Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Goodbye to Friends and Reflections on Life as an Actor

Very sad today to read two tweets, one from Graham McTavish and the other from Jed Brophy, about the end of Hobbit Filming:

"Jed Brophy: 
The finish Line is in sight. There will be tears. It is hard to describe how this experience has been. The body knows though, i feel the years today. Uncountable Ocs have felt the wrath. Last days in middle Earth . I have been so very fortunate.xxjedi"

"Graham McTavish:
The finish line is in sight, 3 more days. we have said farewell to some of my dwarven brothers. So proud to have shared this with them."

I was already feeling sad, expecting that the "goodbyes" for them were coming soon, and thinking of their sadness but also their satisfaction for a job well done, and thinking of Richard Armitage of course, wondering how he's feeling.

Then also this morning I read an article in The Guardian by Michael Simkins:

Paul Bhattacharjee and Cory Monteith deaths: is acting today just too tough?

and reflected on this quote from the article:

"And that's the problem. Despite the undoubted camaraderie, the laughs, the jollies and the sense of tribalism that attends any acting project, the profession remains a notoriously lonely one. Friendships are intense but brief; when the gig ends or the curtain runs down, you can soon find yourself back home staring at your mobile and wondering if any of it really happened. Memories are short, time moves on, fame is transitory. Look at the number of stars who were once regular guests on Mavis Nicholson's show, all of whom are now nothing more than clues in old Puzzler books. Who's Mavis Nicholson? Exactly."

I know in my heart it won't be that way for the dwarves cast and for the rest of the cast, they will remain friends forever, but it won't be the same. They all have busy lives, families...and reunions are great, but it will never be quite the same again as those 18 plus months working together. 

We've been so lucky, the fans, to have such a wonderfully charming cast, most willing to share with us the experience through Twitter and Facebook.  Lucky to have Peter Jackson sharing the VLogs with us too.

(I was also lucky to meet almost all of them on an unforgettable night last December - and they are truly that charming in real life too.)

I'm still thinking about the Simkins article.  You see, it was about the difficult profession of acting.  

It was also about an actor who died recently:

"Paul Bhattacharjee was a supremely gifted performer, liked and respected in equal measure. That's no small achievement in itself – but he also seemed as secure as any individual can be in the precarious business of acting. When his body was discovered near cliffs in East Sussex last week, having disappeared during rehearsals for a new play at the Royal Court, the news sent shockwaves through the acting profession."

I knew Mr. Bhattacherjee mostly for one role, in one of my favorite TV series, in an episode I've seen over and over through several years:

Through the years of watching UK television I recognized his face a few times beyond Spooks. I wish I would have seen him on stage.  I wish I would have cared to find out more about him when he was alive.,

I've been thinking of all the actors and actresses I've seen in my life, from starring roles to small parts, and how much enjoyment and solace they've brought to my life. The article makes me even more sad today. But also today, at work, when I looked at my "unglamorous" life, I was very grateful for it.

"People often ask me what the essential difference is between professional actors and amateurs. Their presumption is invariably that it's to do with talent. But in fact the only defining difference is whether you have the stomach for the lifestyle – one in which rejection, disappointment and despair are part of your daily routine. The statistic is often trotted out that 92% of the profession is out of work at any one time. Yet, as the case of Bhattacharjee suggests, even if you're in the 8%, it's harder than ever to make ends meet. Theatre has never been particularly well-paid (unless you're prepared to walk the treadmill of a long West End run), and the glory days of TV repeat fees are long gone, a victim of the multi-channel era in which traditional contracts have been shredded into a thousand bespoke arrangements and sub-clauses." (The Guardian - M.Simkins)

All day after reading the article I've also been thinking of other quotes:

"There was a time when I thought, and my agent thought, it wasn't going to happen for me.We both sat down and I actually said I don't know if I can stay in this state. The interesting roles have only come since I got into my 30s. But I didn't know that was going to happen." (Richard Armitage - The Daily Record Interview)

"I’m a bit of an all or nothing kind of guy. To be honest, I had no blind faith in myself. I don’t think I could have stayed around as a jobbing kind of actor." Richard Armitage (The Daily Record, I rarely turn down work after years of struggling … , October 24, 2009, Richard Armitage Central)

There are days when as a fan I am also extremely grateful.

I do recommend if you're interested in acting or love movies or theater, or have a favorite actor or actress, whoever they may be, (doesn't have to be my favorite actors of course), that you read the entire article by Mr. Simkins.  He is also an actor.

See link below:


  1. Thank you for the link, Fabolaktuko.
    Sad seems that everything has it's price, but I hope it's better to be an actor than an employee of Tesco ;)

    1. Hi Joanna,

      I will give you that one - I do hope more fulfilling to be a jobbing actor than an employee at Tesco -though some actors may be working at Tesco right now :)

  2. Great insights! Marvelous quotes! Thanks so much!

    1. Thank you Grati

      Much to think about in that article

  3. Great post and thanks for the link to that very interesting article. I'll be ever thankful that our Mr. Armitage did not give up on acting.

    1. Thank you dennib68, glad you liked the article, much to think about.

  4. A very moving post, So happy things worked out for Richard.


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