More Porter / Armitage lip

To start — two pieces of business. I assume you are aware, but in case you aren’t, both these items courtesy of

First, Suzi, a moderator at Richard Armitage Central met Mr. Armitage in Michigan!

Second, if you are a UK resident you can win two tickets to the London premiere of The Hobbit.


Servetus reports that Tuesday into Wednesday is going to be the unpleasant chunk of the week this semester.


Last night I was screencapping to cheer myself up, and found myself thinking again about Richard Armitage’s upper lip and its evocative moments. Where you don’t necessary tend to expect these is in a fight scene, but that’s where I found myself noticing them last night. Below some of my own caps from Strike Back 1.3 — the scene in the prison courtyard where Porter (played by Armitage) fights that extremely tall, powerful man. Jeffrey Zekele plays the prison guard; Mzwakhe Philemon Dlamini plays Vincent, the very large Zimbabwean; and Tumelo James Sibanda plays Anthony, the young boy.

Some thoughts:

  • these aren’t all mouth positions — some of them are caps in which he’s twisting his mouth — but you still see how powerful this gesture is.
  • the makeup here helps him out, by drawing attention to his (cut) lip (and to the motion of his nose.
  • the very abbreviation of the lip makes him seem more emotional — as if he’s breathing harder, calculating more aggressively, and so on.
  • nonetheless, you can see how he gets a lot of mileage out of that lip just because it’s so easy to move to reveal his teeth, which he shows repeatedly in this scene.
  • the fact that his lip is less full makes his mouth look deceptively smaller and harsher or hard-bitten in many of these caps.
  • his mouth also shows relief / release to contrast to those tense moments. I don’t know exactly how to describe that lip position — in which his lips are extended out from his teeth, as if they reflect blown-out air.



It was interesting to me, after looking at that scene, to look back at this post (“Armitage dances his way through it“), where I was focused on the dance-like quality of an action scene. But his mouth is also quite vivid there, as well. Mr. Emotional Action Man Armitage.

It was also interesting, as I remember (but can’t find at the moment) Armitage saying that he found the prospect of this fight with Dlamini extremely daunting, that in slomo-ing through the scene I didn’t find any pieces where I noticed a stuntman. Impressive.

~ by Servetus on August 29, 2012.

16 Responses to “More Porter / Armitage lip”

  1. ….a shame to hide such an article of onder away under that beard!
    Thanks for this insightful post I will consider it all day (hopefully)


  2. Can I just make a random comment? I love seeing all the fan pics from MI. He looks so relaxed! Like he’s having a great time on set and in the Midwest!!! It is like the wizard of oz has come to town. So werid that he’s in the same continent!


    • I know. And particularly in that picture, he looks like he could be a local who works around there and just stepped out for his lunch. Seriously disorienting.

      I do note, however, that he must have taken that shirt out of the package that morning.


  3. Hair acting. Lip acting. ACTING acting. The man really is a master. I do remember Richard talking about thinking of himself as a fairly big guy, and then he had to take on this veritable giant in this scene. And it appeared to be all Armitage in the fight. I loved the way he worked the crowd in the prison yard, too.
    The boy next door in Michigan is just so—endearing. *sigh*


  4. My favourite bit from that scene is where he does a back roll and dances back on to his feet. How many times have I watched that??


  5. […] A post written by Servetus reminded me of something I had been meaning to mention a while back. […]


  6. What a coincidence ! I’ve been rewatching this peculiar scene for the past 2 days for gifing purpose 🙂 First time I saw this episode, the fight scene mesmerized me. Not because of the well executed fight, but because of Richard’s facial expressions. When I gif or write, I’m easily distracted by his eyes/eyebrows since he’s so good at conveying his character’s inner turmoil with just a look, so I often miss the important role of his jaw and mouth in his acting. However, it really strucked me in this scene. Thanks for sharing your better worded thoughts about it 🙂


  7. […] actually written about the stripping scene for other reasons. I’ve also written about the expressive way he uses his mouth in fight scenes. And the beauty of his hands in this episode. So, really, it’s not all about the naked […]


  8. […] and briefly for Thorin Oakenshield in The Battle of the Five Armies and rather tangentially for Porter. I’ve never been able to settle for myself, based on what we know, where exactly the young […]


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