This week as with all weeks in RA Universe, there is discussion about Richard Armitage and his roles, and how he may or may not have succeeded, and what will he do in the future, and I don’t know the answer to all of that. I doubt any fans do, but of course it’s fascinating to speculate. With respect to his not meeting expectations as an actor for some, the success of his first leading role in ‘North and South’ has a little something to do with setting expectations unrealistically. That role would have been hard for anyone to follow not to mention dealing with the fan reaction. If he had been an egoist or his agent encouraged him to be one, he might have handled it all differently. He might have appeared more polished, more on top of his game, more homogenized, which so many of us have come to expect and swallow and then move on.
But he seemed to come with unmanufactured responses which gave credence to his being like the rest of us and not knowing quite what to do with his situation. He’s also gone so far as to tell us he’s a slow mover. Not in terms of his ability to think or his stamina, but in terms of exposure to life and fleshing out his identity as an actor and as a person. Upon first reading those statements, I thought it was nothing but self-deprecation in a cagey attempt to set the bar low enough not to disappoint the public in future, which is fine. But I’ve pondered them quite a bit since then, and there is something that smacks of normal. I know there is no such thing, but he seems to continually manifest a sense of “I need to step back and take stock of what’s going on,” which is a type of sanity we know instinctively when we encounter it. The world of drama doesn’t seem to be replete with that, so he stands out. Or maybe it’s just to me. Then again, he might be a better actor than I realize. When he whips that look of a mind reader onto the camera, I start second guessing myself. LOL!
Screencaps from ‘North and South’ DVD Extras courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.com