Friday, June 26, 2015

Congratulations Richard Armitage - Saturn Award Winner June 2015

My congratulations and affection to Richard Armitage for winning the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, June 25, 2015.

(Yes, we all know he was the star of The Hobbit: BOTFA)

So very happy for him, so well deserved. 

The Saturn Awards are presented annually by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films

My favorite photo of the night (thank you Hannibal producers)

I don't really understand the significance of the flower crown, even after reading the explanation of why that RichardArmitageNet posted, but he look gorgeous wearing it, and I'm sure and I'm glad it made the Fannibals happy.

Seeing him smile makes me happy

 I also love this video:

My King Under the Mountain

Thursday, June 25, 2015

VOICES: Phil Davis and Alex Jennings

 WETA UK  is currently broadcasting two great UK series, Whitechapel and Silk, both with Rupert Penry-Jones as one of the stars.  But both series also have the good fortune of having two excellent and capable actors as series regulars, Phil Davis and Alex Jennings. Both are very familiar faces to anyone that watches UK TV.

But how much does the audience currently viewing these two  actors, and having viewed them in many series through the years, know about Phil Davis and Alex Jennings?

Phil Davis:

 Phil Davis is king of the character actors.  

In a country with an abundance of excellent character actors Phil Davis rules.  Whether he's playing the good guy, or the evil villain, he always delivers. He is everywhere. I swear there must be a law in the UK that Davis has to appear in at least one episode of every series made.  Yet, even if that voice, that face, is unmistakable, we still believe he is the man he's playing at that moment.  Of his skills as an actor there is no doubt.

I don't always like the definition of character or supporting actor.  I do believe they are the backbone of all drama and comedy. They are often the most skilled actors.

Below is an interview Phil gave to the University of East London about this background and his career as an actor, director and writer:

Phil Davis was born in Essex and became interested in acting at a very young age.  He attended the National Youth Theatre and Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop.

He's had a long and distinguished career in the theatre, but best known outside the UK for his television and film work. 

"Phil was born in 1953, the second of three brothers. His dad worked in the Procter and Gamble soap factory while his mum was a hospital cleaner. Like most kids on the estate, Phil did not shine academically and failed his 11-Plus. But unlike most kids, from the age of eight he had nurtured an unshakeable ambition to become an actor.

 Where the ambition came from, he does not know. ‘It was an extraordinary thing really to get into my head before I’d even seen a play,’ he says. ‘But I was always a good reader – I could read before I went to school and I loved reading out loud. One of my teachers told my mum at a parents’ evening that I was a born actor and I think that stuck in my head.’

Phil has played an impressive range of creeps, swindlers and murderers, from the psychopathic cabbie in the first episode of Sherlock to the evil Smallweed in the BBC’s Bleak House. He even played the Devil in Being Human.

‘I play those evil, oddball parts with relish, and I play them unapologetically and from their own point of view,’ he says. ‘I can empathise with them – I can empathise with anyone. I like playing characters which are colourful and vivid.’

He’s never chased stardom or big money – he always knew he never had the looks to be big box office material. For Phil it’s the quality of the parts which matter. ‘I never wanted to be a celebrity. I wouldn’t want to be much more famous than I am. My level of fame is very nice – people look pleased to see me on the streets, pat me on the back and say, “Well done”. Really, I’ve led a charmed life.’ "

There's also an interesting interview with Phil about his finances and his personal life in The Telegraph:

 In addition to Silk and Whitechapel, we can see Phil Davis now in the new Poldark on PBS. 

Alex Jennings: 

Every time I see Alex Jennings on a TV show I flash back to the one and only time I was lucky to see him on stage.  I see a quick image of a younger man, sitting on a trunk or big table,  alone on stage, talking to the audience.  I had gone to see the Royal Shakespeare Company not in the UK, but in my own city here in the US.  The name Alex Jennings meant nothing to me before that day, though when he came on stage I recognized the face immediately.  A face I had seen in several UK TV shows.  But I wasn't prepared for the excellent performance, the great actor,  I was lucky to see that day. 

When thinking of writing this post I had to search when exactly that was. I knew it was some time ago, yet I still have memories of it.

" It's an advantage that the lanky, boyishly handsome Jennings looks as if he could play P.G. Wodehouse's famous twit Bertie Wooster. Life is proverbially a tragedy to those who feel and a comedy to those who think, and Hamlet is the stage's greatest thinker. Among his other achievements, Jennings is brilliant at bringing Hamlet's ruminations into the theatrical present so that the character is constantly discovering things rather than just delivering words of wisdom – "There are more things in heaven and earth . . ." – to the unenlightened. With Jennings, this restless, febrile intelligence becomes a torment, subjecting Hamlet to an onslaught of complexities thick and biting as gnats. By the play's end, when he seems to have aged 10 years, you've watched the youth ravaged from him drop by slow drop." 
Lloyd Rose, Washington Post,  1998

Alex Jennings was born in Essex.   He studied English and Theatre studies at the University of Warwick and trained at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

He started his career in regional repertory theatre. He won his first of multiple Olivier Awards for his Best Comedy Performance in 1988 (Too Clever by Half at the Old Vic).  Jennings has performed with the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

 "Nicholas Hytner, director of the National, ranks him among the pre-eminent actors of his generation - a John Gielgud for the 21st century."  The Guardian, 2007

There's an interesting article/interview with Jennings in The Guardian from 2007:

"Ten years ago, he thought he'd try living in LA, and found that "I just loved being in Hollywood-land". He might have stayed, only Lesley, his partner of 27 years, wasn't so keen, and there wasn't enough work to justify the move. "I had interviews for ridiculous jobs, playing Chicago heavies." But he still harbours a dream of returning, "to have another go at sitting by a pool"."

In this video Jennings reads the poem Strange Meeting by Wilfred Owen:

An accomplished stage and screen (Film and TV) actor, we can see Jennings next playing Alan Bennett in the film The Lady in the Van (2015) with Maggie Smith. 

(thanks to Wikipedia and IMDB)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy First Crucible Anniversary - One Year Since Opening Night of The Crucible Starring Richard Armitage

Happy One Year Anniversary to Yael Farber, Richard Armitage, and the entire marvelous cast of The Crucible at the Old Vic.

I was not one of the lucky ones to be able to see the play live on stage, but thanks to Digital Theatre we can watch The Crucible streaming or still on screen in some parts of the world. 

See link below:

On this anniversary check out the guest blog posts of my friend Valentina who was there at the stage door on the first day of performance a year ago today, and was lucky to see Richard Armitage on stage.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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