Sunday, March 30, 2014

Richard Armitage at the Jameson Empire Awards

Ponytail is driving me crazy too, but not for the same reasons Richard mentioned.

I love it. 

Forgot to say, click on the image, and there's sound too. 

Photos -Zimbio

Evening time for me-long after the awards: 

Dear Richard, 

Sorry we didn't have enough votes to give you the well deserved Best Supporting Actor award. You are the best as far as I'm concerned, and in my heart, you were, and always are, the winner.


I'm very happy Aidan Turner won - Congratulations Aidan

Best Newcomer

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Richard Armitage at CinemaCon - Into The Storm We Go

Our very handsome Richard at CinemaCon in Las Vegas today March 27

Showing of first trailer for Into The Storm 

Photos from Zimbio

Above photos: director Steven Quayle, and cast, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Richard Armitage

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dwarves Celebrating Gandalf's Birthday - New (Old) Cast Photos

The Hobbit cast and crew celebrate Sir Ian McKellen's Birthday during Hobbit filming.

When was it? Dwarf Camp? Richard Armitage doesn't have his beard, yet.

From Korean site hotge:

Thanks to a tweet by Imogen on Twitter

Need to watch my AUJ Extended Edition Extras again.  Looking forward to the DOS DVD and later the Extended Edition.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Acting - A Difficult Profession: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Jason Momoa and More

Nicolaj Coster-Waldau

In recent weeks I've been reading several articles about the difficulties of working in the film industry, more specifically the Hollywood film industry, and actors some of us know well, like Rupert Penry-Jones. 

I think audiences sometimes seem to think that known actors can decide what they want to film, when they want to film it, but that's not true, not even for the "A-Listers" in Hollywood.  Two articles I read recently I think are worth reading by all of us as a reminder that all is not glamour for our favorite actors, and that you're only as bankable as your last performance, or as Hollywood fortunes go.

I've also been reading about the rise of the international box office vs the U.S. box office.  The international box office is dominant right now and some critics blame the move to more and more action films on this trend.  

Below I'll post some excerpts from two articles that I think are worth reading.  I'm highlighting two actors from the hit TV series Game of Thrones, but the article in the New York Times Magazine also talks about Henry Cavill, Michael Fassbender, Chris Hemsworth, and others. 

Details magazine has an interesting article and interview with Nicolaj Coster-Waldau who plays Jamie Lannister in Game of Thrones.  Nicolaj has been struggling for years to make it in Hollywood. Below excerpts from the article:

"His first gig out of theater school, at 23, was the lead in a thriller called Nattevagten, playing a morgue worker who gets mixed up with murder. It made him a national sensation. In fact, the 1994 film was such a hit, it got remade by Hollywood as Nightwatch, starring Ewan McGregor. But in some ways, Coster-Waldau's early success was the worst thing that could have happened. "It made me kind of an asshole," he admits. "My first job out of drama school was a big hit, so I thought that was the way it worked. You make a movie and it becomes a big hit. Every time. But, of course, it didn't happen that way."

Coster-Waldau spent the next 15 years bumping up against walls and having his ambitions thwarted. Sure, he built a respectable, workmanlike résumé, but nothing that made him stand out. He was being cast as the hunky henchman or as the handsome husband who spends two thirds of the movie in a coma. On those rare occasions when he came close to landing breakout parts, he'd watch with mounting disbelief as they slipped through his fingers."  ...

Nikolaj auditioned for the movie Vertical Limits: 

"Chris O'Donnell ended up getting the lead in Vertical Limit. And his movie career fell off a cliff shortly afterward. In retrospect, losing out was a blessing in disguise for Coster-Waldau. And it isn't the only bullet he has inadvertently dodged. Four years ago, he was in L.A. again, testing for another star-making lead in a megabudget sci-fi action movie. This time the audition went great: "There was no way I wasn't getting it. The whole thing just felt right." A few days later, the execs from Disney called him at his hotel. They'd decided he was too old for the lead in John Carter.

Of course, no one knew the film would end up being a spectacular bomb—least of all Taylor Kitsch, the young actor who got the role. Coster-Waldau was shattered, done with chasing Hollywood stardom. Then his agents persuaded him to try one last audition before he went back to Copenhagen. HBO was casting a new series and had sent over a script. "I read it and thought it was an amazing part. But dragons and fantasy? I didn't think that was going to go anywhere . . ."

Nikolaj is now hoping playing Jamie Lannister in Game of Thrones will finally lead to that elusive Hollywood stardom.  To read more, to read the entire article and interview, go to the link below:

Another Game of Thrones actor found out the hard way how elusive that stardom can be. A great article in the New York Times, "The Last, Disposable Action Hero" is really an eye-opener about the state of the Hollywood film industry today.  (Thank you Message Boards for link to article.)

I'm going to include first some excerpts about Jason Momoa who played Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones.  Later I'll highlight some other parts of the article I found interesting. The article deals with much, much, more, and there's also mention of other actors like Henry Cavill and Michael Fassbender.   

"…Jason Momoa (the man-eating alpha dog), learned about this disposability firsthand. For years, a reboot of the “Conan” franchise had been in the works, possibly starring Schwarzenegger as the aging savage. But when Avi Lerner’s Nu Image Films decided on the revival, in 2008, Lerner and his partners opted to go with an unknown, which would be much cheaper. “Everybody knows I’m a money man,” Lerner told me. “I’m not out to win an Oscar. If I spend $60 million on a movie, I want to make a 20 or 30 percent return.” The “Conan” bake-off reportedly included a not-yet-famous Chris Hemsworth and other relative unknowns, like Kellan Lutz, Jared Padalecki of the TV series “Supernatural” and Momoa, who is best known as the warrior Khal Drogo in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

When the producers finally settled on Momoa in 2010, he threw himself into the role, embarking on an intensive six-week training regimen, working out six hours a day — including two hours of samurai sword practice. He ate a boiled chicken breast every two hours or so, roughly 56 per week, and packed on an additional 30 pounds of muscle to his already brawny frame.

….But “Conan” suffered a dismal opening weekend, earning only $10.5 million domestically…

Momoa, at least, seemed to have caught a bit of a break. He was cast as the lead in “The Red Road,” a Sundance Channel drama about a sheriff fighting to keep his family together while policing two warring communities…Of course, it wasn’t the career he expected back when he was filming “Conan,” but he seemed unfazed. “Sometimes it hits, sometimes it doesn’t, but I’m not going anywhere,” he said, insisting, “I’m not a dime a dozen.”

“The six major studios are releasing about 30 percent fewer movies than they did seven years ago, and they have largely narrowed their focus to expensive concept projects or franchises based on existing intellectual property — comic books, young-adult novels, older movies — that can be rebooted and sold to passionate pre-existing audiences around the world. Because the American movie market now makes up less than a third of global box-office receipts, studios tend to favor projects featuring explosions, car chases and doomsday scenarios — a universal language of violence that translates easily in China, India, Brazil and Europe. Almost without exception, the movies star some beefcake with pecs that make Ben-Hur’s seem puny. In the last three years, the top-grossing movies have included Marvel’s “The Avengers”; “The Hunger Games” and its sequel; “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”; “Thor”; and even “Fast & Furious 6.” What used to be summer blockbusters are now anchoring box offices year round.
In the new action-hero economy, though, actors rarely carry the franchise; more often, the franchise carries the actor. Chris Hemsworth was little known before “Thor,” and no one outside the industry was too familiar with Henry Cavill before “Man of Steel.” Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who produced “Transformers” and this winter’s “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” told me that studios were gambling on unproven actors for economic reasons. “These movies cost a lot to mount. Adding on the big movie star’s salary is the thing that makes you go, ‘Boy, I don’t know if I can afford it.’ 


These efforts, though, belie a truth about action heroes: Almost any actor, even some of Hollywood’s most scrawny, can be physically transformed for the part if he’s willing to put in the hard work. The studios know this, which is why any inexpensive unknown can be chosen. The cast for “300,” including a post-“Phantom of the Opera” Butler and the relative newcomer Fassbender, were put on a brutal program with Mark Twight, a trainer whose workouts incorporated medicine balls, kettlebells and rings to emphasize the athleticism of the Spartans. “I would argue that [director] Zack [Snyder] has changed the way that action movies are made,” Twight told me. “In the past, there was a lot of doubling of the actors because they weren’t athletic themselves. With ‘300,’ Zack wanted to make the actors as physically capable as possible so that there would be the absolute minimum of doubling.”

“Eight years ago, there were roughly 150 wide-release movies,” says Mark Gill, the president of Millennium Films. “Last year, there were 115. My prediction is that it will be down to 50 in the next couple years. And there will be fewer tent poles.”

To read the entire article, and I recommend that you do, go to the link below:

After reading the articles I thought,  "saying yes to everything", which I interpret as being open to working in all sectors of the industry and not setting limits: stage, movies, TV, audiobooks, narrations, video games, etc, whatever seems worthwhile and a challenge, and not putting all efforts into becoming a "movie star" is the way to go for the long term.  I know Sean Bean has been doing that and has managed to be around always working for over 25 years. I also think Richard Armitage is a smart man so I have faith in him and after reading all these articles I can only wonder what he's been going through in Los Angeles with all these auditions.  I want to give him a big hug! 

"there are no small parts, only small actors". Constantin Stanislavski

If you're interested in the subject of the challenges of the acting profession, you may want to check out my earlier post:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Richard Armitage Has A Brand New Film!

Never a dull moment, being a Richard Armitage fan

Richard will be playing Chop in the new film Urban Grimshaw and the Shed Crew

The character of Chop is based on the man in this mini doc - Bernard Hare

Bernie Hare and The Shed Crew from andy robbins on Vimeo.

After the video, check out the film's website:

They're filming now in Leeds for 6 weeks
(Movie fans of Leeds, take photos for us) broke the news earlier today, check out the site for the latest news on this new project:'

First the Hamlet audiobook a few weeks ago, and now Richard back home in the UK to film what seems like a challenging character and we hope a rewarding movie experience. 

Happy Day for Armitage Fans

Update March 21, 2014:

Richard Armitage as Chop

Thursday, March 6, 2014

So What Was He Talking About? L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq

So by now many Richard Armitage fans, if not all, have watched Part 2 of the Marvelous Anglophile Channel Interview with our lovely man.

In today's interview, Richard mentions that after he was in CATS he thought about attending a school in Paris because he was interested in physical theater.  So who is Lecoq and what school was Armitage talking about?

Richard says he's still interested in pursuing physical theater. So what does that mean? 

I think the school's website explains it pretty clearly:

"The aim of the school is to produce a young theatre of new work, generating performance languages which emphasize the physical playing of the actor. Creative work is constantly stimulated, largely through improvisation, which is also the first approach to playwriting. The school’s sights are set on art theatre, but theatre education is broader than the theatre itself. It is not just a matter of training actors, but of educating theatre artists of all kinds : authors, directors, scenographers as well as actors. One of the school’s unique features is to provide as broad and as durable a foundation as possible, since we know that each student will go on to make his own journey."

Just reading this paragraph and knowing what we all know about Richard, I can see him being interested as a young man in his 20's in this method, and I can see him now as a young man in his 40's still being open and interested in learning.

So who was Jacques Lecoq?   

Lecoq was a mime (there's that mime thing again), actor, theater director, and teacher. He was born in 1921 in Paris, France. He founded his school in 1951 and worked there until his death in 1999. You can read his obituary in the New York Times:

Now I grew up watching the great French mime Marcel Marceau on television and films, but until today's interview I had not heard of Jacques Lecoq. 

The training and school he founded has an emphasis in mask work. Remember that RA talked about mask work during the Popcorn Taxi interview.  It's also based on something called the "via negativa" style of teaching, never telling the student what is the right way to do something, but encouraging the student in new avenues of creative expression.  (Wikipedia)

I thought it was interesting that one of their former student's is actor Geoffrey Rush and the members of the mime group Mummenschanz.

Jacques Lecoq

I always learn something interesting from one of RA's interviews. I'm a proud student at the International School of Richard Armitage. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Robin Ellis Reacts to news - Aidan Turner will be Ross Poldark

Aidan in Desperate Romantics

Robin Ellis posted on his blog about the decision to cast Aidan as Ross Poldark:

"Just needs to add the scar and he's away!

Congratulations to him--I hope he has as much fun as we did filming this wild and wonderful saga written in 12 books over a sixty year period by Winston Graham.

Forty years ago this November I went for the first of three auditions for the part, knowing little about Winston Graham and less of the books.

A brief glance at the first book of the saga, Ross Poldark, was enough--I seriously wanted him to be me or vice versa.

I had to go through two more nail-biting sessions in front of producer and directors before finding myself in the position Aidan is in today….

...Cast to play Ross Poldark."


"Aidan and I share a common debt to Winston, for giving us the chance to play a difficult, contrary, complex man often out of his time."

"It's a roller coaster of a ride!"

To read the rest of Robin Ellis' post about the casting of Aidan Turner as Ross, click on the link below: 

As for me, I have mixed feelings. No secret that I would have loved for Richard Armitage to be the next Ross Poldark. He would have been perfect as Ross.  But I've been a fan of Aidan's since Being Human, and I know he'll do a good job.

My Ross Poldark will always be Robin Ellis
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