The Mind

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Richard Armitage is the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. Probably most reading this heartily agree, and some who have no clue about him would agree if they watched him. What did the interview referenced in my last FanstRA piece say?

He is tall (tick), dark (tick) and handsome (tick), with piercing blue eyes (double tick). Ladies, your swoons have not been wasted.

Oh, I know they’re well placed, but not for the obvious reasons. There are so many good looking actors to swoon over. Legions whose looks are worthy of the description above. Take a trip to Hollywood and you will literally see them everywhere you go. But they’re visual cotton candy. There is nothing that inspires beyond a few moments because beautiful as they are, they never get beyond the viscera of your thinking. Even many of the thoughtful actors rarely get much beyond it. Or maybe that’s just me. Maybe it’s just me who seldom repeatedly examines even an actor’s great performances beyond the event in order to mine something more profound. Sometimes I might examine the lighting or the body language or any number of practical aspects to determine what it was that was effective in conveying the message, and I might relive the performance repeatedly in my imagination in order to feel the thrill of it again. But to find the message enigmatic and compelling because of the actor’s portrayal and forcing me to go beyond the obvious to try to root out what is deeply embedded in my brain? To make me examine something about myself and why I was really so struck by it? No, that seldom happens with performances. Maybe with books, but usually with performances I know why I’m affected. I know immediately and can often verbalize it.

And then there’s the actor himself. Very few when interviewed or when speaking for any length of time really hold my interest. It’s almost always a let down. But enter Richard Armitage, who has made me question countless things with his portrayals, and I can’t stop doing it. The fact I’ve done this has puzzled me to no end. Yes, I’m still puzzled, but I love this. I love being puzzled, being in a continual state of curiosity, and the irony of him is that the more he speaks, the more I’m curious. Wow. I think of the artists who are generally considered enigmatic, and much of it was effected by the fact they weren’t talking. They only let their art do the talking, and probably wisely kept their mouths shut to maintain the mystique. But let this guy talk, and he becomes more interesting and makes me wonder what I’ve been missing. Case in point:

I have not been a fan of fantasy although I’ve read some science fiction and some classical fantasy novels. Mostly done to ensure my education was not lacking. But I am rethinking that interest and was rethinking it long before I knew Richard Armitage would be in ‘The Hobbit.’ It’s been coming to me for a long time now that I almost killed my imagination in the pursuit of control. I’m so sorry about that, but I’m not dead, so it’s not too late for me to regain what was such a rich part of my childhood. Richard Amitage has definitely been inspirational. I’ve also always loved words but was never encouraged to really play with them or learn how to shape things with them. My talents so obviously lay in another area, and that is where I was continually directed, but it never satisfied. Armitage gets credit for rekindling my interest in words to the degree that I’m now doing something about it! I mean how can I listen to something like this on the heels of listening to his audio books and not be inspired?

I said in one of my diary entries that a beautiful voice is not enough. The person must have something interesting to say. That’s where writers come in. But with Richard Armitage, he brings something to it I’ve rarely witnessed. He has a rich mind, keeps it well nourished and applies it to his craft. That is a great part of his ability to hold us all in thrall even if only using his voice. Much more than a pretty boy. He’s a thinker and we benefit from it.

And one of my favorite thinkers shares her reactions to his performances:

Servetus and I have had many discussions offline that have been such an enjoyment and encouragement to me. Although we bring our own observations and don’t always agree, we do have some things in common and have a mutual respect.

Photo courtesy of the Russian Richard Armitage Fan site. You can check out the rest by clicking on the photo.

30 Comments

  1. I have said repeatedly if Richard were only a pretty face and body I would have lost interest a long time ago. I can imagine no other actor inspiring me in the way he does to write hundreds of thousands of words of fan fic, to make 21 vids in two weeks, to co-found a private site, to visit blogs such as yours and Servetus’s and so on and so on . . . If you had told me a few years back I would be doing all this, I would have been incredulous.

    And yet.

    His keen intelligence, his insight, his obvious empathy in order to be able to dig deep into these characters and give them breath and life and get our interest and make us care so intensely . . . and then to be so interesting and compelling in interviews, engaging our minds there, too. He’s funny and witty but never mean-spirited, it seems. Doesn’t take himself too seriously, but his craft, oh, yes.

    There is a lot to admire and respect in this man.

    I’ve always loved a good mystery, putting all the pieces of the puzzle together . . . he’s like that to me. I keep uncovering a new piece, it seems. He amazes me, astounds me, delights me. It’s far more than how he looks and sounds. It’s what shines through from the inside and the intelligence and creativity that flows from those fair lips.
    Back to work before I write a book . . .

    And, oh yeah. Smart can be v.v. sexy IMHO.

  2. oh yes, the brain is definitely the sexiest organ. :D

  3. Absolutely. :D Also thanks for sharing some photos I hadn’t seen before. Always on the lookout for new treasures. *two (far less beautiful than RA’s) thumbs up*

  4. Absolutely loved this post. I think you, Servetus and Angie have found a way to express my own fascination in a way that I have not yet been able to. I have never reacted to someone like this, and while for awhile I was questioning my motives and my sanity, I now have put that aside and decided to go with it. There must be a reason he is awakening this part of me that I long thought dead. I also discovered him when I was at a low point in my life (which I am still working through right now). I can’t quite formulate in my own brain, let alone with words (and certainly not as well as you three have done) what draws me to him but I feel compelled to explore this fascination I have for him. Not only for what I am learning about myself through his work and my reactions to his work, but also from this online community of frankly pretty amazing women! And for that, I will forever be grateful.

  5. It is always an enlightening pleasure to hear/read this actor ARTICULATE his analysis of acting. The perspective on audio book work is revealing of that dedcation to craft – in the absence of live stage roles – that the audio provides the practice of renewing and stretching the vocal nuance that is less necessary a tool on screen. (Though no less compelling).

    All synapses are fully charged in this person.

    (Is synapse the correct word, and do they charge?)

  6. Let’s just say they handle electrical impulses, and his synapses are fantastic with those impulses. :D

  7. calexora, It has been such a pleasure to watch this actor and to discuss it with all of you! I wish I had more time to participate in discussions. When I was first a fan, I had more time, but now I’m doing well to keep up this blog. That is definitely the down side of the blog.

  8. I used to tell my students on days when the FMS fog was a bit dense to excuse me, all synapses were not firing off correctly ;)

    His synapses are workin’ just dandy. :D

  9. @Frenz,

    We appreciate that you do keep doing this in spite of your busyness.

  10. I love doing it. I hope that’s obvious, and It’s a great respite. But it does curtail my blog commenting quite a bit.

  11. The first interview I read with RA articulating an intellectual viewpoint was on Vulpes Libris’blog and it was at that point, being a writer, reader and bibliophile that I began to be charmed by the man. The intellectual persuasion came aeons before the acting. But it was natural then to follow on and be fascinated by the purity of the acting with its combination of voice, face and body nuances.
    I look forward to further interviews where RA is allowed to respond from the intellect as it makes interesting reading and/or listening. Ultimately its the meat in the sandwich!

  12. Vulpes Libris is definitely my favorite print interview. I actually commented there, but obviously not as RAFrenzy. LOL!

  13. Frenzy, thank you for your wonderful post and your chosen photo just hypnotizes me all over again…
    Servetus, I love your voice. You so much describe my own experience in coming to value RA. I must admit that with most actors I do not even care as much as to find out their names, much less remember them. But RA just is different; he lets me value my own values in life again. Servetus, thank you for your wonderful message and thanks to RA.

  14. Aaaw, Frenz et al. — thanks.

  15. “He has a rich mind, keeps it well nourished and applies it to his craft. That is a great part of his ability to hold us all enthrall even with only his voice. Much more than a pretty boy. He’s a thinker and we benefit from it.”

    Aww hell yes! That’s part of the appeal! Like Angie said, if he was just a pretty face, I would’ve lost interest a long time ago. In fact, I wouldn’t even have had an interest to begin with, but when it comes to “pretty boys”, I’ve never been impressed. You ain’t never seen me swooning over Brad Pitt or Leo diCaprio or Take That! But with RA … every interview, he says something that just shows what a wonderful person he is. What’s not to love?

    It’s a great fun idea to “interview” other fans. Lovely to listen to. :)

  16. Traxy, Oh, I’m having a blast and I’m not done yet. ;-)

    Christine, that picture is hypnotic. It really showcases his eyes.

    Servetus, you are so welcome!

  17. Traxy,

    I should have clarified my position and said “If he was just a stunningly handsome man” because I don’t care for pretty, baby-faced guys with boyish good looks and “cute” noses, either. Give me a proper grown man with a proper manly nose!! Never understand people going bananas over either Pitt or Dicaprio. Can’t fathom why EVERYONE doesn’t think RA is magnificent, but you know–no accounting for tastes, is there?! ;)

    And I agree–what’s not to love about this man? He seems beautiful inside and out. As I said before, a masterpiece of manhood, that one.

  18. […] can, however, hear something I said about Mr. Armitage over at Frenz’s, whom I sincerely thank for the kind words and whose sentiments I return. It would be hard for me […]

  19. Well, what’s left to say?…I agree with everyone as usual. Love these audiofiles and hearing the voices of fellow bloggers. Servetus, I would just love to be a student in one of your classes, I could listen to you for hours.
    I am glad that Mr. Armitage has inspired you with a love of words, Frenz because you are very good at crafting them! :)

  20. Exactly Phylly3, there’s nothing left to say. He’s the thinking woman’s crumpet. I think that’s what draws us the most.

  21. I was thinking of this earlier–how some women go for the hunk whether he’s got a brain in his head or not, just as some men fall for a pretty face and figure even if the head is empty. Not I. There has got to be MORE. Make me laugh, engage my intellect, intrigue me and surprise me. Everything that Richard is inside just makes the outside that much more appealing. The exterior is the yummy frosting; but his character, his personality, his intelligence and awesome talent, that’s the delicious cake.

  22. Let them eat cake, eh Angie? LOL While I like the analogy (and of course love cake) I think we can agree that he has much more sustenance than cake.
    How about this? His looks are only the appetizer to a 5 course gourmet meal. Oh dear, then there is dessert again…. Someone help me out, I was just about to go to bed. My brain hurts! ;)

  23. Phylly3,

    I thought of the old Bill Cosby routine where he tells the story about his kids talking him into serving them cake for breakfast–“But daddy, it has eggs . . . and milk . . .” All very wholesome, just like Mr. A! *grin*

    Or how about “Life is short. Enjoy Richard Armitage first thing each day?!” Oh it is late, isn’t it?! LOL

  24. I love Bill Cosby! I think of that routine quite often! :) Okay then, you’ve convinced me — he’s cake! Wish we could have our cake and …. okay, not going there!

  25. @Angieklong: Same here! (Although BP is starting to have more appeal now that he’s getting older. I’m such an ageist when it comes to men! Which I guess is good for my hubby, because he’ll just grow in handsomeness as the years go by. ;)) There’s actually research that says that women prefer more boyish looking men because of the Pill (I made a post about it here: http://thesqueee.blogspot.com/2009/10/proof-that-drugs-are-bad.html ) – because the pill messes up our hormones. Drugs really ARE bad! And yes, RA is like a delicious cake … which we can enjoy without expanding waistlines too!

    @Phylly: Mmmmm, foooooood. See, RA and food, two topics that work so well together! <3

  26. AHHH, now I really really want ‘cake’ for breakfast ;), and lunch and dinner…

  27. Lovely to hear from Servetus there.

    I’ll echo a lot of whats been said. There are plenty of good looking actors and plenty of
    great actors and actresses that attract my attention.

    Non have grabbed me and affected me quite like Mr A. Can I pin point why his performances inspire and engage my emotions to such an extent ?

    Can I say why seeing, hearing or reading and interview with him or article about him makes me bubble with joy ?

    No I can’t; but I’ve stopped wondering and just enjoy it because it feels good. He has
    such magnetic charisma. He exudes something beyond his looks.

    His talent, his intelligence, the fact that he works hard and with with a lot of thought at his work. This makes me respect him.

    And when he is in the limelight, having interviews, dealing with fans he does it with such charm and the good manners that cost nothing to cultivate; but mean so much to those that are on the receiving end.

    Whatever it is he does I hope he keeps on doing it because I’m very grateful to him for it.

    He brings a lot of sunshine to me and as life can get very hard to cope with at times;
    that’s a godsend.

  28. Interesting post and comments. Could you please tell me where to find the RA interiew the audio excerpts are from?

  29. Surely. Here you go:

    Venetia Interview

    Convenient Marriage Interview

  30. By the way, I got those clips from RichardArmitageNet by way of Naxos Audiobooks.


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