Finally, link to Richard Armitage’s statement about “a student film” — “Staged”?

I am usually not so scatterbrained. I remembered this quotation a long time ago and should have looked it up then, or at least before I saw “Staged.” However, coulda, shoulda, woulda, I know — anyway, here it is now.

This is the interview, linked at It was given to Time Out, a weekly London listings magazine (not sure what that means) in 2009.

I want to apologize because, in my earlier remarks, I conflated Richard Armitage’s report about his performance in “A Lie of the Mind” with his statement about a student film. Both are discussed in this interview.

Of the earlier performance, Armitage states, “in my second year at drama school … I did this scene where I was jumping around in my boxers, screaming and shouting, really emoting. I went in for my critique expecting to be told I was the new Richard Burton, but my tutor said it was some of the worst acting he’d ever seen at the school.”

So that statement was not one about “Staged.” [And I don’t know where I got the element about the sofas — so I’m still looking through old interviews looking for that detail.]

Of the student film: in response to the question, “Piece of work you’re least proud of?” Richard Armitage replied, “A student film I did where I had an appalling American accent. It looked like soft porn — the Vaselined lens and all that.”

In my first series of viewings, my reaction was that I didn’t notice him trying to do an American accent; after more viewings I could see places that suggest that he was trying to do that part of the time (at the very least, when he’s playing Darryl playing the unnamed character in the play). If anyone’s interested, I will be willing to substantiate that assertion more fully (I assume that would be boring for most readers, but if you’d like me to do it, please leave a comment).

As to the quality of the cinematography, I leave that to the viewer’s discretion.

Additionally, a comment was left by Lee on the blog this week that asserts that this statement by Armitage refers to another student film, one from 1996/97, and not to “Staged.” That evidence should also be weighed as readers feel appropriate.

In my opinion, however, both descriptors actually applied by Armitage to the unnamed student film apply at least potentially to “Staged.” While “Staged” can’t be identified as that film with 100 percent certainty, nothing about the film absolutely excludes it from being that film, either.

I remain, however, by my initial judgment that nothing about the appearance of this piece is harmful or embarrassing to Richard Armitage. I enjoyed seeing it, felt it was worth the purchase, and felt that it significantly expanded my knowledge of (and questions about) Armitage’s early career. Intense fans of Armitage will want to see it eventually.

~ by Servetus on July 3, 2013.

20 Responses to “Finally, link to Richard Armitage’s statement about “a student film” — “Staged”?”

  1. Intense RA fans, huh? Now you’ve thrown down the gauntlet. Ha!


    • Yeah, I think if you’re the kind of person who wants to see his entire career from beginning to end, you can’t miss this. It’s not the height of his artistry but it definitely offers a baseline for understanding his later development. I didn’t say, rush out and buy it now, but I do think eventually most really intense fans will want to have seen it.


  2. My heart’s breaking when I read that he was criticized at that particular performance but he just got better as time goes by. And I agree that nothing is harmful with a little bit of RA touch, so long as he’s there. =)


    • yeah, it’s sad, but unless someone tells you where your flaws it can be hard to improve. He has certainly gotten better!


  3. Nothing at all to be ashamed or embarrassed about here. Has he gotten better? Yes, both in terms of finely honing those acting chops and getting even more attractive, gosh darn it.

    This was early in his acting career and he has gone from strength to strength in a steady and admirable way. I can think of performances in much bigger projects I have seen other actors in that weren’t as good as RA was in “Staged.” I am really glad to have it as part of my Armitage collection and consider it worth every penny.

    Acting–a tough profession where you face a lot of potential disappointment and humiliation. Thank you for hanging in there, Rich!


    • I think a problem with many actors–especially ones known more as celebrities–is that they either did not have the experience of receiving criticism or simply ignored and buried it deeply as if it never happened. Learning from, and recalling in the proper light, mistakes made along the way is the path to enlightenment, in both life and work. I remember being very impressed reading his candid statements about embarrassing professional gaffes–it showed humor, maturity and humility. It also signifies he knows he’s come a long way and has worked very hard to grow as an actor.


      • yes, particularly in performance, it’s important to have constructive critique. Although it sounds like that tutor’s critique was not so constructive, maybe he felt that he had to say something rather brutal to get his message across.


  4. As I´m totally “scatterbrained” (new vocabulary I learned), thank you so much for this post.

    And I´m very interested in “substantiation of your assertion”.


    • Scatterbrained is a really useful word. I am getting more scatterbrained as we speak.

      I will put it on the list. I’ll have to create an audio file, which I won’t have time to do write away, but I’m glad to do it. I find dialect study really fascinating.


  5. Thanks for this. Still waiting for my copy of Staged to check it out.

    Time Out is a weekly publication that tells you what’s on at the London theatres, cinemas etc but also has a tv section.


    • I hope it gets there soon. I’d heard some copies had arrived in the UK, but I know Switzerland is still waiting.

      Thanks for the info on “Time Out.” V. helpful!


  6. Thank you for this ,Servetus.
    I haven’t orderd it cuz I’m his intense fan with not very intense income 🙂


  7. I went back and watched it a few times after reading this. It does seem like they’re both using American accents in character, especially in the first scene and then in the middle when he accuses of her of not playing it with feeling. Where I’m really confused is when they try the scene beginning at the curtain again- and the love scene on the sofa. There, they have no American accent – and he says “you can’t even do it with your own husband,” which he is not. Then, I get confused whether the soda can scenes are play or film? I now think the play characters are supposed to be American – but the second love scene really throws me because there’s definitely no American accent. And her accent, when I think she’s doing it, is not bad at all. So yes, Servetus, I’m with Ute. We won’t be bored.


    • Yeah, when you listen to her, she sounds like she’s doing a very competent American standard.

      And I agree, it seems like sometimes they mess up which accent they’re supposed to be doing. There are moments where he seems to be very consciously going back to some kind of UK accent (as in when he says, “I’m not going to let you mess i’ up”) and other times when it just creeps back in on him.

      I wonder if the accents were supposed to help delineate the perspective changes (play rehearsal vs private conversation?) and just didn’t have that effect.


  8. Thankfully my copy of „Staged“ arrived here in South Germany yesterday. But therefore I haven’t had time to watch it as often as you have, and for me as a non-native English speaker it is practically impossible to detect if there are any diffences between an American and British accent here. Amusingly, what really caught my eye, was that short glimpse of this photo
    that was used as a portrait of his character Darryl Newman in a newspaper article.
    Besides he already had this wonderful Richard Armitage-voice!!!


    • yeah, wasn’t that neat? Now we know the date of that photo!

      and he did already have the wonderful voice. Even though the accent at the beginning *is* appalling, there’s something about the aaaaaaw that just makes my solar plexus crinkle in pleasure …


  9. YAY! My copy of “Staged” finally made it here yesterday – Vancouver Canada area – after leaving San Jose on June 22nd. Way too many things going round and round in my mind to make a rational comment right now! 😉 Two things that stood out all those years ago however, besides his undoubted acting talent, were his amazing eyes (and those lashes) which he used to great effect even then, and that voice that could melt an iceberg. He has gone from strength to strength IMO as the years have passed but his potential for greatness was much in evidence no matter how short this film was.

    He has truly grown over the years into this incredibly talented actor, yet still humble and endearing man, we are privileged to enjoy today. I can’t begin to imagine what is yet to come for him in the future and feel he can’t help but move on to even greater things than he is doing at the moment – wonderful though those may be!


  10. […] at work comes from Staged (1999), although fans were not able to experience this piece until 2013. Armitage himself described this accent as “appalling.” My first impressions are here with an addition here about my perception of his wobbly […]


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