there are favourites. From the absurdity of RH to the period drama of N&S, which is grittier than Austen dramas. And while I would agree that Porter was not a cardboard character, I do prefer spy drama to gung-ho war stuff. The point for me is that the actor can play a range of roles and bring an interesting perspective to each. As for voice, all the men in my family have been baritone, so the personal connection renders a preference for lower-register voices.

    It is encouraging that the roles of Thornton and Thorin were based on audition. Other roles have clearly been cast on the basis of audience/fan response – frankly, sexploitation. Fingers crossed for apres TH, the availability of decent scripts and productions, and strong
    pro-action on the part of the actor to pursue TPTB.

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  16. I’ve hesitated before saying anything in this discussion, but I do want to say that I have found this ‘series interview’ very interesting. Something I enjoy in this fandom is reading the thought provoking discussions that go on and thanks, to you, Servetus, and to Jane, for this interview. It has been stimulating and challenging- you know, this is quite a thing to get from a fandom! I feel it would be a very boring old fandom and world if each of us, fans though we are of the same man, had the same opinions! Jane’s views –and she has clearly thought at some length and in depth- as legitimate as those of the next fan. I am sorry it was necessary for you to state ‘rules of engagement,’ there really should be room for all of us.
    I consider myself a fan, in that nice broader description, not the fanatic type, even if the person I choose to fan girl engages in projects that I don’t find interesting and choose not to view. I have not seen BTS, Ultimate Force, the Golden Hour or, as yet, all of SB. Some may think this makes me a ‘bad fan’, but I don’t. Why does it make me less of a fan than the person who view/listens to everything he undertakes?
    One thing I do say is that this actor is the only actor who has ever really interested me enough to look for blogs about him, join fan site[s] and actually comment.
    I personally class RA as a very skilled actor, but so far primarily a television actor because I don’t think he has done much in the way of stage work and I too wonder how his style would transfer to the stage. As has been mentioned, he has a very subtle style of acting that employs micro-expressions and movements of great subtlety. The camera can pick up all of these but as Jane, I think, has pointed out, to act on the stage would call for a reversal of his customary style of acting. Some actors can certainly do both as has been listed. We simply do not know about RA, ubnless and until he des more stage work.

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  17. I think that Jane has a fine critical eye, in the true and positive meaning of the word.

    The question of transition from camera to stage is fascinating. The actor would have to hone the old skills of body language and use of voice in place of micro-expressions of face. These are all evident in the TV roles, but of course, the facial expressions are not from the stage.

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    • It wasn’t me who made the comment about RA subtle acting style possibly not suitable for the stage, it was Pam. 😉 But she might be onto something.

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  18. Not beeing “onboard” for only two days causes severe delay…;-) It took me the whole evening to read the 3 parts and the not so few comments and I’ve to confess it was a bit a of an emotive ride on a rollercoaster. One of the things uppermost in my mind are (besides beeing too confused about all the different statements, still digesting them and not knowing what I should add in a trice), why haven’t I hardly ever been on the German board?
    For sure I share the mostly German view of a broken relationship to any kind of (war)hero or military action hero film. I wouldn’t ever have watched SB if not for RA. It still surprises me that I made it to the end of SB1, (no way of watching SB2!) and that I’ve got so emotionally attached to JP. But ok, if I’m honest with me I know why…..
    What touches me a bit is, that somebody mentioned feeling a “bit cold” about a couple of things Jane said. I remember having the same reaction at least once in the past and that it troubled me some time trying to find out why.
    But still beeing a (kind of 🙂 ) newbie (born RA addict Oct 2010!) I’m catching up to this day, and therefore my possible expectations are not anything like as (probably) disappointed as one of them, who are or were around for years and years.
    Maybe more later….since it’s already amazingly late here I should got to bed…
    Jane and Servetus (Gute Besserung!!) my heartfelt thanks for this interview. Es gäbe so viel zu sagen….

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  19. This is why RA says he doesn’t go on the web any more to read what his fans say about him. Don’t mean to be rude. I just like him plan and simple. He has a certain charisma that is very attractive — not to mention the good looks. And he can act! As others have said on this blog, he’s the only actor that ever made me want to go looking for his work and read blogs about them. I’d be glad to watch him in anything from a major motion picture to a TV commercial. I think folks are underestimating him. His career climb seems pretty typical to me from what I’ve heard other actors describe which is they work for years to become overnight sensations. As I’ve said before, the critics are already taking notice just from the preview released in December. I think the hobbit movie is going to take him and his career way beyond any of our expectations. But I’m a fairly new RA fan, so I’m probably not as frustrated with the direction of his career as others seem to be.

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    • Not everyone likes RA and shares his fan’s opinion, in fact dismisses it because they are seen as hormonal females. I have seen a few very critical articles about him and when his casting in the Hobbit was announced, Tolkien fans were very sceptical and didn’t take those that stepped in to defend him seriously. A casual viewer who might have seen a bit of RH and SB here and there and decided it was rubbish, without bothering to look out for signs of subtle acting, may easily come to the conclusion that he is a rubbish actor as well or at least okay, but nothing special. PJ was almost the first professional voice with some clout who praised RA as an actor and it was so good to finally read that he’s been recognized by someone who matters and is not just a fangirl.

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      • @Jane: Sometimes I wonder whether we fans are not doing him more harm the good,in his professional life.

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        • I’m not sure what you mean, if you mean fans like me that voice an opinion or the fact he has a lot of female fans. I personally have always been of the opinion that somewhat accidentally becoming a heartthrob and acquiring an army after N&S has prevented him from being taken seriously almost from the beginning. He has always expressed discomfort with his sex symbol status and said he wishes to break that mould. That is actually one of the reasons I like him, had he embraced it, I wouldn’t have given him a second thought.

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    • @sloan:Amen!
      My love is somewhat unconditional!.;)
      I do not want to arrange Richard’s life,I expect nothing,I do not demand anything. Thanks to him I met <3John Thornton,J.Standring,J.Porter and Guuuuy !…..*sigh*……Ad rem Joanna!
      Most important for me,however,is that thanks to him I met many talented,creative,inteligent people from all over the world.
      I wish him all the best,and if in the future,his work will not be in my taste,I will use 'the magic red bottom ' in my remote.

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    • If he expects to find only praise for his work, sloan, he’s really going to struggle. This blog is not directed at him — I am not writing for him, nor is he in my audience. I’m really troubled by any definition of fandom that has to embrace unconditional approval of the crush.

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      • Let me clarify: a definition of fandom that *requires* that admiration be unconditional. If you’re unconditional that’s fine, just don’t insist that I be 🙂

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      • Sorry, didn’t mean to offend. I wasn’t trying to define fandom in anyway for anybody especially since I’m not really familiar with the whole concept of fandom. I’m just saying that I think his career is finally taking off and maybe it would be a good thing to wait until the hobbit comes out to see which direction he will choose to take. That’s the most interesting part to me…how will success affect him!?! Will he make the choices we hope/expect him to make and stay true to himself (based on what little he has revealed in interviews) or will he go all Hollyweird on us. I have no doubt that he’ll be a major success after this movie is released. I actually think the same thing is going to happen with the hobbit that happened with Robin Hood — RA’s portrayal of Thorin is going to overshadow the Bilbo Baggins character just the same as his portrayal of Guy overshadowed the Robin Hood character. At least that’s my guess based on what little knowledge I have of the hobbit since I’m not a Tolkein fan.

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        • I hope I didn’t overreact. I think that Jane’s perspective as a longer term fan (5 years +) is operative here. Those fans have been waiting patiently for his really big break for a long time. In fact, she *is* saying, I’m still waiting to see what happens after The Hobbit. But she also has a history of watching his career that I don’t have (I am coming up on 2 years right now) and I do think he she has been patient.

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          • 5 years is a long time and taken from that perspective I can imagine it’s frustrating not seeing more progress in the types of roles chosen. I know I’m looking forward to new material and even willing to sit through the hobbit. Sorry I’m not a hobbit fan. When I was a teenager it was popular among my friends, but I preferred the Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. Now that would be a good role…King Arthur or even Merlyn. Who knows what RA will decide to do after the hobbit, but I’d like to see him do more period pieces…not necessarily romantic pieces but definitely something historical.

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  20. As for Michael Fassbender…no actor will ever surpass Toby Stevens’ portrayal of Edward Rochester. I don’t know why they even bothered making the last version of Jane Eyre…I fell asleep during that movie it was so boring.

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    • I’m sure opinions on the best Rochester greatly vary, just like opinions on RA. For me for example, while I love RW and the 2006 version of Jane Eyre, TS did little for me.

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      • Having said that, Rochester was the reason we lost several RA fans to TS over at the German board. And that he did a lot stage work and was available to be seen in person added to the attraction.

        The point about MF really is not if I personally prefer him, I haven’t even seen many of the things he has been in, but he must be doing something very right, he is really on a role at the moment as he gets cast in so many high-profile things, and not just blockbuster but award worthy stuff as well. The world outside clearly thinks he can act.

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        • It’s true. There’s no preferring MF over RA, but perhaps because I lived in London Fields last year when I first saw MF in something (Jane Eyre) and discovered we were neighbors, I took a little more interest in who he was and he seemed more accessible (i.e., tonight he is appearing at the Hackney Picturehouse for Q&A after ‘Shame’ and granted a long phone interview to my blogger friend).

          ‘Hunger’ was not seen widely, but was seen by all in the film world (Cannes, as mentioned above) opening doors for MF to walk through which he seized tirelessly. I’m not sure these are roles that RA would find appropriate for his career (even if they open doors to more).

          Most actors toil tirelessly in ‘undiscovered’ land and RA and MF are no different. I cheer for both of them as well as the communities who support both. 🙂

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          • Yes, that is the point of being in a festival movie, not to be seen by a wide audience, but by the insiders of the film world. I really with RA could make it into that kind of movie, though I would probably feel uncomfortable with something like shame.

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    • @sloan: I can’t agree with you here. Last version of “Jane Eyre”was quite fascinating for me.

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  21. Discourse, discussion! I love it. Must respectifully disagree on some points, tho. Michael Fassbender did some really crappy TV too! Hex anyone??? Being a starving artist, it stinks. I don’t fault him for taking work, work, leads to more work. And yes, maybe he did more “time” than most actors, it did lead to better projects. SB was not my fav and yes, RH was campy and that 3rd season went off the rails, but again it did lead to other projects. A casting director saw his SB poster and he was cast in Captain America.

    And working for Peter Jackson on LOR, well, whatever we may think that is the pinacle for most actors. And after this, he should have his pick of roles. I am more interested to see what roles he takes moving forward. Now that he has his choice of roles. I don’t think in the past he had as many choices.

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    • I’m really hoping this is the big payoff. PJ seems to work with people he likes / respects repeatedly.

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  22. I think he will be a household name and will prob be in everything just like Fassbender. I am going to without judgement on past project, because a man’s gotta eat. I want to see what he does with his new found leverage.

    Hope u are feeling better. I just cleaned up projectile vomit! Fun! Fun!

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  23. With respect to Jane or anyone being honest about their feelings, they can expect criticism. Comes with the territory, and I think Jane is very aware of that and deals with it well.

    That aside, I don’t get the inferred nobility of Jane for speaking her mind about Richard Armitage. I respect her for being honest, but she’s not putting her life or finances in jeopardy to do it.

    Reality: Jane does us all a favor. If we didn’t have a Jane in our midst, think how very bored we would be.

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    • I should have put some smilies, excuse me, some emoticons on that last post. 😀 It sounds much more serious than I intended. Too bad I’m not a better writer who doesn’t need the crutch. LOL!

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      • I knew I would get criticism and I don’t mind. When I hesitated about the interview it was because I didn’t wanted to offend anyone with my bluntness and did wanted to spoil other people’s fun.

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      • IMO,we all need ‘the crutch’ in this medium. We are complete strangers and we can’t see each other. We come from diffrent cultures and sometimes we have(as I do)problem with the English language …dot..dot…dash…:)

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  24. I am a follower of RA’s career for more than two years now and also a active member of the German RA Board so Jane’s point of view is not new to me.

    I respect her (and everyone else) for voicing her opinion although I don’t agree with most of it.

    My ‘boardlife’ taught me a lot of things and one of these things was that I don’t have to understand all kind of different opinions. That doesn’t mean that I doesn’t respect them but I stopped trying to understand at any cost.

    [edited]

    I have to admit that some statements from Jane really made me laugh 🙂

    [edited]

    [such as] the comparison with Craig and Jackman. Really???

    I mean both of them are successful Hollywood actors and well settled over there. For them it is no risk to do a play on Broadway for three months because they know that afterwards they will go back to well paid engagements and I don’t think that RA is in the same position.

    Oh and I really would love to read your comments if RA ever does movies like Cowboys and Aliens, Real Steel or Invasion 🙂

    And last but not lest your comment about putting yourself in RA’s shoes [edited]:
    I always defined that phrase with: feel sympathetic towards someone but I can’t find a lot of sympathy in your words and to think a lot about a subject isn’t enough for me to really put ourselves in someone else’s shoes – but maybe that’s my mistake.

    Nevertheless it was interesting for me to see how others deal with Jane’s opinion. Thanks for the interview Servetus!

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  25. OK, I’m closing comments on this strand. This has been a fascinating and IMO important discussion that justified every minute of work that went into the interview, but I’ve had to deal with ad hominem postings every day since it’s appeared and that’s too much like work and not enough like fun for me. Moreover, I feel like I can’t discuss my own feelings about these things because I’m too busy protecting Jane and people who agree with her from personal attack.

    Thanks to Jane and all of the commentators who took the time to leave their thoughts here for a fascinating, critical discussion. I hope that we’ll be able to do more discussions like this in future.

    🙂 🙂 🙂

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  26. […] week, Servetus ran an interview for her Fan Showcase with the irrepressible Jane.  Jane is a fan known for her blunt but frank […]

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  27. […] to see how this makeup technique ends up working in different lightings of Thorin’s face; Jane is not the only person I’ve heard express concern that the heavy dwarf makeup may conceal […]

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  28. […] Part 3 of the fan showcase with Jane, January 18, 2012. Comments were closed after some commentators started making personal […]

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