Promoting Thorin: Richard Armitage’s whirlwind journey

[KatharineD is a regular commentator and occasional guest author on “me + richard armitage”. Previous guest posts treated her visit to Sydney Supanova 2013 and her musings on the prospective extended edition DVD release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. She followed up with two posts on “Playing Thorin” — Tolkien fan reactions to Armitage’s casting and portrayal of Thorin Oakenshield. Many thanks to her for presenting here another timely topic that required an immense amount of research and for documenting meticulously a decisive moment in Richard Armitage’s career. –Serv]

***tumblr_meugdtLGT01qh8yv6o2_500Richard Armitage, Martin Freeman, Andy Serkis, and Ian McKellen, Apple Store Q&A, December 10th, 2012. Source: Martin Freeman Fan Blog.

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What did it take to “sell” The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to the paying public, and what part did Richard Armitage and other cast members play in generating interest worldwide? I’ve been curious to know exactly how much PR work the film’s stars undertook in the short span of the press tour for the film, and what that work actually entailed for RA specifically. Here’s a close look at the promotional work for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey — a whirlwind for Richard Armitage.

51pPU511xIL._SS500_-679x1024[Left: Film poster. Source.]

Marketing and promoting The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was always going to be a massive undertaking, and Warner Bros. desperately needed to kickstart the trilogy energetically. According to documents filed with New Zealand’s Companies Office released on October 4, 2013, filming The Hobbit cost US $561 million up to March 31, 2013, prior to the pickup filming and post production for the final two movies. That figure represents twice the cost of filming The Lord Of The Rings a decade earlier (US $281 million). A recent article in Forbes examines these figures more closely. The immense cost affected the attitude toward the films at Warner Bros. Its executives considered The Hobbit a “tent-pole,” a series that would cost a great deal to produce and promote, but was expected to turn a profit quickly to help underpin the studio’s finances.

Profits could be expected based on the huge, ready-made audience that awaited TH, composed either of moviegoers who had immersed themselves completely in Peter Jackson’s filmic Middle Earth through his LOTR productions, or of those at least curious to see whether Jackson could repeat his earlier magic. The risks for Jackson lay in possibly not getting it right, in alienating his former audiences, or in failing to drag in new viewers prepared to stick around for all three movies. Part of the financial success of LOTR stemmed from some viewers’ eagerness to see the movies multiple times, turning a hit series into a worldwide phenomenon. TH would need to capture some of that same excitement if it was to generate similar profits. And that meant: heavy promotion.

o-THE-HOBBIT-COMIC-CON-POSTER-570[Right: ComicCon promo poster for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, drawing on audience associations with Gandalf. Source.]

Previous audience members could be attracted back by their attachment to the LOTR films. The story of The Hobbit included characters familiar to Jackson’s audience from their appearance in LOTR, so that the marketing of TH could also benefit from the presence of familiar actors amongst the cast. Additional help came from news that the recurring characters would all be played by their original creators, especially Sir Ian McKellen as Gandalf and Andy Serkis as Gollum. Their familiar faces played a key promotional role in linking the former trilogy to the new one.

Other than Martin Freeman, who’d become highly recognizable from his work as John Watson in the hit BBC series, Sherlock, however, the new cast members were largely unknown to the films’ prospective audiences. Richard Armitage was entirely new to moviegoers and indeed, largely unfamiliar to any audience outside Britain. Because Thorin Oakenshield was a leading role, then, RA was always going to feature largely in any publicity and would need to shoulder a heavy share of the movie’s promotional burden. He’d previously sampled such a task in only the briefest of ways after his appearance in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). Managing a red carpet premiere interview would now be the least of his concerns.

Richard Armitage[Left: Richard Armitage walks on stage at the Hobbit panel, ComicCon San Diego, July 14, 2012.]

At the very latest, the first news of the coming frenzy announced itself loud and clear in Hall H at Comic Con in mid-July, 2012. The furor in San Diego left observers and, one assumes, RA, with no illusions as to just how eagerly fans anticipated the new movie. The press started its slow buildup to the first Hobbit release. The lifting of a press embargo allowed the December issue of Empire magazine to hit newsstands on October 24th. A 63-page special feature on the movie included an interview with RA, as well as an article on each dwarf. Online press reports appeared on various sites the same day, as outlets finally released details obtained during a press day held on set earlier in the year.

Closer to the premiere, Rolling Stone published a Hobbit issue on November 21st. Two quite lengthy interviews with RA appeared around this time, one for a Spanish movie magazine, Acción Cine [English translation], and the other for a similar French publication, L’Écran Fantastique [English translation]. Wellington newspaper The Dominion Post published an interview with Richard on the 23rd, one conducted by phone from New York during Hurricane Sandy, sometime in late October.

VisitZealandia-26Nov2012[Right: Weaving, Serkis, Freeman, [?], Wood, Armitage at Zealandia. Source.]

To attract even more attention, Warner Bros. threw its weight behind a huge world premiere for TH: AUJ in Wellington on November 28th, 2012. To kick off his participation, Richard arrived in Wellington on Sunday, November 25th, and began his promotional duties the very next day. He and Freeman joined returning cast members Serkis, Hugo Weaving, and Elijah Wood for an interview on the 26th with U.S. talkshow Today, held at Zealandia, a nearby nature sanctuary. This was RA’s last “relaxed” appearance; from that point, press junkets, red carpets, and TV interviews ruled the day. That day, he also gave an interview to the NY Daily News, which wasn’t published until December 11th.

Screen shot 2013-10-13 at 1.27.25 PM[Left: Serkis, Freeman and Armitage in November 27th interviews. Serv’s cap.]

The preparatory events revealed what would prove detailed planning of suitable attire for the upcoming promo juggernaut. RA had engaged the services of noted stylist Ilaria Urbinati to help pull together appropriate outfits for the various PR activities. From the first official engagement at Wellington Airport on November 27th, when the cast all assembled for photos on the steps of the specially adorned Hobbit plane, RA looked smartly dressed, well in keeping with his “regal” movie counterpart. That same day, a press junket was held, with mostly New Zealand and Australian TV and news outlets filming interviews with the main cast. RA, Freeman and Serkis proved an amusing combination, with Andy as the Middle Earth “old hand” for eight different short video segments.

'the hobbit - an unexpected journey' world film premiere, wellington, new zealand - 28 nov 2012, ,[Right: Richard Armitage on the Wellington red carpet.]

On the morning of the world premiere of November 28th, an all-inclusive press conference for the assembled world media was held at Te Papa Museum. Then, in a carnival atmosphere, the city turned out for more than just a run-of-the-mill red carpet event. In fine Kiwi style, Peter Jackson and his crew helped organize a magnificent spectacle: a Hobbit-decorated plane overhead, a “hobbit hole” for cast to emerge through on stage, and the longest red carpet on record, appropriately Hobbit-dressed. The entire cast, except for Sir Ian McKellen and Ken Stott, who were unable to attend, took part. Viewers were offered a two-hour combination of off-the-cuff interviews, photo opportunities, and greetings given to the crowds of fans. RA looked sharply turned out in his dark blue Zegna suit.

All in all, the film had five premieres. After Wellington, the film moved on to events in Tokyo, Toronto, and New York before the tour culminated in a prestigious Royal Premiere, held in London on December 12th. Armitage was the only cast member to attend all five. In a whirlwind two-and-a-half weeks, then, RA undertook six plane journeys and an absolutely daunting schedule of interviews and public appearances. He would scarcely have had a moment to decompress or find a much-needed second or third wind.

Tokyo-25[Left: Armitage, Freeman, Jackson, Wood, and Serkis, Tokyo premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.]

Before the tour resumed, RA took a lightning-fast trip with Serkis and Freeman to Sydney on November 29th to present at the ARIA Music Awards. From there, the Hobbit caravan rolled on to Tokyo, where Peter Jackson and Elijah Wood joined RA, Freeman, and Serkis. This move brought together a clever combination of two intensely popular, recognizable stars from the LOTR films, their director, and the two leads from the new films. The language barrier didn’t seem to deter anyone. The press conference on December 1st yielded some moving reflections from Jackson and his cast [part four, particularly]. Japanese fans flocked later that day to the big “rock star” premiere. A small number of press junket videos eventually surfaced on youtube, including a delightful one from Mezamashi-TV.

Richard continued to Toronto alone, where — after a thirteen-hour flight — he met morning commuters at Union Station at 7 a.m. on December 3rd. A recreation of the entrance to Bilbo’s house provided a colorful backdrop for various radio and news reports of that event. An extremely busy day was crammed with various PR activities. RA wowed the audience on the Marilyn Denis Show by “dipping” the host as he walked on set, and later went on to record interviews for MTV.ca Movie Night and CTV’s Canada AM. One highlight of the Toronto segment is heard in an eleven-minute audio chat with CTV movie critic, Richard Crouse, a conversation between two well-informed enthusiasts rather than an interview per se.

George_Tonight_Wednesday_S03E58_18_00_00_2012-12-12_960x540_2500kbps_852x480_2315330282[Right: George Stroumboulopolous and Richard Armitage. Source.]

On the same day, RA recorded a short TV interview on Inner Space and a radio chat on 680 News. Then he conducted a press junket at the Roots Canada store. An interesting print article for twitch came from this event, as did a piece for Flicks And Bits that discusses Thorin’s burden in some detail. Greendragon from TORn also got an interview, with part 2 published a few days later. The Monsters And Critics article recounts a memorable episode from RA’s first day on the Bag End set, when Ian McKellen as Gandalf bowed to give Thorin his royal status. The Roots Canada store also backgrounded a photoshoot by photographer George Pimentel in which RA was pictured for the first time in his now notorious grey cardigan. That evening, RA appeared on George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight, where he responded in depth to his host’s insightful questioning, and then surprised everyone with his response to fan videos. The City TV chat was held on the street outside the Scotiabank Theatre, where the premiere was held that evening. Finally, Armitage introduced the film with brief remarks.

To recap the day: RA made a public appearance; gave five tv interviews, two audio chats, and a press junket with at least print interviewers; added a photoshoot; and headlined a film premiere.

image(7)[Left: Anderson Cooper, Ian McKellen,  Freeman,  Sekis, Armitage on Anderson Live.]

Next stop on the tour: New York City, where Sir Ian McKellen joined the ranks of the cast in attendance. The press embargo on reviews of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was lifted on December 4th, so that a flood of text made its way into print. Richard made an appearance on Anderson Live, along with Serkis, McKellen and Freeman. That evening, a press screening of TH was held at the Regal E-Walk theater, followed by a Q&A with the same actors.

image(9)[Right: Armitage on Today. Screen cap.]

On December 5th, RA charmed hosts Kathie Lee and Hoda when he appeared that morning on the Today show. A press conference at 10 a.m. that day at the Waldorf Astoria hotel featured Jackson, Phillipa Boyens, and WETA Digital special effects supervisor, Joe Letteri. They fielded technical questions about 3D and HFR, as well as explaining the decision to cast Richard Armitage as Thorin. At 11 a.m., the actors took questions. During the afternoon, a number of journalists were granted one-on-one interviews, such as the one published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette with Sharon Eberson. RA was in an expansive mood when talking at length with admitted first time interviewer Steve “Rifflo” Fitch; he gave another interview to Movieline. RA took part in a photoshoot with Victoria Will. He and Freeman also recorded the charming Cinemax interviews [Armitage and Freeman], which gave both actors a chance to show their lighter sides.

image(1)[Left: Armitage in a screencap from a “green door” interview.]

A major press junket took place in New York, most likely over the next two days. This duty fell mostly to Richard, Freeman and McKellen, with each interviewed in separate rooms for short bursts of four to seven minutes. I’ve been able to identify 21 different interviews with RA from this burst, many for online entertainment sites, which I’ve labeled the “green hobbit door” videos. RA appears in two different outfits. For want of actual confirmation, I’m assume these were filmed over two days. Some may have been filmed after the on-on-one sit downs on the 5th, with the rest taking place on the 6th, at some point before the premiere. Equipment setup for recording each video took an estimated half hour, so seeing it through to the end offers an exercise in patience and endurance. RA gives no indication on camera of displeasure or boredom, but remains unfailingly polite and good-natured throughout. In addition to these “door” vids, Barbara Chai’s interview for the Wall Street Journal included responses to fan questions. During his sojourn at the Waldorf Astoria, Richard was also photographed by Vera Anderson.

The New York premiere was held on the evening of December 6th at the Ziegfeld Theatre, with most of the cast on hand. The film was staged as a gala benefit for the American Film Institute with an after-party at Guastavino’s, where cast mingled with the assembled guests.

Last stop on the publicity tour was London, where a Q&A session was held at the Apple Store on the evening of December 10th. For this event, RA joined Freeman, McKellen and Serkis. The London press conference, hosted by Edith Bowman, took place at Claridge’s Hotel on December 11th, and for the first and only time, all thirteen dwarves were present at an event. RA held a sit-down interview at the hotel with British GQ.

hqdefault[Right: Armitage in a screencap from an interview with Helsingin Sanomat, possibly December 12, 2012.]

I presume that the London press junket took place on December 11th and 12th. Richard took part in 22 video interviews. It’s hard to pin down when some events actually took place as they’re not bound to a particular date. As in New York, RA wore two different sets of clothes, so I hypothesize that videos where he’s seen wearing a checked shirt, grey tie, and dark jacket were recorded on the 11th, as it’s the same outfit he wore for the press conference that day. One of the most memorable of all the short interviews is the one for Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. Richard sings a snippet of the “Misty Mountains” song at the end. He and other main cast were interviewed by Alison Hammond for ITV’s This Morning, which featured the funny RA “weapon” moment. Empire magazine recorded an hour-and-a-half podcast with RA, Freeman, and Serkis.

London-20[Left: Richard Armitage, Royal Premiere, London.]

Finally, the Royal Premiere for TH was held on the evening of December 12th at the Leicester Square Odeon. After the walk up the red carpet, the cast were presented to the Duke Of Cambridge inside the theater. RA looked resplendent on the red carpet in his Zegna tuxedo, despite the chilly weather. He had finally brought the movie home to London and had, for the present, completed his PR duties.

To summarize: as far as I’ve been able to ascertain, in the seventeen days of the official press tour, Richard Armitage took five plane journeys, walked the red carpet at five premieres, gave five press conferences, and made one other public appearance. He recorded 56 video interviews, nine TV appearances, three radio chats and one podcast. He also took part in three photoshoots and was interviewed by 21 print or online sites. These events all took place before The Hobbit was released, providing a wealth of print and video fodder for the movie-going public.

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Thanks to Ali of RichardArmitageNet.com for kindly clarifying a few issues for me and for compiling such a wonderfully detailed news listing as events unfolded. I cross-checked many articles on Mulubinba’s excellent Hobbit news archive, Of Thorin Oakenshield and The Hobbit (especially the pages for 2012 and 2013). Morrighansmuse was generous in sharing her specialized knowledge of the movie industry and quick to answer questions. Many, many thanks to all of them. –KatharineD]

~ by Servetus on October 13, 2013.

61 Responses to “Promoting Thorin: Richard Armitage’s whirlwind journey”

  1. What an incredible work you did KatharineD! Thank you, excellent masterpost for following RA commitment to AUJ promotion. I bookmarked this post and will check if I miss something since I arrived later in the Hobbit mayhem. Thank you again! 😀

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  2. Fascinating!
    Thank you for a wonderful peek into what those (almost) three weeks of work were like for the actors involved. And, wow, Mr. A., no wonder you completely dropped off the face of the earth afterwards…kudos!

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    • Exhausting, isn’t it? I have no idea how you psych yourself up for that sort of schedule- just take one day at a time, I suppose, and hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel eventually.

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  3. This is amazing detective work, once again, Katharine. Thank you for that – it was most interesting to read and has certainly once again increased my admiration for this amazing actor. As you pointed out several times – his unfailingly polite and cooperative attitude shows how much of a pro he really is. That and his deep knowledge of the material he was filming, plus his considerable acting talent, have made him the perfect choice for Jackson. There could not have been a better man for the role.
    To some degree, I have always wondered, though, why RA was chosen to play the leading role in the promotion of the Hobbit. None of the other main characters (most notedly Bilbo/Freeman, or Gandalf/McKellen) did as much promo as RA. Now, that could easily have been for conflicting filming schedules, I understand that. But I to some degree, I would’ve thought, the distributors and Jackson made a risky choice in the sense that they were sending a new hand into battle, a new name, someone whose name did not yet draw the crowds as much as Freeman or McKellen. Of course, Jackson was well-acquainted with RA at that stage, and probably knew he could trust him. But still… Maybe the promo duties were etched in RA’s contract?

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    • Very interesting question. It could be that PJ (knowing he could trust RA at that point) wanted to pointed the dualism Bilbo-Thorin, to create a great character in promoting Thorin. I feel that he this is the center of the trilogy. As he said, Bilbo is the heart, Thorin is the soul. In the book Thorin is less “important”, less defined than the movie one. I suppose PJ wanted that people got affectionate to the Dwarves and sent RA to conquer our hearts 😉 Then you must consider they have to promote 3 movies, so they need to diversify a little. For DoS they will bet on Elves: Orlando, Pace and Lilly and Bard/Evans. They must fuel curiosity and push people to read, watch go to the cinema. I know I expressed myself poorly, forgive me 🙂

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      • No, you make a good point, Micra – and you are right. They are diversifying, sending different people out at different times. There was a good bit of emphasis on Thorin in AUJ, it made sense to let the actor who brought Thorin to life promote the film. By logic, Freeman should then be more prominent in the promotion of part 3.

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        • Yes, I also think Freeman will be the lead during TABA promotion. We still have more than 1 year to discover if we are right 😉

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    • When you see it all together, it just reinforces what a huge task the promo tour was, and that was part of my motivation in writing this. RA deserves a lot of credit, not just for the volume of work, but also the attitude with which he approached it.
      Of course Martin, Andy and Ian did a lot of interviews as well, but my focus was on RA. The part I’d love to understand better is the trip to Toronto- was he the one with the most time on his hands? Did Warners want to feature him, since he was the least known main cast member?
      I think RA’s trip to Sydney on his own this year shows that the powers that be have a lot of faith in him to get the job done.

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    • Publicity clauses are always included in an actor’s contract, as are morality clauses, drinking clauses, even the no life-threatening recreational sports clauses 🙂

      I remember working on set and while waiting in “ground zero” where all the trailers are parked, one of the leads decided to do some rollerblading around the place. When the lead actor arrived, who also happened to be the executive producer, he told her that she couldn’t do it even if she’d been doing it for years. One little fall and a sprained wrist could ruin a tight production schedule.

      Anyway, a general publicity clause wouldn’t have to go into great detail about their availability and all that, as long as there isn’t a bona fide prior commitment already present at the time publicity begins. All the actors would receive the same clause as far as wording goes, but it’s not until the actual publicity campaign is drafted months before the release do the details come in for each actor, and the studio/PR company determines who the main players will be. Again, all this depending on whether they have prior commitments already or not to attend one or all of the events scheduled.

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  4. seeing this all together, organized and with links, just makes my little geeky heart go all aflutter! I didn’t become a fan until after all of this promotion, so I missed it in “real time”. this has kick-started my excitement for what’s to come 🙂

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    • Thanks, Kelbel. I can’t decide whether I want the poor man to go through this all again with the same degree of the spotlight, or give him a break and not have as much new material to pore over!

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    • You and me both, Kelbel. It’s great to have this chronology for those of us who were late to the party. So thank you, Katharine.

      I hope you don’t mind but I have a question. In that Twitchfilm interview, RA told this anecdote of “having to attempt to cut Ewan McGregor in half with a lightsaber” while on the Phantom Menace set. Didn’t he play a Naboo fighter pilot and not a Jedi warrior in that film? Someone in RA’s board suggested that this was just a little fib of his. Do you guys have other possible explanations?

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      • Thanks for the comment, Sienna, and welcome.

        I personally do not know enough about Star Wars to evaluate any claims Armitage has made about it. I know that people at imdb have been somewhat exercised about this question in the past but hope the unhappiness has faded.

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        • I only came across this story in one thread and iirc, it didn’t seem to figure prominently in the discussion. I wasn’t aware that it was such an issue in other threads there, though.
          Anyway, thanks for the reply. 🙂

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  5. This is such a detailed and well-researched work, Katharine. I am sure I haven’t caught all the interviews mentioned here. Like Micra, I’ll be bookmarking this to go through the links one by one. No wonder he wasn’t seen much until the pick-ups this summer.

    i think we’ll see a fair amount of Richard Armitage in this go round, though I also agree that there are more cast members to help carry the load. As curious as fans may be to get to know two new elves, a bear and and bard, I think they’ll want to hear what Thorin and his company of dwarves have to say – it’ll be like meeting up with old friends again. And, as far as we know he has the time.

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    • Thanks, Perry. I could’ve added more links, but then the article would’ve been nothing but that. I tried to choose some of the interviews I thought were significant and memorable.
      There will certainly need to be a dwarf representative on hand for the PR work, so who better than the main man, right? I just hope it’s a more manageable workload this time around.
      I was going to add some thoughts on how Warner Bros might’ve reviewed the press tour overall, but it seemed long enough without that. What I would say is, they need look no further than YouTube comments to gauge the public’s reaction to RA as a ‘promoter’- people love listening to him talk about his character. They appreciate his knowledge and passion, and how thoughtfully he answers all the questions.

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  6. Thanks KatherineD for putting together this impressive overview about the whole Hobbit1-promoting-tour Richard had to do last year. I remember being pretty exhausted and overwhelmed only from trying to keep up with reading and watching all the new stuff that appeared last November/December. Still I really wonder, how Richard has coped with this madness. being the prominent exquisite politeness itself, keeping his usual composure and shining with his to the point alertness, and as this would not be enough, he definitely looked extraordinarily stunning almost all the time.
    The Mezamashi-TV interview you mentioned, is one of the few that I have little memory of, as I hadn’t safed it on my PC. BUT!!! Is there anybody of you out there able to cut out those short pieces with RA? Especially that snippet (approx.at 5.00 min) with him saying „Everyday“!!!! Jeeez!!! Look in his face!!! That would be ….most cracking! 😀

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    • Sorry, can’t help with your video request- not my forte at all. I wonder if RA scheduled some extra yoga time whenever possible to help maintain his equilibrium?

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      • One would think he certainly has extra meditation/relaxing/yoga time. At least he could successfully apply his special skill in foculising, which he had learned during his actor’s training and first and foremost had perfected it clearly over the years past.

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  7. I got tired just reading this! Thank you for your great work, KatharineD. I knew it was a busy time, but seeing it like this – wow, Mr. A. I admire you deeply.

    Whatever the reason RA was chosen to be the face and the voice of AUJ, it was a brilliant decision.

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    • I particularly wanted to add up all the different activities at the end so you could see the complete number- it’s the video interviews that are the most daunting, I think. It requires skill and fortitude to answer similar question over and over again, but still seem engaged and alert.

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  8. Thanks, KatharineD! Great research. Couple of things from the NYComicCon that I went to today. The poster for AUJ that you show up top features a character next to Gandalf that is hardly in AUG – Bolg, son of Azog. Apparently Bolg will be showing up in DoS and the third movie. The TORn panel I went to today pointed out that Bolg appears briefly in AUJ – Dwalin fights him at the Battle of Azanulbizar (whatever) shown in flashback. Also, one of the presenters of the panel was none other than Green Dragon, interviewer of RA noted above. She did not mention RA particularly, but did say one of the benefits of her job was to meet cast members. Not surprised!! 😀

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    • Thanks for the details, Marie. I particularly enjoyed Greendragon’s interview with RA, coming from a Tolkien devotee who asked a few different questions.

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    • any issues are not Katharine’s fault — I picked the Hobbit poster illustrations.

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      • It’s not your fault, Serv! The TORn panel pointed out the fact that the movie was edited to take Bolg out of AUJ. In the book, Azog dies at the Battle where Thorin cuts his arm off in The Hobbit. His son Bolg then goes after the dwarves in revenge. In The Hobbit Azog is the one to go after the dwarves, although Bolg is in AUJ and will be more of a presence thereafter. I just thought it was interesting that he was the on in the poster.

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        • hey, all this would totally pass me by if you didn’t tell me about it — I have no clue who most of the monsters are, lol 🙂

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  9. It is insane! Clearly,not only his shield is made from oak .
    Thank you very much,Katharine ! 🙂

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    • Insane is a good description, Joanna. Imagine looking at the schedule before the start- aargh!!!

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      • I was reading an article about Ilaria Urbinati today and what she / her assistant do for their clients in situations like this — they literally fold all of the clothes to order, grouped in the right combinations, with written instructions as to how to put them on and wear them … they probably had to look at this schedule too and went “ooof”

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        • That’s a big part of the value of the service Ilaria provides, I would think- not just what to wear, but having the guess work taken out. With that level of busyness, the last thing you need is to dig through the suitcase to put all the parts of the outfit together.
          At least that’s one issue he was able to put out of his mind each day.

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      • Yes, it looks like the training ground…or maybe like a perfect set of tasks for a former professional dancer 😉

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  10. Thank you KatherineD. Fantastic. I have spent most of the afternoon looking at all of this and it is simply amazing, the work you did putting it all together and the work that Richard did getting out there for AUJ. I honestly can’t see them putting him through all that again for the second film. I’m not sure how big the promotion is going to be for this second one but I don’t see Richard doing the same amount of press. He went far beyond what one would have expected I think and it had to be exhausting. I’m not sure how much they need to do but then again they still want to attract the audience. Granted if you haven’t seen the first one then you may not bother with the second no matter what promotion they put out but WB will still want to push it. We’re all going to see it but they’ll still be looking to see new people. I think Smaug is going to be the focal point with this one but the dragon can’t exactly make appearances. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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    • I glad you found it interesting, Peggy. WB will need to maintain a strong awareness for The Hobbit if they want to be sure the audience goes all the way to the end of the trilogy. The question is, how do they achieve that the second time around? The way the story develops is to their benefit, with the introduction of strong, new characters like Legolas (well, new to TH, anyway), so I would think Orlando Bloom will feature largely, which will please his LOTR fans.
      We don’t even know where the premieres will be held, other than LA, so there’s a lot yet to be revealed.

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      • I wonder that, too — it feels like they’re not trying as hard this time. But that may be because I only follow the Armitage chunk of the publicity, which has been comparatively negligible till now. I guess we’ll see what happens after the 22nd.

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  11. This is an amazing piece of work! Thanks so much. I have bookmarked it and plan to revisit it often.

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    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Ms Mel. I hoped it would be a useful reference point, so I’m pleased you see it that way.

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  12. Thank you for sharing your hard work. Really interesting timeline re: his schedule. No wonder he seems sick in some interviews .Probably exhausted.

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    • Getting enough sleep would’ve been the critical issue with all that travelling. I hope RA’s a good plane sleeper! It’s having to be ‘on’ constantly that I would find especially exhausting.

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      • I wrote a prayer for him at the time — just before the start of the whole thing — because of that (inter alia). It’s really hard to avoid becoming rundown and hence sick on a trip like that.

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  13. Wow. I’m exhausted and cranky just reading it. Excellent work!!

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    • It’s an unavoidable part of movie work, the PR tour, but not one to approached lightly! Exhausted?- you and me both!

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  14. What a great article! And all that research! I’d have been cross-eyed, not too mention too exhausted just from all the long-distance flights! and I was just doing all the reading 🙂

    Celebrities who do this do learn the value of catnaps, though, as I’m sure RA must have learned to do just to get through from one main event to another.

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  15. I am going to keep it as well. So much hard work putting this together and truly I found articles I had not read so I really appreciated all the work. You are right KatherineD they will need to make sure people keep going esp. with the addition of the Bard and other new characters. Legolas will bring old viewers back if nothing else and I’m guessing they will want to emphasize all this more right now than Thorin though of course Richard will no doubt still be there. It will be in the 3rd film perhaps that they will bring him back with Martin to put out more PR. I think Richard could use a break but he has been a real believer in doing his all so we’ll see. One of those articles indicated that he wanted to do more theater and an interest in NYC more but that was in answer to a question about L.A. I honestly can’t imagine him in L.A. mind you. I think London and NYC would be far more enriching for his career to be honest. Still it was hard to tell what he might really want with all those articles because he was all over the place at times. We could put a list together of contradictions of wanting to do this and not wanting to do that from various articles but he had to be worn out with all the interviews so he might not have been sure what he had said before. He has been careful since to not say so much about the future.

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  16. it’s really hard to take any statement he is quoted as making in an article at face value. We have to keep in mind that he’s being quoted by parties who may or may not get it right.

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    • I agree- RA probably has many variations on what he wants from his career, and different interviewers received one version of that according to circumstances.
      If I could pick one thing I’d dearly love to see from the next round of PR, it’s an interview with the dwarves which includes RA- I’d really like to see more of that group dynamic, and how he plays off the other actors. Perhaps there’ll be a little of that on the EE DVD, but it would be great in a fun situation like the ‘quizzing the dwarves’ interview.

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  17. What a fantastic job you’ve done here Katharine! No wonder the poor man ended up coming down with a cold and what appeared to be a sore throat. What a jewel PJ and Warners have in RA, not just for the Thorin role, but for all the promo work.

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    • Thanks, Mezz. I think you’d need to do voice training and gym work to prepare for a press tour just as much as you would for an action role with a lot of dialogue! I bet the interviewers all felt grateful to have such a giving, attentive interview subject.

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  18. That is true. After so much traveling and so many interviews and so many faces, one can begin to lose track of what one has said to who and how it is said. You can’t see the interviews in print after or on video but have to just keep going. Can you imagine having to say the same thing over and over or in different ways but essentially the same thing in a “fresh” way? Mental gymnastics here and the media looks for anything to grab onto as well. I’d like to know if he still believes that he can remain unrecognized out there in public. Certainly his privacy is still well guarded and I say bravo to him for that. They may see him going to the gym but so far I see no interference elsewhere.

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  19. Unless he’s only been out in public twice on personal time, it seems like people are leaving him alone because there have only been 2 instances of “sitings” that I recall – one on Carnaby Street and the recent one you mentioned, Peggy, that looked like he was going to the gym – and no photos.
    As to contradictions in his statements, I think it also possible that he wants to do a number of different things – so theater, more TV and film doesn’t feel that contradictory to me.
    I don’t think where an actor lived makes a difference in terms of landing roles. his living close to Broadway or far from LA isn’t going to influence a casting director.

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  20. […] AUJ, more of which was learned about from Katharine D’s detailed chronology and analysis in Promoting Thorin   on Me and Richard, but so far, it appears to me that if Thorin isn’t front and center, […]

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  21. Hi KatharineD, again, your attention to detail in this post is superb! What a great reference you’ve created. As others have mentioned above, I will also be bookmarking this post to follow up on the links. And I really hope Richard returns to Australia at some point to promote the The Hobbit – it would be nice to add some local appearances to a future promotions list.

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    • Glad you found it useful. If you want ALL the links, RAnet has a separate listing for Hobbit promotion videos. I would hope Richard had enough of a good time in Australia (as he certainly seemed to) to jump at the chance to come back. A selling point would be our proximity to NZ- come here first, then pop back there to catch up with friends.

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      • RANet has even more links! What great news. I’ve been thinking about getting a new lap top – most of my Armitaging is done on my phone, or through furtive use of SO’s work ipad – which could be a great foil to the annoying Australian TV silly season we’re about to enter, where the networks use the *summer* to suspend broadcast of all worthwhile programs. Do you use laptop or ipad?

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        • I do nearly everything on my ipad these days, including any writing I do. If you have access to one, you can investigate subscribing to BBC iPlayer- I think it works out at about $5 a month, and gives you a wealth of BBC programs to watch including Spooks, Strike Back and N&S.
          RAnet has everything- I only made a small selection of links- all the press junket videos, print articles, premieres- it’s all there. Happy hunting!

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  22. Oh I’m sure he will want to do some of the press junket, just not as much as before. I am sure he loved Australia and will want to go back as well as going back to NZ.

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  23. Agree Perry. We all know that where he lives right now really isn’t that important since any actor will move wherever he needs to be in order to take something he wants. L.A. doesn’t interest him obviously as theater is really not as big and NYC is so much better “if” he wants to be in the U.S. and it seems that he has kept a flat in N.Y. so that appears to interest him but he can be anywhere he wants to be. He is very dedicated and once his mind is set he doesn’t let anything get in the way. The nice thing is that they can do a series or a movie and find time as well to fit in the theater often. Doing TV there is often a hiatus so that leaves time for other things. Given how much time he gave to the press junket we know he has the stamina so he is able and willing. He really is lucky that the press (read the other mags that thrive on rumor and such) have left him alone. I know we all wish him a good private life where he can relax with friends and anyone special without all that nonsense. He has worked hard for it.

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  24. […] year. We’re not at the fever pitch of last year, not only because there’s been less Armitage press leadup in comparison to the previous year, but, I think, also because we didn’t spend a  year and a half on near-total news embargo […]

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