Is He for Real?

I have often found myself asking that question when I read an interview with Richard Armitage. His answers are almost perfect. Oh, my bias is showing. But let me explain. He gives answers that I actually ponder far longer than my reading requires. He also seems to have his profession in perspective and isn’t quick to believe his own press. As if that’s not enough to convince me he’s got his head on straight, he’s willing to admit he is still learning and his perspective is subject to change — more to ponder. This kind of thoughtfulness and candor is refreshing with anyone no matter what they do for a living. But to find it in an actor?

I guess I’ve been prejudiced in thinking actors are mostly caricatures and somewhat superficial and almost never thinkers. At least that’s how it seems when they’re confronted with an interviewer. Some of them state the obvious and never anything of interest that a casual observer couldn’t conclude. Kind of like the typical interview with a footballer who’s asked post-game how his team got the victory. He often responds, “We scored more points.” I would think they were making a joke, but their demeanor doesn’t suggest they’re being facetious at all. They usually have a wide eyed look about it all. I’ve often wondered if these athletes realize we already know that. Similarly, actors seem to think that they’re letting us in on something, but the reality is that we mostly get to witness their posturing, the spinning of their personalities for public consumption and hopefully increase in ticket sales or ad revenue or whatever it is that puts cash in their hip pockets. Whatever is actually happening, I almost always come away with a hollow feeling.

But I’ve never felt that with Armitage. With him I actually have to think at times. Quite simply he gives food for thought, and it’s because his comments make it clear that he thinks and mostly like a sane person and not someone inside the show biz bubble. Even this seemingly benign interview is interesting. Mostly for its unfailing honesty about the hassle to continually keep up appearances almost 24/7. Yuck.

From Times Online
April 27, 2010
The inside track: Richard Armitage
Fresh from filming the TV drama, Chris Ryan’s Strike Back, Spooks star Richard Armitage, 38, gives us his health report

Melissa van der Klugt

I’m normally one of those people who, unless you shove a sandwich in my hand, would forget to eat. The last diet I went on was in training for Strike Back and it involved six small meals a day to keep my blood-sugar level high. It was carbs during the morning and two shakes a day. I kept this up for 18 weeks of filming in South Africa, because you’re often on your feet for 12 or 13-hour days.

For Spooks I lost a stone.My character had just come out of a Russian prison after eight years. I had to weigh everything I ate and not eat too late.

I am always jumping off things on set, on an adrenaline high. At the end of a take people suddenly run up to me waving cotton swabs because I am bleeding and I haven’t noticed. Strike Back was the most physical role I have taken on and I had to work hard with an ex-military instructor to build up my physical mass and strengthen my ankles and wrists so that I wouldn’t injure myself.

I follow the Alexander Technique for 15 minutes each morning. It’s a way of helping my vocal production and control, but when my stress levels are high during filming, it gives me a break. I lie on the floor with a book over my head while I focus on the exercise. On the shoot in South Africa I fell asleep pretty much every time I did it.

I don’t take risks enough in my life. As I’m always under contract, I’m restricted by what I can and can’t do with myself, so skiing is my nirvana. I have been skiing for the past few years and being in the mountains is very therapeutic. You’re up above the clouds, it feels remote. When you’re skiing just faster than is safe there is a thrilling combination of risk and freedom.

Read the rest here ( if necessary, click again to make legible).

11 Comments

  1. That must be one of Mr. Armitage’s best interviews to date. Since the days of his BBC interviews for N&S, RH, he seems to have become much more relaxed and at ease with the ghastly interview process. It’s a learning curve.

  2. If there’s anything he’s had to learn, it’s thinking for the interviewer as well as for himself so that his honesty isn’t misconstrued or mischaracterized. I’m pretty sure they don’t meet someone like him very often.

    As for the skiing, I think I’ve already said a time or two that there are some lovely mountains out my back window. In fact, yeah, I’m looking at them now! LOL! We’ve had snow storms this week, so everything is once again painted white even though ski season is over for the general public.

    He could come the first week of February before Spooks starts filming so he could see Winter Carnival. :D Everyone is super friendly even our horses: http://bit.ly/csW8fc

  3. I just hope he never has any work done on his nose. I love his nose!

  4. Re: RA having his profession in perspective. It’s my impression that RA understands he his a student of his craft, and will always be, no matter how successful he becomes. A humble, healthy attitude to have!

    Love the nose too!

  5. Nice blog! It looks great. I am glad to see you joined us.

  6. RAFrenzy, thanks so much for your lovely blog! I am sooooo appreciative of what you have on it. Thanks for posting this interview and a complete link to it.

    Definitely one of the better interviews, or at least more insightful interviews I’ve recently read of him. maybe it was the format, I don’t know. but he comes across as a completely down to earth guy, and like you RAFrenzy, I am left wondering, “seriously? is he for real?” because I hold the same stereotype that you had, that actors are full of themselves. At least I think American ones give off that vibe, so maybe it’s a British thing, not to think too highly of yourself, I don’t know.

    anyhow, love your blog!

  7. Reading Richard’s interviews has always been an interesting experience. I feel that I get to know something of the man and the actor with each new item. He’s honest and actually reveals quite a lot about his personality and thoughts each time, rather than a smooth manufactured product. I think that journalist Allison Pearson in the Daily Mail put it quite well when she suggested that the reason he’s so down-to-earth is because he built his career out of the public glare and was an adult when he became well-known, rather than some pretty-boy actor who shoots to fame early because of his physical attraction.

    RAFrenzy, I do agree that he seduces us with his mind. He thinks and allows us admirers to be privy to his thoughts on his craft. Combine that with his physical appearance and it’s no wonder he’s almost too hot to handle!

  8. Very much appreciated Bzirk’s comment of need to “think for the interviewer” For all who have undergone job interviews and presentations, all potential bases have to be covered beforehand – what are the potential questions/possible manipulation, for an actor?

  9. RA Frenzy I am enjoying your blog very much in this time of frenzy over SB. Always enjoy the food for thought RA gives us in his interviews. (plenty of it too lately). I thought the format of interview stood out since the voice of the interviewer was missing. So I’m left wondering is this all they talked about?? In any case it’s obvious as a dancer first and an actor second he has a very close bond taking care and training his body.

  10. I hope all of you had a great week!

    @iz4spunk,

    Welcome, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog! It’s a great way for me to go on and on and on and on about RA without looking like a nut to all of my family and friends. Feel free to wax on yourself. :D

  11. […] dorktastic past” by RAFrenzy and grerp that get to the question raised by RAFrenzy on the extent of the realness of Mr. Armitage which I didn’t respond to at the time because of final exams, but thought a lot about. (The […]


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