Dear Mr. Jackson

My spate of fake fan letters to Richard Armitage a while back inflamed my control freak and exacerbated my need to give an opinion on matters whether I know jack about them or not. Frankly, it’s been hell to keep that urge tamped down, but today, I couldn’t hold it back any longer.

January 13, 2011

Dear Mr. Jackson,

I put myself on the receiving end of #thehobbit via my Twitter account, and I’ve learned all kinds of interesting things. Phew, man, I thought I was passionate about Richard Armitage! I have nothing on those “guys” at TheOneRing site. My zeal for RA is a school girl crush beside their passionate love affair with Tolkien and with you. I guess I can respect them for that, and I wasn’t so much surprised by their ardor as I was at how much credence they are given by the press.

That knowledge compelled me to read their “about” page where I discovered their close relationship with you, and this has me wondering how much you are affected by what is said there as well as effect what is said. I’m envious of the relationship you seem to have worked out with this bunch of fanatics. Richard has a sort of arrangement with his fanatics too, but it doesn’t appear to be as comfortable as yours. Maybe you can give him some pointers? ;-)

By the way, it had been a while since I’d seen a picture of you, so imagine my surprise when I started reading up on ‘The Hobbit,’ and found this:


If you ever read this blog or almost any of the other blogs on Richard Armitage, you would know that we do a bit of fangirling at times. Well, we try not to do it so much we look like bimbos, but then bimbo is a relative term. However, when we do fangirl, there is usually a PHWOAR! heard from someone. So in honor of your recent fitness, I give you a decided PHWOAR! Seriously, you look pretty sexy in this picture, and I already thought your mind was sexy. Phew! Can I get an amen from anyone? By the way, I adore your hair. Truly. I love it! And maybe that is a hairstyle you’re just partial to anyway? I know I am. A certain warrior and lieutenant are coming to mind.

Have a wonderful day, and I hope your wife is aware that she may have to beat the women off with a stick.


A crazy fan of Richard’s

P.S. Thought you might be interested in this very well done treatment of your latest activities.

Note to Action Fans: yes, this is mostly bullshit although I do respect Peter Jackson’s abilities, and I think he looks pretty hot in that picture.

Note to Nat: I’m working on my piece.

Edit: yes, I know it’s Sir Peter and not Mr. Jackson; I have since apologized. :D


  1. Yep, Petie dropped a bunch of weight. I need to know his secret. The tousled hair and beard do suit him, don’t they? *grin*
    Since I have already been battling with my BP and feel the weight of too much $%&@ here at work on my shoulders, I am not sure I can take too much more wild-eyed fanaticism, so I will let others, like you, Frenz, keep me up-to-date on the latest developments with the fan boyz and gurrlz over yonder.
    Now let me finish my French vanilla coffee and that choccie chip cookie. Somewhere, Guy is envious.

  2. I should add I love EW–I subscribe and also enjoy reading online–some of their episode recaps are so entertaining, I read them even if I don’t ever watch the show (The Bachelor a case in point). I agree–that piece explaining some of the casting choices was well done.
    But some people will still grouse, of course. I think I used to work with one of them. He lived in the basement of his parents’ trailer, actually . . .

  3. Amen, Frenz! As one of those Boomers of the 1970s, I admit to liking HAIR!! :)

    Although, if the actor about to film the role of Thorin loses his, I really don’t think it will have any more diminishing effect on his appeal, than it has had on that Scottish Nationalist Knight of the Southern Realm. Bone structure proves out.

    Now I have to go look up onering. Which will probably prove annoying.

    @Angie, was the Grouse living in his parents’ basement a troll? Not to be confused with a Dwarf or Hobbit? :D

  4. As my husband says, fitzg, that Scotsman certainly has gotten better looking as he’s gotten older. Mr. A will always be a gorgeous charmer in my book, hair or no hair.

    Yeah, I would describe this guy as more of a troll. Definitely. Never was I more gobsmacked than to hear he’d found someone to marry him, and a lawyer at that. Spouse said,” Do you suppose he’s got her tanked up on ‘roofies’ so she has no will of her own?”

    I mean—terrible social skills and poor hygiene. What a winning combo.

  5. I think Mr. Jackson interaction with fans in general must be easier because of his circumstances. I think directors get the attention only/mostly for their work (in general they’re good or bad), while actors/actresses are examined in every detail, from their appearance to where they go, who they talk to, etc. Plus, the fact that journalists have taken us fans as a topic in an interview maybe just out of interest/amusement or to get something on the header that will catch the attention, doesn’t help.

    I haven’t really gotten much into #thehobbit (fully conscious you guys will provide all the worth-to-know tibits :D
    It’s interesting that he is related to TheOneRing page, was that why he defended his choice of RA for the role after the news appeared? He knew of the comments of ppl there to make them step forward and do it, actually at the time I thought it was odd he did it but then dismissed it.

    Just scattered thoughts…

    OML :)

  6. OML, you are dead right on about directors. few (with the exception of our countryman, – you might heard of him – someone called Cameron-I am the King of the world ?, seek photo ops and quotables. :( )

    Frenz, I had a laugh at the Onering site, and was definitely chuffed to find that I made the cut on the height call, as a five-foot-tall woman! OK, stop laughing, all you who know life (and clothing sizing) only begin at five foot two!

  7. Not a boomer, love the hair, though. I was also ok with him in his heavier body. He seemed sort of warm and fuzzy. In any case I think he’s done a masterful job of dealing with the Tolkien-fan contingent, which is really well informed about the books. I actually have a colleague here who said she became a medieval history professor because of LOTR, and she had those books practically memorized, but she was mostly satisfied with the film version. One hopes PJ gets a little credit from them for his success in the past, too.

  8. I wonder if PJ lost the weight via some type of surgery? He does remind me a bit of Steven Spielberg.

  9. Your “note to nat” made me laugh out loud. :)

  10. As someone who was literally raised from the cradle as a Tolkien fan (a geek born to geeks, I never had a chance), I was satisfied with his adaptation, as were the other contingent of Tolkien fans “The Ringnuts” (named after ‘Wingnut films”). And yes, PJ has long had a open relaitonship with the fandom and handled it quite well. He understood his responsibility to the source material at the outset, and when he made departures from the text, he took time to explain those to the hard core fanbase.

    We all have favorite parts that we wish could have made it onscreen. Many people bemoaned the loss fo Tom Bombadil and the Souring of the Shire, but we understood the constraints of story telling in the film medium and why these bits got cut. We all have those little moments that we are personally attached to that we wish were in in the films or executed better. Personally, I can not watch Eowyn’s showdown with the Witch King of Angmar without my soul dying a little because Eowyn has a speech in the book that is the most eloquent and passionate moment of “I do not care who you are, if you touch my loved one I will f- you up!” that was trashed in the film:

    Book: “But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.”

    reduced to “I am no man,” in the film.


    *But* we do not feel that missing those little moments destroyed the adaptation. The most important thing is Jackson played it straight and remained true to the spirit of the source material. He did not make this with any kind of modern jaded cynicism in his heart. He did not wink at the audience while he was telling a story about wizards and Hobbits. As he said in the DVD extras, he “shot it like he was shooting a documentary” and that sincere devotion to Tolkien text shows in the spirit captured in the films.

    And Theoden’s Battle Call and the Ride of the Rohirrim totally makes up for it.

    “Arise! Arise, Riders of Rohan! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day… a red day… and the sun rises! Ride now… Ride now… Ride! Ride for ruin and the world’s ending! Death!”

    *shivers* Every time.

    Honestly the only people I have seen complaining about the adaptation are people who tend to complain about things in general. Most long term Tolkien fans were quite happy with it.

    And yes, we were glad to see PJ lose the weight as well, not so much for the Phoawers, but becuase we want him around making films for a long tie to come.

    He and his wife have a very interesting arrangement. Even through Fran Walsh is an established screenwriter in her own right who wrote LOTR with Peter and Phillipa Boynes, you will rarely see her at events or in the media. She decided that she was going to remain out of the limelight in order to give the Jackson family (I think they have two kids) a private space to call their own, which I think is quite smart.

  11. And yes, his relationship to the fans of the film is different than Armitage’s relationship to his fanbase, not only due to the nature of directing vs acting and people being more interested in the work, but also for the fact that geeks are different than a celebrity fans.

    This is something I have had a very difficult time with adjusting from a SciFi/Fantasy fanbase to this one. In general, geeks tend to be very sensitive of personal boundary issues, probably because many of us spent our formative years being picked on for personal interest in what society deemed “wierd.” As such geeks tend to not spend so much time examining the actor or director as a person, but enjoying their work. As long as they seem like nice people we really don’t care. Yes, we may salivate a bit over “Captain Tight Pants” and love the fact that Nathan Fillion seems like a nice guy with a great sense of humor. But that’s as far as it goes. And Joss Whedon is one that is truly revered anyway. We understand that an actor is an actor, and SciFi/Fantasy fans tend to pay more attention to the creators.

    We love to hear about comraderie on the set because these people are living our dreams and we want them to have as great a time as we wish we could have, but we don’t care about their personal lives. They could be used as a party favor for half the London theater community, that’s none of our business. We find it far more entertaining to hear stories about how Viggo Mortensen sent a stunt man to headbutt Orlando Bloom in a bar than we do either of their personal lives. In fact when the hubbub about the films was at it’s height, I can remember no discussion of their personal lives within the fanbase.

    Also, we just find involved discussions about the aerodynamic feasibility of Smaugs wingspan more interesting than discussing the personal lives of people who have no personal connection to us.

    So it’s a very different world of fandom.

  12. Or discusison about the deeper ramifications of Viggo Mortensen existence or whatnot like I have seen in this fanbase. To a geek, his existence is his business and none of ours beyond the entertainment he provides. It far more interesting to discuss the environmental and social themes of Tolkien’s work, or examine how utterly cool a battle sequence was, than put a microscope on an actor.

    That is the geek attitude.

    So yeah, this could be a real “worlds collide” thing going on over the next couple years as the two fanbases meet.

  13. Oh, it’s certainly smart. But then someone can’t make it to 20+ years of marriage without doing a couple of smart things. It’s too damn hard to survive otherwise. Speaking of which, I’ll bet his wife has had to get a whole lot smarter since he lost weight. I was not really kidding in my closing remarks. Peter Jackson is not only a very interesting person, he’s now rather hot looking for an almost 50 year old man. I pray for his wife. I’m serious. I’m sure he was already hit on, but now it’s probably trebled. That has got to be draining for both of them.

    Maybe I shouldn’t have put up this post? :D No, I think I had to do it for a couple of reasons. 1) I love how he has developed this relationship with the Tolkein fanbase (over 11 years?), and 2) I do love that he’s lost weight at an older age. That is TOUGH to do. I admire him for doing that (among other things I admire about him). But maybe he just had surgery. I wouldn’t have a clue if he did. I hope he didn’t. I would like to think he had some discipline to lose the weight and at the least, he didn’t do something that would defeat the purpose of slimming down to get healthy.

    Whatever happened, he does not look like the same person, and his physical person is now appealing to more of the population — blessing and curse.

    It’s good to hear your take on the adaptation. Look forward to more of it. In the meantime, I’m going to make a point of re-reading the books before this movie comes out. Maybe I’ll like them more the second time around. I was all of 14 when I read The Hobbit, and 15 for the other three. They were not my favorites at the time. I only read them because my geek friends were doing it. My favorite author at that time was Steinbeck. So I immersed myself in Winter of Our Discontent, Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, yada, yada, yada. I also read a lot of Faulkner, Updike and started dabbling in the Beat writers. I will also admit to reading Kathleen Woodiwiss and a few others of that ilk at that time in my life. :D

  14. I have many more thoughts on the comments, but I’m not sure I can get to all of them today.I’m on my way out of town once again and will see all of you sometime later.:D Maybe today. Who knows? My schedule is not my own these days, so I never know. LOL!

  15. @KiplingKat,

    I would like to discuss the differences in the fan base more, and also to interview you. Sent you a note about that.

  16. As I explained over on Mulubina’s blog, Tolkien takes some getting used to as an adult reader because we have been intellectually raised with certain self-aware (and cynical and self involved) expectations of modern fiction. Sometimes I think the Lost Generation was one of the worst things to happen to English Literature. Not in and of themselves, but their long term effect. I understand the value of what they contributed, but modern writers keep trying to recreate it (or just use that mode as a excuse for self indulgence) and failing.

    Tolkien was coming at it from a completely different angle. He’s working the mode and tropes of ancient myths and legends while blending in some modern themes. Characters tends to be archetypes rather than three dimensional, self-questioning people. Except the hobbits, those are the more human gateway into Middle Earth for the reader.

    I was raised with Tolkien, C.S Lewis, Bradbury, Asimov, Rudyard Kipling (hence the screen name), Dumas, Clarke, etc. I read “Cather in the Rye” for school and was so thoroughly unimpressed by it and the other books shoved down my throat that I pretty much didn’t bother with modern literature (unless it was for school) I until I was in my thirties.

    The interesting thing was the back of the paperback we were given touted Cather as “The book everyone was reading under the desk in the 1950’s!” . To which my father declared, “We were not! We were reading “Peyton Place” and “Battle Cry.””

    I still think “Catcher in the Rye” blows, though I do enjoy Salinger’s short stories.

  17. Speaking of Geekittude:

  18. Frenz, on weight loss: I think that even if he “just had surgery,” there’s an awful lot of work involved. It’s just a different kind of work.

  19. It’s been a few years since PJ lost that weight I think, he looks better for it, of course.

    I actually really like Catcher but didn’t read it till an adult, really. Same with The Grapes of Wrath which I only read relatively recently. Regarding Tolkien, I read The Hobbit as a child, loved it, then attempted The Lord of the Rings and struggled – they just seemed to be worlds apart. I re- read The Hobbit as an adult a few years ago, and enjoyed it so much, it was a pleasant surprise how good it was, but I’ve not re-read LoTR… loved the Fellowship movie – by far the best IMHO. The others I can take or leave.

  20. I’ve been a member of TORn for well over two + years – I tend to lurk more than contribute as I feel I’m only touching the surface of Tolkien’s wonderful writing. I remember reading LOTR and then seeing the trilogy on the big screen. I was enchanted at the adpatation of all three books, but then perhaps I wasn’t as familiar with them as many of the experts over on the site. What I like most about many of the TORn posters is their sense of humour. They will however take a while to be convinced that RA is the right person for the role of Thorin – something that most of us, who are familiar with his work, are certain of. I know he has the ability to play Thorin, but there are sceptics on that board that are watching and waiting…

    With regard to the relationship between PJ and TORn, it was actually Guillermo del Toro who posted over there. I was contacted two + years ago and asked to post something about RA in the casting speculation thread. At that time, we were convinced he would make a great Bard the Bowman. There were about three or four of us who kept posting on the speculation thread. The only hint we got that “Wingnut” may have been looking at RA was in a post written by del Toro around 12 – 18 months ago when he stated he was watching a number of BBC drama productions (including Gaskell) among other productions while he was waiting for the movies to be greenlit. In the same post, he stated that Thorin and the company of dwarves would be the most crucial to cast as the dynamics had to be correct. (Apologies, I’m paraphrasing him – I have the exact quote somewhere on my blog). I also remember being ridiculed by a few members of C19 for even suggesting that RA might get a small part in these movies. (actually, it was one movie at the time).

    I agree with KiplingKat that the Tolkien fans and fans of the LOTR movies have a different perspective compared to the RA fandom. They are much more into the backgrond storyline, the books, the technical aspects and rarely interest themselves in personal details concerning the actors. I believe however that the TORn site was virtually hijacked for a while by fans of Orlando Bloom at the release of LOTR, and in fact when we were first proposing RA as a “potential” for these movies on the board, there were a few comments made about the obsessive RA fanbase and how they didn’t want the board swamped by them should he ever be cast. Happily, this hasn’t happened and the RA fanbase has really been extremely subtle in their posting over there :)

    PS: I am always in total admiration of people who have lost a lot of weight. I have started back on my weight loss campaign … my swollen knees were the wake up call I needed to get back on track as I can’t squat down on the floor to facilitate movement skills in young babies and children without groaning. :( (It may have something to do with age too …lol)

  21. Well, PJ was talking to the the Tolkien fans via the internet when the films were being made and when they came out back in the early 2000’s. While I did not hang out one that particular board, I do remember messages coming through that site from him and of course TORn got all the exclusive featurettes etc.

    In fact, thinking about it over the weekend, it is fairly common for SciFi/Fantasy creators to connect to their fanbases like this. One could say that it started back with the Star Trek conventions, but in terms of the Internet it began back in the 1990’s when J. Michael Straczynski was on the Babylon 5 groups talking about the production and explaining decisions. When one of the principal actors left the show after the first season, he came on the newsboards and explained that it was an amicable decision on both parties’ parts. He has remained in contact with the fanbase, commenting on the passing of Andreas Katsulas and Richard Biggs and such. Joss Whedon keeps in touch with the Wheondites of various colors (Browncoats, Buffy Fans, and such) through his blog. Neil Gaiman answers fanmail on his blog as well as keep people appraised of his appearances, new publications, and his pets.

    And the reason they feel comfortable doing this is becuase the fanbase is respectful of their privacy. As Mulubina pointed out, we are not that interested anyway, and SciFi/Fantasy fans are well aware of where the boundary is and do not cross it, not only for the sake of civility, but for the fact that they are well aware that this is a reciprocal relaitonship. If they do not treat the artists with respect, the artist will stop being so nice to the fans.

    (And I have to say, as much as these creators are “revered” by their fans and can do no wrong, I have never seen anyone refer to them in the quasi-religious language that same Armitage fans have started using recently.)

    As for the skeptics, other than point them to some of Armtiage’s prior performances there really isn’t anything we can do about it. If we push too hard, they will just get more set in their ideas about him and resentful of the Armitage fan base. The proof will be in the pudding. Let them be pleasantly surprised.

    Re: Catcher in the Rye. At the insistence of friends at various points in my life, I have read Catcher three times: 14, 25, 31. I still don’t know why I am supposed to care about the inner whinging of such a useless tosser. I think the book about have been vastly improved by a fatal mugging in chapter 1. Wuthering Heights, also loathed, I went back and read as an adult and I could then at least see the point Bronte was trying to make about human nature. No matter how many times I go and read catcher, it still says nothing to me.

  22. Argh. Apologies for all the typos.

  23. @KiplingKat,

    The LOTR fans are very reminiscent of the Trekkies. In fact, that’s who I thought of immediately upon visiting the TORn site. I also think you’re dead on about sci-fi fans and the creators or caretakers of such works frequently connecting with them. I have more thoughts on why this is the case and of course thoughts on Richard Armitage fandom, yada, yada, but I hesitate because I want to interview YOU and talk about your thoughts, and yes,some of mine. LOL!

    I will say this. I’m not concerned about who in the public likes, dislikes or is indifferent to Richard Armitage. That’s my vote of confidence that he is well able to handle how he’s received much better than anything I or other fans on the net could do. Sadly, the only thing that is really going to make a difference is money in the ass pocket of some movie/tv producers. Maybe I have stars in my eyes, but I have the impression Richard Armitage is sharp enough to figure that out and deal with it effectively. None of this is mutually exclusive with me continuing to give my opinions (aka gushing sometimes) about him.

    In regard to Wuthering Heights, I despised it, and so much that I’ve never been able to reread it. Blech. As far as Catcher in the Rye, it’s a bit dated. I read it in high school and thought it was dated then. I suspect I’m older than you are, KiplingKat, so if I thought it was a bit dated in high school, I’m sure it was even more so for someone your age. However, I don’t think it’s completely a waste and very much respect its effect on literary communication. I’m just not sure it’s as great as it’s made out to be. It might be; I’m just not sure. But what greatness it has seems to be in its unpolished honesty, which I’ve seldom read in literary works preceding its publication. Oh some, but not to the degree that Catcher puts it out there. This style is certainly offensive to some, and more especially to those who have a palate conditioned to more stylized prose. Mutts like me tend to like it. In fact, that should be clear from reading my blog. : D

  24. Re: typos. 30 lashes with a wet noodle. ;-)

  25. I suspect it’s different to be a fan of a particular universe and then come to like / admire actors who populate those identities than it is to be a fan of a particular actor and come in that way to a particular universe. One’s allegiances as a fan are located in different places, in one case you love (e.g.) Aragorn and ask whether Viggo Mortensen’s performance lives up to that persona– in the other you’d admire Mortenson and ask yourself if you could accept having to watch LOTR as the price for getting to admire him. The corresponding problem in the Armitage fandom is having to convince oneself to like a production that is outside of the genres one normally watches; and Mr. Armitage’s comments have shown him to be quite aware of and at times quite sensitive to this issue.

  26. I hope my comment in no way sounds demeaning. IMO, it should be very obvious to even a casual observer that the fandoms of a piece of literature and the fandom of a person are distinctly different since the objects are different. I’m really enjoying the discussion of that, but what I think has precipitated it is a misunderstanding of my comments. I never thought the two fandoms were very similar or that Peter Jackson could advise Richard Armitage about dealing with his fandom hence the wink on that statement. Frankly, I think Peter Jackson would be completely flabbergasted by some of the attention Richard Armitage has received, and quite possibly RA might have words of wisdom for Jackson concerning female adoration.

  27. No, not at all. I probably should have clarified that the intensity question / problem for me stems from a different source — I don’t know how I could ever (for lack of a better word) “adore” Aragorn as a fictional character on a page, apart from Viggo Mortensen (however that is spelled, cough). Whereas two years ago even though I didn’t adore any particular actor, I could see how it would happen. And now, of course, I’m in that category for Armitage, even if somewhat against my will. The triggers are probably different, which may explain something about the different qualities of the fandom, IMO.

  28. No!


    Trekkies are a breed in and of themselves. A highly specialized and dedicated subset of the SciFi fandom. There are Star Trek fans (people who enjoy the show among other SciFi fare, for this I qualify), there are “Trekkers” (devotees of the show who really get into it, but have perspective and a life beyond that show), and there are Trekkies (the really super-devoted Star Trek fans who are kinda scary even to other SciFi fans).

    Tolkien fans are far less identifiable and far more easy going. You do not find people trying to live by the moral precepts of the the Valor in the Tolkien fan base (or at least I have not encountered any, though I do know a rancher in CO who swears he lives in “The Shire” ). The only thing they would have in common is that they are very well read in their particular sphere of interest. You will find that throughout the SciFi/Fantasy fandom, a passionate interest in their particular franchise, Star Wars fans who have read all the novels and technical manuals, etc., with Tolkien fans being a bit more scholarly and academic which is natural given the source material and the man who wrote it.

    And SciFi fans are just different in how they approach the human subjects of their admiration from celebrity fanbases. Even when they come to admire an actor in a role, they *still* do not become as invasive or frankly, disrespectful of the actor as I have seen in this celebrity fanbase. Most Tolkien fans embraced Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, and we came to enjoy him as an actor in other roles like “History of Violence” and “Hildago”. We follow his career now, just as we followed Nathan Fillion from “Firefly” to “Waitress” to “Castle”. But we have never put either of them under a microscope or up on a pedestal. SciFi fans understand that actors are human beings, just like we are, and as such deserve the same basic respect that we do. We are fans, but we’re fans at a discreet and respectful distance.

    Let put it this way, SciFi fans will be bouncing up and down in their seats and screaming during the Serenity panel and ComiCon (though ComicCon has grown beyond it’s geek roots and is now just a massive Hollywood media event), and then be squeezed up against the wall silently starring at the floor numbers if they ran into Nathan Fillion in the elevator 30 minutes later.

    (Though sometimes in the smaller, less formal cons you can have some fun moments, but it’s always at the instigation of the famous person, not the fan. I mean, there are stories of famous writers wandering around cons lost, trying to find their panel rooms, wishing someone would come up and talk to them so they could get directions.)

    We save our obsessive attention to the fictional or the inanimate if we are dealing in the science, things which can not have their privacy and validity invaded by our attentions and interpretations.

    And if Armitage fans don’t like a production he is in, they don’t have to like it. No one is holding a gun to anyone’s head saying they have to love “Between the Sheets” or “The Hobbit.” Personally, as a show, I thought “Robin Hood” sucked, just pure cheese, and while I admire how Armitage bootstrapped the character form a one dimensional stooge on the page into probably the most interesting character in the show, I do not understand the Guy of Gisbourne fervor among fans. Just personal taste. But this is another advantage to maintaining some emotional distance from the celebrity. You can disagree with his choices without it being a personal let down that destroys your respect for him as a person or an artist, or feel like you are “betraying” him. I’ll never sit down and watch the entire series again (in fact, I don’t think I have seen all the shows now), but I do not think his playing Guy of Gisbourne makes him any less of an artist.

    Actually, the highest praise an actor can garner in my family is ‘they are a working actor”, someone who tackles all their roles, no matter how large or how small, no matter the quality of the production, with the same level of creative commitment and professionalism. The actors who may not be the famous celebrity, but who end up with a resume as long as you leg and have given the a solid performance every-time. Example: The late Pete Postlethwaite. Here’s a guy who got an Oscar nod for playing a real life victim of a miscarriage of justice in ‘In the Name of The Father” and yet gave the same level of commitment to “Clash of the Titans.” Alfred Molina is another one in this ilk. I think Armitage has had that sort of ethic so far, and he would keep my respect if he kept it rather than turning up his nose at roles for not being “artsy enough”.

    The prose had nothing to do with my dislike of Catcher, it was the completely unappealing character and general pointlessness of the story, or lack thereof. It was more of a character study than a story, and a study of a character I could not find of any interest.

    Ditto Wuthering Heights, Cathrine was a ninny and Heathcliff was a bastard, and this is supposed to be romantic?

  29. Actually, given that you can know a fictional character better than you could ever know a celebrity, and that they can speak to your own experiences in a way that a complete stranger like a celebrity can not, it think it is relatively easy to form an attachment to a fictional character. SciFi fans do it all the time. They love Data or G’Kar or Buffy or Mal Reynolds, etc.

    Heck, given the reaction to the Lucas North/John Bateman fiasco, I’d say there are plenty of people in this fanbase who do it as well.

    And what is nice is that the object of that attachment is not real, so we are not being invasive by having that attachment. If we speculate on the nature of Deanna Troi’s relationship of William Riker, we are not invading anyone’s privacy. If I invest emotionally in say, John Porter, Richard Armtiage does not bear the emotional burden of my issues with that character. No one does but me. If we “interpret” the character, well that is what he was created for. The fictional character is a object of my personal issues and no one get hurts or made uncomfortable by my being a little overly attached to him.

  30. Richard’s performance of Guy is THE reason I watched Robin Hood–certainly not for the amazing scriptwriting or authenticity of the costumes and sets LOL I started out thinking Guy was a right smarmy bastard–albeit an attractive one–and then, as I found the character evolving through Richard’s careful attention to the role, became a complete Team Leather fan gurrrl.

    I will always be grateful to that show, cheesefest that it was, because it introduced me to RA as a fantastic actor. And, as I have pointed out on another blog, there are parallels I see between elements of Guy’s circumstances and character and someone near and dear to me. So, yeah, I “relate” to Guy.
    RH led to me watch Sparkhouse, North & South and The Vicar of Dibley, and I was completely convinced I had stumbled upon an extremely versatile actor dedicated to getting the role right, whether as leading man or as a supporting character.

    He doesn’t seem to consider any job too “small” or beneath him to care enough to do it justice, and I respect that. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: RA is a detailed, consummate character actor inhabiting a leading man’s face and body. He is the total package IMHO.

    I have since watched/listened to him in virtually everything he’s done except Cleopatra and Smug Man at Party in This Year’s Love, and I am firmly convinced he will bring something special to the table in his portrayal of Thorin.

    So I am not going to waste any more of my time and energies trying to convince any doubters as to his rightness for this role. The proof will be in his performance, and, to use a quasi-religious turn of phrase, *wink* I believe that performance will convert many of the unbelievers.

    Not all, of course–some people will not be happy no matter what. I’ve lived long enough (older than most of you here) to know you can’t please ’em all.

    Richard, I hope you’re having a whale of a time at Dwarf Academy. Onward and upward!

  31. And in terms of a a fictional character “on a page”, one of my first crushes was Mr. Rochester. There is more revealing information about him, his emotions and how he thinks, in the pages of “Jane Eyre” than there is of Richard Amritage in all his interviews. I adored the cantankerous and brilliant Stephen Maturin long before he was played by Paul Bettany. Sharon Kay Pennman made me fall for Richard III, and so on.

    But then, maybe what attracts me to people and characters isn’t the physical image, but the personality.

  32. I guess you’re not going to let me interview you, huh? :D

    Reminiscent to me does not = the same. It just means they share something so significant that it serves to remind one of the other. I have more thoughts on this, but I’ll talk about it elsewhere or maybe never. LOL!

    I guess we can agree to disagree on Catcher. I’ll bet there are some things you like that I either found or would find a complete waste of time. This difference makes things interesting. No? Or should we all see Catcher the same? :D

  33. . One person’s trash is another person’s treasure; different strokes for different folks and so on and so on and scooby-dooby-dooah . . . (see, I really am showing my age).

    Sometimes, we just have to agree to disagree in life.

    I am right with y’all on loving Mr. Rochester and “Jane Eyre” over “Wuthering Heights.”
    Fell in love with the story at age 10 and have re-read it many times. Never had to read “Catcher” while in school and likely never will, so can’t weigh in on that one.

  34. I’m not saying everyone should see Catcher the same. Did I ever say that, anywhere? I’m just saying that cramming that book down my 14 year old throat turned me off modern literature for a very long time.

    Sorry, I did not mean to leap down your throat, but sadly when many people hear the words “SciFi fan” that is the image that springs to mind and it is one that we have been trying very hard to distance ourselves from. It has been a long struggle for the genre(s) to be taken seriously. A couple years ago I had someone try to tell me that “Fahrenheit 451” was not science fiction, it was “literature” because nothing that good could possibly be science fiction. It’s been highly amusing watching the mental gymnastics the mainstream reviewers do trying to label Neil Gaiman’s works as anything but Fantasy, a genre the author himself claims.

    As to the interview, I have been giving that some serious thought and I’m still thinking.

  35. I didn’t say that no one could love a fictional person as s/he is depicted in a book; I said that I could not / do not have that experience. I also did not say that any fan must by definition force themselves to like anything, just that it was a potential question faced by a fan in that situation.

  36. “As to the interview, I have been giving that some serious thought and I’m still thinking.”

    Fair enough. There is only one thing I ask of you. Please don’t take me so seriously. :D

    Except that I’m serious about the interview.:)

  37. Ah, I see. Well, the fan does not have to like it, but they should at least try to approach the initial viewing with an open mind. I mean, interest in an actor can expose you to things you would not otherwise be have watched, or listened to, or read, or whathaveyou. I would have never read a Heyer novel had it not been for his audio recordings, and I found them to be thoroughly enjoyable. Actually, given I’m in the U.S. had it not been for my interest in Armitage, there is a lot of stuff I wold never had seen, most of his career in fact. And there are lots of films out there like that. I would not have even heard of “Gun Shy” (great little film) had I not been a fan of Liam Neeson and Sandra Bullock.

    If Fantasy isn’t a person’s thing, well, it’s one of those “Will I want those four hours of my life back” choices. Are you really going to resent sitting through “The Hobbit” to watch Richard Armitage? Some fans won’t and some fans will. *shrug* Either way it is not life altering so it should not be something someone is stressing about.

    As for the triggers being different, either way it is an enjoyment of a specific topic often through immersing oneself in it in great detail. One could say the same of sports fandoms and car enthusiasts. I believe it was Liev Schrieber who said, ‘We’re all geeks about something.” The problem I see is that the result of such an intense interest in a thing is very different than such an intense interest in a person. The Star Trek franchise is not unsettled by the devotion of the Trekkies, but an actor can be made very uncomfortable by that level of intense devotion from his or her fans.

    But where does that initial choice come from? I think that is probably a question only the individual can answer. “The answer, dear fans, is not in the movie/TV stars, but in ourselves…” if I may shamelessly paraphrase from the Bard.

    As to the interview, well, still thinking. ;)

  38. I would say in my case, comparing the times when I have been consumed by an interest in a SciFi franchise to my interest in this actor, the principal driver in the same: Escapism. different issues in my personality drove me toward one or the other, but at the core it comes down to escapism. So for me the difference comes not so much from what I am interested in, it doesn’t come from the source, but in how far I take that interest depending on the topic.

  39. Sorry, I meant to say, “….how far I chose to take that interest depends on the topic.”

  40. I was thinking about this more this morning and I will make an admission to demonstrate that, in my experience, the triggers, the causes for an interest in a thing like SciFi and a person like Richard Armitage, are the same. Where the fan takes that is a matter of choice.

    Up to this point in my life, the pattern I have fallen into has been to fall into an obsession, a SciFi franchise usually (though I did once have a brief but intense flirtation with motorsports), be consumed by it for a year or two, dig up all the details I could, think about it obsessively, wear it out, get bored with it, and find the next obsession. What drove that was escapism because I was unhappy with my life. Why I switched from being obsessed with a thing to being obsessed with a person was probably nothing more than unfulfilled romantic yearnings. (I took myself “off the market” several years ago, and I think this may have been a step towards reaching out to the possibility of romance again.)

    When I came across Richard Armitage I followed the same pattern. I let myself be consumed by my interest, I tried to dig up details about him to feed that interest…until late July/early August when I found myself pulling up his astrological chart and reading his palm in photographs/screenshots.

    Now, to most of you, that’s going to sound pretty meaningless and silly. I imagine some people here have done the same thing in play and not thought a thing of it. (And that’s fine if you don’t believe in Astrology and such, certainly there are valid rational arguments against it.) It may not even mean anything to Richard Armitage.

    But it does mean something to me. To most neo-pagans, at least those schooled ethically in the divinatory arts, looking at someone’s astrological chart and reading their palm is tantamount to reading their session notes from their shrink. You do not do that without the person’s permission, otherwise it is an invasion of privacy. If I dug up every detail I could find on a fictional character and speculated about what the writers have chosen not to reveal, that doesn’t hurt anyone. But when I do it to a real person, it does. And whether or not Richard Armitage would have felt like I had invaded his privacy, whether or not he ever knew, I knew. I had breached my own ethics in my obsession.

    That was when I chose to step back.

    So if someone is a fan “against their will”, if the fan is doing things that they are not happy with, maybe they need to stop looking at Richard Armitage and start looking at themselves. Even if one believes that Richard Armitage has this marketing machine designed to pull women in and make them fans, then so does Brad Pitt and Christian Bale and George Clooney and every other star. The fan chose from a level playing field who they would become interested in and they chose how far they took that interest. (Actually for Americans, it’s not a level playing field since Richard Armitage was practically unknown on this side of the Atlantic, operating at disadvantage to established Hollywood celebrities.) It’s not about the kind of obsession, it’s about the choices the fan makes. It may not have been a conscious choice at the time, but whether or not those choices are conditioned by culture or personal experiences, for the self-aware adult, in the end it comes down to choice. Who or what they have taken an interest in and how far they chose to take their fandom. Most fandoms become a habit, and a celebrity fandom can be a habit that is difficult to break, that was pointed out in one of the articles I posted in the comments on Mulubina’s blog, but most people heading up smoking cessation programs and weight loss groups will try to patiently explain to people that it’s about the choices you make and self empowerment.

    There is a wonderful quote from Babylon 5, “There is always a choice. We say that there is no choice only to comfort ourselves with a decision we have already made.”

    So SciFi fans understand obsession. They understand wanting to immerse themselves in a topic and find out everything they can about it and study it in excruciating detail and fill in the gaps with their imaginations. They just don’t do it to people. For most it is a matter of interest, for some it is a matter of choice.

  41. Thanks for sharing that, KiplingKat. By the way, I sent you a note.

  42. Back atcha catcha.

  43. […] time compared to some of these people. Oh, I’ve got nothing on the LOTR fans as I said in a fake fan letter to Peter Jackson, and all the time I’m realizing their ardor just spills out everywhere. Take for example the […]

  44. […] If Peter Jackson keeps this up, my letters to him may become quite a series. First letter here. […]

  45. […] P.S. I apologize again for calling you Mister. […]

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