Trying to catch the advance wave of the next Richard Armitage appearance curve

Judiang was blogging this week about the Richard Armitage nose job controversy, which, omg, how angry people got in 2013. Not here, because I never raised it as an explicit topic, but I read a lot of anger about it in other places. I left a comment on her blog regarding all that:

I was staying out of this because after reading about 9 months of passive aggressive commentary about my non-writing on the topic (“people who analyze everything else to death refuse to talk about this!”) I had sort of resolved that I would not speak about it. The other piece of that was that it never seemed to make anyone happy to talk about it, even in analytical terms. It was just another bat that fans beat each other the head with (“you’re naive if you don’t believe/accept that …” / “people who think he had a nose job are crazy” / “Richard Armitage would never have a nose job, what kind of fan are you?”). There were these graphics that demonstrated the changes (or argued against them) with obnoxious captions. I didn’t feel like providing another boxing ring for that particular battle.

And then I didn’t want to write that at the top because I didn’t want to appear to be delegitimating the discussion. But all that interests me now is how it becomes a fan identity issue (and by extension, why is one thing an identity issue and another not). I remember reading a comment at pi’s blog that said, paraphrasing, “it broke my heart when he got his nose fixed.”

If you want to talk about the beak, please go over to Judi’s and weigh in. Many already have. I put it here, though, as preface to the elements of my interest in the thing I think we’ll be talking about next (da-duh): Botox (gasp!). Trying to get ahead of the curve here.

So, as we all know, Richard Armitage has (cough) a very “active” forehead. Seems like he’s always had it.

Craig Parker (Richard Armitage) being broken up with at the end of Casualty (2001). Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

I used to call this, in my mind, his “pedagogical forehead,” a term I used because he seemed to use it most when he was explaining something and trying to look earnest. I wrote posts about his forehead muscles: frontalis, epicranius. Armitage himself must be aware of it, because he commented on it in the infamous Tanya Gold interview: “I think I am odd-looking. I have big lines on my forehead. […] I shouldn’t draw attention to it, because then everyone else will see the oddness.”

Let me just draw some attention here real quick:

We love you, Rich, we don’t think it’s odd at all. Apart from the ridges, thought, one must admit that the forehead furrows are formidable. One of the things that looking at old screencaps points out is that he seems to have had lines on his forehead, probably due to the intense way he has mobilized it in so many roles.

Richard Armitage as Paul Andrews in Between the Sheets (2003). Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

He did say he moisturizes. Let me say, I would never rule out that Armitage does some kind of fancy skin stuff because someone told me years and years ago that a skin treatment spa in New Zealand had tweeted that he was there. Also, he undertook quite a bit of work on his teeth. And I’m guessing he might have had to have some kinds of repairs when he caught the shield to the forehead during the Hobbit filming.

So, fast forward to a few weeks ago, when this selfie appeared:

Richard Armitage and Charlotte Kirk, tweeted by Kirk at the wrap of her work on Oceans 8, February 21, 2017. Everybody’s wearing those Canada Goose jackets this year, I guess.

I admit I didn’t think about it much, other than referencing the constant reminder that most selfies are filtered in some way. I’ve also noticed over the years that his chicken pox scar or whatever it is appears and disappears regularly depending on how much image alteration is occurring or how much makeup he is wearing.

Still, I immediately started to see conversations about whether Richard Armitage is botoxing. And, of course, they included all of the typical moments of the “nose job” conversation: “Of course he is!” “Of course he’s not!” “If you know anything about Botox you can see it immediately!” “You’re naive if you think he isn’t doing it!” “He’s going to ruin his face if he keeps it up!” and so on.

I admit I am not super worried because three days later we started seeing these Berlin Station iTunes release interviews and they all have the usual mobile forehead.

Richard Armitage on KCLive-TV, February 24, 2017. Screencap.

Given the anxiety that actors feel about the speed and appearance of their aging, and the anxiety our fandom has often displayed around this issue, it’s probably not surprising that all of the same questions and responses to them are arising, as the matter of how Richard Armitage remains young-looking and able to play roles at least five years younger than his chronological age will probably be on our minds a lot.

Again, I am not hugely worried. Anecdote: the penultimate time I saw Love, Love, Love, I was seated next to a playwright, and she said to me, “he’s doing a really good job of playing someone who’s 19 for a guy who’s probably 28.” I don’t think he looks like he’s in his twenties, but I think he still looks like he’s on the other side of 40 from me.

And yet, since it looks like we might be in for another round of this (and there really are people who enjoy it, I guess), it seems worthwhile to me to ask why exactly this issue — what cosmetic “work” Armitage has done, or not — ends up being such an issue in our fandom?

I don’t know, but some musings. As KellyDS said recently, with controversial topics, there’s a fear of appearing naïve. Hence, I suppose, the arguments on that ground. One facet of that is insisting on oneself as the expert about something like cosmetic surgery or botoxing, although it’s interested when two or more such “experts” disagree vehemently. Moreover, it seems like one element of the argument involves competing fantasies here: the notion of the actor who doesn’t give in to the demands and appearance standards of the entertainment industry is one of them, discomfort with the notion of “going Hollywood.” The other is the notion of the savvy professional who knows what he has to do to get ahead. What is the broader significance of those notions?

And I wonder what my own identity investments are in this matter. What am I putting in my tulpa?

[Open for discussion of anything to do with Richard Armitage, botoxing, Armitage and botoxing, fan fantasies, etc., etc., but please don’t attack other fans or call them names. Keep the comments policy in mind. Thank you!]

~ by Servetus on March 27, 2017.

93 Responses to “Trying to catch the advance wave of the next Richard Armitage appearance curve”

  1. IMHO, there’s a huge investment in RA as a starving artiste who is above the ambitiousness vanity that botoxing and cosmetic surgeries implies among a certain segment of fandom. They want him to be “special” and not like other shallow actors. (At least, this is how I’ve been perceiving it. I would be interested to hear a rebuttal.) Personally, I never saw him as that kind of special, so his procedures don’t bother me. It just makes me feel old but a guy 11 years my junior is working hard to preserve his looks. 😀

    • The voices in the fandom that want him to look something like his age have definitely been louder lately.

  2. I have a BA in theater, I have acted in repertory theater and my sister and late brother in law worked for Desilu and Paramount studios. I have studied film history extensively.( the Golden Age is my speciality. ) So I know a bit about show business. Everyone who makes some sort of living in front of the camera takes care of their appearance and does some facial work, from botox to plastic surgery. Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren and George Clooney have all had work done. Smart actors know to be subtle and not screw up their faces to the point that they can’t show any expression. I don’t believe RA is botoxing yet. I do think he is seeing a dermatologist and doing skin peels and micro abrasions at this point. He may choose to do more down the line. I would be doing the same thing if I had a viable and active public career. I think he had nose work done far earlier then the Hobbit. Look at his nose in Sparkhouse and later in North and South. It does seem he had the fleshy overhang over his nostrils nicked after 2002. I would guess he had his nose reshaped a bit more during the Hobbit years.
    Richard Armitage has worked at making himself attractive. I’ve seen pictures of him as a young man, he’s a late bloomer who grew into his body and face. And to a certain extent he has willed himself into a certain type of male beauty. None of this influences my liking of him as an object of affection and as an actor. My idea of Richard Armitage is very private ( has more to do with me then him) and I am indifferent to a certain extent to what other judgements may exist in fandom. But I’ve always been an outlier in that regard.

    • There was a fan squabble before I became a fan about whether he did stuff to his nose; I didn’t put it in this post because I didn’t witness it and didn’t have a date for when it happened, but I’d been informed about it by some legacy fans. (So the main fan who discussed it with me said, uch, been there, had that discussion.)

      re: indifference to other judgments in fandom — I’ve just never understood not being interested in what other fans say or think about something. I may agree or not agree, be willing to discuss it or not, but I’m always interested in knowing what they are and thinking about what they might mean. But I think all fans’ opinions of him have more to do with us than with him. (This is the idea at the basis of the tulpa concept.)

      • What I was referring to as not interesting is the endless feuding and dysfunctional behavior that often exists in various fandoms and on social media. I have no appetite for those sorts of flame wars and trolling.

        Now an honest discussion on Hollywood and body image is another thing. And is worth discussing.

  3. I really like what Elizabeth commented above – “My idea of Richard Armitage has more to do with me then him.” – I totally subscribe to that. In the context of artificially enhancing his appearance, I personally am not particularly keen on “tucks and ‘tox” – but that has more to do with my own notion of avoiding all vanity, than with any opinion on whether an actor should or shouldn’t get work done. Rationally, I understand that it probably is industry-standard to get perfect teeth, iron out all lines, and cut off the bits that do not adhere to conventional standards of beauty. And yet, my fantasy (or tulpa?) of RA would rather like to see a man who is above and beyond the superficialities of the business. It’s all about finding reasons to respect the OOA as much as just drooling over him. (And the droolage factor was already there before he smoothed the lines and shaped the nose.)
    And here is an admission – having huge problems with the visible signs of ageing in my own body, I admit to feeling irrationally jealous that he has the means – and the justification! – to have work done. It feels as if he is able to remain 39 forever, yet us mere mortals have to move on to 47. Grah.
    Anyway, I think RA is in a slightly tricky position when it comes to his appearance. He is an attractive man (even without enhancement), yet his angular features and high forehead make him very good at playing the shady/insane/obsessive roles that are often given to “character actors”. Maybe the nipping and tucking is a way of giving himself more scope to do the “hero roles” that are always cast with conventionally beautiful people?

    • Yes, yes and yes. I completely agree with you. Don’t we all do ‘something’ albeit on a small scale? Teeth straightened and whitened, hair dying, removal of blemishes/birthmarks/scars/hair, nail art? I could go on😉
      Only when in showbizz appearance is ever so much more in focus, and I believe there’s a implicit/explicit? demand (and willingness) to improve what you’re born with.

      • I think ads make us think that everyone is doing it. I personally don’t know anyone who has had an elective cosmetic surgery. So most people I know well don’t, or they do one thing, usually coloring their hair. That may change as we get older. I’m probably an outlier. My teeth were straightened when I was a preteen (something I wouldn’t have chosen) and I don’t do anything else. Although I may be caving on the removal of facial hair.

        But it’s interesting, for instance, that I don’t think I’ve ever seen any arguments over the visible fact that Armitage is constantly changing his hair color.

        • Changing color because of acting on stage or movie, I think it makes sense, it goes without saying. But when the beard has got a different tint, color, it’s weird.

          • The hair discussion we did have occasionally was whether his hair were thinning. Which suggests that aging is a more important question than simple changes per se (KellyDS’s comment points in this direction, too, as does Judi’s).

            • In the last scene of N and S, the color of the hair and the paws, favorites or flaps changed. Because the movie was made over two different periods and his natural color is lighter than Thornton’s black hair.

            • What I was trying to say above was that whatever Richard chooses to do to himself – the effect this will have on me – will say more about me as a person than what it says about him.
              I also meant to say that I completely understand the reason why he does it, because it’s the business he’s in, and he’s probably also vain. As for the various minor ‘things’ that we can do, I know several – both men and women – who make the occasional corrective procedure, including lifts of various sorts.
              Personally, I had my teeth straightened when I was 14, and whitened a couple of years ago. I get highlights in my graying hair, and I’ve had a birthmark removed. I don’t like the fake nails, and I would never have botox injections, because most get this odd facial expression that I wouldn’t want. My mother looks like she’s very tired, and if I get that same look, I would have my eyelids lifted for sure. It depends on what you focus on; I focus on not looking tired, Richard probably focuses on his nose. I just hope he leaves it alone from now on, because it was perfect as it was.

        • That’s cause I’m too tired most of the time to go on about it lol i think while he’s obviously found somebody v good for the nose job the hair is another matter entirely. Although it seems to have improved sorta recently and a more natural looking tone was found. What really made me roll eyes a bit were the fake greys on top of the fake dark in the O8 shoot 😉 not that i have any influence lol but I’d like to see his natural colouring once to have the option to decide what i like more, not that that is ever gonna happen.
          I’m with you on not knowing anyone who has had any work done. But i have noticed how sensitive people can get about details depending on circumstances. I’ve become way more lenient since people next to me have gone through issues with appearance due to health reasons. And also since due to time restrictions i stopped getting highlights and at the same time im guessing both age and stress induced suddenly got grey hairs. Am still shocked they bother me more than i thought they would. But i haven’t dyed it yet although the thought crosses my mind. I wish i could click fingers and be fully whitened but white and brown does not look particularly nice. I do love women with nice grey hair though. Maybe because that’s how i know them to begin with? Love Mary Beard for example and can’t even imagine her with dyed hair. But hair dying is a particular art. Making it look natural with skin tone etc is very very difficult. Particularly since constant dye affects hair health and shine. His looked great in LLL i thought so maybe he should look more at stage make up professionals than hairdressers? I’ve seen it here too the people at ROH make up department do a much better job at making people look their best than even expensive hair dressers.

          • It’s much better now than it was in the Spooks days, IMO. Seems fuller and healthier. Maybe he hasn’t been dying it AS much or is using a better quality product.

            I still don’t think I’m going to color my hair — at my age my mother had been coloring already for a decade. It’s only been in the last year or so that it becomes really noticeable. I think most people w/brown hair do highlights, and that doesn’t appeal to me.

            • I’m not going to color mine either. it’s already starting to show on top. my aunt has lovely silver hair, so I’m hoping that mine will resemble hers. what I’ve found surprising is that others seem to be offended that I’m not going to. they have no problem pointing out that I’m going gray but I guess they’re not used to someone embracing the aging process instead of trying to hide it.

              • Interesting how people react, isn’t it? I get my hair cut twice a year and this last time was really unpleasant — the hard sell for hair color was really hard. Maybe I should expect that but friends are sometimes hostile as well. It’s not ideological for me — I just can’t be arsed to put that on my list of things to do. It costs money, it’s not good for my hair or my skin, and it has to be maintained. There are books to be read. Nieces’ basketball games to go to. Richards to be Armitaged. And so on.

            • Yes on the hair vs Spooks, maybe also because it is generally shorter? But def better styled too. As to me vs mum i am unlucky in that respect, my mum and grandma never coloured their hair and they never needed to, all they ever got was a few whites at temples. My grandma’s hair stayed dark and almost black till the end except for a few whites at temple. Same goes for my mum who barely has greys. I unfortunately seem to take after my dad who went grey quite young 😦 But i don’t fancy spending £120 on highlights several times a year on top of haircut. I’m resisting the impulse for now.

    • I think his position on the cusp between romantic lead and potential character actor has probably always been at issue for him (I remember him saying that for Sparkhouse he was cast against type). It’s an interesting ambivalence (in his career as well). I wonder what would happen if he ever came out and said, yes, I did really really want that huge Hollywood career and never figured out how to get it? [of course, cultural factors mitigate against that]

      I wonder about the notion of respect as connected to not altering one’s body. Is changing one’s body superficial?

      • Personally, I believe the big Hollywood career did not happen because of his acting abilities or his looks. Both are definitely good enough (if not better) for Hollywood. I rather believe that he was a) too late for a Hollywood career and b) from the wrong territory to come to it at a later stage. However, I am saying this in order for the universe to prove me wrong ;-). Maybe O8 will be the game-changer.
        As for your question at the end: First of all, that is of course all a matter of personal opinion. I am sure you could convincingly argue against my position. Here is why I derive some sort of feeling of respect for someone not succumbing to surgical body enhancement: Almost everyone in the entertainment industry is caught in a business that glorifies youth and beauty. They are put under pressure to conform to conventional ideas of beauty/femininity/masculinity. Ageing seems to be a particular no-no, with plenty of roles set in middle-age, but after that declining sharply, especially for women. Hence entertainment people go for all kinds of beauty enhancements, artificial or not. They may not particularly even like it, but they are actually perpetuating this obsession with beauty and youth, by willingly conforming to it. To resist it, is to risk being eligible for fewer roles. And to look like “normal” people of the same age group. Ergo, any actor not conforming to this unwritten custom, would have my respect as he/she would be making a conscious statement against the conventions of Hollywood.
        So, in answer to your question – I don’t think that changing one’s body is superficial per se. Actors certainly have a good reason to do so – their livelihood. And other people may also have reasons beyond wanting to look good, that makes them consider cosmetic surgery. I just think that resisting the cult of beauty in that industry would certainly garner my respect. But that is just me…

        • I asked b/c I don’t know the answer; I don’t have an investment, either way. I do wonder if Hollywood is unique in that way in terms of a career. If a doctor said “I refuse to do continuing medical education” or a history professor said “I am not going to read any more books,” that would not gain my respect. Or maybe it just has something to do with the fact that we’re having a discussion about bodies in particular.

          • Interesting examples. My gut feeling is that those examples somehow are not the same as having cosmetic surgery in the case of an actor. But I struggle to explain why. Maybe because a doctor or historian who refuse to continue studying, will definitely fail at their job, whereas an actor who refuses to have cosmetic surgery does not necessarily fail at his job. And also because a doctor refusing to educate himself on new developments is not making a social/cultural statement. I am not sure whether everything can always be equated with other areas of work.

            • I’m not sure it can either, but we only find out whether it can or can’t by asking the question. I think the counterargument is that if you were an actor and refused to have plastic surgery, you might never work again. You might not fail, but you might plausibly be unemployed. Most doctors and professors are not employed on a contract basis and there’s an inertia effect (“she’s not doing any research but she’s still teaching a lot of classes, and she has tenure, so it would be hard to get rid of her”). An actor can’t benefit from that in quite the same way.

              I suspect many actors who have cosmetic surgery, however, might be surprised to learn they are making social/cultural statements. At least ones that involve much agency. There are a few who feel that way and talk about it, but most do not. I would hypothesize that they think they are responding to market pressures.

              • Agreed – I doubt that they themselves feel that they are playing into the hands of a youth-obsessed culture/industry. And I concede that it is too much to ask from any actor to actively fight against it. After all, they have to make their livelihood, too.

      • I bet he’s alway been conflicted himself between wanting to be a serious character actor but also doing hero leads which really push careers significantly. And his natural looks only enhance the conflict. Not odd enough to be cast automatically only for character parts and not stereotypically model beautiful for Hollywood beaus. Just talking extremes not meaning offence 😊 also lazy as typing from mobile 😊 hell, even I’m conflicted about him! I want him to win Oliviers and Oscars but remain so attractive he stops my breath as he does. So can’t blame him for something i feel too. Always puzzled actuallu when people don’t find him as attractive as i do. But it’s not uncommon middle ground for many European actors i think. Or Brits for that matter. But ultimately the beau thing is a v small time window and his well cared and conserved looks actually keep things interesting for longer. Wouldn’t i have wanted a romcom? My mushy heart would 😊 but I’d get bored by nr3 the latest. And since time has indicated this is not a passing interest ultimately the limbo ensures a more varied combo though with the risk of duds inherent to grey areas i guess. Though time has shown me at least that where he satisfies me most is on stage and that’s where the finer details of his looks like a particular hair shade or tilt of nose matter least. And yet that’s where he’s most irresistible to me and most effective on me as an actor. Based on that I’d be tempted to say Rich let the hair be and the nose is all the same , what really makes you unique is what you can do on stage. But then again we all know things like the Hobbit also fed that etc. But even on screen the stuff i go back to is where he played the grey area to best advantage like Guy whi i still find miles more entrancing than Daniel Miller although one could probably convincingly argue that DM was physically more honed and groomed and perfected. And yet Guy is for me so much more the expression of why i tjink for me R is unique and has something special to give than DM. I also much prefer and am.more riveted by Francis Dolarhyde for similar reasons though i suspect R may be relatively more content with himself physically as DM. I guess what i hope for is that he will age gracefully and at some point accept it naturally. Im all for caring for oneself if for no other reason than preserving the best possible health (not saying that’s what drives him) and also because being fit is always necessary in acting especially on stage. I guess it’s about balance I’d hope he’ll be in his 70s somebody I’d still love to see on stage and screen like say for example Patrick Stewart or so. That he’ll be a fit and healthy older man with white hair (or no hair Lol) and a riveting actor .

  4. 🙂 Elizabeth Guylty bien dit!
    Ça y est! J’ai craqué et acheté la lecture du “Crucible” sur le site du OVT. (Pour ce genre de manipulation informatique, je reste cependant dépendante de mon adorable et très patient fiston). Hier, j’ai enfin pu bloquer plus de trois heures, pour regarder les deux actes en entier. Aussi j’ai pu longuement étudier de près, le jeu des acteurs et les changements de leur apparence physique respective… Le maquillage des yeux, la coloration des poils du torse et des cheveux montrent que, sans chirurgie, on peut allègrement transformer un homme en pleine forme de l’âge, en personne affaiblie ayant pris plus de vingt ans, en trois coup de pinceaux. Reste le jeu des acteurs: Richard Armitage, Ann Firbank, Adrien Schiller pour ne citer que ceux qui m’ont le plus impressionnés. Leurs dons d’acteurs m’ont coupé le souffle. Ils apparaissaient dans leurs déplacements , leurs démarches alourdies, leurs tremblements , anéantis, courbés sous le poids de la fatalité. (cf RA titubant, libéré par les russes dans MI5) Rien ne remplace le jeu de l’acteur!
    Il peut y avoir une dichotomie entre l’âge réel et l’apparence, dans les excès de recours à la réparation des méfaits du temps. Quelqu’en soit le moyen: la coloration des cheveux, l’effacement des rides , la chirurgie plus ou moins correctrice, il reste une idée d’artificiel. Mais je comprends l’effacement du nez la retouche des dents, qui peuvent être mal vécus. Il peut être fier de son travail personnel pour garder un tel physique. Nos échanges sur “Hannibal” étaient plus amusants!

    • I think Ann Firbank was over 80 when she was in The Crucible, so that piece of it wasn’t acting, i suppose.

      I definitely think he shows a commitment to maintaining the appearance he needs. (We used to have similar discussions about the way he dresses on the red carpet and his switch to employing a stylist after 2012, and although people didn’t believe me when I said it: that’s just a professional requirement. No matter what you’d rather wear, a certain kind of attire is de rigueur on red carpets and doing it is proof that you know the rules and are willing to comply.) In some ways, I suspect that the ‘dressing up’ might be more personally bothersome to him than the cosmetic changes.

      • In any case, every morning he should spend more time than me, in bathroom and dressing room.

    • Ripple-mark his a geology subject too, about sand, wind, see waves, rock’s birth..

  5. If I’m honest there is probably a bit of a fear he’s “going Hollywood” for me. He’s the best looking bloke I’ve ever fancied amd if he gets any prettier I’m afraid I will lose interest. He was a bit too pretty in BS if you ask me me.

    However, I think we all draw different lines about what constitutes ‘work’. I have a facial peel every other month as it helps my rosacea. Ten years ago I had all my unwanted body hair lasered off. Vanity? As I haven’t had to go near a razor or a wax pot since it feels like a great move – done for me to save me time and make my life easier. Some would argue I shouldn’t feel the need to be hairless and maybe they would be right but I have no regrets. But having the hair lasered off my lip was sooooooo painful and the idea of having an actual surgical procedure makes me wince. Perhaps RA is just braver than me!

    • I agree with you; I thought he looked a bit too pretty (more feminine looking than I have ever seen him look before) at times last year whilst promoting BS. Maybe it was the styling, loss of weight and bouffant hair but I found it a bit disconcerting given how beefy (and masculine) he appeared playing Johns Procter and Porter, and also Thorin.
      Fundamentally, it is his masculine good looks, (and playing a cravat wearing 19th century mill owner), that do it for me!! 😉

      • For me his considerable frame makes the bulk seem more natural and I think part of my tulpa is preferring sturdy as opposed to delicate bodies.

    • He definitely got prettier between 2014 and 2015 (also for Hannibal). I sometimes think my wistful longing for the beard and the bulk are my own reaction to that. At the moment he doesn’t seem like the guy who will show up in my backyard in his flannel shirt to pull out tree stumps.

      Facial hair is actually the thing that might make me have a cosmetic procedure. I don’t like people look at my face and having their eyes drawn to it.

      • Joke! Spring-cleaning for you and spring-clearing for me.
        But in a review Julie Delpy said she does not feel the need to wax.
        The best cream to clear the first wrinkles or dark circles would be an antihemorrhoid cream with citric acid . Also you choose between cucumbers, pineapples or lemon.

      • To me the changes in his appearance reflected his move to NYC. In a way he began to resemble my (male) colleagues from there more and more. He became more US resident in appearance than a Brit, if that makes sense.

        • *in appearance and style

        • Hmm. Well, if fans were right that he had a pre-2006 nosejob, and we know that he did have his teeth fixed right after N&S, that would precede NYC (2012), although I would not exclude the possibility that the reason for the teeth was that he was in LA during pilot season and was told straight out he’d have to do that to be on US TV. And he implied in 2010 that he had not had a nose job.

          re: general appearance, I suppose it’s natural to fit in where we are. One thing that complicates judging is that the number of pictures of him multiplied a lot after that move. I suspect the initial changes were spurred by Ilaria Urbinati, but I don’t if that’s NYC as much as it is the whole US entertainment industry machine.

          Although: it’s true that when people move to NYC they lose weight. I don’t know if it’s social pressure, or walking way more than they would have in the rest of the US. But that has happened to several friends of mine.

          • tbh I wasn’t necessarily referring to nose jobs, teeth (although those are common for the industry and show a certain ambition to make casting easier in terms of Hollywood norm) or such, but more about the way he dresses and holds himself in public. The question is how much influence his stylist has on his personal wardrobe choices. You’re right, of course, we do copy what we see around us in order to fit in.

            • I agree about change in style when he started living in NYC; he started wearing more “urban” style designer clothing: combat pants; baseball cap etc. I think it’s partly stylist influence, and having more money to spend on designer threads. Also, I think he’s influenced by whom he hangs out with…. And that’s a whole different topic of hot discussion and speculation amongst his fandom!

          • Interesting that people who move to New York might lose weight. It could be the walking. I know people in the burbs and rural areas who don’t walk at all on a day to day basis, whereas, just on a shopping outing, I could be walking all day at times. Add in subway steps and that ought to get your fitbit chugging.

      • Mhm on the extra pretty which is also not necessarily my thing either. I’m split on the bulk issue. I do like it very much mmmm Porter 😊 but I’m conscious that while tall the bulk does not come natural to him and God knows what he was eating to maintain it. Not that current levels of bulk are more natural maybe due just to different exercising. The things male actors put themselves through these days in eating regimes and exercising.. phew. Wish i had anywhere near that discipline i think it’s a much bigger commitment ultimately than a nose job 😊

  6. Things to beware of, as I wrote above, is dichotomy. Rather than dichotomy, I should speak of shift, dissonance, disharmony between the outward appearance and the actual age. No harm at the moment, I think.

  7. the small enhancements don’t bother me a whole lot. the other actors I’ve crushed on have had their teeth fixed in some way, and I’m assuming that most of them have rigid skin care routines as well. I see it as just part of the business (if they were in a diff’t field, then it would bother me more). the nose thing didn’t affect me at all (mostly b/c I’m not able to spot the difference) but removing the forehead wrinkles completely, or the ‘crinkles’ around his eyes, would get a reaction out of me b/c he’s trying to appear younger. I don’t want him younger, I want him older! it’s one of the reasons I picked him in the first place (he’s older than me). I like the rugged look men grow into as they get older, the laugh lines and the subtle appearance of silver in the hair. with the younger actors, I look forward to when they get older, grow into themselves, and start to show some mileage. so in that sense, I feel cheated when Richard tries to appear younger. in the first promo blitz for Berlin Station I was torn b/c he did look so much younger, and I liked how he looked, but it messed with my head b/c I want him older.

    • Interesting. As I’ve aged I’ve become the opposite. If I could preserve (for a little while) how he looked during his Guy/Spooks days, I would. Maybe that’s because I’m older than he is.

      • AND you really are into Guy.

        • Yes, but it was during this time period that I “discovered” RA on an awards show, before I realized he was on Robin Hood. Something about the total package captivated me.

          • interesting. I don’t think I knew that. I think I assumed you were a fan b/c of all the British media you were consuming.

    • This taxonomy of “thing that are ok” vs “things that trouble me” is really interesting. Fwiw, I think he’s going to look good, older (whenever he lets that happen). Usually this kind of thing has no effect on me, but I have to admit that I was a bit surprised at how almost teenaged he sometimes looked at the LLL stage door.

      • It’s the clothes. Although, not all of us dress ‘according to age.’ It’s a state of mind, not a number. 🙂

        • the clothes were part of it, but his face was also a piece of it. As thin and hairless as I’ve ever seen it, it made him look vulnerable.

          • True but then again there has been a lot of Lucas pics since DM and at 2nd look rather than first the truth is there. He’s more groomed and cared and attended to the details if you will but he can only cheat time so much. It’s subtle and i guess he probably does see it too, is maybe bothered by it? The face even equally clean shaven has a slightly broader more angular appearance and the skin although more pristine is not as elastic. It’s visible around cheeks. For my personal taste he should embrace that and not go quite as ‘metrosexual’ on it. His angularity only enhances his masculinity and attractiveness. Even in BS i liked him more a bit grimy or sweaty etc and less ‘city banker with fresh haircut ‘

          • Oh i felt the same about the looking vulnerable at sd and yet he didn’t lookit at all at the QA which probably had to do with the way he was sitting exposing healthy thigh and slouching v many lol same body but totally ‘hunky’ vibe… strange huh?

          • Thin and hairless makes him sound like a chihuahua.

  8. Overall, he seems like himself to me. He looks younger probably because he stays out the sun, although as an Englishman he would scorch faster than someone can say ‘lobster.’ If he’s doing maintenance that’s fine, it’s something we all do to some extent after 40, we’re just not used to guys doing it. It’s like the warranty runs out right on our 40th birthday, and suddenly things take work.

    I think his sense of adventure keeps him younger. He seems not calcified by cynicism and still enjoys what he does. He seems most like himself back on stage. You can have all the derma work money can buy but I watched people grow old before their time before their faces catches up.

    • argh, not enough caffeine to make subject-verb agreements right now.

    • I agree that “you’re only as young as you feel,” but some of those interviews in late 2016 seemed to reveal a cynical mood. The yahoo one in particular.

  9. Just to understand – this is the botox discussion and not the nose discussion? ( Because your title ” ahead of the curve” could be viewed as punnish.)As to the nose discussion, I’ve written about the nose discussion ( I might even be the writer you quoted, because I felt that way) –
    On enhancements, revitalization, etc, My position has always been that he should do whatever he wants at whatever it takes for him to look the way he thinks he needs to look, for his work and work opportunities. Having said that, I would hate to see an occasion when whatever he did really changed his look away from what I need in him or made him look unlike Richard Armitage- but so far, he hasn’t. The trend these days is towards a natural look anyway.
    I thought he looked absolutely terrific in person, in NYC when I saw Love, Love, Love. I didn’t get to the stage door – but I was very close in the theater. He also looked fabulous when I saw him in Pinter/Proust, three years earlier.
    In both cases he had no facial hair and was lean. I like the tall drink of water look best.

    • And I just want to add – he also had longer hair.

    • Yeah, this is botox. The pun was completely unintentional.

      I linked to your post.

      I have been trying all day to formulate a sentence about how I think Armitage has looked when I’ve seen him, and I think part of the issue is that I’m operating in such a narrow bandwidth, i.e., he’s already spectacular looking. I might have a taste preference for beard and bulk, but he also looks great otherwise. I mostly don’t care about what he wears, but if he is going to wear expensive clothing I prefer strongly that it fit him well (this is part of what he’s paying for with a stylist), even if the specific style doesn’t thrill me. But even his worst “good clothes” are high quality.

      When he’s really thin I do feel this impulse to offer soup, at least verbally, but I try to suppress it.

      • Often, when I first see his clothing choices – especially street clothes ( which has now become a particular fashion term), I think he is dressing too young. But then I think that what I consider young dressing for a wealthy public personality, might just be high fashion.
        As to cosmetic enhancement or “anti-aging” treatments, these days, you can get a lot of improvement without going under the knife if you can take needles. Up to a point, of course. Also, mens’ faces seem to age more slowly than womens’ do – or they age in different ways.

        • A lot of women’s appearance is tied to our hormones / reproductive cycle, no? As the hormones change and fade, the skin is affected.

          • Also loss of musculature – hence cheek implants. I would look at the eyes next, which can be tricky. I think ( completely without evidence) that men go first for the folds over their eyelids (brow lift).

            • This was an answer to Serv.
              @Perry: Yes, a male friend of ours has had a brow lift. Not that it was helpful. He now looks like he’s got a peg in his scalp somewhere. Unnatural.

              • It has to be done right, but I have found with celebrity males, that procedure can change their appearance in an unflattering way. I have a deliciously dirty joke about it.

                • Do tell – If it doesn’t infringe any policies.

                  • Betty to her friend: I don’t know if you’ve heard about the new non surgical procedure in lieu of a face lift. It’s called ” a knot job.” A doctor just takes your extra skin and ties a small knot the back of your head to help lift everything. I’ve had it done four times!
                    Friend: Oh, that explains it. I thought you were growing a goatee.

              • Let Kenny Rogers be a lesson to any man considering an eyelift. All it did was take any character away from his eyes and make him look odd.

          • Tell me about it! 🙂

          • Yes! Speaking as someone in the grip of menopause, it’s very very cruel. 😦

      • It’s more pies in my case 😉

  10. “I wonder about the notion of respect as connected to not altering one’s body”.”Is changing one’s body superficial?” PSYCHOLOGY and PHYLOSOPHY questions I think.
    Respect for whom, superficial for whom?
    To go beyond the subject, I suggest you thinking about a social phenomenon such as the increase in requets made to tattooers, which helps the victims of domestic violence to hide their scars. Sad topic!

    • well, we’re talking about a fairly specific thing here: is it superficial for Richard Armitage to alter his body? Or possibly, is it superficial for actors to change their bodies? I didn’t intend to address all cosmetic changes to the body for any reason in this post, and I’m sorry if I gave that comment. Obviously there can be compelling reasons for having cosmetic surgeries that aren’t related to the demands of the entertainment industry that would withstand ethical probing. (Although I don’t know how much that matters to me in most cases. On a sort of general level my initial reaction is typically that if someone wants to alter his body and he can afford to do it, why not? Why should anyone have to give a reason?)

      • but what constitutes altering ones body? I think the line is in a different place for everyone – several people mentioned teeth straightening whereas that didn’t even occur to me as it is such a routine event. And how many people who criticise botoxing have their hair dyed/ highlighted?

        40 years ago many men considered wearing deodorant as effeminate – and for many years the Brits sneered at Americans for having their teeth fixed (we were just jealous!) As treatments get better, cheaper and more accessible maybe our notion of what is acceptable/ desirable will change.

        • I’m sure that’s true. Still, I hope the rest of the world doesn’t fully embrace the toothmania of the United States.

      • Don’t be sorry to give the comment. They are good subjects, I should like to write about respect.
        But as my work makes me be next to people who turn to the surgery in a repair purpose, not only for esthetic comfort, it is in my thoughts.

  11. If you would like to, if the subject moves you too, you can watch the movie: “The Chamber of Officers”. It is a French film, taken from the eponymous novel of Marc Dugain 1998, directed by François Dupeyron, released in 2001. The subject here exposes a particular aspect of the First World War: the broken mouths (mutilated), these soldiers disfigured by the conflict. A good movie with good actors.

  12. […] here , here here here […]

  13. So many different thoughts right now. Let me preface them all by saying, he has every right to do whatever he wants to feel better about himself and/or his place in the industry. I don’t think he would ever go too far, or end up with that bad work look. The small objection I have to the Hobbit era nosejob, is only because I LOVED the longer nose with the crook at at end. I miss it. I think it gave his face it’s strongest amount of character, and kept it from being “too pretty”. This is about me, not him. It never occurred to me that he may have had something done before N + S. I tend to disagree, not least because of the cost at that point in his career. I will have to do many hours of research to satisfy myself on that. It’s hard work, but… His teeth needed work for him to get past a certain level, particularly for the U.S. market. The dentist did a great job. They’re beautiful. I am a fan of the very dark hair on him, but as one ages black/brown can become very unflattering. The Gisborne, Lucas, Porter years are never coming back again. The medium to dark brown is probably better for this point in his life. They will probably be better with his middle-aged skin. I just hope he never gets that reddish color that so many men who color their hair end up with. I would like to think that someday in the future, he will let it go. I think he would be ridiculously distinguished with graying hair. I’m sure he is very conscientious when it comes to skincare. At the very least he probably has some rosacea, and sensitive skin. It’s just a curse common in English/Scottish/Irish skin. The redness is often visible in pictures. Having a beard so much of the time may give his skin a break from shaving, but probably doesn’t help the pores any. If he doesn’t take constant care of it, and use just the right products for him personally, it could be a mess. I loved the bulkier Proctor, Hobbit body. I think a couple different things happened after that. When he was preparing for Francis, he did a lot of yoga and Pilates to accomplish the “becoming”. That would naturally make him more lean. I think he realized he could have the body type of his thirties back again if he concentrated less on weights. When he got to Berlin, and met Michelle, she convinced him to try the less meat based diet, and he realized it could help in keeping extra weight off. He knew Daniel was a totty. Lol, we know he never gave up meat entirely, no matter how hard she tried. Kenneth started at 19. He needed to be lean to pull that off. We’ll have to wait and see what S2 Daniel looks like with no clothes on. I would hate to see the crinkles disappear, and take so much expression with them. The same goes for the furrows in the forehead. I just don’t want to see him do anything that would take away the expressions and essence of who he is.

  14. I like the bulkier body but it looks like he’s naturally lean. I didn’t notice the nose job but i have no issue with his face in general.

    My preference is for him to have stubble.

    I think he looks older when shaved as in the vampire black turtleneck photos.

    He’s the same age as David Tennant and they look pretty similar. What I would give for Richard to play an Alec Hardy character.

    • I suppose we’d have to define bulk; I don’t think his level of thinness this last fall or in Spooks 7 is his set weight (although neither do I think that Porter was). And he’s said a few times that he wants to eat less. (That always makes me feel badly — because he’s also said he likes food.)

      • For me bulk is his proctor body. He was amazing in that. I think his natural build is much less – maybe more like his ocean’s 8 body.

        • I agree re: Proctor. I think for his “normal weight,” though, probably something more like Mr. Thornton. He said he had to do gym in order not to look like “a lard bucket” for Cold Feet, and he was heavier in that role that he looks now.

  15. I don’t think I mind small touch ups here and there. I mean, everyone wants to look their best and he needs to if he wants compete in a place like Hollywood. Having said that, I hope he doesn’t do too much touching-up. I like a real, lived-in face and he has a very characteristic face, I’d hate for all the character to be pulled tight and smooth…

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