Taking stock of where I am, Armitagically — Artimagically?

rahobbitgiftbombforcharitynov2612gratianalA sincere request:

If you have not already, please join the campaign to congratulate (“giftbomb”) Mr. Armitage on his performance in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and help out people who need our assistance in the bargain, by leaving a small donation with JustGiving or spReAdthelove. We’ll be ending these requests after the London premiere, so please join us now!

Thanks to all who have already given!

Today I’m praying for the people of Japan, hit by another earthquake and tsunami, and the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. Please pray for their safety and consolation, for the emotional relief of those who mourn and those who aid the victims, and please help them in other ways as you can and are led.

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My head is really spinning still. Too much going on, stuff colliding in every sphere of my life. I wish I could figure out how to vent my mind and emotions but I’m not going to get that right now. It is what it is. So this post is going to be random, with some hookups to other stuff, but indubitably running over some of the same territory. I’m just trying to sort out some thoughts.

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First, some easy stuff. If you haven’t read it, check out Zan’s account of her trip to the taping of Anderson Cooper Live this week. I’d have reblogged this except that for some reason, the first post didn’t push to me and I missed it. Part One and Part Two. Can’t wait to find out what the question was.

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richard armitageRichard Armitage, Ziegfield Theater, NYC premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, December 6, 2012. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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Judiang comments on the suit and is not sure what she thinks. I may have more to say later, but my response right now is that while I might not have picked this — I nonetheless welcome it — and it’s an unusually consciously daring choice for him. I liked it. First, I’ve always wondered what he would like in a trouser with practically no break and here it is, perfectly cut. The contrasting boot color, while it calls unnecessary attention to the bottom of the hem, is useful because it really lets me ponder the extent to which the size of his feet complicate the problem of balancing his silhouette and giving his legs all the length they have. Second, I love the buildup of layers over his chest. It says warmth, stability, and strength at the same time it says, here are layers, peel them off one by one. (And we don’t see the inevitable pull across his chest that we’ve seen every picture where he hasn’t been wearing a specially tailored shirt. It might be there but layers cover it.) Third, it really screams, “English!!!!!” — the cloth, the cut, the combination with the boots. Love those slanting pockets on the jacket as a style feature; makes me think of the hunt. It’s beautifully made, this piece, with its structural elements beautifully resolved. He looked different from everyone else in the group photos, and not in a bad way.

Finally, however, and most importantly, this outfit — whatever you think of its merits as an individual choice for him: should he really resolve the waist button question in this way? Does the breadth of the trouser across his rear provide an unpleasant emphasis on that musculature? — confirms an impression I’ve had all along, since we saw in the Zegna suit on the red carpet in Wellington, which is that he’s finally effectively resolving the elements and questions of style and then standing up for his conclusions. No suit of any cut is going to be perfect on his beautiful body — so what things will he prioritize, which will he decide leave behind? This is a perfect execution of a potentially counter-intuitive style choice — as opposed to an acceptable style choice that’s somehow gone awry, which is what we’ve seen more often in his red carpet experiences. I hope this distinction makes sense to readers — it’s not that it’s the most gorgeous suit for him, but rather that, given his apparent desire to go conservative traditional classic English, he wears it so correctly, beautifully, and confidently. That’s what makes it a daring choice — not the fact that isn’t the first choice one might make, but rather that, having made it, he stands so well behind it.

It also makes me wonder rather aggressively what he’d look in some of the other traditional twentieth-century British men’s suit styles.

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enhanced-buzz-wide-26059-1354661874-5-1A toy representation of himself he doesn’t dislike? Richard Armitage and his Thorin Lego figure, on the day that principal photography for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey ended, Wellington, New Zeland. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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Harder: I was saying some time ago that it wasn’t the merchandise that was bugging me, although the manufacture of nostalgia was getting troublingly aggressive. I wanted to write a separate post about this question, and now there may not be time before the moment has passed. The thing that was really bugging me was the way that the trailers and TV spots were gradually building a particular story, but not in a linear fashion. The trailers were putting together a narrative, but I was getting confused by a story that I couldn’t see easily because it came in out of order snippets. I think I stopped at TV spot 8, though I keep downloading stuff, thinking I may watch it later. This impression has been enhanced since Armitage’s been on these talkshows. It seems like each of them includes a clip from the film, and I have to turn away not to see stuff I don’t want to see.

I had thought of avoiding spoilers in a much more limited fashion before this — simply of preventing myself from seeing them so I didn’t know how something ended, and thus ruin the enjoyment of it. Since I’d already read The Hobbit, I wasn’t worried about spoilers, but I started worrying about how the trailers for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey were already constructing a version of the movie for me. The marketing is trying to control my impression of the film before I even see it, to develop certain kinds of emotions in me that will condition my viewing of it, by means of a non-linear narrative that emphasizes particular themes — even as I try to protect the vulnerability of my emotions to the art that I’m about to witness, to preserve space for the development of the narrative.

Luckily, it’s only a few more days.

Speaking of spoilers — something in my FB feed had a scene from the third film to watch. For crying out loud. I didn’t watch it, but I’m struggling with how I’m going to regulate my information processing if potentially everything I look at related to Armitage for the next year and a half could possibly reflect the problem articulated above.

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Something that he’s been doing for eons, but that we’re only seeing now: Richard Armitage signs photographs. NYC, about now? Just popped up on Richard Armitage.

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Hardest, but inchoate: Thanks to everyone who commented last night. I want, I think, to add one more observation to that post. Just in case you’re tempted to think I’m criticizing the fans who were there last night: I’m not. Even were I not myself hugely interested in what was happening there, and curious to see it, I would never tell people not to do something that’s completely legal and entirely harmless. But I think it was the vid more than anything that triggered my reaction.

That video gave me to think. I think part of my silence was responding to this sudden realization: “So, this is how it could be now.” Not so much the changed Armitage for public appearances — we’ve known for awhile that that was coming, and, I would argue, no matter how we react to it personally, it is necessary for his career. (And it’s not happening just now — it’s been happening over the last several months. We’re just seeing it now.) It’s rather the noise of shutters falling and the sight of flashes going off and people calling, “Richard, Richard, Richard!” It’s not Armitage that’s bugging me, but (for lack of a better word) the circus that has suddenly bloomed up around him.

This is a consequence of doing his business. If he wants to be a high profile artist, this is a price he will pay. It has no practical consequences for me. I wasn’t at the red carpet and have no plans to attend one. What I’ve seen of the ones around this film doesn’t make them one whit more attractive to me as an experience than they were before. But it’s just a really different world, a really different frame, than the one in which I’m used to seeing and thinking about him. He will be in places where we can anticipate him. We will prepare in order to try to fulfill our dreams of a glance, an autograph, a remark, a hug. People will be in place to move him forward and away from us. Lights will flash and the noise will be heavy. He will be a celebrity.

Here’s another index of this same thing:

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157746632Richard Armitage, photographed leaving NBC Studios, Rockefeller Plaza, New York City, December 5, 2012. Source: Getty Images.

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This is one of my favorite pictures among those I’ve seen recently, but / and it’s clearly a paparazzo image. Someone was lying in wait — perhaps not for him — but certainly to catch wind of celebrities leaving the studio. We haven’t really had these available before. It’s new. I feel a bit guilty for liking this picture so well. The sheepish grin and crinkles and look right into the lens appeal. The flip side of the sheepish grin, one suspects, a certain amount of gritting of teeth behind the smile that we can also read in his expression. I like sheepish and am willing to take annoyed with it as the cost of the opportunity to see this picture.

I know this is a progressive step in the objectification of Richard Armitage as a thing for sale, a process I am inclined to think of negatively. He is also a thing I buy, am eager to buy. These things are contradictory and yet true.

Mr. Armitage has long had a sense of humor and a feel for the absurd, as his interviews have revealed, but I think he is going to have to develop a greater level of irony than he has ever displayed publicly in the past (with, perhaps, the exception of the Spooks 7 “in Russia” excerpt). I am, too.

I love all the pictures and attention and energy! It makes me sad, a little. These things are contradictory, and yet true.

***

Mr. Armitage, you’ve done so well, so far, and there’s only one really big ticket appearance left on the calendar that I know about. You must be going back to the UK for it, soon. I hope you’ve at least enjoyed it a little, or not hated it too much, but you’ve looked great and knocked our socks off.

This is my favorite long haul flight song. I hope you are “home and dry,” yourself, very soon.

~ by Servetus on December 7, 2012.

84 Responses to “Taking stock of where I am, Armitagically — Artimagically?”

  1. These two recent candid photos make him look very tired, which is not surprising. I hope he can hold it together through to Wednesday evening.

    Re the trouser break – it’s just to wind you up, Servetus!!

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  2. I hope he can have a little time to just breathe and maybe enjoy some time with his family and not have to play movie star, although he clearly is one now in my view. Think you’re right about the whole irony thing, too. They don’t call it a media circus for nothing, do they?

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    • yeah. I was pondering how to put this because I didn’t want to make it seem like I thought the fans were the problem. They weren’t. They were doing something normal, something everyone expects.

      The image that came closest in my mind was the end of a presidential news conference where the President leaves the podium and everyone yells, “Mr. President, Mr. President”. That’s what it felt like. Strange.

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      • Now that you mention it, watching the round of premieres in the different cities along with all the interviews, etc reminds me a political campaign –without all the mud slinging. It must be exhausting.

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  3. And he’ll be on UK radio on Wednesday …

    http://www.cbc.ca/strombo/weekly-schedule/guests-week-of-december-10-2012.html

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  4. Regarding the Lego figure…I think that with Lego there are two reasons why most people would be ecstatic to be modelled in such a way and the look on RAs face suggests he’s no exception: 1) Lego make no real attempt to make the figure life-like in any way, and 2) Lego was such a massive part of most people’s childhood…to the extent that we require little encouragement to start building stuff even in adulthood…Lego is eternally cool and will go on being cool for generations to come!

    Oh, and I loved the suit! Brought out the blue of his eyes perfectly 🙂

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  5. re: the suit, I feel like whoever is styling him really wants him to be “fashion forward” more so than even the younger cast like Aidan Turner. Is that a decision he/his PR people have made regarding his image? Interesting. I love it, though.

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    • It probably has something to do with his long-term marketing plan. If he’s going to try to get romantic leads, it would make sense. And a stumble in that regard in a setting like this could be hard on his credibility.

      Also: maybe he just likes clothes and now finally has good advice. I always read him as someone who didn’t care much, but that Glamour interview sort of implied that he liked the style part of the interview.

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      • I’m reminded of Tom Hiddleston’s interview with GQ where he talks about style:

        Your War Horse co-star Benedict Cumberbatch walked for Spencer Hart last season.
        I know – Benedict and his braces! Actually Benedict is a friend of mine and I know he’s talked about it, but I do think it’s a really creative industry. Maybe both of us a little bit later in life are starting to understand style. I think it comes hand in hand with having a visual imagination. When you work in film, you begin to understand that how people construct themselves is fascinating, and can often tell you a lot about who the person is. Benedict talked about working on Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and the tailoring of that particular time [being an inspiration] but it’s also simply that if you work with great filmmakers and cinematographers and costume designers, you start to understand there is a delight in the beauty of a beautiful shot or a beautiful picture. If people look good in the picture then it helps!

        http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/entertainment/articles/2012-11/14/tom-hiddleston-interview-style-thor-2


        again with the visual imagination! 😉

        Maybe Richard is “later in life starting to understand style”

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        • This is a nice point and as you say it connects well with his previous statement.

          I think the thing that’s really clear is that in these clothes he’s standing tall. There’s a completely different energy coming from him than in almost every previous public appearance. It wasn’t that he looked bad (always, anyway), but just that his charisma was so different. I’m all for that difference.

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          • I know what you mean. In some really early appearances Richard looked… awkward? Not in his element, at least. He looks so confident now. I’ll take him both ways…

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          • You put it so well. Yes, vive la difference. And that look back in #16 at RANet’s gallery, I love the humour.Only Richard could make such a traditional suit look daring and make us want to peel off those layers…

            P.S. My kitten loved the video.

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    • Seems to me they’re going for that old Hollywood look with an edge to it.

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  6. Took me a while to get on board with the shoes, but liked the suit.

    Regarding the NY premiere, I didn’t realize so many of the actors playing the dwarves were there as well. Made it seem a slightly bigger deal than I’d thought. Just enjoyed this video, especially Jed Brophy’s comments about Richard.

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    • oops!

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    • Thanks for the vid!

      I’ve been wondering whether NY and Toronto were really about the awards cycle. I say that only because the only reason I can figure to premiere that film in Toronto is that it’s an important film town — and courting the AFI (as opposed to the LA crowd) tends to say that they’re trying to make nice with the more “artistic” (for lack of a better word) segment of the cinema cognoscenti.

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  7. I’m loving everything about his look these days. Is his increased confidence making him seem more handsome? Or the stylish clothing? Even dressed casually in the leather jacket and hoodie, he managed to look gorgeous. And is handling himself beautifully during the press stuff. I’m so proud and happy( which seems stupid to say about someone I don’t even know)
    Oh yeah, where’s the line forming to lick the dirt off his chest?

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    • I’ve said that the stylist has taken an already gorgeous man and magnified that gorgeousness. He has a polish to his appearance now, even in the more casual stuff like the leather jacket and hoodie. And he just dazzles on the red carpet. Talk about a movie star! He exudes an old-fashioned allure. I just sit back in awe and yes, pride. Lots of pride in a man I do not know, either, Cindy.

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    • I feel like I’m always saying that to students: I have no right to be proud of you, because I have done so little, but I am anyway!

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  8. I am actually very interested what you guys think about the way he is being styled now.

    His look these days is not in line with what I think he really is, so either I have a gross misconception of RA in my head or they are transforming him into a dandy forfeiting his real nature.

    In general, his new casual looks work very well for me. Suits, except Zegna in Wlgt (which was a real hit), don’t. I don’t like the NY suit and I like Tokyo suit even less.

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    • I liked the NY suit from the waist up, but it didn’t photograph well. Really didn’t like the Tokoyo suit. But I do like the overall effect.

      Re the celebrity: that’s something I’ve been dreading the whole time leading up to this premiere. Of course there’s going to be a media circus surrounding him, but at this point that’s due to the movie — not necessarily RA. And while I’d like the opportunity to see more of his work, I don’t really want to see him going for his morning coffee. It’s going to be interesting to see what he does going forward. I was a little surprised to hear he wanted to go back to the UK to do TV. I’d like to see him in an intimate movie with a well written screen play that focuses on relationships or a comedy but not necessarily a romantic comedy. Even though he’s the quintessential Hollywood movie star (he looks like he stepped right out of the past) I’m hoping he doesn’t go that route.

      The main thing I’d like to say is Congratulations Richard Armitage!! He’s exceeded all my expectations –but I knew he would.

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      • I agree that right now only a small part of the hype is about him and most of it about being in the Hobbit. Now if as many women fall for him as they did for Robert Pattinson, it may change. But right now I think there is hope he can go home and live in relative anonymity when the PR tour is over. Depends on if he continues to be visible, attends events and does interviews and photoshots or disappears again as he did in the past. Somehow the whole business with the new cloths suggests he is serious about becoming a movie star. He also talked about spending time in LA, so he definetely considers working there, even if he hasn’t signed anything we know about yet.

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        • After this PR tour is over he will have a short break and then will go to NZ to shoot Hobbit 2. Then PR tour for Hobbit 2, then Hobbit 3, etc.
          If he starts making public appearances to gain visibility then I will be very surprised. Just doesn’t sound like him.

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          • I agree. Something he said in an interview about his face looking better in the shadows rather than full sunlight (or something like that) makes me think he’s not going to try for the pretty boy roles — although he is mighty pretty.

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          • I think filming resumes by the end of may? That is enough to do the award season and film another movie. I have no idea if that is an option. He may be required to appear as a presenter together with MF or something like that. Otherwise two movies.

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            • I thought they were planned to start in Jan 2013. Is that wrong?

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              • I thought I had read May as well, but I don’t remember where. I just tried to google it, and got information that Sherlock starts to film its next series in early 2013, so I guess The Hobbit pickups will have to start after that.

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                • I am not sure any more, either, but if Hobbit 2 is supposed to be something like 270 shooting days as Hobbit 1 was, then starting in May will take them well into 2014 to complete. And what about Hobbit 3? Interesting.

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                  • It won’t be 270 days. They have pickups to do from the previous shooting and some stuff in their original plan (some battle or something, I read) and probably a few additional scenes, but this isn’t going to be so long.

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                  • It took 266 days to shot the whole thing, I think apart from pick-ups it is mostly the big battle from part three they haven’t shot yet. Someone said they have about three more months to film, starting in May. So the Hobbit won’t consume that much time but will keep him into the public eye, while he works on whatever comes next.

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                  • The shooting is supposed to commence sometime around May 2013 for pickups, particularly the battle scenes–not to shoot a full movie. Maybe eight weeks. This is what I have read from more than one source. There will be no 270 days required. Remember, they were shooting footage for more than one movie during the 18 months. They are already putting together the second film.

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      • I interpreted his comment about British TV as a desire to come home and watch some rather than to film for TV…but I could be wrong. It’s one of things I’ve heard a lot of people say they miss when they’re away for a long time.

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    • I wish I could remember which interview for reference, but I remember a few years ago Richard used the term metrosexual to describe himself. So, trendy, well-dressed man in the city, basically. I like that term better than “dandy”

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      • I read that one – metrosexual reference was about skincare department specifically. Other than that, he didn’t show any specific sense of style, not that he seemed to care for clothes much, anyway. He figured out that black worked best on him and sticked to it, which served him right.

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      • He said, only with regard to skincare, iirc.

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    • I can’t answer this question because I don’t believe in a “real Richard” vs a fake one. Only in different versions of himself that he pulls out for different occasions.

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      • Especially judging from the reports of people that met him for longer than an autograph respectively had the chance to observe him, I don’t get the impression that the new and improved version of Richard Armitage is fake. Just more confident and polished and rightfully enjoying his success. He still seems to have some genuine-ness about him. Even if his answers are prepared and serve a purpose.

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      • It doesn’t need to be contradictory. Speaking strictly in clothing terms, he new look is the working of his stylist. How he then completes it with an aura of success and self-assurance is another thing.

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  9. I really liked the Armitage on the street image. Oh how his eyes twinkle! I commented elsewhere that he looks to me like the boy next door who just got his dad’s car keys for the weekend. Ha! He looks game for anything–his sheepish grin belying how much trouble this “boy” could get into unsupervised. Giggles!
    P.S. I have just given you an opening …..

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    • Opening?

      I wasn’t allowed to go out with boys that looked or dressed like that, so it’s hard for me to imagine.

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  10. Servetus, you make me almost crying, again.
    “Home and dry” – great song and original video. Thank you!

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  11. Here’s (more of my) two cents on the new look a – love the slick hair, love the footwear, happy the beard is gone, didn’t care for the New York suit but otherwise have loved all the clothes. That stylist is worth every penny she’s being paid

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  12. I think Richard is standing taller and looking more confident because he has been playing a king for 18 months. I think that “leader of men” mentality has left its mark.

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  13. Being photographed when leaving a studio or at the airport during the PR world tour doesn’t count as paparazzi pics. They are on duty 24h a day ad they know. He even dressed for the photographers when he arrived in NZ with MF and AS and there wasn’t some kind of ceremony like it was with the Hobbit plane.

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    • OK. I didn’t know there was a definition. But you’re the one who keeps saying he’s not someone that photographers have been interested in following. Now he is.

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      • I don’t think there is a definition. But it is not the kind of paparazzi pic that is an intrusion of their privacy. If they follow him off duty or even remember him once the PR tour is over remains to be seen. It may happen in a week he falls off the radar again, just like he prefers it. So far only some fashion sites have noticed him, gossip websites still ignore his premier appearances.

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  14. I’m still ambivalent about almost-James. While I agree it’s a daring choice, it’s wrong attire for a night premiere. Also, it does seem more of a costume audition.

    RE the lego pic: You mentioned the thumb, but didn’t you notice what an utterly SEXY Thorin pics this is? Look at the killer delighted smile and down at the expanse of chest. That’s a scene I would have loved to see in the movie!

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