Star Trek: Into Darkness, movies these days, and Richard Armitage [almost a conclusion]

Continued from here, discussing my reaction to Hobbit hype, drawing on this earlier post.

As I write this, my eyes keep straying to my browser tab, to see if Peter Jackson has updated his facebook. Honestly, I’ve never had it this bad for a real person, let alone for an actor.

hobbit-richard-armitage-entertainment-weekly-coverIII. me + the entertainment news + Richard Armitage

So, yeah, what was I thinking about Richard Armitage and “me + richard armitage” as I was driving home?

Even if Ian McKellen doesn’t want to call the Hobbit films a franchise, that’s what they are. McKellen was trying to say something, I think, about the quality and artistic and cultural meaning of the Tolkien project, the creation of which was not touched by the desire to sell a product, as opposed to what McKellen seems to think about most comic and superhero narratives. Laying aside, of course, the fact that Tolkien also sought to profit from his work, this distinction doesn’t hold up well given either the historical origins of significant pieces of what we call classical theater or that of comic and superhero stories (The Hobbit and the first superhero comic books come from roughly the same era), and while standing up for a difference between Tolkien and X-Men is an understandable decision for a classically-trained actor to make, doing so makes McKellen look a bit hypocritical and condescending to his audience(s). I am on record as not believing in that distinction, anyway.

The Hobbit project as soon as Jackson (or for that matter, anyone else who might have done so) put his hands on it definitely meets the definition of a media franchise, and that’s part of why marketers provide the hype — because the cost of of all of this has to be made up. The media machine has to be fed so that we are formed into emotional shareholders who will come across with the money to pay for the production and provide return on the investments of the paper shareholders once the product(s) hit the shelves and the screen. The main difference between The Hobbit and X-Men, I assume, lies mainly in the way that the rightsholders are likely to exploit the rights situations going forward. X-Men‘s been in publication since 1963 and written / drawn by a variety of different people who have contracted to Marvel; it has never been thought to represent or been legally limited to the artistic vision of one person. It can go on infinitely with new writers, new stories, new films, as long as it’s profitable and the corporation agrees, which one imagines that it is likely to do as long that lies in its financial interest. The Hobbit, in comparison, ends when the rights held by the current licensees of the rightsholders are exhausted. The rightsholders themselves have expressed regularly their belief that the Hobbit story belonged solely to J.R.R. Tolkien and begins and ends with Tolkien’s writings about Middle Earth, which ought not to be continued or expanded into further stories. Due to cost, there is little likelihood of a remake of these stories in our lifetimes, let alone a Hobbit 4 with new ones. This problem makes the substantial energy put into generating viewer investment in this franchise even more important. There’s no generating good buzz for the (foreseeable) future; these films are all there is. It’s only one reason that Richard Armitage was right when he said that he might be the only person ever to play this role on film.

ep1-48[Right: John Porter with the terrorists, or: Richard Armitage gets himself written out of Strike Back 2.1. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com]

Laying aside my growing concerns over how much time and energy the Thorin Oakenshield role is taking Armitage, it still seems to me that (given what we know) a starring role in The Hobbit films was a better trajectory choice for him than Strike Back, which likely would have led to more television work. I honestly might prefer seeing Armitage more or more of Armitage (I really do miss being able to look forward to the regular installments of Spooks and Strike Back), but I had two reasons for that conclusion: first, his rare but regular statements that he wished to do more film work, and his stated apparent frustration with television scripts. Others, too, have speculated that the hassle of less than optimum scripts was a problem for him and that given his stage background, with its emphasis on writing character biographies and finished arcs, films would be better (or at least less frustrating jobs) simply because they were not open-ended.

star-trek-into-darkness-2As I continue to think about the quo vadis Armitage? question, however, what my reaction to ST:ID suggested to me comparatively about my reaction to the Hobbit films actually has me thinking more about the great art problem as it relates to Armitage. I want to clarify this just a little simply because I’ve been misunderstood before to be saying that all art is equal. That’s not my claim. It might be more accurate to say that art is good on its own terms. To convince, art needs to be both well executed in as many ways as possible, and to speak meaningfully to its audiences. To me, ST:ID failed on both these criteria — it lacked a script with heart — with a believably-motivated villain and the perspective of real moral or ethical issues that created consequences for its characters as Star Trek had had before. And, at a crucial point, that became even more crucial to me as, because of my associations with the material it cited, it failed miserably to speak to me. ST:ID was not a bad film per se, perhaps, I leave that to more knowledgeable minds than mine to decide — but it was inadequate as Star Trek. And I can’t really accept the argument that my students made to me last Friday that this film was “not for me,” that I was not in its audience. I was in its audience, by virtue of all the watching years ago. Just as I am now in the Hobbit audience — for better or for worse, by casting Richard Armitage the hype-makers were saying they were targeting my entertainment investment — and just as I now have a right to my opinion about it.

38-Thorin-Orcrist-CBswordsI felt like The Hobbit was a better example of its genre than Strike Back was of its — so while I didn’t think that Strike Back hurt Armitage’s career, necessarily, I didn’t think that the production added to it either; I do think that in many ways (not just increased exposure) The Hobbit has improved not just Armitage’s chances, but also his art. Similarly, in comparison to ST:ID, The Hobbit is really attractive to me. This is, in part, because the book is considered so (relatively) strong as an execution of genre and narrative. (This is a variation, but not exactly, what McKellen thinks he’s saying about Tolkien vs. X-Men, — that the Hobbit is inherently better art than X-Men — although it is not the necessary conclusion that McKellen implies, and in that case, without a sustained criticism of X-Men as an execution of its genre, his point remains unsubstantiated.) That combination of book with script meant that Armitage potentially had a lot of stuff he could do with the character, and, in turn, has plenty to say to us about what he’s doing with that character. Interesting comments about Thorin continue to flow from his lips, even as the same questions get asked repeatedly. However, the problem that ST:ID has that The Hobbit has not is precisely the result of the rightsholders’ actions. The Hobbit has an easier chance at being a successful franchise over time precisely because it’s not going to extend over time. It’s not television. Precisely because the rightsholders have created a situation in which there will (likely) be never be any more. Precisely because new writers can’t be recruited to impact what has happened before; precisely because no one can cheapen Thorin’s death by making it un-happen.

lucas2ndcomingAfter watching ST:ID, I started to think that the two problems — artistic value and franchises — were potentially related in a way that makes me less than eager to see Armitage do another one. That is to say — franchises are more like television than they are like theater in that their stories are ongoing and don’t end so abruptly with the end of a film. If Armitage finishes a character arc in a single-story film, he can’t be compelled to bring it back in the same way that he was compelled by contract to go on playing Lucas North. If you contract to play a franchise role, can you get out of it if the scripts turn out to be terrible? Is a franchise just another version of the trap of series television, albeit in a much larger, more exposed setting?

IV. richard armitage + conclusions

So, first, for Richard Armitage. The blog is on record as not making career prescriptions or setting conditions for my fan love in advance. I’m open to seeing whatever Richard Armitage wants to do — and he should do what he likes with my full support, not that he needs it. Nothing he does next is going to put me off seeing his work.

I’m aware my judgments may seem controversial, but keep in mind, they’re only my judgments. They have no real bearing anything to do with him or even to do with you, even if they might be important to me.

Richard_III_earliest_surviving_portraitThat said: Richard III in some form is something he’s said he wants to do, the reason I’ve been supporting that project, and will continue to do so until it’s clear that he’s not interested any longer. My bitter spoofs about scriptwriting in the spring, here and here, notwithstanding, that story can’t be changed much and still be recognizable. It has a fixed arc that is quite likely unfranchiseable. And Armitage has researched the role enough that he would be capable of filling in the many, many huge holes in our knowledge of the historical figure with interesting psychological insights, while remaining resistant to huge plot-level changes. Admittedly, I wonder increasingly about the possibility that a project will materialize that he can do. My suspicion is that if a film isn’t underway in the next year, the moment will be lost. I hold open hopes for a stage project, however, that is not Shakespeare. At the same time, I would be unlikely to see anything he does on the London stage. I frequently have terrible allergic reactions to historical fictions, for which my standards are fairly severe — and given the likely basis of big chunks of the initial audience among Ricardians, this project potentially runs the risk of running aground on too faithful historicity. This is also the project with the least likely international exposure value to him.

guernsey-literary-and-potato-peel-pie-societyI’ve been quiet about my potential reaction to the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society project beyond saying I’m not thrilled, because I read the book and formed an opinion before it was published. While that opinion is decided, it’s not really germane to whether Armitage should or shouldn’t do the project; at the same time, it’s not something I’m going to be able to forget. (If he does it, maybe I’ll write about my opinion then, because it is germane to how the script might be written or the project executed.) I agree that of the lobbies for particular projects fronted by fans and by which fans are most likely to be pleased, that is the one he is mostly likely speaking of when referring to a “charming” book. Adams is a taciturn figure, and Armitage is fantastic at signaling his emotions with his face and without words; at the same time in some ways he would be at risk of reprising John Standring, which would be fine, but repetitive. And perhaps the scriptwriters could skirt my objections to the book, although for various reasons I find that unlikely. Still, I wouldn’t be sad if he didn’t do this one, while I acknowledge that the project could be high exposure and finally lead him to less, shall we call them prosthetic, dramatic leads and perhaps projects of greater creative depth.

8667848I’m already on record as thinking that the material in A Discovery of Witches is quite thin, even for what it is — although theoretically, again, scriptwriters could improve it substantially. (In comparison to the Strike Back novel by Chris Ryan, the television series is practically Shakespeare.) Armitage as the actor who plays the character of desire could do a lot with the visual and emotional level of this role — I wouldn’t contest that, as much as I remain uninterested in vampires generally, and this narrative as I know it so far in particular. I realized while watching ST:ID, however, that my real issue is that he’d be tied to it as a franchise, as the books are supposed to be a trilogy. If he gets this, I’ll have to read the other two books, and perhaps they will involve plot developments that would be of interest to him.

RossPoldarkFinally, and amusingly: as I write this, the news flashed across my email that the Poldark Appreciation Society has voted Richard Armitage their favorite to play Ross Poldark. I confess that I have no idea what this means. But congratulations, Mr. Armitage! More fans are clamoring to see your work. I hope you can take this information to the negotiating table with you — whichever table you’re at.

To summarize my conclusion: watching and thinking about ST:ID, The Hobbit, the hype around The Hobbit and its potential effects on me, and my reaction to the possibility of an imprisoning franchise, I think what I personally, I and not Armitage, I and not you, want for Armitage in terms of a professional framework is a single discreet role that’s not likely to stretch over multiple years, and which is likely to be extremely well executed. Of the roles above, the most likely to be that role is Richard III or Dawsey Adams; the least likely, Matthew Clairmont; and I can’t say anything about Poldark.

I have something else to say about these roles as they affect “me + richard armitage” but since this post is likely to end up with some discussion of Armitage’s career options, I’ll stop on that and leave it for another time soon.

[And I hit publish only to go to bed once again vlog-less. Where are you, Peter Jackson??!???? Was the FB crash tonight due to people endlessly refreshing your page, like I was? Heavens, I am SO ON THE HOOK.]

~ by Servetus on June 19, 2013.

72 Responses to “Star Trek: Into Darkness, movies these days, and Richard Armitage [almost a conclusion]”

  1. I want him to do what he wants to do and I will watch him in anything he does. But I can definitely see why he might not want to get hooked up with another franchise.

    Sadly, in so many cases (though not all) the quality of those films seems to decrease or at best, be very uneven as the series of films progresses. Lord knows the poor guy has probably had his share of frustrations with scripts along the way.

    What does make me smile is all these groups coming out of the woodwork wanting RA to play their favored character. I love that his profile has risen, that people are sitting up and taking notice. This, he highly deserves, even if the projects are not ones he necessarily wishes to become attached.

    What does the future hold, Mr. A? We are eager to know. And yeah, PJ, where’s that darned vlog?? Pavlov’s dogs are ready to salivate. 😉

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    • I wonder if the salivation could cause the bell to ring? 🙂

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    • and yeah, writing this made me realize (or recognize, or legitimate) how eager I am to have *some* idea of what’s coming next …

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  2. Interesting blog, my friend. I read DofW, got Book 2 when it came out. It’s still sitting in my nook, unread. I hadn’t thought about RA for the vampire, but maybe. I’ll check out Poldark just because, but I’m afeared it would be a possible reprisal of Mr. Thornton….? What say you?

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    • I know nothing about Poldark — I only heard the name three weeks ago, that there was buzz about him playing it, and nothing about the books — the folks on Twitter were v. excited about it tonight.

      re Clairmont / Discovery of Witches — there’s a huge, very polished fan effort devoted to it. I wrote about it in the post that’s linked above in that section, so I won’t repeat myself. The character is potentially intriguing, the plot is v. thin.

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      • I’m a bit confused about some of the comments about Mr. Cumberbatch and his bumping RA out of roles. I had to look him up to see who he was. (Sorry BC fans.) They look to be 2 totally different actors in my opinion. BC appears to do a lot of voice overs for characters, apparently. What concerns me is the lack of GOOD screen writers now days. If you go back and look at some of what people are talking about in the movies, almost everything is a Re-make, or do-alike. Pick a subject and do it to death or like vampires undeath. Twilight-Tru-Blood, Death of Witches…Comic Book Heroes–Captain America, Spidie, Superman…I for one, would really like to see RA do something really original or not. I would just like to see RA. (and like everyone else, leather would be good.)

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        • As I was thinking about this last night after I left the computer, I was thinking something along those lines — just let it be something with a good script.

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  3. I also worry that Dawsey Adams could be some more John Standring, and while I love me some John Standring – we don’t need him twice. I am hopeful that we’ll get to see him really exercise his acting chops in his next role a bit more. Yes, we know he can shoot things and explode things, and yesyesyes we know he can die (now STOPIT); we know he can Suffer In Silence *deliciously*. I would love to see him live. I want to see him fall in love and fight for her (him?), not just Suffer In Silence. And, ok. He can shoot and explode things, I guess, if he’d like to. BUT, and I will not budge on this point, he must be wearing Tight or Leather *or* Tight Leather Trousers whilst he does so. Those are my terms.

    SNORT My terms of enrearment.

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    • yeah, he would NOT have to die again to make me happy. Although that would to some extent forestall the problem I’ve been complaining about here. And he does die charmingly.

      Let’s see. Tight Leather Trousers. What would fulfill that requirement? A biker … ?

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      • Heck. Does he need a reason? He could be an accountant with an artistic bent. (cough) …in his trousers.

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      • While Death Becomes Him I am heartily sick of it and really would like to see a character who gets to ride off into the sunset with a lover . . . alive and well. Terms of Enrearment *snort* Oh, gigglepants . . .

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        • Yes!! Alive and well and riding off into the sunset with a lover!! 😀

          And do you support The Leather Pants Party – by which I mean, are you wholeheartedly in favor of promoting a party in his leather pants?

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          • But of course! Because he’s got passion in his (leather) pants and he ain’t afraid to show it—he’s sexy and knows it! *wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, yeah*

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            • BWaahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa!! OH YEAH. I always thought that would be a great GoG song. The Sheriff would have loved making him dance to that, and he would have done it, even as he rolled his eyes… wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle, Guy!!

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    • John Standring is a role that is mostly forgotten these days but always comes up when fans look for evidence of RA’s versatility. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to reprise a character like that in a more high-profile project.

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      • No, it wouldn’t be bad. And I do love the character, and I’m sure Dawsey would have better hair, for a start!! lol I would just like to see… something different. But if it’s Dawsey, I will not complain!! I’ll be right in line to see it, because I loved the book and Richard would do a lovely job. He would make Dawsey sizzle… quietly.

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  4. I think that’s the only politics I could actually support these days. I’ll give a leg up (and over) to the Leather Pants Party any day or night!!

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    • wow, a whole political party. Then again it’s not like the current parties are actually doing anything to improve my life …

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  5. Wait. I think it’s time for me to look demure again. { : # O
    (those are my fluttering eyelashes and my halo, on top)

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  6. Well, Ross Poldark does wear britches with long riding boots- very sexy. I vividly recall a scene by a fireside where Demelza, the young servant seduces Ross by slowly pulling off the aforementioned boots….
    There’s a dramatic love triangle, betrayals, family feuds….that Cornish accent can be tricky though- can sound cartoonish and pirate-like!

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  7. If you want to know more about Winston Graham and the Poldark series, here’s a useful link:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20071014181938/http://www.poldark.org.uk/index.html
    The forum section has current discussions re casting

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  8. Which way the wind blow I will be watching to see what Richard is in next.

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  9. LoL. There seems to be a worldwide accord to see him ride into the sunset … with his lover … and in leather pants! I wonder if he really focusses around the 4 roles he is supposed to do. DoW might be on the line because of Warner Brothers holding the rights, but the perspective of another franchise would at least not convince me. And I fear the vampire plot has been worked out quite intensively in recent movies, not only to mention Twilight.
    Looking at Richard III I am about to watch the first episode of BBC’s new series “The White Queen” which aired last Sunday. There will be 10 episodes – is Richard’s story already told after that?
    The GLPPPS and Poldark plot certainly appeals very much to the N&S fraction – I am admittedly a part of it 😉
    As he and his agents are very discrete concerning upcoming projects I hope he has an adequate choice! I am always afraid that other actors might be more in the eyes of casting agents than he is – even now after TH – and I can’t explain the reason …
    But I am hopeful! So fingers crossed for the leather pants party 🙂

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    • I´ve watched the first episode of “The White Queen”, too, and I fear there´ll be nope for another Richard III. project. I´d really regret it, because I´ve always been so interested in him and would like to get a new version (RA´s version, of course). The BBC series is just based on Philippa Gregory´s novel which is very single-edged imo.

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      • The White Queen is really different from the kind of Richard project Armitage has expressed interest in. It’s also tv, not film or stage.

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  10. I believe it is probably true that he was sent A Discovery of Witches by fans and responded that he loved it. He may well be actively going for that. Anything else is to my knowledge just wishful thinking by fans, though Guernsey may be the “charming book”. I’m not very keen on any of the suggested projects. All of these are stuff likely to appeal to women, especially the N&S fans, but I don’t think going in that direction is the best career move. It won’t be taken seriously, just like those blockbusters aimed at a young male audience are not taken seriously. I couldn’t care less if he survives and gets the girl, I want to see his acting acknowledged.

    What stuck with me when he started dropping hints about potential future projects wasn’t the five books he has read. It was his admission that he his up against big names with impressive CVs. If you want to see an impressive CV look no further than Benedict Cumberbatch, Into Darkness is just the beginning, he has no less than four movies coming out that are serious Oscar contenders (including DOS). And you can almost be certain that critics already have reviews of DOS ready, saying that BC is the only saving grace of it.

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    • Yes, we can see this thing yet: everybody is in love with BC/Smaug. BC is the star of the day, so everything will revolve around him and, perhaps, good “old” Orlando Bloom.
      About the above projects: I read the 2 “All Souls Trilogy” books and yes, they are very thin even if the second book is a bit better. Harry Potter meet Twilight? Sex scenes are a bit dull, but then this kind of novels are not my cup of tea. I can’t say I didn’t like them, I did, they are light and entertaining. Do I want to see RA as Matthew Clairmont? Not sure, above all because it would be too old at the time of the 3 film. And because I think it could be annoying for him doing 3 films with the same character. Just like you all, I think there is more in RA than these projects (Richard III apart) can suggest. [In The Hobbit Chronicles the UK casting director says a very interesting thing: she says that PJ saw in RA something others hadn’t recognized. I think it’s true. PJ believed in him, had faith in him and RA responded at his best. He found the strenght and faith in himself to do a great Thorin. In every interview you can feel RA felt himself like the possible fault in a giant machine (Getty interview, i.e., and Hobbit Chronicles again). It was a challenge with himself and his detractors. He won.]
      But then, I ask myself: are there good scripts, good projects out there in the big movies land? Not quite sure. At this point a smart move for him could be a theater come back, with some substantial role. He talked about Cechov in that Lorraine interview… Surely not a franchise.
      And yes, I agree about the difference between the Hobbit and X-Men: there is a book behind The Hobbit and you can’t invent things. You must stuck to the story, trying to be faithful while entertaining. I think PJ and all the cast and people working on The Hobbit succeded in it.
      I will follow RA career whatever he will choose to do. The main thing is his happiness with the roles, his work, his life. As I said before, if he is happy, so am I, because I think he is a wonderful human being and deserves to be happy 🙂

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      • But the point about the Hobbit vs X-Men is that the reason you can’t reinvent the story has to do with the rightsholders. Not with the quality of the story itself.

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        • Yes, I understood.
          And quality is often a matter of taste and knowledge 😉

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          • Taste, certainly.

            I used to think that if one were better educated one would appreciate better art (or appreciate real art better), but in the last ten years I’ve come to think that the arguments for that position are not very strong. Mostly because the “high” vs “popular” art distinction is largely a modern category (post 1800 or so). It may require more knowledge to appreciate fully an eighteenth-century French drama, but that doesn’t mean that the drama itself is of higher quality. Shakespeare’s plays were written to appeal to broad social swathes — even if they are considered “great art” now. It’s not inconceivable to me that someone could look back several centuries from now at a media franchise and characterize it as “great art.”

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    • BC has an eye for the carreer boosting roles – this is really impressive and your completely right with your list. But do we have to suppose that RA was one of those inferior to him in the casting process of all these movies? I don’t know – so may be RA may have different things on the schedule. At least I hope so.

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      • There are not many good scripts out there and I feel they all go to Benedict Cumberbatch. Getting only one of his roles would help RA so much to shine in something that is well written and taken seriously. I don’t think he will convince anyone of his acting as a romantic vampire because it will be labelled Twilight for middle-aged, well-educated ladies anyway. That is the tragic thing about this career, no matter how good he is and how much effort he puts into his work, it is never recognized because of the nature of his projects. PJ may have seen something in him, but in the end The Hobbit didn’t quite turn out as expected, so I think it may not be the career boost it originally promised to be.

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        • Asserting that all good roles go only to Benedict Cumberbatch involves a wild overstatement. My goodness.

          If you want to have an argument about “great art,” perhaps you’d like to revisit the post where I talk about that. I didn’t want to talk about that here, but I still respond to comments on earlier themes. This post was not about “great art,” it was about how the rightsholding situation impacts the quality of franchises as artistic projects. Do you have something to say about franchises?

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      • I don’t assume that. Anyone who does is, afaik, only speculating.

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  11. Has everyone written off Dark Skies? Is that film not going to be released at all? Good or bad it will give RA more exposure, probably not in leather pants though. Perhaps wet pants will be almost as good. I also would like to see him in anything he chooses to do. But would a happy ending be out of the question once in a while? I seriously would like PJ to film an alternate ending to TABA . I know that will not happen and I will have to put on my big girl pants and endure it, but I dread it . So far away and even if I chant, “It’s only a movie” over and over, I am still devastated in advance. Help, I am turning into a huge wuss.

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    • 😉 Hopefully Black sky will be released although the date has not been revealed yet. But the complications due to the smashup of the special effects company seem to be overcome referring to tweets of the producer Todd Garner and news articles. I do not expect very much of this movie, either – the cast is not that impressive although it will hopefully address the tornado or catastrophy addicted and so probably quite a younger audience.

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      • I am not holding out hopes for Black Sky coming out any time soon, given that the plot points of the movie (as far as we know them) pretty much played out /exactly/ in real life in the horrific Oklahoma tornado that, among other things, hit a school and claimed the lives of many children. I think Black Sky might turn out to be a non-entity in Richard’s portfolio, at least something that will not be played up in his publicity rounds for a long while. In the meantime I can’t wait to find out what he will be doing next!

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    • We don’t have a release date, but the combination of the SFX / bankruptcy situation of Rhythm and Hues, plus the public mood in the US at the moment after so many natural disasters (and tornado season continues till November) may impact that. It will, as Nell says, put him in front of the whole adudience that tracks with actors like Nathan Kress.

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  12. Though I think he would be perfect for Ross Poldark, and I’m willing to shout it from the rafters to have BBC cast him, the main thing is would Richard Armitage want to do it, want to return at this time to UK series television? I would really prefer that he find something totally different than all the roles he’s played so far. Something original that he could make his own, something that would challenge him and amaze us.

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    • I didn’t restate it in this post, but in the previous post in this series I note (again) that wanting Armitage to do what he wants to do is a fundamental assumption of the entire blog.

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  13. TH is quite outstanding in his carreer (apart from the death … sigh) – I am not sure if I should expect another climax with every new project he starts. And at least Poldark would not take too much time with about 6 episodes scheduled.

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    • My secret hope is that Kate Bigelow or David Cronenberg have something up either of their sleeves for him, or that he ends up in a unique indie drama which generates artistic buzz. It’s totally up to him what he does (as long as he’s satisfied) but I hope he picks edgy over anything else. BTW, I see him as Markham Reynolds, not Dawsey. Reynolds’ physical description is spot on for RA, and it would give him a witty role, which is where I see his only natural niche for comedy. (And he would dance!) I would not like to see him ride off into the film sunset with a lover–at least not yet. That could feed his detractors who inexplicably think his appeal is limited to middle aged women.

      And am I the only person in RA land not concerned one iota about him taking as much time as he wants to choose his next role (or even if he chooses anything at all.) The poor guy is criticized for being a workaholic yet is now the subject of “worries” he’s not working. I’d rather never see him act again over him showing up in crap project after crap project and banking as much as he can. I don’t see that as appealing to him, despite Hollywood’s seeming appreciation for people who only bring in the dough. I know this is a controversial view, but if Thorin is his last role, I’d be satisfied. I doubt that will be the case, but we’re talking about a 41 year old man who is probably doing some really deep thinking over where he’s headed for the rest of his career and personal life and maybe what he’s worked so hard for–recognition and film roles–has its unappealing aspects he is thinking twice about. I’m detecting mature thinking and reflection is taking up loads of his time, which really is not surprising. Let him do what he wants or nothing at all if he chooses–he has earned it and owes us nothing.

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      • My criteria, as developed in this post, involved a single-story film that has a solid character arc with good writing that isn’t likely to be distorted by all of the apparatus associated with a franchise. An indie film could / would certainly potentially fulfill those criteria.

        On other points, I am frustrated. I feel like it’s boring for readers if I obsessively repeat the fundamental mantra of this blog, which is indeed that Richard Armitage does not owe me anything, and that Richard Armitage should do as Richard Armitage pleases, but I’ve said that, oh approximately once a week now for the entire time I’ve been blogging. So no, you’re not the only one. I also didn’t repeat it at the beginning of this post but I said at the beginning of the last one in this series — Armitage has made good choices so far and his needs are the only ones he should take account in his career planning. I also never said in this post that I am worried that he’s not working; in fact, I’ve defended exactly the opposite point on numerous times. If I had to repeat my fundamental assumptions before I said anything at all, every post would have a thousand word preface.

        I said elsewhere that I was finally going to say something my reaction to roles that have been discussed for him recently by fans, and that probably meant I have a fever and I guess I was right. The AC in the coffee shop was broken yesterday. 🙂

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  14. Well, of course, I HAVE to put a plug in for good adaptations of Russian literature. And NOT Chekhov or Tolstoy. Those are just about the only two authors most Western audiences have been exposed to. I would love to see RA do some Turgenev, Ilf/Petrov or Bulgakov. I know he has shown interest in Master and Margarita, but it is notoriously difficult to adapt, and the only way to do it justice would be to do, ta-da, a franchise or a television series. The protagonist in The Days of the Turbins (a play Bulgakov himself adapted from his novel the White Guard) would be a great foray into a more serious, mature, character for RA. As for Ilf/Petrov, some older fans might recall a Mel Brooks version of the Twelve Chairs that would be a great comedic relief from all of the heavy roles RA has been doing. Ostap Bender is an iconic character in Russia; I think RA could have a lot of fun with him.

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    • This is a response in general, not just to chaifreak. Let Richard have the opportunity to do what Richard wants—take his time, find the right project, good script, director, and so forth—and honestly, I will be happy. I have my little fantasy and dream roles for him, don’t we all? But in the end I want what’s best for RA, and that may not be what I or some of you want.

      I definitely do not consider his career trajectory thus far to be “tragic.” Would I love for him to get more critical acknowledgment? Sure. But if he never becomes the critics’ darling, never wins a major award, […] well—I will still admire and respect him as a fine actor and moreover, as a fine human being. He has said if he never does another role beyond Thorin he will feel satisfied with his accomplishments.

      I want to see him do a lot more, of course, but who am I to argue with RA’s gut feelings?

      [edited to avoid potential ad hominem– Servetus.]

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      • I don’t think anyone on here would disagree with wanting him to do what he wants to do. But I also don’t think there is anything meant to “inhibit” him when fans dream about what roles we would like to see him do and pontificate about it. What else would blogs like this serve as if not as an outlet for our fantasies about what we’d like to see him do? I’m also fairly certain he doesn’t troll the internet looking for offense about what kind of roles he attempts. He has mentioned wanting to do certain things that spark our imaginations and lead us into genres with which we are familiar and/or for which we have a penchant.

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        • Chaifreak, you may have misunderstood me. […] I have confidence in him and that in any role he does pursue he will spark our imaginations and amaze us.

          The RL world calls now and I am away.

          [edited for ad hominem. –Serv]

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  15. I so bring down the over all IQ of this blog. But I did enjoy Discovery of Witches (great Beach read) and had Armitage pictured as the lead. Is it totally shallow that I would love to see him play a vampire??? Didn’t Anne Rice even say she’d like him to play Lestat??? I have to admit I haven’t read her books, but she has great taste.

    It is my hope that w/ LOR he now has the freedom to choose from a variety of projects. I would love to see him in a quiet Indie type film with a meaty story. But again would be happy to see him in anything.

    BC vs RA … hmmm that is interesting. I would love to see RA in a Tailer, Tinker, Solider type of film.

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    • I’m not into the vampire genre, but If he did play that role, let it be an Anne Rice character. There’s lots to choose from in her many books.

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    • I finally saw “Tinker, Tailor” and I am *so* happy he wasn’t in it. But that’s a topic for another post …

      I didn’t care for DoW and I’m not going to repeat that — it’s really the dynamic of the franchise that I was trying to parse here. How, as an actor, do you know ahead of time that a franchise is going to be a good one for you, with scripts and a character developed in a way that you will continue to want to do? IMO, Indiana Jones was a franchise like that. OK, the character wasn’t very complex, but it was clear what the films were doing, their scripts were interesting, they were executed at a high level and the stories involved interesting conflicts.

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  16. My ideal role isn’t as lofty as some of these others, but I would like to see RA portray Alvin Pleasant Delaney Carter, better known as A.P. Carter, founder of The Carter Family, There’s a book called “Will You MIss Me When I’m Gone: The Carter Family & Their Legacy in American Music” that I think would make a great movie because it’s an initimate story about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances — not to mention some great music. RA even looks a little like AP Carter and he could utilize his musical talents, i.e. singing, cello playing — except in this case it would have to be the bass cause that’s what AP played. This would be sometihing completely different from what he’s done before (to my knowledge).
    Although I don’t like most franchise movies, I don’t know why RA can’t be involved in a franchise and do other interesting things. Hugh Jackman’s in the X-Men movies and was nomintated for and won lots of awards for Les Miserables.
    But I’m like everyone else, I’ll watch whatever RA chooses to do — even The Hobbit.

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    • The point wasn’t to say he couldn’t be in franchises — he’s in one now, after all. The point was to say that things about them involve a high risk of recapitulating the problems with series TV that he has hinted at and setting up stories that are simply not memorable in any way but incredibly expensive for the viewer and hugely time consuming for him.

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  17. Comments closed.

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  18. […] I knew I was opening up a kettle of worms when I (for the first time ever on this blog, I might add) set up a scale for evaluating my reaction to some specific future projects for Armitage, but still, I was really frustrated yesterday. […]

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  19. […] so the operative question I raised about franchises and their problems appears on the horizon. (Luke Evans is […]

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  20. […] the role of batman in the next movie.  But  after reading THIS POST by Something About Love, and THIS POST by Me + Mr Armitage, I had to add my take on the […]

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  21. […] conclusion to what I’d wanted to say about my reaction to Star Trek: Into Darkness before the discussion got so heated. (It also applies to my reaction to Armitage playing Matthew Clairmont, if that should happen, […]

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